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Chain lubricant


Road Runner
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I never have settled on a single lube.  I use ProGold Prolink on my SS and I use a wax lube on my 10-spd.  I thought that I would end up preferring one over the other, but I like both for different reasons.  Both seem to provide very good wear protection when used regularly but the wax lube (White Lightning) seems to pick up less road debris.  

 

The ProGold is pretty expensive ($3-$6 for a 4 oz bottle).  It looks a lot like the relatively thin 5W-20 synthetic oil I use in my car.  Anyone ever try using a thin synthetic motor oil as a chain lube?

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I've been using Garth's method, with good results.  I've always been paranoid about lubing a dirty chain, and having the lube carry the dirt inside and creating a grinding compound inside there, so I've always wanted to clean the chain well before lubing.  Unfortunately, that meant not always lubing as often as I should since the whole process of cleaning, drying, and re-lubing would take a couple of hours.  With Garth's method, the chain and gears don't really get dirty, so there's no cleaning and drying.  The whole process can be done in 1/2 hour, so I'm more likely to do it when it needs it.  As long as it doesn't get wet, it'll last several weeks of off-road riding (3x/week).  When it does get wet, I like to relube it after, but I'm not 100% sure that's necessary (certainly not any more so than with any other lube).

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I am a huge fan or Rock N Roll Gold.  Put bike on work stand.  Turn crank and drip on a liberal amount of RNRG and then keep turning cranks slowly to let it work in.  Get a lint free rag, (I use old t shirts for this) and wipe chain while still cranking.  Be careful not to get a finger or your rag into the gears.  Keep wiping and turning cloth until it comes away clean, or almost clean.  You cannot wipe too much.  I will also floss the freewheel / cassette wtih a bit of old t shirt usually and give the crank set a wipe down as well.

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I find that ANY bicycling specific chain lube you use is better than no lube at all. I like the ProGold ProLink lube, I like the original formula of Pedro's Ice Wax, Finish Line Ceramic Wet works well and then I do very much like garth's powdered graphite/paraffin method.

 

The key is doing proper chain maintenance regularly and when needed because of conditions, not so much WHAT product that you use.

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The key is doing proper chain maintenance regularly and when needed because of conditions, not so much WHAT product that you use.

I think this is very true.  I am just cheap and the price of these small bottles of ProGold seems needlessly high to me.  I was just thinking that a really good quality sythetic oil (not cheap but cheaper than ProGold) might yield similar results.

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I think this is very true.  I am just cheap and the price of these small bottles of ProGold seems needlessly high to me.  I was just thinking that a really good quality sythetic oil (not cheap but cheaper than ProGold) might yield similar results.

 

I think this is very true.  I am just cheap and the price of these small bottles of ProGold seems needlessly high to me.  I was just thinking that a really good quality sythetic oil (not cheap but cheaper than ProGold) might yield similar results.

There are tons of home brew recipes uses mineral spirits and oil to create a chain lube that will clean and lube in the same manner as the expensive stuff.  I am tempted to my hand at making a batch before our next work day at the bike repair outreach that I volunteer at.

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There's a world of difference in the lubricating requirements of an internal combustion engine as compared to a bicycle chain.  I don't see any reason to believe that motor oil will lube a bicycle chain particularly well. 

 

<end serious answer>

 

If the lube's too expensive, just don't lube.  Chains are kinda cheap, aren't they?  Replace it every few hundred miles and you'll never have anything to worry about.

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There's a world of difference in the lubricating requirements of an internal combustion engine as compared to a bicycle chain.  I don't see any reason to believe that motor oil will lube a bicycle chain particularly well. 

 

<end serious answer>

 

If the lube's too expensive, just don't lube.  Chains are kinda cheap, aren't they?  Replace it every few hundred miles and you'll never have anything to worry about.

 

It works, grow up on a farm.  Pretty common to save your old used motor oil to use in an oil can lubricate things on the farm.  The biggest issue with it, it tends to be a lot dirtier so look at wrong and you are going to end up with a nice oily black mark.

 

Also pretty common to grab a paint brush and paint equipment with old oil keep it from rusting.  Took me forever to get the Old Schwinn hanging in my garage cleaned up because my father in law brushed it with oil before hanging it up in the barn, but it cleaned up pretty well.

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I was using ProGold but switched to old-school paraffin wax. The Friction Facts guys tested the various chain lubes and paraffin wax did the 2nd best job in reducing friction and lasting the longest in wet or dry conditions.

 

http://www.friction-facts.com/

 

The best was paraffin wax with additives very similar to Garth's method.

 

I have a crock pot that to melt the wax in. Much safer than doing it on a kitchen stove. I clean the chain with a light de-greaser and rinse it with water. I hook a wire on one end of the chain and drop the chain into the crock pot being careful to keep the wire out of the liquid. Any excess rinse water boils off pretty quickly. I let the chain sit in the hot wax for a while and stir it around some. After about 10 minutes I pull the chain out by the wire and let it hang over the crock pot so the excess paraffin drips off. Then I re-install the chain. After a few turns of the pedals, most of the excess dried wax will flake off. Some will also come off during the first few rides.

 

Of course you probably want a chain with a quick disconnect to do this. I put KMC connectors on Shimano chains.

 

I find the paraffin wax in the canning section of grocery stores. You can reuse the wax many times. I just put the crock pot on an uneven surface while still hot and dip out any dirt or grim with a long spoon after it settles on the bottom.

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