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  1. #1
    Dad
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    Getting water on your chain

    I need y'all to help settle a disagreement between a friend and me.

    He's absolutely adamant that under almost no circumstances should you ever get water on your chain, especially when cleaning, to such an extent that he thinks I'm an utter amateur who knows nothing about bikes (I've been around bikes for a long time). He insists that if you speak to any 'pro' involved in bikes, they will tell you the same.

    I find this really odd for a number of reasons and don't agree.

    Firstly, my chain gets a regular soaking in water, mud, etc, when I ride.

    Secondly, I have always cleaned my bike by;

    1) a liberal spray down from a low pressure hose to remove mud
    2) apply a strong degreaser and leave for 15 mins or so
    3) scrub with a brush
    4) rinse with water
    5) wipe dry
    6) spray WD40 to displace water
    7) wipe
    8) lube

    I have never had any problems with this approach. No rust. Gets all the fine grit and crap out. My chains have always been in great shape.

    But he says you should only get water on the chain in extreme cleaning situations, like once a year, and should use other methods such as an air hose.

    Who's right?

  2. #2
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    As long as it is allowed to dry quickly and thoroughly after being washed then it will be just fine. Apply light oil and aim for the puddles next ride.

    I've foolishly put bikes in the shed wet and muddy and pulled em out a few days later to find they've rusted up and they've always been fine after being brushed clean and oiled.

  3. #3
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    Most dirt, if you let it dry, will easily wipe of with a towel. No water needed.

  4. #4
    Rogue Exterminator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad View Post
    I need y'all to help settle a disagreement between a friend and me.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  5. #5
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    Citrus degreasers are water based and made to clean chains.

  6. #6
    Dad
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Most dirt, if you let it dry, will easily wipe of with a towel. No water needed.
    Most dirt I encounter is mud. I.e. grit, earth, etc, in water. It gets into the chain. How'd you get it out by just wiping the chain?

  7. #7
    What?
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    There is nothing wrong with getting a chain wet unless it sits in water constantly. I wouldnt use water to clean it, but getting it wet it no big deal at all. People ride in the rain, through puddles, and wash their bikes with water all the time. No issues.

  8. #8
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    It's your bike. If the cleaning process works for you keep doing it IMHO.
    I would only use a "mild" degreaser.
    Just make sure your chain is dry after washing. Some use denatured alcohol to do this. The WD40 will remove the water from your chain. It may interfere with the chain lube you are using. WD40 makes great degreaser.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  9. #9
    Unpredictable
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    I made the mistake of having a dig at a local singlespeeder about his rusty chain once. His response was that a clean chain would not make him go downhill any faster and he still had to get off on steep uphills. I don't ever remember being able to keep up with him. At least his chain was dry.

  10. #10
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    Never EVER let him close to a CX pit area during a muddy race or he might die from shock!

  11. #11
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    I always rinse off the chain with water.

    But...I always get it to dry 100% then lube.

    No problems in 20 years

  12. #12
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    I got my chain wet once and it fell apart. Never again.
    Bikes, lots'o bikes

  13. #13
    mighty sailin' man
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    he won't like this

    Getting water on your chain-splishsplash.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by davidarnott
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  14. #14
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    A bike that doesn't get water on the chain is a bike that doesn't get ridden.

    Tell your friend to take his garage queen bike and STFU. Water does not hurt a chain as long as you keep it lubed. I rarely clean or dry off my bike after riding or even if it rains on the way home and my bike is soaked. My chain is well lubed and not a spot of rust. I also scrub it with a stiff brush using water and degreaser when I do wash my bike. I wipe the chain with a rag and oil it up. No issues.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad View Post
    Most dirt I encounter is mud. I.e. grit, earth, etc, in water. It gets into the chain. How'd you get it out by just wiping the chain?
    My dry and wipe with a towel really applies to the frame and fork.

    I don't ride in a lot of mud. When it's that wet I stay off and run the river.
    But when my chain is dirty I am setup to use another clean chain.
    Pop the link and put your cleaned and oiled chain#2 of 3 on.
    Wipe the outside off and....soak it in Stihl bar oil until its turn comes around.
    If just dirty apply the bar oil with a plastic syringe to the top and bottom chain run on the bike. Then the dirt is picked up and you can drive the chain with the bike on the stand as you use the towel to squeeze/wipe the excess oil.
    If I was doing this a lot a wax dipped chain would be my next move.

