Chain lubrication

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Sam Ford, Mar 25, 2003.

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  1. Sam Ford

    Sam Ford Guest

    I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only been taking the group for a
    short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to maintain and lubricate a bike
    chain? Perhaps someone could point me to a site where this is discussed.
     
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  2. Jay Hill

    Jay Hill Guest

    Sam Ford wrote:
    > I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only been taking the group for a
    > short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to maintain and lubricate a bike
    > chain? Perhaps someone could point me to a site where this is discussed.
    >
    >
    http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.1.html
     
  3. Sam Ford wrote:

    > I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only been taking the group for a
    > short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to maintain and lubricate a bike
    > chain? Perhaps someone could point me to a site where this is discussed.

    I have an article on this topic, see: http://sheldonbrown.com/chains

    Sheldon "Phil Wood Tenacious Oil" Brown +-------------------------------------------+
    | Good judgment comes from experience, | and experience comes from bad judgment. | --Fred Brook |
    +-------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts Phone
    617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  4. "Sam Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only been taking the group for a
    > short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to maintain and lubricate a bike
    > chain? Perhaps someone could point me to a site where this is discussed.

    Try

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

    Much useful information and sensible advice.
     
  5. Bosaci

    Bosaci Guest

    "Sheldon Brown" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Sam Ford wrote:
    >
    > > I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only
    been
    > > taking the group for a short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to
    > > maintain and lubricate a bike chain? Perhaps someone
    could
    > > point me to a site where this is discussed.
    >
    > I have an article on this topic, see: > Sheldon "Phil Wood Tenacious Oil" Brown

    WD-40 works fine as a chain cleaner and lubricant. Been using it for over 30 years.
     
  6. Derk Drukker

    Derk Drukker Guest

    I have been using Rohloff's oil and it's just perfect: not too thick, not too liquid, but
    just right.

    According to lab tests performed by TOUR magazine, chemical cleaning destroys the inside lubrication
    of a chain. Only diesel or something similar should be used too clean chains.

    Greets, Derk
     
  7. Derk Drukker wrote:

    > I have been using Rohloff's oil and it's just perfect: not too thick, not too liquid, but
    > just right.
    >
    > According to lab tests performed by TOUR magazine, chemical cleaning destroys the inside
    > lubrication of a chain.

    So? That's why you oil your chain afterwards.

    I find chainsaw bar oil (or medium weight motor oil) to be just perfect: not too think, not too
    liquid, but just right, and costing about $3/litre.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Amoebit: Amoeba/rabbit cross; it can multiply and divide at the same time.
     
  8. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "Sam Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only been taking the group for a
    > short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to maintain and lubricate a bike
    > chain? Perhaps someone
    could
    > point me to a site where this is discussed.

    That, my friend, is a Frequently Asked Question! http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  9. Derk Drukker

    Derk Drukker Guest

    Hello Benjamin,

    On Tue, 25 Mar 2003 23:31:18 +0100, Benjamin Lewis wrote:

    >> According to lab tests performed by TOUR magazine, chemical cleaning destroys the inside
    >> lubrication of a chain.
    > So? That's why you oil your chain afterwards.
    No, the original lubrication layer can not be restored when you apply oil after having used
    solvents. They treated chains this way, took them apart in a lab and the picture clearly shows that
    the lubricant that is removed, can't be restored this way. In Campa chain manuals the same thing is
    said btw. When you use Diesel to clean, this doesn't happen.

    Greets, Derk
     
  10. Derk Drukker wrote:

    > Hello Benjamin,
    >
    > On Tue, 25 Mar 2003 23:31:18 +0100, Benjamin Lewis wrote:
    >
    >>> According to lab tests performed by TOUR magazine, chemical cleaning destroys the inside
    >>> lubrication of a chain.
    >> So? That's why you oil your chain afterwards.
    > No, the original lubrication layer can not be restored when you apply oil after having used
    > solvents.

    Again, so what? I have a brand spanking new "lubrication layer" of oil. My chain still runs smoothly
    over 600 km later (and possibly much further). Why would I want the "original lubrication" to still
    be there, probably filled with dirt causing my chain to wear?

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Amoebit: Amoeba/rabbit cross; it can multiply and divide at the same time.
     
  11. Derk Drukker

    Derk Drukker Guest

    On Wed, 26 Mar 2003 08:49:50 +0100, Benjamin Lewis wrote:

    >>> So? That's why you oil your chain afterwards.
    NO, the oil won't be able to restore the lubrication and will wear out faster then if you would just
    wipe dirt off with a piece of cloth. Cleaning your chain with liquid degreaser will cause faster
    wear. Your chain will look nicer, but you'll have to replace it sooner.

