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Stainless steel chain for winter commuting?


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Hello all!

I winter-commute cross-town in my city; Uppsala, Sweden.

Our city loves salting the roads in the winter. So much so that the chain and sprockets on my winter-commuter basically needs a bi-yearly replacement.
It's either that, or face a chain sandwiched in three layers around the front-sprocket, much like what happened this year in early spring at rush-hour...

No amount of cleaning and oiling the chain helps unfortunately.
Besides, a daily wash with kerosene and re-oiling is just not practical when the thermometer shows -15 centrigrades...
Flushing the chain with water daily to get rid of the salt, is obviously not a solution in winter for physical reasons (the whole effing bike freezes in an icy armour...).

Replacing  chains and sprockets bi-yearly is a cost that runs up fast, so even if a stainless-steel chain would be more expensive to buy, I'm thinking it'd still be cheaper in the long run if I could extend the replacement with a year or rather two.

However, have you ever heard of stainless steel motorcycle chains?
Or are they as rare as the fabled unicorns?

motorcycle-555162_1920.jpg.c274362e8f328a53ee3e91816a0243c6.jpg

Generic rusty motorcycle chain from https://pixabay.com/p-555162/?no_redirect.

 

PS. This is no troll posting. It's a real problem for me. DS.

 

Edited by adrian_vg
Splelling tyop
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Stainless does not have the tensile strength of the specialty steel used on a motorcycle chain. There are steel chains that are nickel plated but the pins still rust. However, your chain failure is not rust, it is an alignment issue and lack of maintenance.

Stainless is used on industrial equipment in the food service industry. Low speed, low load.

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28 minutes ago, William1 said:

Stainless does not have the tensile strength of the specialty steel used on a motorcycle chain. There are steel chains that are nickel plated but the pins still rust. However, your chain failure is not rust, it is an alignment issue and lack of maintenance.

Stainless is used on industrial equipment in the food service industry. Low speed, low load.

I lubricated the chain weekly during last winter, as well as spraying WD40 on especially exposed parts (no WD40 on the chain though).
Maybe that's to little on a winter-commuter bike used on salty roads?

Alignment was a problem indeed. I recall checking the tension bi-weekly or so and adjusted as needed. The chain got to be bendable to the right and left (in the horisontal direction) in no time. As far as I remember this was a middle-segment chain  - RK, IIRC, so should've been a quite okay chain to use on a low-powered Honda 650 Dominator.

Edited by adrian_vg
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weekly isn't enough apparently? how about every day or every other day?  might ask the city if they use straight salt or calcium chloride, and what they use to clean (nuetralize) their equiptment. They might even let you fill a couple jugs of it ? 

Edited by highmarker
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Get a BMW or be stuck doing chain maintenance. On a dirt bike I go through a chain and sprocket set once per year, so bi yearly doesn’t sound so bad to me. If you really want a cheap winter commuter, get an old bmw and run a snow rated car tire on the rear - those cheap bastards at advrider do it and go 50k miles before they even change a cheap tire, much less maintain anything else.

There are no stainless chains, only those fancy gold coated ones. 

  • Haha 1
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How about something like in the pictures below? like on old hondas. Maybe you can use just the bottom half. 

Understand there is some risk that if the chain is broken in the the cover it may cause the wheel to lock etc. 

Perhaps use some flexible / soft plastic to custom build some protection and even if the chain breaks and locks it can just break the plastic. As opposed to having a metal chain cover like on bikes in india. Metal is unlikely to yield in case of mishap

51707140-5C1C-463B-A04A-EDD7DC9C187A.jpeg

6C31C046-5D4E-4DC4-93B5-271084F01AF2.jpeg

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13 hours ago, William1 said:

WD-40 is used to remove the moisture. Then you need to of followed up with a good chain wax.

A high quality Oring chain will last when properly coated with a good chain wax and in alginment.

I use wd40 on frame parts and other exposed parts. Normally not the chain unless I'm out of kerosene. 

I've no problem with the chains on my other bikes. Environment is quite different in winters. 

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weekly isn't enough apparently? how about every day or every other day?  might ask the city if they use straight salt or calcium chloride, and what they use to clean (nuetralize) their equiptment. They might even let you fill a couple jugs of it ? 

I'll start there, with every second day and see how that works out. 

I'm not sure the city cleans their winter stuff. They seem rather rusty now. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, FlyingWheel said:

How about something like in the pictures below? like on old hondas. Maybe you can use just the bottom half. 

Understand there is some risk that if the chain is broken in the the cover it may cause the wheel to lock etc. 

Perhaps use some flexible / soft plastic to custom build some protection and even if the chain breaks and locks it can just break the plastic. As opposed to having a metal chain cover like on bikes in india. Metal is unlikely to yield in case of mishap

51707140-5C1C-463B-A04A-EDD7DC9C187A.jpeg

6C31C046-5D4E-4DC4-93B5-271084F01AF2.jpeg

There's an idea! I'll look into this. 

Thanks! 

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3 hours ago, Professor Plumb said:

What about a shaft-drive step they like a Yamaha town mate? Not cool but cheap and no chain!

The whole idea with winter-commuting on a 30 yo Honda Dominator is that it's old enough to not cause tears and anxiety when I drop it on icy roads. 

But yes, you do have the right idea! 

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