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Discussion Starter #1
Seriously,

I've seen different threads about how to clean chains, what to use to clean chains, and how often we should clean the chain.

What I'd like to know is just why we clean the chain? I mean, what do we acccomplish by doing so? What are the benefits of doing this?

..Tom
 

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Why ? It gets us out of the house and into our domain..... the garage !
 

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We clean chains to provide some degree of labor that helps us appreciate the joy of riding that much more. Many of us forsake that primitive ritual called washing our bikes, as well as that effete practice of constantly polishing chrome. And the sheer reliability of our bikes robs us of that practice of constantly tightening, adjusting, or replacing parts that is so common with many motorcycles. So cleaning the chain is the least we can do to repay our loyal steeds with all the joy we receive while other motorcyclists are stuck in their garages, toiling away.

Plus it also keeps the rag, brush, and clothing (since I always manage to mess up a shirt or pair of jeans somehow) manufacturers in business.
 

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Me: "Hi, my name is Terry and I don't clean my chain."

Other members: "Hi, Terry."
 

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I change my final drive fluid on the C14......does that count?

Chains suck by the way.........:p
 

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I was very much surprised the other day when a buddy of mine was changing his chain on his klr with like 24k miles. I asked him what he used to maintain his chain. He told me he had never cleaned or lubed it...

I was stunned.

Coop
 

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I DO clean my chain. Not on a scheduled basis, only when I have driven the bike through some nasty stuff, or if I have the time, before I leave on a long trip. I have found that it does help lengthen the life of the chain and sprockets. I use kerosene.

Chains suck by the way.........:p

So does replacing a shaft and a final drive, particularly when you are 5,000 miles from home.
 

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We were drunk and couldn't leave the house? We had an excess of rags that were begging to be defiled? Somebody told us that it would prevent "kinking"? The garage floor needed just the "right" spot? We were semi-drunk and felt the need to work on the bike but not so drunk that we knew better than to actually pick up a tool? Somewhere in there in that pile of pony droppings is the truth.
 

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I clean my chain every 500-700 miles takes maybe 15 minutes. I'm coming up on 26,000 miles and I'm still on the OEM:D, so IMO it definitely contributes to chain longevity.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I DO clean my chain. Not on a scheduled basis, only when I have driven the bike through some nasty stuff, or if I have the time, before I leave on a long trip. I have found that it does help lengthen the life of the chain and sprockets. I use kerosene.
...
What gets cleaned and how does it lengthen the life of the chain?

How long did your previous chains last?

..Tom
 

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Seriously,

I've seen different threads about how to clean chains, what to use to clean chains, and how often we should clean the chain.

What I'd like to know is just why we clean the chain? I mean, what do we acccomplish by doing so? What are the benefits of doing this?

..Tom
Back in the '90's before I had to take my job and kids too seriously I used to race mountain bikes. There was this stuff called White Lightning Chain Lube. You would shake up the bottle and drip it on to a dirty chain. This White Lightning stuff would lubricate AND clean the chain all in application!

It was like an alcohol/wax solution. The solution would first loosen the dirt and then encapsulate the dirt as it dried. Then as you pedaled, the encapsulated dirt/wax globs would fall off the chain leaving a waxy residue as the final lubrication.

I don't mind cleaning my bike but I do mind cleaning my chain. Isn't there some sort of White Lightning for motorcycles??????

Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I clean my chain every 500-700 miles takes maybe 15 minutes. I'm coming up on 26,000 miles and I'm still on the OEM:D, so IMO it definitely contributes to chain longevity.
When you clean the chain what actually gets cleaned and how do you feel that makes the chain last longer?

..Tom
 

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I DO clean my chain. Not on a scheduled basis, only when I have driven the bike through some nasty stuff, or if I have the time, before I leave on a long trip. I have found that it does help lengthen the life of the chain and sprockets. I use kerosene.




So does replacing a shaft and a final drive, particularly when you are 5,000 miles from home.
I don't ride a Beemer......have a Jap bike, rear drive failures/issues are "almost" unheard of.;)
 

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just why we clean the chain? I mean, what do we acccomplish by doing so? What are the benefits of doing this?
I have one of the gold colored chains on my bike. It's looks better when clean...or so I thought. The other day my wife asked me why my chain is so "rusty?" :rolleyes:

I don't really clean the chains. I spray them off with the Dupont stuff, then run them a few turns through the teflon soaked rag I'm holding. They do look cleaner, but that's as far as I'm going.
 