    > Again, so what? I have a brand spanking new "lubrication layer" of oil.
    It won't get inside the chain. It is pressed out, whilst the original grease won't be pressed out.

    > My chain still runs smoothly over 600 km later (and possibly much further).
    I always used Campa C9 chains and did 6500 km with them, without using any cleaner. I just rubbed
    the dirt off with a piece of cloth.

    > Why would I want the "original lubrication" to still be
    > there, probably filled with dirt causing my chain to wear?
    Because independent lab results showed afterr taking many chains apart, that your statement is
    not correct.

    MAybe you'll believe the Rohloff company. They say: "the inside of a chain, where dirt builds up,
    can't be cleaned anyway (in other words: you remove the oil, but the dirt stays inside). So don't
    use degreasers, but only use something that doesn't degrease for 100% like Diesel or petroleum".
    (from Rohloff tech info: chain maintenance). Rohloff says so, as does Campagnolo. If you think a
    shiny chain is more important then wear, you should clean it with degrease, but you'll only clean
    the outside, not the inside where it really matters.

    Greets, Derk
     
  12. Derk Drukker wrote:

    > On Wed, 26 Mar 2003 08:49:50 +0100, Benjamin Lewis wrote:
    >
    >>>> So? That's why you oil your chain afterwards.
    > NO, the oil won't be able to restore the lubrication and will wear out faster then if you would
    > just wipe dirt off with a piece of cloth. Cleaning your chain with liquid degreaser will cause
    > faster wear.

    Wear is caused by fine dirt in the chain.

    > Your chain will look nicer, but you'll have to replace it sooner.

    My chain generally looks black, after I've been riding it for a while.

    >> Again, so what? I have a brand spanking new "lubrication layer" of oil.
    > It won't get inside the chain. It is pressed out, whilst the original grease won't be pressed out.

    Then why doesn't my chain ever start to squeak until I ride in the rain?

    >> My chain still runs smoothly over 600 km later (and possibly much further).
    > I always used Campa C9 chains and did 6500 km with them, without using any cleaner. I just rubbed
    > the dirt off with a piece of cloth.

    I generally have to oil sooner than 6500 km, since I ride in the rain frequently. I prefer to clean
    my chain before I oil it, so I don't get *more* dirt inside. 600 km is merely how far I've gone
    without cleaning or oiling my chain at all, and it wasn't necessary even at that point. I wonder
    what kept it going smoothly, when all the oil was pressed out? Perhaps this is only a problem with
    one of these fancy bike-specific lubes.

    >> Why would I want the "original lubrication" to still be there, probably filled with dirt causing
    >> my chain to wear?
    > Because independent lab results showed afterr taking many chains apart, that your statement is not
    > correct.

    Which statement is not correct? Which lab results? Where are they?

    > Maybe you'll believe the Rohloff company.

    Not without any evidence. I don't even want to know what they charge for their "amazing lube", which
    I'm guessing is inferior to chainsaw bar oil.

    > They say: "the inside of a chain, where dirt builds up, can't be cleaned anyway (in other words:
    > you remove the oil, but the dirt stays inside). So don't use degreasers, but only use something
    > that doesn't degrease for 100% like Diesel or petroleum". (from Rohloff tech info: chain
    > maintenance). Rohloff says so, as does Campagnolo. If you think a shiny chain is more important
    > then wear, you should clean it with degrease, but you'll only clean the outside, not the inside
    > where it really matters.

    I don't care about the outside. I clean by vigorous agitation in mineral spirits. The cycling
    industry is notorious for making patently false claims, so "X company that sells bicycle chains says
    so" is not enough to convince me of anything.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Amoebit: Amoeba/rabbit cross; it can multiply and divide at the same time.
     
  13. Derk Drukker

    Derk Drukker Guest

    On Wed, 26 Mar 2003 11:13:58 +0100, Benjamin Lewis wrote:

    > Wear is caused by fine dirt in the chain.
    We agree on that.

    > My chain generally looks black, after I've been riding it for a while.
    of course......

    > Then why doesn't my chain ever start to squeak until I ride in the rain?
    Because the oil you use is probably too thin. The Rohloff oil won't wash off in the rain.

    > I generally have to oil sooner than 6500 km, since I ride in the rain frequently.
    What do you think the climate is like in Holland? I oil every week, but I ride about 50-60km/day.

