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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Chain Stick Problems With Pro Link Lube?

    Hi,

    Hi,

    Having heard good reports concerning Pro Link Chain Lube I made the switch last year. Initially all went well and I found the product lived up to its stellar reputation. Alas I recently ran into a very perplexing problem with the lube that I need your help with.

    Last fall I lubricated the very clean and nearly brand new chain on my road bike (SRAM PC 951) with Pro Link. A week later I fell and broke my collarbone and was thus put out of action for about 5 months. During this time my bike was stored in a clean, heated cellar. A month or two ago I took it for a brief ride on a warm, sunny day with no moisture on the road surface but the collarbone acted up so I cut it short at about 3 miles and put the bike back in storage.

    Yesterday I decided I was finally well enough to go for a real ride but when I took the bike out I discovered to my horror that the chain was all bound up tighter than a you know whats ass in fly time. The links were so tight, in fact, that I could hardly get the master link off and remove the chain from the bike. Never in more than 40 years of serious cycling have I ever encountered anything like this with a bicycle chain.

    When I finally did manage to get the chain off I looked it over very carefully and aside from a tiny bit of superficial rust on a few links I could find no sign of precisely why the links were refusing to move freely. Eventually convinced that the Pro Link had apparently become gummy inside the links I soaked the chain in kerosene for 15 minutes and tried again. The links still refused to move freely. In fact a few of them could not be budged without resorting to a pair of needle nose pliers.

    Not too excited about tossing a chain with less than 100 miles on it I next thoroughly lubed it with spray Tri Flow and tried again. This resulted in about 40% of the links freeing up but the rest continue to display varying degrees of resistance to movement.

    Any idea what went wrong here? More importantly, any suggestions as to how to rectify the situation?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Boy, that's a strange one to me...I'd throw in back in kerosen for a day or so and if that dosen't do it, then I guess it's time to toss it. I can't think of what could cause a chain to really lock up and stay that way other than rust. I've heard nothing but praise for Pro link, though I've not used it myself. Look on the bottle for a phone number or email for the company, maybe they can help or explain why this has happened. Any properly lubed chain should be fine in storage for even years if it's not to damp or humid. Let us know what you find out. Good luck.

  3. #3
    wim
    wim is offline
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    IMO, the Pro-Link is not to blame. Something else got into the chain.

    Your post reminded me of something from many years ago: during a one-year overseas stay, I stored my bike in my father's basement in humid Alabama. When I returned, all the alloy parts and the spokes were severely corroded. I immediately blamed the humidity. Then I saw it: my father had placed a badly-stoppered container of hydrochloric acid near the bike.

  4. #4
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    Your basement may be heated but in reality how well heated is it. Most basements are damp, so condensation probably settled on your chain and well water will rust steel if not properly portected.

    I have a simi finished basment in South East Pa, with a portion of it used as a wood working shop, and even though it is heated I to have some issues with surface rusting on some of my equipment.

  5. #5
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    You're problem is not with the ProLink

    Your chain is rusted buy a new one. Iím guessing that a chain will 100 miles on it hasnít been lubed too many times, most likely once and then stored for 5 months. It takes a few lubes IMO for the lube to work itself thoroughly into the chain.

  6. #6
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    Update on Chain

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclust
    Boy, that's a strange one to me...I'd throw in back in kerosen for a day or so and if that dosen't do it, then I guess it's time to toss it. I can't think of what could cause a chain to really lock up and stay that way other than rust. I've heard nothing but praise for Pro link, though I've not used it myself. Look on the bottle for a phone number or email for the company, maybe they can help or explain why this has happened. Any properly lubed chain should be fine in storage for even years if it's not to damp or humid. Let us know what you find out. Good luck.
    Hi,

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. The problem, however, is not one of rust as there is simply almost no sign whatever of rust on the chain. Might be rust inside the rollers I suppose but it seems unlikely as they come from the SRAM factory packed with grease and if the outer plates didn't rust it seems unlikely that they would. To make matters weirder still, there was another of my bikes stored right beside it equipped with the same exact chain, and also lubed with Pro Link and there is no sign of even a trace of stickiness let alone seized links.

