What grease to use on bicycle chain?



After riding on wet/rainy surfaces the chain on my bike turns
rusty color. What is the best way to maintain it, grease, lubricant,
WD-40?
Your general sports stores do not carry anything special, so it has to
be
some general purpose grease/lubricant or maybe WD-40.

What do you recommend to use that can be readily found at any general
purpose store, Walmart-type?
 
W

Werehatrack

Guest
On 12 Apr 2006 14:55:10 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

>After riding on wet/rainy surfaces the chain on my bike turns
>rusty color. What is the best way to maintain it, grease, lubricant,
>WD-40?


In my opinion, in order, no, yes, no.

>Your general sports stores do not carry anything special, so it has to
>be
>some general purpose grease/lubricant or maybe WD-40.


Bike shops carry chain lubes. Better sporting goods stores like REI
and Sun and Ski carry chain lubes. Motorcycle shops carry a different
breed of chain lubes that tend to be much messier.

WD40 is the antilube as far as I'm concerned. I've seen too many
things destroyed by using WD40 as a lubricant; it's a penetrating
solvent with a very light lubricant fraction. It may be useful for
getting the gunk off, but I would follow up with a real lube if
employing it as a cleaner.

>What do you recommend to use that can be readily found at any general
>purpose store, Walmart-type?


Motor oil, chain saw bar oil, and 80w- or 85w-whatever hypoid gear
lube (which stinks) are all cheap, known to work well as lubricants,
and readily available.

Some bike-shop chain lubes are better at not collecting dirt than any
of the oils listed. The same has been claimed for waxing the chain,
but individual results from that procedure have varied when it comes
to its effectiveness as a lube. If a filthy chain is not a problem
for you, then motor oil or chain saw bar oil may be your best bet for
the money. If a clean chain is essential (such as may be the case if
th bike must be parked indoors in an apartment containing a cat, a
dog, a small child or a neatfreak), then the specialty lubes may be a
better choice.

This topic has been debated to death here. There's plenty of history
at Google to browse.


--
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Some gardening required to reply via email.
Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
 
J

John Forrest Tomlinson

Guest
On 12 Apr 2006 14:55:10 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

>After riding on wet/rainy surfaces the chain on my bike turns
>rusty color. What is the best way to maintain it, grease, lubricant,
>WD-40?
>Your general sports stores do not carry anything special, so it has to
>be
>some general purpose grease/lubricant or maybe WD-40.


Pro-Link from a bike shop, or mineral spirits mixed with motor oil
(about 2:1). Make sure the chain is clean, add lube, let it soak in
for at least an hour if you can, then wipe off excess on outside of
chain.

Motor oil or chainsaw oil are OK. I've also used automatic
transmission fluid.

JT

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R

Ron Ruff

Guest
I live in Kauai and have been riding in the rain (+ deep puddles and
flowing mud) nearly every day for the past 2 months. I think it is
important to hose off the bike and then dry it with a fan... especially
if you live in a humid environment.

As for the chain, regular oil should keep it from rusting. I either
wipe the chain with KleenGuard furniture wax (available at Walmart for
$1 a can), or if it has indicated that it needs something more
substantial (by the sound it makes), I drip oil on it, wipe it as clean
as possible, then thoroughly saturate with KleenGuard and wipe it off
again. The frequency of the "substantial" treatment depends on how long
I've been riding through a downpour and/or water/mud. In fairly dry
conditions it is over 1,000 miles.

Some advise only lubing a chain after it has been thoroughly cleaned,
but I'm not inclined to spend that much time. My chains are easily
lasting 5,000 miles, BTW.
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
John Forrest Tomlinson <[email protected]> wrote:

> On 12 Apr 2006 14:55:10 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>
> >After riding on wet/rainy surfaces the chain on my bike turns
> >rusty color. What is the best way to maintain it, grease, lubricant,
> >WD-40?
> >Your general sports stores do not carry anything special, so it has to
> >be
> >some general purpose grease/lubricant or maybe WD-40.

