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I have to bike in bad weather and especially at work i have no way to store my bike in a dry place, this means that my bike chain picks up rust like nothing else, forcing me to clean it a lot. Now i'm wondering whether there are any brands of chains that are made for this kind of environment (and maybe cost a bit/lot more)?

In other words: I'm looking for the quality product in the chain world that's in a similar place of status as a Brooks saddle in the saddle world.

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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could try a stainless steel chain (Wipperman makes them), or if you have very deep pockets, a titanium chain - however I've not seen one for sale for a while.

Titanium does not rust, but I'm pretty sure it still needs lubrication to prevent binding.

Also apparently public-hire bikes in London have chains with some kind of ceramic coating which need no lubrication; but they use 3 speed hub gears I think.

Also, note that with lubes, there is a trade-off between stickiness and longevity. Waterproof marine grease would be incredibly resistant to washing off, but it would also pick up an incredible amount of dirt, which would have a negative effect on your drivetrain.

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Are there any benefits to a titanium chain other than the weight savings? Is Ti more rust-resistant than stainless steel? –  Neil Fein Jan 10 '11 at 1:06
    
Also, I think that wax lube has similar problems to what you're describing with marine grease -- sticky and picks up dirt well. –  Neil Fein Jan 10 '11 at 1:07
    
Thanks, Wippermann is exactly what i was looking for, a local producer who does quality equipment. :) –  Mithaldu Jan 13 '11 at 14:13
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Lube your chain frequently. As in every time it rains if you need to.

Depending on the drive-train, you can get Shimano or SRAM chains at places like Nashbar or Performance Bike, but even top-of-the-line, expensive chains will get rusty if they're out in the rain all the time. The same will hold with a Brooks saddle. No matter how awesome it is, if it's exposed to poor conditions without proper maintenance, it will deteriorate quickly. So lube your chain frequently, and dry it off whenever you get a chance before storing it.

Disclaimer: If you go riding around with tons of lube on your chain in dry, dusty conditions, you'll pick up lots of dirt in your drivetrain.

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+ 1 - Clean. Lube. Ride. And repeat. –  Unsliced Jan 7 '11 at 12:22
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+1 - Spend money on quality lube instead of on a "higher quality" chain –  Vache Jan 7 '11 at 12:56
    
Lube it every time it rains but once the chain has dried. Lube containing Teflon is repels water. –  Narcís Calvet Jan 10 '11 at 16:23
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I think you shoud use some midrange drivetrain components for the winter period and replace them in spring with whatever you prefer. There is no way any chain will survive the winter salt and sand of the roads conbination they use in my coutry (Latvia).

Chains should be changed every 1000 miles, so just use cheaper chain in winter.

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You'll want to check for chain stretch, especially when using a less-hardy chain. Using an old chain that's not quite mating to the cogs can wear down the rest of the drivetrain. –  Neil Fein Jan 7 '11 at 17:07
    
There are several types of cahin wear measure tools available with a price under $10. You have to replace chain to avoid wearing off more expensive parts of your bike. –  Papuass Jan 9 '11 at 12:55
    
I live in the UK and I've recently switched from using chains and blocks till they're worn out, to using the cheapest SRAM chain (about £10) and using a cheap chain measurer to keep an eye on it. As soon as it starts stretching I change it, meaning the (much more expensive) block should last a lot longer. –  Chris Betterton Jan 9 '11 at 15:53
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I live in a wet and rainy climate. Portland, OR.

I just lube the chain regularly. I buy replacements as needed during spring sales. Cheapest ones I can get. A local shop has an annual sale, and that's where I get chains.

One can easily spend anywhere from $8 to $60 on a chain. I'm not a racer, but for commuting, I usually spend ~ $8 - $10 on the chain and swap it out annually or as needed. No salt on the roads here. Just wet; so I can't speak for places with salted winter roads.

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Wax, my friend. The initial time investment might be higher than squirting on oil, but it will last longer, cleaner and be easier in the end.

Here's a great description of how to do it: http://www.ecovelo.info/2011/01/08/for-the-non-believers-in-the-crowd-chain-waxing-re-visited/

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Zinc coated chains apparently work well. I've never used one (yet) but they come highly recommended.

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