Better Biking Through Science 2 - CycleBlaze

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Better Biking Through Science 2

John Pescatore

I love reading deep dive testing articles of tires, lube, wheels, etc. A very detailed test on durability of chains was done here

Three interesting points for me:

  1. The Shimano Ultegra chain on my road bike fared pretty well, about 3000 km before reaching wear point. The test seems to match my experience.
  2. The XMC11E chain on my new Jamis Renegade that I will now use for touring did not test well - more like 1700 km. I only have a few hundred miles on that bike so far.
  3. The chain on the Jamis did seem to come with some kind of thick coating and the test tried fancy NFS lube on it - and saw mileage before wear point double!

The NFS lube is about 2-3x the cost of the ceramic Finish Line lube I use but the claim is also that you use less per application and have to reapply less often. I think I'll try a bottle on the new Jamis.

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4 months ago
Mike AylingTo John Pescatore

Some maintain that you should not remove the grease that the chain comes with and only clean the chain when the original grease has disappeared.

For quite some time now I have been using Squirt, allegedly designed for MTB use in wet conditions because it does not allow much gunk to stick to the chain.


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3 months ago
John PescatoreTo Mike Ayling

I've always treated a new chain like a newly oiled chain, though they seem to come with a more waxy coating, even though I've always heard it called packing grease. I just degrease and re-oil a new chain when it gets noisy, or after a very wet ride, or just the usual mileage.

Kinda like lawn mower blades - I always thought the rule was sharpen new blades before installing on a mower and I always did. One year I brought the new blades to a local hardware store that was having a sale on sharpening and the guy said "I'll take your money if you want, but new blades are usable out of the box - no need to sharpen." Took his advice and the cut the grass like newly sharpened blades...

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3 months ago
Graham SmithTo John Pescatore

John my approach to bike chains for cycle touring is to always fit a new chain and new cassette before a long tour. As my tours are usually less than 2000km, I feel fairly assured I won’t have chain trouble. Also I have a few touring / commuter bikes, and I try to fit 9 speed rather than 10 speed cassettes to those bikes to avoid getting lighter gauge 10 speed chains which seem to stretch and wear faster.

In the good old days, the hefty 5-speed chains seemed to last for 12,000 km or more.

I give bike chains minimum care. An occasional squirt of light oil and bit of a wipe with rag. That’s all. Touch wood, I’ve never had chain or cassette problems on a tour.

 I’m planning a 4000km tour next year so I’ll definitely fit a new chain before I start that ride.

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3 months ago