>
> Pro-Link from a bike shop, or mineral spirits mixed with motor oil
> (about 2:1). Make sure the chain is clean, add lube, let it soak in
> for at least an hour if you can, then wipe off excess on outside of
> chain.
>
> Motor oil or chainsaw oil are OK. I've also used automatic
> transmission fluid.


For the adventurous: rather than mineral spirits use a
more volatile solvent such as toluol or xylol; the carrier
will transport the oil more quickly and evaporate much
more quickly.

Use only in a well ventilated yada yada yada ...

For the truly adventurous: thoroughly saturate the chain
then ignite. Remember the marshmallows.

--
Michael Press
 
A

Arno Welzel

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> After riding on wet/rainy surfaces the chain on my bike turns
> rusty color. What is the best way to maintain it, grease, lubricant,
> WD-40?


Just oil. I had got experiences with Finish Line Cross Country, which
last a while even under wet conditions.

Grease is not a good idea, because i is not able to penetrate the
rollers and links - where lubricant is needed.

WD-40 is *not* a lubricant. It's rather used to *remove* oil and grease
and to build a thin protective layer to prevent rust.

You may use some WD-40 on a old cloth to remove the rust, wait until the
solvents dried and apply regular chain oil afterwards.

Alternatively, you can use a nickel-plated chain to avoid rust in wet
conditions. But rust outside on the plates is generally more a
"cosmetical" problem, than a technical one.



--
http://arnowelzel.de
EMail: [email protected]
de.rec.fahrrad-FAQ: http://drffaq.freezope.org
 
Arno Welzel wrote:

> WD-40 is *not* a lubricant. It's rather used to *remove* oil and grease
> and to build a thin protective layer to prevent rust.


Why do people always say this? WD-40 most certainly is a
lubricant. A poor one, perhaps; one which is too light for
bicycle applications, perhaps, but a lubricant nonetheless.

dkl
 
M

Mark Janeba

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> Arno Welzel wrote:
>
>
>>WD-40 is *not* a lubricant. It's rather used to *remove* oil and grease
>>and to build a thin protective layer to prevent rust.

>
>
> Why do people always say this? WD-40 most certainly is a
> lubricant. A poor one, perhaps; one which is too light for
> bicycle applications, perhaps, but a lubricant nonetheless.


How about "for the purposes of applications relevant to this newsgroup,
WD-40 is not an [effective] lubricant", subsequently abbreviated to
"WD-40 is not a lubricant"? Taken *in* RBT context, it's more accurate
than much of what we get here.

Mark
 
Sounds like the water is cleaning your chain. This suggests
that frequent cleaning with no lube will result in long chain life.

This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
the rain.

What is the sound to which you refer?

dkl

Ron Ruff wrote:
> I live in Kauai and have been riding in the rain (+ deep puddles and
> flowing mud) nearly every day for the past 2 months. I think it is
> important to hose off the bike and then dry it with a fan... especially
> if you live in a humid environment.
>
> As for the chain, regular oil should keep it from rusting. I either
> wipe the chain with KleenGuard furniture wax (available at Walmart for
> $1 a can), or if it has indicated that it needs something more
> substantial (by the sound it makes), I drip oil on it, wipe it as clean
> as possible, then thoroughly saturate with KleenGuard and wipe it off
> again. The frequency of the "substantial" treatment depends on how long
> I've been riding through a downpour and/or water/mud. In fairly dry
> conditions it is over 1,000 miles.
>
> Some advise only lubing a chain after it has been thoroughly cleaned,
> but I'm not inclined to spend that much time. My chains are easily
> lasting 5,000 miles, BTW.
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> Sounds like the water is cleaning your chain. This suggests
> that frequent cleaning with no lube will result in long chain life.
>
> This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
> gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
> it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
> Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
> the rain.


It does not work that way. Road spray is not water. It is
a slurry of water, sludge, and grit. Chains get dirtier in
the rain, not cleaner; and dirtier than in dry weather.
A full chain case is another matter.

