Optimised chains are awesome, but how do you look after them to get the best out of them?
In my experience if you are riding in dry conditions they will last the 400-500km easily with no maintenance required. Sometimes towards the end of that time you can extend the life with a bit of Squirt Lube. This works great and you’ll get a lot more miles without making the chain too dirty, though it will pick up more dirt compared to when it is pure optimised chain.
Once I get to this point I re-optimise, trying to time it for an A race. I used SRAM Red Optimised Chains, they are light and strong. Once optimised they are super smooth and really quick.
If you get caught in bad weather you may have to use squirt lube straight away, even at low mileage. You can get away with light rain, but in the recent 100 TT I got properly soaked, so re-optimising is the way to go. Knowing that I was likely to get wet I put a light spray of PTFE lube on so that I didn’t end up with any problems…100 miles is a long way! Even getting caught in some storms it performed flawlessly…
This all sounds a bit expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. I get around this by having a two or three chains in rotation. All will initially be optimised, but when one gets caught in the bad weather, that one may just become the bad weather race chain. The other 2 I have in rotation can then be kept only for dry race days. This means I get the full life out of them 🙂