Chain Oil/Lube



dhk2

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2006
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Originally Posted by alienator .

Well since we're recommending lubes now...

ProLink is great stuff. I used it for years, applying it every 100 miles or so. Then just to see what all the hubbub was about, I tried Chain Lube No.5, and it is now my lube of choice. It does require chain cleaning before application, but I've been getting at least 500 miles out of each application before any chain noise starts to appear. If you apply it cold, you'll have a royal mess, but if you set the bottle in hot water for 10-20 minutes, it applies easily with less mess.

I found "Chain-L" on a Google search; assume that's the "No.5" you now use. Like their webpage and FAQ, the fact that they emphasize keeping the bushings lubed inside rather than focusing on a shiny appearance. It does sound like chainsaw bar oil, which is sticky and messy, but probably a lighter-weight product than that stuff. 500 miles is a long time between lube....I like that.
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
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Originally Posted by dhk2 .

I found "Chain-L" on a Google search; assume that's the "No.5" you now use. Like their webpage and FAQ, the fact that they emphasize keeping the bushings lubed inside rather than focusing on a shiny appearance. It does sound like chainsaw bar oil, which is sticky and messy, but probably a lighter-weight product than that stuff. 500 miles is a long time between lube....I like that.
That's the one.

With that lube, your chain won't look bright and shiny, but then chains that are being used shouldn't be bright and shiny. I have any experiences with bar lube--I find the blood of my victims being dismembered lubes well--so I don't know how Chain-L compares. Chain-L, when applied cold, can be "stringy".
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
1,333
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I may get flogged for saying this - oh well. I use 3-in-1 oil on most of my chains. Its not messy if applied in a deliberate manner and the excess removed afterward. Applying it does not require removing the chain or excessive cleaning.

I have tried dry / wax formulations, with those I was relubing the chain after every ride. The oil based lube lasts much longer, especially in nasty conditions.
 

An old Guy

Active Member
Feb 12, 2011
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Chains and drive trains are cheap to replace when they wear out. There is little need to apply any lube until the parts no longer function. At which time it is cheap enough to replace them.

---

I use ProLink (I think so. It is a little yellow bottle). I keep the bottle in my car next to my bicycle. If the chain looks like it is getting rusty, I put some oil on. If the chain is making noise, I put some oil on. Turn the chain backwards at a good speed (5-10rpms). Lots of drops on the chain. Wipe the chain off with a dirty paper towel. Go ride.

A bottle of lube lasts several years. My current bottle is at least 3 years old. Lots of miles on the bike. The bottle is mostly full. It takes very little lube.

As said above the gunk on the new chain is a very good lube.

---

Learning to ride a bicycle in a manner that prolongs chain life is going to do more for chain life than lube.
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
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Originally Posted by An old Guy .

Chains and drive trains are cheap to replace when they wear out. There is little need to apply any lube until the parts no longer function. At which time it is cheap enough to replace them.

---

I use ProLink (I think so. It is a little yellow bottle). I keep the bottle in my car next to my bicycle. If the chain looks like it is getting rusty, I put some oil on. If the chain is making noise, I put some oil on. Turn the chain backwards at a good speed (5-10rpms). Lots of drops on the chain. Wipe the chain off with a dirty paper towel. Go ride.

A bottle of lube lasts several years. My current bottle is at least 3 years old. Lots of miles on the bike. The bottle is mostly full. It takes very little lube.

As said above the gunk on the new chain is a very good lube.

---

Learning to ride a bicycle in a manner that prolongs chain life is going to do more for chain life than lube.
Wow. So much claimed with no factual basis.

1. Chains and cassettes might cheap to you, but everyone doesn't have your vast means. Moreover, it's just a whole lot stupid and arrogant to throw **** out when it takes so little to extend the life of that stuff.

2. You clearly have no knowledge of how things wear, why they wear, and how lubrication can decrease wear by not only a little but by a lot. Here's a word to look up: friction. After you look that up, try looking up tribology.