    > I prefer to clean my chain before I oil it, so I don't get *more* dirt inside.
    So do I, but I just wipe off the chain.

    > Perhaps this is only a problem with one of these fancy bike-specific lubes.
    Rohloff oil is what the name suggests: oil, but the viscosity has been optimized for bike chains.

    > Which statement is not correct? Which lab results? Where are they?
    The statement that you wash the dirt out of your chain by cleaning it. It's not possible to get the
    dirt out of the interior. Please write to the editors of the very serious TOUR magazine in Germany
    and ask them about this. They'll certainly answer. Pictures of chains taken apart after testing have
    appeared in the magazine. All tests were carried out by an independent lab.

    > Not without any evidence. I don't even want to know what they charge for their "amazing lube",
    > which I'm guessing is inferior to chainsaw bar oil.
    Yeah, right. As I pointed out evidence has been published. Rohloff doesn't make an amazing lube, but
    a very affordable chain oil. A liter of the stuff costs around $40 and will last a lifetime. But
    please continue to believe what you want to believe without listening to Campagnolo or Rohloff. OR
    do you have scientific evidence that your method is superior?

    greets, Derk
     
  14. G.Daniels

    G.Daniels Guest

    so asked frequently that i sat down und wrote a piece about it and its in "DIY" here in bike.tech
    search for "diy" and scroll. the i tried the dry lube when i began commuting on a ten speed. keeping
    the drivetrain scrupulously clean, i found that a 15 mile ride used the dry lube that is after 15
    miles so little dry lube was left that qualifiying the remainder as lubricating the drive system was
    in error. longer rides produced a raw edge at the chainrings sides as in the raw edge produced when
    sharpening a carbon steel knife blade orin other words the dry lube was mushrooming my very solid
    steel SR chainrings. ugh!
     
  15. ...Who Cares

    ...Who Cares Guest

    What's the bid deal fellas!?

    The way I see it is just stick anything on yer chain so long as it runs smoothly - I bet olive oil
    would work for dry journeys. And when it shows even the slightest sign of wear just buy a new one -
    Hell! They ain't expensive, and you're guaranteed a decent smooth running chain.

    "g.daniels" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > so asked frequently that i sat down und wrote a piece about it and its in "DIY" here in bike.tech
    > search for "diy" and scroll. the i tried the dry lube when i began commuting on a ten speed.
    > keeping the drivetrain scrupulously clean, i found that a 15 mile ride used the dry lube that is
    > after 15 miles so little dry lube was left that qualifiying the remainder as lubricating the drive
    > system was in error. longer rides produced a raw edge at the chainrings sides as in the raw edge
    > produced when sharpening a carbon steel knife blade orin other words the dry lube was mushrooming
    > my very solid steel SR chainrings. ugh!
     
  16. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >I expect this will have been discussed here at length but I have only been taking the group for a
    >short time and haven't seen it. What is the most efficient way to maintain and lubricate a bike
    >chain? Perhaps someone could point me to a site where this is discussed.

    I think there are many different solutions to the chain lube problem.

    I use White Lightening. It keeps the chain quite clean which is important to
    me. In my years as a diesel mechanic I got a lifetime's worth of grime and stained hands so these
    days, I avoid black oily messes at all costs.

    You might have to lube your chain more often with White Lightening but you won't have to clean it
    between replacements.

    I also believe that trying to clean the chain is a good way to force grit and grime into the chain
    so that the outside is cleaner but the inside has more contamination.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  17. Derk Drukker wrote:

    >> Then why doesn't my chain ever start to squeak until I ride in the rain?
    > Because the oil you use is probably too thin. The Rohloff oil won't wash off in the rain.
    >
    >> I generally have to oil sooner than 6500 km, since I ride in the rain frequently.
    > What do you think the climate is like in Holland? I oil every week, but I ride about 50-60km/day.

    Why do you have to oil every week? You claim your oil won't wash off in the rain. I've ridden 300 km
    *in the rain* without my chain squeaking.

    >> Perhaps this is only a problem with one of these fancy bike-specific lubes.
    > Rohloff oil is what the name suggests: oil, but the viscosity has been optimized for bike chains.

    Viscosity of chainsaw bar oil is also optimized for bicycle chains.

    >> Which statement is not correct? Which lab results? Where are they?
    > The statement that you wash the dirt out of your chain by cleaning
    > it. It's not possible to get the dirt out of the interior. Please write to the editors of the very
    > serious TOUR magazine in Germany and ask them about this. They'll certainly answer. Pictures
    > of chains taken apart after testing have appeared in the magazine. All tests were carried out
    > by an independent lab.

