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Old 04-11-2010, 06:11 PM   #8
Jamie Z OP
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: on Walkabout
Oddometer: 7,827
Originally Posted by justanotherider

It's hard to guess what's eating your chain without a bit more information.
I've used mostly DID chains, switched to RKA this past chain swap.

I lube with Dupont Teflon spray, though before that I used Chain Wax. I used to lube every other fill-up (roughly 500 miles) and I'd religiously lube then chain when warm and give it about 20 minutes to cool down, or I'd lube it when I got back from a ride and parked the bike in the garage.

When my last chain wore out, I was riding with A1fa, and he saw how I lubed my chain. He said, "Man, you need to use a lot more than that." I was putting the chain on the center stand and spinning the rear wheel a few times and spraying the lube on from the back. I'd stop when I could see that the whole chain was wet. A1fa showed me his way, which was to put the bike on the center stand, start it, and put it in first gear. He'd let the bike spin the rear tire and spray lube all over the chain until it was dripping off. I've used his method for this most recent chain, and I do it every fillup, or roughly 250 miles.

I ride very little offroad, and when I do it's at low speed. I ride an occasional gravel road. I don't do a lot of high-speed highway. Tires last me forever. I get 16-18,000 miles out of tires. I thought my easy treatment of the tires would carry over to long chain life, too.

The longest I ever got out of a chain was about 18- or 19,000 miles. It was on a trip through Mexico and Central America where I did a lot of off-road riding, didn't clean it, and used WD40 on the occasions when I remembered to lube it. Basically, that chain got the worst treatment of all my chains, and it lasted easily the longest.

I've checked alignment. It's right on. I adjust the tension according to the owner's manual, which is to put the bike on the sidestand, measure the slack in the middle of the chain. there should be 20-30 mm of slack, which seems like not very much to me, so I tend to run it a little looser than that... probably about 40 mm. Again, when A1fa saw my chain, he said it was way too tight. But... it's set according to spec, even looser than spec. I do have 1/2" raising links on my bike, if that makes any difference.

As I said, I'm pretty much done. I've gone through something like five chains, and none of them have performed how I expect them to, and they've lasted less than what I read others have gotten from their chains.

People who ride with chain oilers get crazy-long chain life. I don't even want crazy-long. I just want normal chain life.

You know, my roommate has had a few bikes through the years. One time a while back he saw me cleaning and lubing my chain and asked me what I was doing. His response? "You're supposed to lube the chain? I thought they came pre-lubed." He owned several chain drive bikes and told me he never once lubed or adjusted the chain tension on any of them... there are lots of people out there like that. And here I am taking meticulous care of my chain, and I get less use out of it.

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