3. Your last comment has zero proof, especially in the light of your previous comments.
 

dhk2

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2006
2,214
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Originally Posted by alienator .


That's the one.

With that lube, your chain won't look bright and shiny, but then chains that are being used shouldn't be bright and shiny. I have any experiences with bar lube--I find the blood of my victims being dismembered lubes well--so I don't know how Chain-L compares. Chain-L, when applied cold, can be "stringy".
Yes, a glistening black chain is a happy chain. I've actually convinced a riding buddies here of that fact. He used to zealously clean and shine his chain with stuff like Simple Green concentrate. His chain always looked like new, but sounded a bit noisy. A couple of months ago he showed up for a ride with the chain, cogs and even chainrings coated with a nice, light brown corrosion of some sort. He never admitted to using any special cleaner, or storing an open bag of fertilizer or other corrosive stuff next to his bike, but I suspect he used some strong alkali solution on it to get that sudden corrosion. At any rate, since then he's been skipping the "cleaning" and applying the Prolink more often. His chain has taken on the coverted well-oiled dark sheen, and is quiet-running now like a happy chain should be.

"Stringy" does sound like the chainsaw bar lube needed for actually cutting wood with a chainsaw. It's held in a tank like the fuel, and drips on the chain constantly, unless the feed channel to the bar is clogged. When that happens, the chain overheats and smokes, and is ruined within about a minute. I've tried it on a bike chain, but didn't give it time to "soak in". It did fly off the chain and produce "webs" and a big mess. With heating before application and an overnight soak, the chainsaw bar oil might actually work. It's pretty thick though, seems it would add a bit of friction loss, particularly in cooler weather. Might really be the ticket for a long or multi-day ride in wet conditions when you don't want to fiddle with chainlube. Maybe a mix of chainsaw bar lube and Prolink or other thin oil would be better; that could be what's in Chain-L.
 

Possumpoint

Member
Oct 11, 2011
80
8
8
As I posted earlier, I used a bar chain oil. Lost the brake pad on the rear wheel chain side. Turns out that bar chain oil has a solvent for tree sap in it that will eat ribber brakes. Best I remember, the owners manual on my bike called for a light oil appied every other week. Will try that route.
 

dhk2

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2006
2,214
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Originally Posted by Possumpoint .

As I posted earlier, I used a bar chain oil. Lost the brake pad on the rear wheel chain side. Turns out that bar chain oil has a solvent for tree sap in it that will eat ribber brakes. Best I remember, the owners manual on my bike called for a light oil appied every other week. Will try that route.
Interesting to know. But brake pads and any kind of oil really don't mix. That's one problem with heavy oil; it tends to go everywhere. Suppose that's why the "Chain-L" webpage has specific instructions for applying their product. My guess it that it's not as heavy or viscous or "stringy" as Chain-L either. Since that stuff is formulated for bike chains, it may be worth a try.

But overall, believe your owner's manual advice is hard to beat. A light oil (eg,Prolink) can be applied one drop to each bushing, and soaks in right away so mess is minimal, and a quick wipe down with a rag takes care of any excess. Prolink is my favorite so far, but it's always possible something new and better is out there.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
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Originally Posted by maydog .

I may get flogged for saying this - oh well. I use 3-in-1 oil on most of my chains. Its not messy if applied in a deliberate manner and the excess removed afterward. Applying it does not require removing the chain or excessive cleaning.
Well why the hell not?

As long as I don't have to work on bikes with rusty, dry, or dirty gummy drivetrains that require flossing between the cogs and scaling the derailleur pulleys, you're doing something right.
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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Originally Posted by maydog .

I may get flogged for saying this - oh well. I use 3-in-1 oil on most of my chains. Its not messy if applied in a deliberate manner and the excess removed afterward. Applying it does not require removing the chain or excessive cleaning.

I have tried dry / wax formulations, with those I was relubing the chain after every ride. The oil based lube lasts much longer, especially in nasty conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

Well why the hell not?

As long as I don't have to work on bikes with rusty, dry, or dirty gummy drivetrains that require flossing between the cogs and scaling the derailleur pulleys, you're doing something right.