    I've never claimed you can get *all* the dirt out; I just want to get loose dirt out, so it doesn't
    form a grinding paste with the oil.

    > Yeah, right. As I pointed out evidence has been published. Rohloff doesn't make an amazing lube,
    > but a very affordable chain oil. A liter of the stuff costs around $40 and will last a lifetime.

    A litre of chainsaw bar oil costs around $3. From what you said, I don't have to apply it any more
    frequently, and perhaps less so.

    > But please continue to believe what you want to believe without listening to Campagnolo or
    > Rohloff. OR do you have scientific evidence that your method is superior?

    Rohloff tries to sell me oil for ten times what it's worth without giving evidence of its
    superiority, and you ask me to accept what they claim until *I* can provide proof that what I use is
    better? Or do you also have independent lab results claiming that their oil outperforms chainsaw oil
    in some way?

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Amoebit: Amoeba/rabbit cross; it can multiply and divide at the same time.
     
  18. Derk Drukker

    Derk Drukker Guest

    On Wed, 26 Mar 2003 19:19:41 +0100, Benjamin Lewis wrote:
    > Why do you have to oil every week? You claim your oil won't wash off in the rain. I've ridden 300
    > km *in the rain* without my chain squeaking.
    I do this, because I believe that keeping the chain well oiled reduces wear: just like sandpaper.
    When it's dry it takes off a lot of material, but when you add water it takes off less material. I
    do this, because a mechanic I really trust (former Tour de France mechanic and now a Colnago dealer)
    told me to oil every week. This way you can also check the chain for damage or whatever.

    > Viscosity of chainsaw bar oil is also optimized for bicycle chains.
    I don't know the stuff, but if you say so I believe you.

    > A litre of chainsaw bar oil costs around $3. From what you said, I don't have to apply it any more
    > frequently, and perhaps less so.
    What I do is maybe not necessary, but I prefer putting on too much oil. I put it on in the evening
    and the next day I wipe off excess oil and after each ride I wipe it off again.

    > Rohloff tries to sell me oil for ten times what it's worth without giving evidence of its
    > superiority, and you ask me to accept what they claim until *I* can provide proof that what I use
    > is better? Or do you also have independent lab results claiming that their oil outperforms
    > chainsaw oil in some way?
    I don't care if you buy this or prefer to use something that's completely free. I just say that I
    have good experiences with it. It was the only thing that took the rattle out of my Connex chains.

    The only thing I look at when deciding what to use is how long a chain lasts. I use the Rohloff
    caliber for this btw. My chains lasted far longer using this oil, then when using derailleur oil and
    sprays that really cost a lot, because you spay only a small part of it on the chain.

    Greets, Derk
     
  19. Derk Drukker wrote:

    > The only thing I look at when deciding what to use is how long a chain lasts. I use the Rohloff
    > caliber for this btw. My chains lasted far longer using this oil, then when using derailleur oil
    > and sprays that really cost a lot, because you spay only a small part of it on the chain.

    There, we agree. You want lubrication on the inside, not the outside. I wipe off all the excess I
    can after oiling.

    I've never used a chain wear caliber; I find an Imperial scale ruler is quick and accurate (you
    measure over 12 links, much more accurate than just calibrating over a few). Perhaps you only have
    access to metric rulers in Holland, though.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Amoebit: Amoeba/rabbit cross; it can multiply and divide at the same time.
     
  20. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Benjamin Lewis" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > I don't care about the outside. I clean by vigorous
    agitation in mineral
    > spirits. The cycling industry is notorious for making
    patently false
    > claims, so "X company that sells bicycle chains says so"
    is not enough to
    > convince me of anything.

    I agree. It's easy to determine whether the inside is clean -- just work the links with your
    fingers, and if there's any grit in there you can feel it. When you can flex the links without
    feeling grit, the chain is clean.

    I use a thin, strong solvent like acetone or parts cleaner, and shake the chain with it in a
    mayonnaise jar. It takes several fluid changes, but only a few minutes and the results are
    excellent.

    Before Superlinks/Powerlinks came out I wasn't as thorough because it was too much trouble, plus
    driving out pins on MTB chains increases the risk of breakage. But now that it's so easy to remove a
    chain I clean them more often and more thoroughly, and they last *a lot* longer.

    Matt O.
     
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