Some rust marks on my chain - should i overreact?

Dear LB community,

I noticed this morning that there are a few small rust spots on my chain. What do you suggest i do? I am inclined to leave it until most rust builds up and then get a new chain. The thing is the bike is just over 1 year old and is about to reach 4000 miles so the chain shouldn’t really be at the stage to be replaced yet.

Please let me know what you think.

Thank you!

Have you lubed it at all? Chains get surface rust when they’re just left outside, and a quick lube and some use gets rid of it. If you’ve been riding the bike the chain shouldn’t be dry enough to rust.

Depends on how rusty we are talking.
I’d clean it off with a brush and some chain cleaner if it isn’t much.
Then adhere to a stricter chain maintenance regimen.
Prevention is far better than cure in this regard.

I wouldn’t, personally, leave a chain to rust further.

A chain should last a lot longer than 4000 miles. Some folks get 20k out of them.

Do not let it rust, it will eventually break while you ride and has the potential to kill you… so lube it

I apply chain wax all over and the some parts of the chain are still white (the colour of the wax). I use the bike frequently and it sleeps in the garage. 

Would you clean it off with a tooth brush or steel wool? 

No need to be anal about it, lube it every week and you are good to go

I use a toothbrush.

Steel wool will break up too much.

No need to be anal about it, lube it every week and you are good to go WildBoy
Well, here is another question: I use chain wax from WD40 and i also have chain lube from WD40, do i have to use both or is chain wax on it's own enough?


Thank you hogtrumpet. I will use toothbrush and paraffin to clean

Use one or the other. With Chain Wax make sure you clean your chain properly first. After wax application you have to leave it for couple of hours to properly “stick”, otherwise it’ll just fling off… It’s best done when the chain is actually warm (after long ride).

Lube on the other hand, just lube and go. Chain doesn’t have to be super clean when you apply it, but obviously cleaner the better.

Personally I use Wax in wet weather as it holds on a little longer, and Chain lube when it’s dry (it washes off in wet weather).

a brass brush is better

if it wasn’t that bad I would just lube it up with a tooth brush & therefore saving scrubbing against the o rings with something harder than them

Mate it’s your chain, I personally would replace it because imagine going through a corner at speed and your chain snaps for whatever reason… potential rear wheel lock - you can imagine the rest.

Better to be safe than sorry.

Yeah, but there’s all sorts of imaginings you can do on a motorbike and, most of the time, things don’t all go horribly wrong.

It’s a personal thing…lube either wax or oil. I use Silkolene chain lube and get about 20k out of my chains. It also depends on how much you rag it. 

Sounds like the perfect justification for buying a whole new bike to me. You can’t be too careful about these things :grin:

Surely you should never overreact.

But I asked a similar question last month on a roll call thread and the answer I took away was that if it cleans and moves freely then not to worry about it.

It was just a small patch where, because the bike was kept outside for a while untouched, water was able to pool between the chain and sprocket.  The rust brushed off okay and whilst it looked like a stain remained, rotating the wheel everything moved smoothly.

Only ridden half a dozen times-or-so since, and now making sure the cover always covers the chain fully, I have never noticed any effect.  And a few weeks ago I gave the chain a thorough clean before lubing and it looked and felt normal that I did not even remember the rust problem at that time.  So I guess I did not see any stain either.

Thinking back a week i think it must have been my fault because i gave the bike a thorough rinse with water and then left it (including the chain). I rinsed it with water because the previous day i was driving over road that i know was salted and i wanted to get rid of it. Perhaps i should dry the chain and sprockets with a cloth next time i rinse the bike?

Thinking back a week i think it must have been my fault because i gave the bike a thorough rinse with water and then left it (including the chain). I rinsed it with water because the previous day i was driving over road that i know was salted and i wanted to get rid of it. Perhaps i should dry the chain and sprockets with a cloth next time i rinse the bike? CBR500R commuter
Always a good opportunity to clean and lube that chain when you clean the rest of it :)

Drive chain maintenance - after a rinse or riding in the rain use a water dispersant such as WD40 followed by a chain lube. Whether that be a wax or an oil the choice is yours. For cleaning paraffin is your best friend with plenty of rags to catch what falls off. Don’t mess about with a tooth brush grab a couple of basic nail brushes and work them either either side of the chain, its a messy job but its a proper job that you won’t catch your local garage performing.

you should totally overreact.  you should dispose of such abomination promptly and burn everything it has come in contact with.  then relocate asap to make sure it cant find you again.

Not sure why your two options are do nothing and let it rust or overreact.

Working long shifts and having a young family means that my chain doesn’t get the love and attention it once did but if it starts getting rusty I give it a good spray of whatever chain lube is in the cupboard and it seems to solve the problem.

I have one of these that I got from Hein Gerick many years ago

which is a relatively clean  method of degunking the chain (cheesey muzak optional) - I bought a big bottle of paraffin from B&Q when the little bottle of chain cleaner ran out, it’ll probably last another 10 years at the rate I get through it.