--
Michael Press
 
Mark Janeba wrote:
>
> How about "for the purposes of applications relevant to this newsgroup,
> WD-40 is not an [effective] lubricant", subsequently abbreviated to
> "WD-40 is not a lubricant"? Taken *in* RBT context, it's more accurate
> than much of what we get here.
>


Much better.

However: Even that has not been demonstrated or proven here in
the slightest. In fact, if anything, I'd say that the evidence points
to the contrary. But IIRC nothing presented here has shown your
statement to be true, although I admit I don't read the group every
month so I might have missed something new and significant
(not bloody likely but conceivable).

The data presented here has only raised more questions than answers.
I think jim beam's comment about forks applies here even more than it
does to the discussion about forks: "like many societal ills, such
fear & loathing can only come from ignorance".

I suspect that the most correct thing that anyone has said on the
subject,and virtually the only intelligent statement made, aside from
the obvious statement that lubing dirty creates grinding paste, is
Jobst's statement "Water is a good lube as long as it's wet" or
something like that. If this statement is correct, then that explains
5000 mile chain lives in Kuai (after lubing when dirty, even), 18000
mile chain lives in Seattle, and also suggests to me that WD-40 is also
fine as a lube. Although it will present the same problem as water of
drying out too quickly.

dkl
 
Michael Press wrote:
> In article
> <[email protected]>,
> [email protected] wrote:
>
> > Sounds like the water is cleaning your chain. This suggests
> > that frequent cleaning with no lube will result in long chain life.
> >
> > This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
> > gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
> > it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
> > Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
> > the rain.

>
> It does not work that way. Road spray is not water. It is
> a slurry of water, sludge, and grit. Chains get dirtier in
> the rain, not cleaner; and dirtier than in dry weather.
> A full chain case is another matter.


I disagree, but you'll note that I am hypothesizing, not stating as
fact. You are stating as fact. You got anything whatsoever with which
to back up your statement or are you just huffing and puffing?

Also, I dunno where you live, but here in san jose, ca, we have a wet
and a dry season. The first rain or two of the wet, I would agree
with your statement. After that, the roads are squeaky clean for the
following six months.

dkl
 
J

John Forrest Tomlinson

Guest
On 17 Apr 2006 20:35:16 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

>Arno Welzel wrote:
>
>> WD-40 is *not* a lubricant. It's rather used to *remove* oil and grease
>> and to build a thin protective layer to prevent rust.

>
>Why do people always say this? WD-40 most certainly is a
>lubricant. A poor one, perhaps; one which is too light for
>bicycle applications, perhaps, but a lubricant nonetheless.


Because this is RBT and they like to complain and put down things.

JT


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S

Sandy

Guest
Dans le message de news:[email protected],
John Forrest Tomlinson <[email protected]> a réfléchi, et puis a
déclaré :
> On 17 Apr 2006 20:35:16 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>
>> Arno Welzel wrote:
>>
>>> WD-40 is *not* a lubricant. It's rather used to *remove* oil and
>>> grease and to build a thin protective layer to prevent rust.

>>
>> Why do people always say this? WD-40 most certainly is a
>> lubricant. A poor one, perhaps; one which is too light for
>> bicycle applications, perhaps, but a lubricant nonetheless.

>
> Because this is RBT and they like to complain and put down things.
>
> JT
>
>

And I'll bet that belongs in the FAQ. The price of admission, so to speak.
--
Sandy

The above is guaranteed 100% free of sarcasm,
denigration, snotty remarks, indifference, platitudes, fuming demands that
"you do the math", conceited visions of a better world on wheels according
to [insert NAME here].
 
A

Arno Welzel

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> Mark Janeba wrote:
>> How about "for the purposes of applications relevant to this newsgroup,
>> WD-40 is not an [effective] lubricant", subsequently abbreviated to
>> "WD-40 is not a lubricant"? Taken *in* RBT context, it's more accurate
>> than much of what we get here.

>
> Much better.


