Why don’t chain manufacturers offer chains without factory grease?

Setup new bike which obviously has new chain. Didn’t have time to strip off grease before long training weekend. Long gravel ride today and it’s as if I glued dirt and sand to the chain.

Why don’t chain manufacture offer any chains without factory grease?


They would rust.


Rust sitting in packaging? Is that what you’re saying.

I’d bet even vacuum sealed chains would eventually have rust spots unless they were sealed in a zero humidity environment.

Air will be trapped in the cavities and the moisture will condense when the temps drop at some point during shipping.

I’m sure NASA could figure it out, though, for $1.3B.


Plastic chains. That’s the solution. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


$500 ceramic chains anyone?


What a bargain.

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Probably a way better deal than the silly bottom brackets if you dont have to lube the chain all the time at least :joy:

I’ve been involved with a study of this issue for another industry, yes it will rust. You’d be amazed at how much “dry” metal rusts. Water vapor, condensation (in trace amounts from temperature changes), salt dust from sea air can all make steel look like garbage in a few weeks. It is amazing the amount of stuff that factory grease repels.


Or (industrial) fish oil if you’re unlucky enough.

i assume there is a possibility that the factory grease is also needed/a consequence of how the chains are manufactured (assembly from the little plates and pins and rollers etc).

it would be nice if they could atleast switch to an oil or something a bit easier to remove, but with the proper solvent, the factory grease is NBD.

Perhaps a VCI type rust inhibitor could be used on dry chains instead.

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also, thinking about it some more…
shimano quick links dont seem to be coated in any lube from the factory, i’ve never seen a rusty one.
If they are made of the same metal as the chain, perhaps the chains are just lubed bc most people are expected to just install and ride?

I used to work at Rustoleum and for decades that was what was used so the paint was rust-preventative….and why it used to smell so god damn awful.

And yes, uncoated chains will absolutely rust….they are made in vey humid environments (both the factories and the countries) and then are shipped by sea.

A veritable Rust Wonderland.


It that’s part of the annoyance. A solvent like mineral spirits isn’t something you can just dump anywhere when done with it. There’s the ufo clean stuff but that’s crazy expensive compared to mineral spirits

Back when I was messing around with waxing chains…I would strip chains before waxing them (can’t imagine why people would bother aside from that…). Anyway…where I’m going with this is I just soaked the chains in Simple Green for a few days. Worked fine, and I dumped it out in the grass next to the garage. The stuff is supposed to be safe/biodegradable etc. Didnt kill my grass or any of the neighbors dogs as best I can tell…

Because the grease that chains are packed in is horrific as a “lube”….literally the worst thing you can use on your chain.

Once you use Simple Green to strip something, it is no longer biodegradable. You should dispose of it like any other solvent at that point.


You are spot on, what do the major chain manufacturers know about chains compared to any random “internet expert”?

Wipe it dry, run it until it needs cleaning, then you can use your favorite product.


Silca sell pre waxed chains. (Not cheap)

The zero friction people that test chains, lubes etc. reckon Power13’s right. Silca also I think.


Factory lube should be removed: