Bike Chain Lube

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by jayson, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Bob

    Bob Guest

    On 30 Sep 2005 19:57:42 -0700, "Ron Ruff" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >I'll tell you mine. I've been using Kleen Guard furniture wax ($1 per
    >can at Walmart) on a SRAM 9 speed chain. 3,800 miles so far, and no
    >more than 1/32 inch wear. That is better service than I ever got with a
    >bike lube. I never clean the chain other than what it gets from the
    >lube-wipe. I get rained on fairly often (like today), but it doesn't
    >seem to affect the chain. I went for 200 miles once without lubing it
    >just to see if it would squeek... it didn't. I generally lube & wipe it
    >every 100 miles or so.



    So what about using something like a spray automotive Carnauba wax?
    Wouldn't that be better than furniture wax (much thicker) and a
    heck of a lot easier than paraffin & oil ? This is starting to
    sound good!
     


  2. Ron Ruff

    Ron Ruff Guest

    Bob wrote:
    >
    > So what about using something like a spray automotive Carnauba wax?
    > Wouldn't that be better than furniture wax (much thicker) and a
    > heck of a lot easier than paraffin & oil ? This is starting to
    > sound good!


    Why not? I'm starting to think that keeping dirt/sand from sticking to
    the chain is the most important thing, and waxy lubes do that best. It
    isn't quiet like a heavy oil, though... but maybe that auto wax would
    be better...
     
  3. Ron Ruff writes:

    >> So what about using something like a spray automotive Carnauba wax?
    >> Wouldn't that be better than furniture wax (much thicker) and a
    >> heck of a lot easier than paraffin & oil? This is starting to
    >> sound good!


    > Why not? I'm starting to think that keeping dirt/sand from sticking
    > to the chain is the most important thing, and waxy lubes do that
    > best. It isn't quiet like a heavy oil, though... but maybe that
    > auto wax would be better...


    Two effects make this unlikely to work as you describe and they are
    that wax is not a liquid and cannot move to locations where the wax
    has been displaced by frictional movement in the way that oil does.
    The other is that water has a far greater affinity for metal surfaces
    than wax and will be dislodged from sliding contact surfaces inside
    the chain where lubrication should occur. Oils emulsify, and if not
    washed entirely away by road water, remains when things dry off to
    continue lubricating the chain.

    Another aspect of this subject is that wax is as old as oil in the
    business and people have tried all aspects of its use long ago. Using
    wax as a lubricant is not a new discovery and it has limitations that
    keep it from automotive use where there is substantial scientific R&D
    work, unlike in bicycling.

    Jobst Brandt
     
  4. [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >
    > Another aspect of this subject is that wax is as old as oil in the
    > business and people have tried all aspects of its use long ago.


    Yes. For example, some people have been using it as a chain lube since
    long ago! I first tried it in the 1970s, and I assume it was done long
    before that.

    > Using
    > wax as a lubricant is not a new discovery and it has limitations that
    > keep it from automotive use where there is substantial scientific R&D
    > work, unlike in bicycling.


    I'm not aware of an automotive application that mimics the duty of a
    bike chain - specifically, low speed intermittent pivoting motion,
    unsealed in a dusty environment, where cleanliness is valued both for
    equipment life and cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic reasons include both
    keeping the bike clean and keeping the rider clean.

    It may be that if cars had such an application, they'd use some
    wax-based compound.

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  5. Frank Krygowski writes:

    >> Another aspect of this subject is that wax is as old as oil in the
    >> business and people have tried all aspects of its use long ago.


    > Yes. For example, some people have been using it as a chain lube
    > since long ago! I first tried it in the 1970s, and I assume it was
    > done long before that.


    >> Using wax as a lubricant is not a new discovery and it has
    >> limitations that keep it from automotive use where there is
    >> substantial scientific R&D work, unlike in bicycling.


    > I'm not aware of an automotive application that mimics the duty of a
    > bike chain - specifically, low speed intermittent pivoting motion,
    > unsealed in a dusty environment, where cleanliness is valued both
    > for equipment life and cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic reasons
    > include both keeping the bike clean and keeping the rider clean.


    Formerly heavy trucks and today motorcycles are chain driven with
    all the exposure to contamination that bicycles experience.

    > It may be that if cars had such an application, they'd use some
    > wax-based compound.


    Cosmetic goals conflict with functional goals. Even the best
    automotive engines have blackened motor oil that cannot be made clean.
    I haven't seen a motorcycle chain lube that doesn't generate black
    slime.

    Jobst Brandt
     
  6. tomato packing equipment-the setup fits neatly into a large aircraft
    hanger-travels the green, chartruese, and hard tomatoes (ripen on the
    way)on conveyors powered by waxed chain drive off electric motors.
    waxed gear wear is impressive but tomatos are oil free. the boxes and
    the tomatos get a coat of wax.
    i tried wax and found the CR mushrooming after a few miles.
     
  7. i wuz cut off-
    > i tried wax and found the CR mushrooming after a few miles.

    like the tomato conveyor gears-
    but this is on SR 10 speed CR's not
    dirt bike CR's-of a different design where the chain runs over more off
    a point than a flat surface as at the 10 speed: not flattening the
    waxed chain surface and flaking it off but penetrating the chain
    surface, bang, flaking dirt off the wax
    wherefore the wax is meant actually for dirt use

    a lot of old folk around here use wax and never clean the chain
    but these geezers tend to haul the bike over to the LBS for work
    even tire changing!
     
  8. Ron Ruff

    Ron Ruff Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > Two effects make this unlikely to work as you describe


    I would have thought so as well... but oddly enough it seems to work. I
    just measured it again to make sure and the wear is closer to zero than
    1/32 inch after 3,800 miles. Though the efficiency of a chain is not
    well correlated with friction, I would expect the wear-rate to be well
    correlated with friction... so I can only conclude that the furniture
    wax is doing a good job of minimizing friction in the chain.

    I *do* lube it often, but it is very easy to do (no actual cleaning),
    and rag is nearly clean after wiping. Plus, the chain is never
    silent... I can always hear the rollers, though it never squeaks.
     
  9. Dave Lehnen

    Dave Lehnen Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Frank Krygowski writes:
    >
    >
    >>>Another aspect of this subject is that wax is as old as oil in the
    >>>business and people have tried all aspects of its use long ago.

    >
    >
    >>Yes. For example, some people have been using it as a chain lube
    >>since long ago! I first tried it in the 1970s, and I assume it was
    >>done long before that.

    >
    >
    >>>Using wax as a lubricant is not a new discovery and it has
    >>>limitations that keep it from automotive use where there is
    >>>substantial scientific R&D work, unlike in bicycling.

    >
    >
    >>I'm not aware of an automotive application that mimics the duty of a
    >>bike chain - specifically, low speed intermittent pivoting motion,
    >>unsealed in a dusty environment, where cleanliness is valued both
    >>for equipment life and cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic reasons
    >>include both keeping the bike clean and keeping the rider clean.

    >
    >
    > Formerly heavy trucks and today motorcycles are chain driven with
    > all the exposure to contamination that bicycles experience.
    >

    Recent chain-driven road motorcycles use O-ring chains (or variations
    like X-ring chains) almost exclusively. Chain life is 4 or 5 times
    better than it was with conventional chains. It seems unlikely that
    O-rings would be practical in narrow, flexible bicycle chains. They are
    expensive even in motorcycle sizes, but very much worth the expense.

    >
    >>It may be that if cars had such an application, they'd use some
    >>wax-based compound.

    >
    >
    > Cosmetic goals conflict with functional goals. Even the best
    > automotive engines have blackened motor oil that cannot be made clean.
    > I haven't seen a motorcycle chain lube that doesn't generate black
    > slime.
    >
    > Jobst Brandt


    O-ring chains generate almost no black slime, unless it's inside the
    seals where it is never seen. The outside needs only enough coating
    to prevent rusting, and there are various not-too-sticky alternatives,
    and people who swear by or at them.

    Comparing brown used oil inside a car engine to the abrasive sludge that
    collects on oiled bicycle chains is hardly fair. I don't think a car
    engine would run for long on 5 quarts of bicycle chain sludge.

    Dave Lehnen
     
  10. [email protected] wrote:
    > Frank Krygowski writes:
    >
    > > I'm not aware of an automotive application that mimics the duty of a
    > > bike chain - specifically, low speed intermittent pivoting motion,
    > > unsealed in a dusty environment, where cleanliness is valued both
    > > for equipment life and cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic reasons
    > > include both keeping the bike clean and keeping the rider clean.

    >
    > Formerly heavy trucks and today motorcycles are chain driven with
    > all the exposure to contamination that bicycles experience.


    True, of course. And not only heavy trucks. There were plenty of
    chain driven cars in the very early days. Still, the chains were/are
    kept far from contact with the operators.

    >
    > > It may be that if cars had such an application, they'd use some
    > > wax-based compound.

    >
    > Cosmetic goals conflict with functional goals.


    Sure. And conflicting goals are frequently a fact of life. But it's
    not _only_ cosmetics that keep me waxing my chain.

    I've mentioned before the old, old bike magazine article (not Bicycling
    - some other road bike magazine from the 1970s, it's on file here
    somewhere) in which a guy tested about eight varieties of chain lube,
    riding each for many hundreds of miles and measuring wear (what most
    call "stretch") per mile. He found paraffin produced the least chain
    wear.

    Anyway, it works for me. YMMV. But don't shoot it down without trying
    it.

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  11. I use paraffin (Candle wax to those of you on the other side of the
    pond). It takes a bit more on the user's part to get it inside the
    links, but I think that is balanced out by the fact that it cleans the
    old lube out of the chain at the same time, instead of having to clean
    it as a separate operation.

    - -

    "May you have the winds at your back,
    And a really low gear for the hills!"

    Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    Chris'Z Corner
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  12. The reason many people have to "Re-wax" after riding in the rain is
    because they simply dip the chain in the melted wax. IOW, the wax was
    simply deposited on the outside of the chain, rather than soaking in
    between the links where it need to be.

    Try heating the wax to at least 150 F when it will be fully liquid, and
    soaking it for a few minutes to allow time fir it to penetrate INSIDE
    the links. Then hang it, wiping off the excess from the outside before
    it cools and solidifies. You'll find this way will yield much better
    rain tolerance and overall performance from the wax.

    How to clean and properly wax your chain at the same time:
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner/tech3.html

    - -

    "May you have the winds at your back,
    And a really low gear for the hills!"

    Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    Chris'Z Corner
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  13. Frank K, How do you keep the torch from igniting the wax?

    - -

    "May you have the winds at your back,
    And a really low gear for the hills!"

    Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    Chris'Z Corner
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  14. Chris Zacho "The Wheelman" wrote:
    > Frank K, How do you keep the torch from igniting the wax?


    I don't do anything special. I've never had a problem with that.

    The torch flame is quite low - perhaps 1" long out of its nozzle. I
    just try to warm the chain up enough for the wax to flow. The chain
    gets hot to the touch, but not extremely hot.

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  15. Bob

    Bob Guest

    On Sat, 1 Oct 2005 19:42:54 -0400, [email protected] (Chris Zacho
    "The Wheelman") wrote:

    >
    >How to clean and properly wax your chain at the same time:
    >http://www.geocities.com/czcorner/tech3.html



    I like the wax idea but I have to admit that chain wear is not really
    an issue - chains are cheap and easy to find. But, how does wax vs.
    oil work out when we consider the wear on alloy chainwheels? Has
    anyone measured this ? A vintage chainwheel has a lot more value to me
    than a chain. I can see some of the same arguments (i.e. less dirt =
    less wear on the chainwheels) but has there been any non-subjective
    evaluation this?

    Bob
     
  16. On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 14:41:36 GMT, Bob <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I like the wax idea but I have to admit that chain wear is not really
    >an issue - chains are cheap and easy to find. But, how does wax vs.
    >oil work out when we consider the wear on alloy chainwheels? Has
    >anyone measured this ? A vintage chainwheel has a lot more value to me
    >than a chain. I can see some of the same arguments (i.e. less dirt =
    >less wear on the chainwheels) but has there been any non-subjective
    >evaluation this?


    Dirt's the only factor there, since lubricating the teeth is impossible.

    Jasper
     
  17. Andrew Price

    Andrew Price Guest

    On Sat, 1 Oct 2005 19:42:54 -0400, [email protected] (Chris Zacho
    "The Wheelman") wrote:

    [---]

    >How to clean and properly wax your chain at the same time:
    >http://www.geocities.com/czcorner/tech3.html


    Interesting article, but as I suppose the wax is re-used several times
    ("A pound of wax will run you about $1.50 and that should last you
    about a year"), how do you keep "all the embedded dirt, grime, old
    lube and worn particles of metal" which are flushed out of the chain
    from contaminating the wax?

    Or have I misunderstood, and is the wax used "one-shot" and then
    discarded?
     
  18. Bob

    Bob Guest

    On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 20:51:46 GMT, Jasper Janssen <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >
    >Dirt's the only factor there, since lubricating the teeth is impossible.
    >
    >Jasper


    Don't you think that the presence of lubricant on the inner chain
    plates has an effect on the chainwheels? Most of the "worn out"
    chainwheels I've seen have side wear problems. The rollers don't
    really seem to wear the teeth in the drive plane. So, I would think
    the presence of a lubricant would reduce steel to alloy friction and
    therefore reduce side wear.

    ?
     
  19. On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 23:51:00 GMT, Bob <[email protected]> wrote:
    >On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 20:51:46 GMT, Jasper Janssen <[email protected]>
    >wrote:
    >
    >>Dirt's the only factor there, since lubricating the teeth is impossible.


    >Don't you think that the presence of lubricant on the inner chain
    >plates has an effect on the chainwheels? Most of the "worn out"
    >chainwheels I've seen have side wear problems. The rollers don't
    >really seem to wear the teeth in the drive plane. So, I would think
    >the presence of a lubricant would reduce steel to alloy friction and
    >therefore reduce side wear.


    Hmm. I dunno. Most side wear is from non-straight chainline in derailer
    systems, and I wonder if the pressure on those facets is small enough to
    tolerate lubrication at those points.

    Jasper
     
  20. oh puheese lube the gears. run the chain backwards and hold the bottle
    upside down with the nipple going ticvktivcktick on tooth tops. zzzzick
    done. so when the chain hits that CR or cog first off after cleaning
    there's a skim board effect tween chain and gear surface. squish..
    by the way-temps are falling and that valvo racing 50 wait synthetic at
    $3/Qt iza lookin good!
     
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