New chain grease - strip and lube or leave it?

Hi all

I was told early in my cycling experience to not clean off the factory grease on Shimano chains as it’s not necessary and acts as lube in its own right. What’s your take and why?

Get it off as it is slow, collects debris quickly, doesn’t mix well with top shelf lubes.

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Worst possible lube….strip it and start fresh.

People used to say that because the factory coating made it run very quietly….but it is horrific from an efficiency standpoint.

The point of the factory coating is to prevent rust during shipment….it is not designed to be a lube.


Get it off as it is slow, collects debris quickly, doesn’t mix well with top shelf lubes.

Hmmm, another excuse in my repertoire for getting dropped :wink:


I’ve switched to Ceramic Speed UFO drip wax, and stripping off the factory grease using the UFO Clean product. I still use a rag to wipe off dirt after a ride, but the drivetrain stays quiet and smooth for about 150-200 miles, and the chain is so much cleaner versus when I used Rock and Roll Gold wet lube.

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It is sticky, debris attracting and not very robust but I’ve been told it’ll be penetrated deep into the chain and aftermarket lube may not reach as deep, so I tend to leave it on but wipe down the chain and put fresh lube on top. Lube technology has moved on though and that could be out of date practice :joy:

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Definitely remove it before riding. It’s super easy just by soaking it in some mineral spirits. Once removed you’ll have a perfectly clean chain to treat with whichever lube you prefer and allow them to work at their best.


Get it off then either use hot wax, drip wax or dry lube depending on your riding conditions

Remove the grease now. This is the easiest time to get a completely clean chain. Just soak in mineral spirits for a bit and then rinse in another bath of fresh mineral spirits. Very little elbow grease involved.

I had previously ran the chain with the factory grease/lube on it. To be honest, I didn’t know if it was any good or not so asked in the LBS and they said you can run it like that for 150’ish miles.

That’s the only place I got my knowledge from but clearly from the opinions above I need to rethink that haha.

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I mean you can, it’s just slower and picks up dirt like crazy. The latter makes it an even bigger PITA to clean later as well as starts to get dirt into the pins and shortens the life of the chain.

So conspiracy take: LBS tells you to run the factory grease because you’ll need to buy chains much more often.

Actual take: Completely stripping the factory grease can be a PITA for those who haven’t done it. Entire threads here about which solvents (which may be banned where you live) and techniques to strip. For most people the LBS just saying “eh it’s fine” is probably best aligned to people’s level of commitment.


Anyone else use the Muc Off chain cleaner? Thoughts?

I used it the last time I cleaned my chain … once I rinsed it and let it dry, I was literally getting zero residue coming off on my hand or rag when I wiped it. In my relatively inexperienced opinion it worked well because that was the cleanest my chain had ever been.

My lazy man method used to be going over factory lube with Rock and Roll gold cleaner lube. Being a cleaner-lube, it would melt away the top coating of factory grease.

It was ok but would eventually get to be a black mess requiring a full cleaning and relube.

I have since switched to drip on wax (Smoove) and with a good cleaning and penetration protocol, I’m getting chains to last 2+ years without experiencing even .5 mm of chain wear (Park gauge). With my old lazy method, the chain would have worn past the .5mm mark in 6-8 months.

A good waxing protocol will also save you hundreds of dollars in cogs and chainrings. Only having to change your chain every 2 years is also cheaper than replacing it every 6 months. I replaced my chain after 2 years pre-emptively because I just couldn’t believe it was lasting so long despite the fact that it hadn’t hit the first wear mark on the chain checker.

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Factory grease is a preservative, not a lube. Get that stuff off. MSW published a few different ways to get that stuff off. They say before hot waxing, but this is just good practice even if you’re going to use Squirt or some other type of drip lube.

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For me chain cleaners are fine at getting the chain clean for a bit but fall apart quite quickly and are a hassle. The last one I had before giving up on them was the Park Tools one.

I run the factory lube maybe 100 miles or so to smooth off any little burrs or similar on the links and then strip it down with white spirit and either hot wax or a light summer lube. I wouldn’t ride on the factory lube long term it’s too thick and treacly

My high tech device to prevent cleaner from contaminating rotors and disc brake pads.


I’ve been using the Park Tools chain cleaner device for years, you can buy spares and sometimes they’re on sale cheap enough to just buy a new one and keep it for when the old ones starts to fall apart.

Longevity wise I’ve not had issues, I’m on my second one in about 7 years with a couple of brush changes here and there and I use it for my MTB mostly. I really rate them for a quick clean, obviously not a super deep clean but thats enough for me, not chasing watts :smile:

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This. I follow this rountine and then hot wax the new chain. I used to then hot wax regularly but am now starting to move to just reapplying Silca super secret drip onto a chain that has been deep cleaned and hot waxed. Seems to be working well so far and a bit less hassle than continually hot waxing.

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I use this hack when I don’t really want to swap chains, but feel like it needs a freshen up. When one finally does pull the chain for re-wax, boiling water will rinse most of the gunk off.