Ok - this way it was ment ;-)

> However: Even that has not been demonstrated or proven here in
> the slightest. In fact, if anything, I'd say that the evidence points


I ruined at least one chain with WD-40 - just to try it. Well - after
about 500 km the chain turned form "still ok" to "unusable".

Another experience: WD-40 in cable housing - worked for one or two weeks
and afterwards the cables got even more sticky than before.

I think the problem with WD-40 is, that it is too light and it dries too
fast. It's ok to solve problems removing rusty, sticky parts, to protect
parts from rust (e.g. electrical connectors etc.) and to clean oily
things - but i would never use it as a substitute for regular oil.

If it's ok for you to use WD-40 nearly after every ride, it is a
lubricant, ok - but i don't want to lube my chains every day - with
regular lubes, i can do this once a month in summer or every 1 or 2
weeks during winter.



--
http://arnowelzel.de
EMail: [email protected]
de.rec.fahrrad-FAQ: http://drffaq.freezope.org
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> Michael Press wrote:
> > In article
> > <[email protected]>,
> > [email protected] wrote:
> >
> > > Sounds like the water is cleaning your chain. This suggests
> > > that frequent cleaning with no lube will result in long chain life.
> > >
> > > This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
> > > gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
> > > it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
> > > Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
> > > the rain.

> >
> > It does not work that way. Road spray is not water. It is
> > a slurry of water, sludge, and grit. Chains get dirtier in
> > the rain, not cleaner; and dirtier than in dry weather.
> > A full chain case is another matter.

>
> I disagree, but you'll note that I am hypothesizing, not stating as
> fact. You are stating as fact. You got anything whatsoever with which
> to back up your statement or are you just huffing and puffing?
>
> Also, I dunno where you live, but here in san jose, ca, we have a wet
> and a dry season. The first rain or two of the wet, I would agree
> with your statement. After that, the roads are squeaky clean for the
> following six months.


Look at any car that has traveled wet roads around here
(San Francisco Bay area). The lower body panels are thick
with grit. Look at the bottom bracket a bicycle that has
traveled a wet road. Road spray all along the seat tube,
and when it dries: grit.

--
Michael Press
 
Michael Press wrote:
> > > > This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
> > > > gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
> > > > it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
> > > > Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
> > > > the rain.
> > >
> > > It does not work that way. Road spray is not water. It is
> > > a slurry of water, sludge, and grit. Chains get dirtier in
> > > the rain, not cleaner; and dirtier than in dry weather.
> > > A full chain case is another matter.

> >
> > I disagree, but you'll note that I am hypothesizing, not stating as
> > fact. You are stating as fact. You got anything whatsoever with which
> > to back up your statement or are you just huffing and puffing?
> >
> > Also, I dunno where you live, but here in san jose, ca, we have a wet
> > and a dry season. The first rain or two of the wet, I would agree
> > with your statement. After that, the roads are squeaky clean for the
> > following six months.

>
> Look at any car that has traveled wet roads around here
> (San Francisco Bay area). The lower body panels are thick
> with grit. Look at the bottom bracket a bicycle that has
> traveled a wet road. Road spray all along the seat tube,
> and when it dries: grit.


Okay, done. What I see is a few particles with a lot of airspace
inbetween them. I looked on the bb and tubes of my roadbike an counted
3-20 particles per square cm. Doesn't seem like very much to me -
seems to me like almost nothing. How can this be? My last ride was two
nights ago, in the rain, longways thru Golden Gate Park from
Haight-Ashbury to the beach and back. Off-roading my Vitus 979, I
started to fall twice in mud and unclipped just in time to get one foot
muddy. I also rode the spiral up to the top of the hill in the middle
of stow lake - a dirt (sand) road up a sand dune - and again started to
fall in the deep sand on top. I wished I had brought my CR250 instead
and then rode back down. Then I continued to the beach and then home
on pavement. When I got back, my shoe was clean, pedals were clean,
cleats were clean, bike was clean. Except for the 5-15 pieces of sand
per sq. cm with the occaisional 20.

