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Old 25.06.2007, 10:51
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Re: Bicycle repair and general maintenance question

Congratulations on the 100km ride ("the metric century" as it is known) . I would certainly assume that a bit of oil is probably all that is needed to fix a squeaky drivetrain (i.e., chain and gears), if that doesn't fix the problem then go to someone knowledgeable.

As to whether it needs to be de-greased first, then I would normally say no unless it is looking pretty gunky and dirty. In that case, using the de-greaser and a chain cleaning tool is the only good way to get it clean. After using the degreaser, wait 24 hours to make sure that the degreaser has completely dried off before applying new oil (otherwise, the degreaser will immediately break down the new oil).

However, if the chain is just looking dried out and lacking in oil, which is the most likely thing, then giving it a fresh lube will be all that it needs. As to what kind of lube to use, my favorite is called "White Lightning", see the attached image. However, it is hard to get in Switzerland, although easy to get in N. America and the UK. The closest that I've found here is called "Bike Line: Dry Lube" by Motorex, again see the attached image. I'm pretty certain that I got this at either Migros Sport XX or Athleticum, but I can't remember which, sorry. The advantage of these kinds is that it protects your chain and makes everything run smooth without making everything that touches the chain become incredibly dirty. I would never use motorbike chain lube (as Lob suggested) as the only time that I did it made the chain incredibly oily and messy - basically they are not made for this purpose and so therefore they do not perform very well.

To apply the oil, stand the bike somewhere so that you can freely rotate the pedals backwards without needing to support the bike yourself. Place an old rag on the ground underneath the chain. Turn the pedals backwards at a moderate speed with your right hand, while squirting the oil onto the chain near the gears at the back with your left hand. It may be easiest to direct the oil if you can steady your left hand by resting it against the frame or rear rack if you have one. Squirt the oil for about 10 seconds, continuing to turn the pedals at a moderate speed throughout. Once you have finished squirting the oil, continue to turn the pedals backwards, now more quickly if you wish, for up to about 60 seconds to get the oil to work its way inside the moving parts. Now use the rag that you put underneath the chain to clean off any oil that got onto the wheel rim, frame, or anywhere else that it should not be. You actually only want oil inside the chain, where the moving parts are; there is little advantage to having it on the outside of the chain where it can only help to collect dirt from the road/trail. Therefore, to remove the excess oil, cover your hand with the rag and gently cup your hand around the chain, turn the pedals backwards again for about 5 seconds and this will remove the worst of the oil that is still on the surface of the chain.

The final step is to go have another great ride in which hopefully you hear no noise from the drivetrain. How often you should re-oil the chain is very variable depending on the surfaces on which you ride (trail, gravel, sealed road), the weather conditions in which you ride (wet, dry), the kind of oil you use, etc. In general, noise from the drivetrain is the best indicator that you need to put more oil on, but it is better if you don't wait that long next time (i.e., do it before it starts making noise).
Attached Thumbnails
bicycle-repair-general-maintenance-question-motorex_dry-lube.jpg   bicycle-repair-general-maintenance-question-white-lightning_clean-ride.jpg  
Cycling in Switzerland | Photo blog (mostly travel pics from Switzerland)

Last edited by ChrisW; 29.11.2007 at 10:14.
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