Yeh, we only flog you if you say you use WD-40.
 
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Tnark

New Member
Sep 27, 2009
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Choice and method of chain lube, cleaning etc must be one of the most hotly debated topics in forums, everybody has their own best treatment.

I'm a strong believer that over-lubing just attracts grit onto the chain, and creates a great grinding paste that wears out the chain. The lube is meant to stay within the links of a chain, not on the outside where it attracts dirt, and smothers the drivetrain with black mess. The one good thing about dry wax type lubes is that they don't attract so much grit - but I don't think they lubricate as well as oil based products.



Here's my two cents worth...

- Regular cleaning and lubing is more important than choice of lube.

- I use good synthetic engine oil, watered down around 50% with thinners. Soaks into the chain like a sponge, lubricates the inside, and after drying, the outside can be wiped off with a rag to keep the outside of the chain dry. After the first two or three rides, I wipe off any excess that makes its way out. I'm sure many of the commercial products are very good, I'm not knocking them - this method is soooo cheap!

- I clean with citrus based degreaser about once a fortnight, with the chain on the bike. A good scrub with a toothbrush and blast off with a high pressure garden hose. Repeat if necessary, and then wipe down with a good dose of Methylated Spirits (Ethanol) to speed drying and prevent rusting.

-About once every two months, I remove the chain, store it, and install a second chain. Next time I use a third chain. Why three chains? That way you get three chains worth of wear out of the rear cluster, that is if you let the chains wear considerably. If you replace them earlier, you may get six chains out of a cluster - thats heaps of miles, and sure beats having to replace a cluster because you have let one chain wear too much (clusters wear into a chain, and if you let the chain go too long, a new chain will skip on the old cluster)

When I have three dirty chains, I clean them all in solvent. I use mineral turps, followed by citrus and then a rinse with metho.

Had my current bike for 5 years now, done about 20,000 km on just two chains, recently installed a third new one and it still meshes perfectly with my clusters.

So this regime works well for me.
 

paulmurphy

New Member
Jul 2, 2003
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I took the alienator's advise, looked up tribology, and came upon this fascinating site: www.tribology-abc.com/
Loads of cool stuff demonstrating the science and actual facts (!) that could illuminate, or even (gasp), replace, much of the idle speculation that we all enjoy so much here.
 

Eichers

Member
Sep 17, 2010
541
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Originally Posted by Tnark .

Choice and method of chain lube, cleaning etc must be one of the most hotly debated topics in forums, everybody has their own best treatment.

I'm a strong believer that over-lubing just attracts grit onto the chain, and creates a great grinding paste that wears out the chain. The lube is meant to stay within the links of a chain, not on the outside where it attracts dirt, and smothers the drivetrain with black mess. The one good thing about dry wax type lubes is that they don't attract so much grit - but I don't think they lubricate as well as oil based products.

Here's my two cents worth...

- Regular cleaning and lubing is more important than choice of lube.

- I use good synthetic engine oil, watered down around 50% with thinners. Soaks into the chain like a sponge, lubricates the inside, and after drying, the outside can be wiped off with a rag to keep the outside of the chain dry. After the first two or three rides, I wipe off any excess that makes its way out. I'm sure many of the commercial products are very good, I'm not knocking them - this method is soooo cheap!

- I clean with citrus based degreaser about once a fortnight, with the chain on the bike. A good scrub with a toothbrush and blast off with a high pressure garden hose. Repeat if necessary, and then wipe down with a good dose of Methylated Spirits (Ethanol) to speed drying and prevent rusting.

-About once every two months, I remove the chain, store it, and install a second chain. Next time I use a third chain. Why three chains? That way you get three chains worth of wear out of the rear cluster, that is if you let the chains wear considerably. If you replace them earlier, you may get six chains out of a cluster - thats heaps of miles, and sure beats having to replace a cluster because you have let one chain wear too much (clusters wear into a chain, and if you let the chain go too long, a new chain will skip on the old cluster)

When I have three dirty chains, I clean them all in solvent. I use mineral turps, followed by citrus and then a rinse with metho.

