Lubricating Chains.... (I know it's boring).

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by BusterGonads, May 4, 2004.

  1. BusterGonads

    BusterGonads New Member

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    Hi,

    I recently started commuting on my bike and as the front shifter on my new Scott Aspen bike bedded in, the chain skipped off the inner ring and jammed against the bottom bracket....

    By the time I'd got it back on again, I was covered in horrible clinging black greasy muck - rather hard to clean up at work - very annoying.

    I've decided to go for a dry, clean chain lubricant and have made some which seems very effective so far. I used powdered gaphite lock lubricant (really fine graphite dust, and a small (tiny really) proportion of wax, in a base of WD40.

    This drops on easily with a kiddies paint brush and drys up, leaving a thin film of graphite over and inside chain rollers. It doesn't seem to pick up muck, so the chain is clean now. (I obviously removed all the other gunk before I applied this stuff.

    Do you experienced cyclists and commuters think this will work ok in the long run? The purpose made dry lubricants seem to be made along the same lines from what I've seen, and I had all this stuff lying around in the garage.
     
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  2. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Why not just use white lightning or similar wax based lube, and wipe the chain down at regular intervals? Get the FD properly adjusted too.
     
  3. McBain_v1

    McBain_v1 New Member

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    How resiliant do you think this new lube is likely to be when it rains? If it is remotely similar to White Lightning (my "good weather" lube of choice) then it will probably be stripped from your chainset inside 20 minutes, leaving you with metal-on-metal.

    Finish Line does a range of dry lubes that are also supposed to be environmentally benign that you could investigate.
     
  4. meehs

    meehs New Member

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    I guess I consider myself an experienced commuter. From what I understand, penetrants like WD-40 are not generally considered to be the best lubricants for bike chains. I don't know about the concoction that you've come-up with using the graphite powder.

    You'll find that any lubricant will become dirty at some point and will mess-up your hands like you described if you have to handle your chain. Your best be is to keep your chain clean and well-lubed and also keep your front derailleur adjusted properly (pretty much what boudreaux already said).

    In other words; take the proper measures to ensure you won't have to handle your chain on your commute rather than trying to find something that won't dirty your hands when you do handle your chain. Good luck and happy commuting!
     
  5. BusterGonads

    BusterGonads New Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I know it is eccentric - messing about inventing lubes, but I'm interested in the problem. The graphite sticks to metal under pressure and having examined the rollers, I can see it smeared over them. The WD40 just evaporates, I know that. I put that in so that the stuff would flow into the pin and roller interface.

    I've experimented with so called dry lubes like Finish Line, teflon plus, in the past. If you put a drop on a glass slide it evaporates to a thin waxy film in minutes. Mine does just the same (appears to anyway) but it also leaves behind all these tiny specks of graphite, which is a very good dry lubricant and is widely used in industry either as a lubricant of chains and sliders in the food industry where oil is not suitable (because of the possibility of contamination) and in applications where very high temperatures are involved. Graphite is weird stuff. If you apply any pressure to the tiny flakes, they smeare over whatever surface they're on and stick there, in a highly lubricious film.

    I guess McBainV1 may have a point about rain - we'll see. It's lashing down today, so I won't have long to wait for a test, but I don't see why it would be less durable than finish line.

    Point taken ref. the Front Deraillieur. The bike is new with only a few miles done - they usually get out of kilter after the first few miles and need a bit of fettling.

    Cheers all.
     
  6. Cipher

    Cipher New Member

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  7. BigBen

    BigBen New Member

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    I've always liked plain ol' parafin. Melt it over the stove, put the chain in the parifin and move it around a bit. Pull it out and let it dry. Runs silent, picks up 0 dirt, lasts a while, and is cheap. The only draw back is you have to remove the chain. But I suppose you could even avoid that if you dipped in in sections.
     
  8. BusterGonads

    BusterGonads New Member

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    Big Ben,

    Hi.

    I think you mean what we call in the UK parafin wax. We Brits call what you describe as Kerosene, parafin... LOL. That would be a bit thin...

    Funny - we think we share a language...

    My home made 'lub' contains a small amount of parafin wax. I'm waiting for some really bad weather to test it's clinging properties, but I suppose I could simulate a storm with a hose pipe, cranking it with the back wheel off the ground.

    Cipher - thanks for those links. Interesting read there.
     
  9. ::dom::

    ::dom:: New Member

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  10. BusterGonads

    BusterGonads New Member

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    Very informative links Dominic.

    Thanks

    Looks like good stuff.
     
  11. yak

    yak New Member

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    Graphite will contribute to that lovely gray-black layer of gunk.

    I like Triflow http://www.triflowlubricants.com/

    It's clean, doesn't attract dirt, and stands up to rainy days.
     
  12. Smithy

    Smithy New Member

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    I'm a lazy cyclist that used to do over 500 miles a week....I like products that are low maintenance and easy to clean...i have been using a semi-automatic despenser system for some time now....no more fancy lubricants that are thrown off anyway and no more cleaning agents....water and a dash of fairy liquid does me....no more chainring marks on my jeans :)
     
  13. Randybaker99

    Randybaker99 New Member

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    I too, experienced the dreaded "chain suck" with an almost new bike and during a commute - not fun. I am hoping not to have a repeat of this problem (ouch, the paint job!), but one must be prepared for the worst.

    Since I am not into the chemistry behind chain lubricants, I found a different solution to black hands syndrome - I now pack a pair of disposable latex gloves and a small clean rag. The gloves can be turned inside out afterwards. Good luck!
     
  14. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Talk about eccentric, listen to this one. A few of the guys over at Matthews' Bike Shop in Indianapolis put on a new chain and when the factory grease wears off they toss it and put on another one. They say they've done this for quite a while now and that their cassettes and chainrings will last virtually forever by doing this. Talk about a disposable society. I am in no way affiliated with this outfit but they have a pretty knowledgeable staff.

    Matthews' Bikes: http://www.matthewsbikes.com/default_flash.htm

    I use Shimano Spit Lube myself. Got a deal on it at Nashbar so I stocked up. Seems to work pretty well in most conditions and it comes in its own syringe. I don't ride the trails though. Every 500 miles I'll take the chain off (SRAM with connector) and degrease it along with the rest of the bike. I'll wait 24 hours then put on the Spit Lube and let it soak in overnight. Next day I wipe off the excess and I'm good to go.

    Spit Lube: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?...rand=&sku=9539&storetype=&estoreid=&pagename=

    Articles on chain maintenance...

    http://fagan.co.za/Bikes/Csuck/

    http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html (Good article by Sheldon Brown)
     
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