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I've never cleaned a chain in my life except for spraying it off with a hose. I'm really not sure how it would benefit either. Maybe some of the side grime could possibly work itself inside the links? :confused:

I do lube them on a regular basis though.
 

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When you clean the chain what actually gets cleaned and how do you feel that makes the chain last longer?

..Tom
The chain and the rear sprocket are what get cleaned. By cleaning the chain I'm removing dirt, dirt will shorten the life of the chain.
 

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The better you clean the chain, the faster your bike will go.
 

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Back in the '90's before I had to take my job and kids too seriously I used to race mountain bikes. There was this stuff called White Lightning Chain Lube. You would shake up the bottle and drip it on to a dirty chain. This White Lightning stuff would lubricate AND clean the chain all in application!

It was like an alcohol/wax solution. The solution would first loosen the dirt and then encapsulate the dirt as it dried. Then as you pedaled, the encapsulated dirt/wax globs would fall off the chain leaving a waxy residue as the final lubrication.

I don't mind cleaning my bike but I do mind cleaning my chain. Isn't there some sort of White Lightning for motorcycles??????

Eric
You mean this stuff? You can see the wax settled on the bottom.



Wax based lubricants are still very popular today in the biking world. Everybody has their opinions on what works best - wax, teflon, synthetic, and even home brews. I personally like the purple stuff you see that costs $12.99 per 4 oz bottle. Yep, that works out to about $415 per gallon. And you thought gasoline was expensive. Heck, I actually paid about half that much for this stuff since I used to work at the bike shop where I bought it. Even the White Lightning was like $5 per bottle (only $160 per gallon).

With bicycle chains, you most definitely do have to keep them clean and lubed. Dirt gets in between the roller, pins, and side plates and wears everything down. A well maintained bicycle drivetrain can last a few thousand miles under normal road use. I have also seen the flip side as a bicycle mechanic who wrenched for a mountain bike race team. You can wear out a chain after just 20-30 miles of mud. The most common thing you see if a poorly maintained drivetrain that requires major attention after just a few hundred miles.

Here is my mountain bike's chain and cassette which I will clean after my next ride (I typically clean ever 2nd or 3rd ride).



Another thing you don't see on motorcycle chains is the quick disconnect link that you can see even with the slotted end of the frame where the axle goes. This makes cleaning the chain much easier since you can take it off and really get it clean.

The one thing you never see on bicycle chains are o-rings. They have just metal-on metal contact between the side plates and the rollers. This is why it is probably a little more important to religiously clean a bicycle drivetrain. I still say it is good to keep a lot of grit off the motorcycle's chain and sprockets. This will keep the grit from wearing against the rollers and sprocket teeth helping them last longer.

Here is my chain after my bike's last bath yesterday:



You can see the very light surface rust. This actually wifes right off with your finger. I think the reason you see really rust chains on bikes is because people do not keep them clean since it keeps letting the rust form and attach to the metal. I do need to experiment with using kerosene for cleaning instead, but it is so easy just to scrub it down with my chain brush when I am washing the rest of the bike. It takes maybe 10 minutes extra and the water nozzle really washes the grit away. I try to avoid a direct blast to keep from forcing junk down into the chain.
 

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I'm just over 27,000 miles on the OEM chain, Dupont lube every 350-700 miles, once in a blue moon I use WD-40 to clean it, then lubed again with Dupont until all the WD-40 is gone. I expect to get 35,000 or more out of the OEM.
 
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What I'd like to know is just why we clean the chain? I mean, what do we acccomplish by doing so? What are the benefits of doing this?
I've read that dirt can work it's way into the O rings. Dirt is abrasive and wears the O rings out, which allows dirt to get into the links/ rollers; and the lube that's in there (from the factory) to get out, get wet, or otherwise get compromised. Once the lube's gone and there's abrasive in there...

There was a guy (or link) on KLR650.net in which someone decided that the whole point of cleaning the chain was to prevent this wear, and the whole point of lubing the chain was moot: the lube is in there from the factory - all we need to do is keep the O rings in good shape so that factory lube keeps doing its job.

So, he cleaned his chain with WD40 only and claimed super high-mileage (double the average or so, IIRC) before it reached the wear limit.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but the guy I'm telling you about obviously did. Take that FWIW. Just sharing here to stimulate conversation.
 
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