Had my current bike for 5 years now, done about 20,000 km on just two chains, recently installed a third new one and it still meshes perfectly with my clusters.

So this regime works well for me.
Hi Tnark, "a good synthetic engine oil, watered down around 50% with thinners" ... sounds very interesting :)

What thinners do you use (ie. paint thinners, kerosene, etc) ... thanks :)
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,098
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Originally Posted by kdelong .





Quote:


Yeh, we only flog you if you say you use WD-40.

After a long ride on either very wet or snow/slushy roads, WD-40 is a good product to use as a first "de-crapifier" and it's fairly inexpensive compared to most commercial products.

Using as the only lubricant does deserve a flogging though.

The stuff that comes slathered over a new chain, especially the Shimano ones, is a great lubricant and is packed very well into the chain. Washing it off really doesn't add to performance in any way
 

Tnark

New Member
Sep 27, 2009
29
4
0
Originally Posted by KLabs .


Hi Tnark, "a good synthetic engine oil, watered down around 50% with thinners" ... sounds very interesting :)

What thinners do you use (ie. paint thinners, kerosene, etc) ... thanks :)
Just paint thinners. Lube in the evening, dry by the morning. I use an old tri-flow bottle with the thin feeder tube. The thinners really aids penetration, and minimises the amount of oil used - less mess.
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
126
48
Originally Posted by Tnark .

Choice and method of chain lube, cleaning etc must be one of the most hotly debated topics in forums, everybody has their own best treatment.

I'm a strong believer that over-lubing just attracts grit onto the chain, and creates a great grinding paste that wears out the chain. The lube is meant to stay within the links of a chain, not on the outside where it attracts dirt, and smothers the drivetrain with black mess. The one good thing about dry wax type lubes is that they don't attract so much grit - but I don't think they lubricate as well as oil based products.



Here's my two cents worth...

- Regular cleaning and lubing is more important than choice of lube.

- I use good synthetic engine oil, watered down around 50% with thinners. Soaks into the chain like a sponge, lubricates the inside, and after drying, the outside can be wiped off with a rag to keep the outside of the chain dry. After the first two or three rides, I wipe off any excess that makes its way out. I'm sure many of the commercial products are very good, I'm not knocking them - this method is soooo cheap!

- I clean with citrus based degreaser about once a fortnight, with the chain on the bike. A good scrub with a toothbrush and blast off with a high pressure garden hose. Repeat if necessary, and then wipe down with a good dose of Methylated Spirits (Ethanol) to speed drying and prevent rusting.

-About once every two months, I remove the chain, store it, and install a second chain. Next time I use a third chain. Why three chains? That way you get three chains worth of wear out of the rear cluster, that is if you let the chains wear considerably. If you replace them earlier, you may get six chains out of a cluster - thats heaps of miles, and sure beats having to replace a cluster because you have let one chain wear too much (clusters wear into a chain, and if you let the chain go too long, a new chain will skip on the old cluster)

When I have three dirty chains, I clean them all in solvent. I use mineral turps, followed by citrus and then a rinse with metho.

Had my current bike for 5 years now, done about 20,000 km on just two chains, recently installed a third new one and it still meshes perfectly with my clusters.

So this regime works well for me.
Synthetic motor oil
Thinner
Ethanol
Mineral turps
Citrus rinse (enviromentally friendly)
Three Chains

Cheap! This is by far the most costly regime I have seen suggested yet. A clean dry rag and your choice of chain lube will do the trick.
 

Tnark

New Member
Sep 27, 2009
29
4
0
Originally Posted by davereo .


Synthetic motor oil
Thinner
Ethanol
Mineral turps
Citrus rinse (enviromentally friendly)
Three Chains

Cheap! This is by far the most costly regime I have seen suggested yet. A clean dry rag and your choice of chain lube will do the trick.
Sorry, don't quite get your logic. If you get 7,000 km out of a chain, then doing 21,000km with three chains at once is no more costly than 7,000 km three times....

