Guide to chain care ..


These clever dicks knows how to do it

Dan

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Post Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:28 pm

Guide to chain care ..

Questions on chain care and chain life come up regularly. The aim of this thread is to answer some of the questions and give a general 'how to' for people. Comments are welcome.

It is important to keep your chain in good condition. Cleaning and lubing (oiling) your chain is a must if you want to prolong its life. A poorly maintained chain will not last long and quickly damage the sprockets. Looking after it, however annoying and dirty, is not difficult.

The question is often asked, " How often should I lube my chain?" This always gets a multitude of answers!! And is often the subject of much debate!! However a good general guide is every 400 to 600 miles. Some people will clean and lube the chain more often, others less so. You need to find a system that works well for you and your bike. A good visual inspection will tell you how dirty it is getting, if you ride in all sorts of weather, it will pick up far more road grime than if you are a 'dry miles' rider.

It is essential to clean your chain because the road grime it picks up (and sticks to the lube) can turn into a grinding paste, damaging your chain. Putting lube straight on can compound the problem, it will collect more grime and add itself to the grinding paste and wear out the chain quicker still.
There are many ways to clean your chain, the simplest of ways is the tried and tested toothbrush method. Using a toothbrush (preferably an old one, don't steal TheWifes.. trust me ;) ) and a suitable cleaning agent (parrafin is a favourite) spend a pleasant time on your hands and knees. Dip the brush and methodically clean the chain, top, sides and inside. I use a rag after to remove any excess. Then apply chain lube. It is recommended to apply chain lube to the inside of the chain ensuring you cover both rivet plate. Some lubes are better than others, some fly off, some not so much. You might want to run a rag around to remove any excess. Don't forget to use something to protect the bike from any spray!! A bit of old cardboard does the job. You don't want it on your wheels!!

Below I have demonstated how to make an improved toohbrush model!!

Can't take credit for the idea really, cos I saw it somewhere else. Anywho have a looksy at what I get up to when I'm trying to avoid housework!!!

The pics should explain themselves really....

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There are also products such as the Kettenmax available.

I found it a bit technical straight out of the box.... I figured I'd video myself doing it. That you peeps can see how good this bit of kit is (and how fiddly it can be). There are two vids because I got interrupted.... blame TheWife .. :mrgreen:

Part one....


Part two.....



As always I am happy to answer questions.. and take the banter which will be directed at me ... ;)

Small print: This is me and my stuff and i am not attempting to advertise etc... just trying to help you lot of bikerinos...

As for adjusting the chain, Rennie wrote a guide here:

rennie wrote:This is a job every rider should know how to do, here's a general method , it won't be exactly the same for every bike but it should give you an idea. Single sided swingarms are dealt with lower down the page.

Double sided swingarm:
you'll need: A decent socket/spanner set with the right size for the rear wheel spindle. A ruler/tape measure. Some means of getting the rear wheel off the ground. A straight edge of some sort, at least 2m long. You might need someone to help out.

Method: Slacken the rear wheel spindle (usually quite a large nut) just enough to allow the wheel to move, the rear brake torque arm bolts (the bar that connects the caliper carrier or back plate to the swingarm) and the chain adjustment locknuts.
Lift the back end of the bike and rotate the wheel until the chain is at its tightest point. Slack should ALWAYS be measured at the tightest spot. At the mid point of the lower chain run, measure the amount of up and down slack in the chain. When taking the measurement, you should press quite firmly so that all the play is taken up. The amount of free play will depend on the bike, but as a general rule , on most roadbikes, it should be between 30-50mm with no load on the suspension. If you're lifting the bike with a paddock stand then the amount of slack should be less to allow for the weight of the bike compressing the suspension. If possible stick to the amount of slack specified in the owner's manual.
The method of adjustment differs from bike to bike, but as a rule there will be a bolt on either side of the swingarm that either pushes or pulls against the wheel spindle to move it backwards and forwards.Some bikes have eccentric type adjusters. These rotate in the swingarm to move the spindle backwards and forwards.
Whatever type it is, the method is to tighten or slacken the adjuster bolts EVENLY on each side until the slack is within the limits (If you're moving the wheel forward you may need to push the wheel forwards to take up any slack in the adjusters). When you've got the slack within limits, nip the wheel spindle up (doesn't have to be fully tight, but it must be enough to pull everything together or you’ll get a false reading), then rotate the wheel again until you find the tightest spot and recheck the measurement. If it's out of spec, repeat the procedure until it is back in spec. Make sure the spindle nut is nipped up, then take the bike off its stand.
Now you need to check the wheel alignment (Ignore the alignment markings on the swingarm they are not to be trusted!). This is usually best done by two people. Position the straight edge along the RHS of the bike as described below.