  16. #16
    Outlaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmguy View Post
    Never EVER let him close to a CX pit area during a muddy race or he might die from shock!
    Exactly what I was thinking.

  17. #17
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    A chain is not a piece of fine jewelry. Clean it with water or a water based cleaner. Dry it. Lube it. By the time the water has harmed it, it SHOULD have worn enough from riding to need to be replaced anyway. A chain is not supposed to last forever.

  18. #18
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    Chains aren't made of sugar, they won't melt if they get wet.

  19. #19
    Ride Instigator
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    Never get water on your chain?? This may very well be the stupidest bike maintenance myth I've ever heard.

  20. #20
    A_A
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  21. #21
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    Getting water on your chain

    Quote Originally Posted by Dad View Post
    I need y'all to help settle a disagreement between a friend and me.

    He's absolutely adamant that under almost no circumstances should you ever get water on your chain, especially when cleaning, to such an extent that he thinks I'm an utter amateur who knows nothing about bikes (I've been around bikes for a long time). He insists that if you speak to any 'pro' involved in bikes, they will tell you the same.

    I find this really odd for a number of reasons and don't agree.

    Firstly, my chain gets a regular soaking in water, mud, etc, when I ride.

    Secondly, I have always cleaned my bike by;

    1) a liberal spray down from a low pressure hose to remove mud
    2) apply a strong degreaser and leave for 15 mins or so
    3) scrub with a brush
    4) rinse with water
    5) wipe dry
    6) spray WD40 to displace water
    7) wipe
    8) lube

    I have never had any problems with this approach. No rust. Gets all the fine grit and crap out. My chains have always been in great shape.

    But he says you should only get water on the chain in extreme cleaning situations, like once a year, and should use other methods such as an air hose.

    Who's right?
    I think you are both wrong.

    I do not worry about water on the bike, as long as I am not totally submerging it.

    I do not do anything special to clean the chain.
    I may hose it off if it is muddy.
    I never use degreaser or water disperser on it.
    Wipe with a rag. Lube. Wipe. Done.
    Over cleaning a chain can remove the lube from the inside of the links and is tough to replace.
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  22. #22
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    I agree with Shiggy. Too many people overdo it with chain maintenance. Just lube it once in awhile and call it good. No need to do anything else.

  23. #23
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    Getting water on your chain

    Wd40 is not the best lubricant. It's more for displacing water. Hence the "WD" part.

    Get a good chain lube like tri flow or anything from white lightening. Lube every few rides. Wash or wipe off chain. Lube. Then wipe chain down lightly. Done!!!

    And your buddy is a *******. How are you gonna ride outside without getting the chain wet. What the hell is wrong with ppl. Be a man!! Rub some dirt on it and harden the F up!!!

    And before ppl go crazy about price of any chain lube.. It lasts forever!!!!! It's like $6-8 for enough to last to rapture!

  24. #24
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    Getting water on your chain

    Quote Originally Posted by jkidd_39 View Post
    Wd40 is not the best lubricant. It's more for displacing water. Hence the "WD" part.

    Get a good chain lube like tri flow or anything from white lightening. Lube every few rides. Wash or wipe off chain. Lube. Then wipe chain down lightly. Done!!!

    And your buddy is a *******. How are you gonna ride outside without getting the chain wet. What the hell is wrong with ppl. Be a man!! Rub some dirt on it and harden the F up!!!

    And before ppl go crazy about price of any chain lube.. It lasts forever!!!!! It's like $6-8 for enough to last to rapture!
    WD40 is a solvent and REMOVES and displaces lubricants. Exactly what you do not want.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  25. #25
    What?
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    WD40 is a solvent and REMOVES and displaces lubricants. Exactly what you do not want.
    That depends. I actually use WD-40 to clean my chain. Its properties make it great at getting all the dirt out.(literally pushes the dirt out of the links) But then I use an air compressor and blow all the WD-40 off, and use chain lube to complete the job.

    It should not be used as a lubricant, but it does have useful properties if used as a cleaner.

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