If you are like many riders and let your chain wear beyond a certain limit, say over 1/8" of stretch per foot, say 10,000 km, chances are you will need a new cluster after your first chain, if not, almost definitely after your second. At $70-$150 per cluster....not cheap. I get the life of at least three chains of wear per cluster, maybe more.

Oil, I use it in my car anyway, at around $60 per 5L, thats $1.20 per 100ml....far cheaper than Brand X chain lubes at around $10 to $15. Thinner, 4l bottle in the shed, about $0.40 per 100ml.

Citrus cleaner, my $25 4L bottle has lasted about 4 years so far....and it also cleans the cluster, chainrings, the bike frame, car wheels, driveway....kitchen bench etc.

Metho and Turps - about $5 per year.... minimal cost for a good chain rinse to get out all of the crud. Cleaning three at once uses less than one at a time three times too...


....works for me, very cheaply.....getting great life out of my components this way.
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
126
48
Originally Posted by Tnark .

Sorry, don't quite get your logic. If you get 7,000 km out of a chain, then doing 21,000km with three chains at once is no more costly than 7,000 km three times....

If you are like many riders and let your chain wear beyond a certain limit, say over 1/8" of stretch per foot, say 10,000 km, chances are you will need a new cluster after your first chain, if not, almost definitely after your second. At $70-$150 per cluster....not cheap. I get the life of at least three chains of wear per cluster, maybe more.

Oil, I use it in my car anyway, at around $60 per 5L, thats $1.20 per 100ml....far cheaper than Brand X chain lubes at around $10 to $15. Thinner, 4l bottle in the shed, about $0.40 per 100ml.

Citrus cleaner, my $25 4L bottle has lasted about 4 years so far....and it also cleans the cluster, chainrings, the bike frame, car wheels, driveway....kitchen bench etc.

Metho and Turps - about $5 per year.... minimal cost for a good chain rinse to get out all of the crud. Cleaning three at once uses less than one at a time three times too...


....works for me, very cheaply.....getting great life out of my components this way.
4 oz bottle of Finish Line Ceramic lube 5.99. Clean rag free. I keep my chain clean and lubed and I will get the same life out of my components as your method. All the money you spend on you cornucopia of chemicals and chains adds up.
I would rather have 120.00 in my account than three chains in my garage. I will gladly spend the cash on a chain when it is needed for replacement. Let the retailer keep the chain inventory I'll keep the cash on hand.
 

An old Guy

Active Member
Feb 12, 2011
1,380
42
38
Originally Posted by alienator .


Wow. So much claimed with no factual basis.

1. Chains and cassettes might cheap to you, but everyone doesn't have your vast means. Moreover, it's just a whole lot stupid and arrogant to throw **** out when it takes so little to extend the life of that stuff.

2. You clearly have no knowledge of how things wear, why they wear, and how lubrication can decrease wear by not only a little but by a lot. Here's a word to look up: friction. After you look that up, try looking up tribology.

3. Your last comment has zero proof, especially in the light of your previous comments.
1) Perhaps you could figure out what your bicycling costs per mile. It might surprise you. The cost of chains and cassettes is only a small part of the cost of my bicycling. (I have $18K/year available for bicycling expense. I typically spend about $2-3K. A cassette or two is noise in my budget.)

2) I get reasonable chain life. Using my standard of maintenance, you appear not to. I suspect it is not our difference of knowledge of tribology that accounts for it.

3) I can wear out a chain in 1000 miles if I ride in a very aggressive style. I chose to ride less aggressively and my chains last much longer. It is a very simple experiment that you could do. It should only take you 50-60 hours to wear out a chain if you ride aggressively, And another 200-300 hours to wear out a chain riding less aggressively. I expect to hear from you in a couple months after you have finished up the experiment.

---

There is a lot of disagreement about maintenance because there is a wide range of abuses that bicyclists subject their bicycles to. So there are a lot of different maintenance plans.