    I contacted Pro Link yesterday morning via email and I'll let you know what they have to say.

    Cheers!

  7. #7
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    It's not the Prolink

    The problem, however, is not one of rust as there is simply almost no sign whatever of rust on the chain
    Yet you say this in your original post:

    I looked it over very carefully and aside from a tiny bit of superficial rust on a few links
    A poorly maintained chain will rust/freeze up regardless of how many miles it has on it. That fact that you're seeing any rust suggests that there's also rust where you can't see it. Brand new, unused chains will rust - hence the reason Shimano slurries cosmoline (?) on their chains. I put 2,500-3000 miles per chain in all kinds of weather and have never seen any rust on my chains, I've never had a problem with my chains, and I use Prolink.

  8. #8
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    Lube and ride

    Quote Originally Posted by fastspinW
    I next thoroughly lubed it with spray Tri Flow and tried again. This resulted in about 40% of the links freeing up but the rest continue to display varying degrees of resistance to movement.

    Any idea what went wrong here? More importantly, any suggestions as to how to rectify the situation?
    Echoing others' comments, this is not a ProLink problem, but a rusted chain problem. With the TriFlow on there, all you have to do is ride it a bit and that will fix your problem. No need to buy a new chain. Once everything is freed up, sluice it with ProLink and wipe it thoroughly. Leaving the TriFlow on there will result in serious dirt pickup.

  9. #9
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    I use pro-link on all three of my road bikes. My rain bike sits all dry season with no use. I'm in California, so that's at least 6 months. The chain's always been just fine when it starts raining again in november. It look and feels just like it was when I put it away in the spring.

    I don't think it's the pro-link.

  10. #10
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    Rust Never Sleeps!

    Dr. John,

    As Neil Young once pointed out in a song, Rust Never Sleeps! That said, I've ridden a half dozen different bikes about 100,000 miles over the past few decades and I have never had rust on a chain during that time. My dad was a mechanical engineer who brought me up to believe that maintaining one's machines was a nearly religious exercise and I tend to pride myself at doing a pretty decent job of it.

    I'm not saying that rust can be completely ruled out as I can't see inside the rollers, but I can say that I've worked on many bikes with five times the amount of superficial rust on the outside of the links with nary a frozen link in the whole chain.

    It will be interesting to see what Pro Link has to say about all this as I have a gut level suspicsion my problem may lie elsewhere than in Neil Young's song...

    Cheers!

  11. #11
    wim
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    IMO, the key to solving this puzzle is hidden the fact that two chains inhabited the same place, yet only one rusted. What was done (or not done) to one chain that was done (or not done) to the other? Aggressive degreasing, perhaps?

  12. #12
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    Heard back from Pro Link...

    Quote Originally Posted by walter2007
    Your chain is rusted buy a new one. Iím guessing that a chain will 100 miles on it hasnít been lubed too many times, most likely once and then stored for 5 months. It takes a few lubes IMO for the lube to work itself thoroughly into the chain.
    Hi,

    Spent some more time relubing and working the links back and forth and my chain is once again useable. I did eventually decide that the problem was indeed rust between the link plates and rivets and suspect that it was caused as a result of the point made above.

    I also heard back from the owner of Pro Link and spent an enjoyable half an hour discussing this and other chain problems. All told I was very impressed by Doug's level of knowledge and committment to customer service!

    At this point I would tend to agree with those posts stating that the problem was not related to my use of Pro Link on the chain and I will continue using it.

    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Hey, so I (and others) were right?

    Glad you got it all resolved to your satisfaction.

  14. #14
    Son of Lee Marvin
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    It seems like a lot of people have issues with SRAM's choice of chain pre-lube.

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