By 'thick with grit', how many particles per unit of area or volume are
you talking about? And what is the relationship between those
particles and the small ones which you think penetrate the rollers?
Most of the ones I see on my bike are too large to get in there.

dkl
 
On 18 Apr 2006 10:07:35 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

>Michael Press wrote:
>> > > > This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
>> > > > gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
>> > > > it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
>> > > > Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
>> > > > the rain.
>> > >
>> > > It does not work that way. Road spray is not water. It is
>> > > a slurry of water, sludge, and grit. Chains get dirtier in
>> > > the rain, not cleaner; and dirtier than in dry weather.
>> > > A full chain case is another matter.
>> >
>> > I disagree, but you'll note that I am hypothesizing, not stating as
>> > fact. You are stating as fact. You got anything whatsoever with which
>> > to back up your statement or are you just huffing and puffing?
>> >
>> > Also, I dunno where you live, but here in san jose, ca, we have a wet
>> > and a dry season. The first rain or two of the wet, I would agree
>> > with your statement. After that, the roads are squeaky clean for the
>> > following six months.

>>
>> Look at any car that has traveled wet roads around here
>> (San Francisco Bay area). The lower body panels are thick
>> with grit. Look at the bottom bracket a bicycle that has
>> traveled a wet road. Road spray all along the seat tube,
>> and when it dries: grit.

>
>Okay, done. What I see is a few particles with a lot of airspace
>inbetween them. I looked on the bb and tubes of my roadbike an counted
>3-20 particles per square cm. Doesn't seem like very much to me -
>seems to me like almost nothing. How can this be? My last ride was two
>nights ago, in the rain, longways thru Golden Gate Park from
>Haight-Ashbury to the beach and back. Off-roading my Vitus 979, I
>started to fall twice in mud and unclipped just in time to get one foot
>muddy. I also rode the spiral up to the top of the hill in the middle
>of stow lake - a dirt (sand) road up a sand dune - and again started to
>fall in the deep sand on top. I wished I had brought my CR250 instead
>and then rode back down. Then I continued to the beach and then home
>on pavement. When I got back, my shoe was clean, pedals were clean,
>cleats were clean, bike was clean. Except for the 5-15 pieces of sand
>per sq. cm with the occaisional 20.
>
>By 'thick with grit', how many particles per unit of area or volume are
>you talking about? And what is the relationship between those
>particles and the small ones which you think penetrate the rollers?
>Most of the ones I see on my bike are too large to get in there.
>
>dkl


Dear DKL,

The grit that damages chains consists of practically
invisible road dust particles, which are whipped up by the
tires and swirl around the chain.

While these particles are ridiculously tiny, they're still
just as hard as the original rocks from which they're
descended and will happily grind steel.

The dust sticks to any oily surface, just as flies stick to
flypaper. If the surface is an oily chain, the oil squishes
in and out (very slightly) of every nook and cranny as the
chain tightens, loosens, and swivels. This faint pumping
action gradually mixes filthy exterior oil with clean
interior oil.

(If the chain is waxed, the dust mostly bounces off the
non-sticky surface. Meanwhile, the wax slowly works outward
and never returns to the chain crevices from whence it came.
This one-way movement keeps the chain interior cleaner,
which reduces wear, but it also requires re-waxing to
replenish the lost wax.)

To see the invisible road dust, oil a clean chain, wipe it
off with a white paper towel, lay the towel aside, and go
for a ten mile ride. Wipe the chain off again and compare
paper towels.

The paper towel with the ugly black streak is smeared with
oil that has trapped road dust. The particles are so small
that you can't feel any grittiness when you rub the mess
with your fingers, but they eventually polish the chain
innards until a foot of chain wears enough to elongate a
sixteenth of an inch and needs to be replaced.

No matter how clean the roads may seem, even the air itself
ctonains dust. Run a damp paper towel along the top of a
window or door frame, and you'll see how much dust has been
drifting around inside the still air.