Turn the front wheel until the gap at the front and back of the wheel is equal. Note what the measurement is.

Now repeat the procedure along the LHS of the bike. If the measurement is different it means the wheels are out of line. To adjust this you need to use the chain adjusters to ‘twist’ the back wheel left or right:
If the gaps are bigger on the RHS of the front wheel, you need to pull the wheel spindle forwards on the RHS, or backwards on the LHS.
If the gaps are bigger on the LHS of the front wheel, you need to pull the wheel spindle forwards on the LHS, or backwards on the RHS.
It’s best to move the adjuster on the non-chain side of the bike as this will have the least effect on chain tension. Be aware that tweaking either of the adjusters will affect it to some degree, so once you’ve got the wheels in line, recheck the chain tension again. If it needs re-adjusting, you can now keep the wheel alignment correct by turning each adjuster an equal number of turns.
Once everything is correctly tensioned and aligned, tighten the rear wheel nut fully (Ideally it should be torqued down to manufacturer’s spec.), counter-hold the adjuster bolt and tighten the adjuster locknuts. Retighten the torque arm bolts.

Single sided swingarm:
You'll need: A decent socket/spanner for the chain adjuster clamp bolt. A large ‘C’ spanner to fit the adjuster eccentric (should be supplied in the bike’s toolkit – if you don’t have one, buy or make one. Don’t be tempted to use a hammer and drift except in emergencies), a ruler/tape measure. Some means of getting the rear wheel off the ground.

Method: Slacken the chain adjuster clamp bolt then raise the back wheel off the ground. Rotate the wheel until the chain is at its tightest point. Slack should ALWAYS be measured at the tightest spot. At the mid point of the lower chain run, measure the amount of up and down slack in the chain. When taking the measurement, you should press quite firmly so that all the play is taken up. The amount of freeplay will depend on the bike, but as a general rule , on most roadbikes ,it should be between 30-50mm with no load on the suspension. If you're lifting the bike with a paddock stand then the amount of slack should be less to allow for the weight of the bike compressing the suspension. If possible stick to the amount of slack specified in the owner's manual.
Adjustment is made by rotating the eccentric carrier for the rear axle. There is a large diameter castellated nut which sits just inboard of the rear sprocket. Using the C spanner, adjust the eccentric until the chain slack is in the correct range. Nip up the clamp bolt just enough to stop the eccentric moving, then rotate the wheel until you find the tightest spot and recheck the slack measurement. If it needs re-adjusting, slacken the clamp bolt and repeat the process. Once finished, fully retighten the clamp bolt.

Remember!!! a chain that's too tight is at least as bad as a loose 1.
The most important part is the wheel alignment.
On a lot of bikes the tension seems to change when you tighten everything up, you need to learn how to do your own, it gets easier and quicker with practice.
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Post Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:44 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

Nice one Dan
Thanks for adding it!!
I'll be nicking the kids toothbrushes in the morning ;)
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Post Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 am

Re: Guide to chain care ..

The Kettenmax system is excellent, been using it for a few yrs now. But love your homemade version
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RIDES BETTER THAN YOUR WIFE OFFICER
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Post Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:04 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

So if I get some really expensive ones, do they work better and remove up to a third more grease and grime than standard brushing?

Good idea, I have a stiff spot in the chain so I think I will be doing this ASAP.
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Post Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:12 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

nails, cable ties, blck 'n' nasty.....quality piece of bodging lol

Not just a number...

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Post Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:25 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

Toothbrush and paraffin method for me. 2 x tesco toothbrushes 30p, B&Q paraffin £5 a cheap way to keep your chain in mint condition. I prefer Castrol Racing Lube for oiling.

Post Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:42 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

Got a Scott oiler.... but do need to clean mine - nice job for Saturday me thinks !!!
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Post Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:55 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

Now clean that dirty swingarm....lol
wd40 and a rag should do the trick.
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Master Pie Muncher

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Post Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:59 pm

Re: Guide to chain care ..

Good guide, going to do the busa on Saturday if i get chance ready for it to be back on the road :party:
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