This omnipresent dust is why we go to all the fuss and
trouble of putting those apparently useless doors on kitchen
cabinets. Without the doors in the way, it would be much
easier to put plates away and then get them out again, but
it would also be much easier for the dust to get all over
the plates that you took the trouble to clean. Cabinet doors
are the domestic version of an enclosed bicycle chain--they
keep the dust out.

It's astonishing that such tiny particles suspended in oil
can wear steel chains, but we have to remember that a
slow-moving bicycle chain puts a very heavy load on a very
small part of each pin, so heavy that the metal surfaces are
expected to touch, despite any lubrication that we slather
on them. Keeping them apart under such loads would require
pressurized lubrication.

This raises a common misunderstanding about chain
lubrication. Professor Spicer's chain efficiency tests at
Johns Hopkins showed that only three main factors affect
power transmission--gear size, chain alignment, and chain
tension.

With a larger gear, the chain links swivel less as they feed
onto the sprocket.

With a straight chain run, there's no friction bending the
links sideways.

With more tension on the upper run that transmits the power,
the chain becomes more efficient.

(Unfortunately, this desire for more tension conflicts with
the desire for larger gears. At the same bicycle speed and
power, we produce more chain tension and efficiency by using
a higher, lower-cadence gear, which means that we're
wrapping the chain around a smaller, less efficient rear
cog.)

Chain efficiency was not affected by the choice of
lubricant. Spicer found that oil was a tiny bit better than
spray-on and wax, but the insignificant improvement was at
the limits of his measuring instruments.

In fact, Spicer found that lubrication has little practical
effect on chain efficiency. After cleaning with solvent, a
bare, dry, unlubricated chain transmitted 98% as much power
as it did with oil, wax, or spray-on lubricants. (Spicer
didn't mention it, but the dry chain probably squeaked like
a tortured bat.)

Spicer concluded that the chief function of the various
exotic lubricants that we debate here on RBT is really just
to keep road dust out by filling up the empty spaces inside
the chain. This agrees with decades of industry experience
with motorcycle primary transmission chains, which
essentially last forever because they run in a sealed oil
bath that protects them from the polishing effects of dust.

You can read Spicer's study here:

http://www.ihpva.org/HParchive/PDF/hp50-2000.pdf

As for WD-40, the film of oil that remains after the solvent
evaporates is quite thin and light, so it tends to squish in
and out of a chain more easily than heavier oils, mixing
filthy outer oil more rapidly and thoroughly with clean
inner oil.

You can demonstrate this by spraying a little WD-40 on a
plate next to some motor oil and conducting a finger test
the next day. The remnants of the WD-40 will be much thinner
and easier to wipe off than the motor oil.

WD-40 is just too thin to fill up the empty spaces inside a
chain very well. What doesn't evaporate or run out is still
thin enough to squish in and out alarmingly well, mixing and
transporting trapped dust to the worst possible places.

Cheers,

Carl Fogel
 
N

Neil Brooks

Guest
On Tue, 18 Apr 2006 13:50:54 -0600, [email protected] wrote:

Pueblo's favorite son has returned?

'Tis a fine and glorious day. Welcome back, Mr. Fogel.
 
R

Ron Ruff

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> Sounds like the water is cleaning your chain. This suggests
> that frequent cleaning with no lube will result in long chain life.


Hardly... everything is covered with black volcanic pumic and fine
reddish grit. I got 5,000 miles out of my previous chain (~1/24" wear),
but I'd be surprised if this one lasts that long.

> This makes me wonder about the conditions in which jeverett
> gets 18K from a chain. He suggests that it comes from lubing
> it only when it is clean, IIRC. But then he lives in Seattle.
> Perhaps it's because his chain is constantly washed clean by
> the rain.


Don't know jeverett, but I doubt the road spray in Seattle is very
clean either. I did notice though, that if a chain is badly in need of
lubricant, riding through a large puddle will quiet it for a couple of
miles. I found that out after riding in a storm for 4 hrs, then doing a
long ride the next day in which the roads dried off about half way
through.

> What is the sound to which you refer?


The dry sound... and squeeking removes all doubt...