Author Topic: Chain Lub  (Read 26441 times)

johnstaples

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Chain Lub
« on: July 24, 2009, 05:49:48 PM »
Hi all

Which is the cleanest chain lub to use, but one that still does the required job?
Would a super quality grease be better?

Cheers. John.

stutho

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 02:45:07 PM »
Ask 10 different cycles you will probably get 10 different answers!  The best lube depends on the conditions you are riding in and what your successes criteria is: minimum dirt; minimum service interval; maximum rust resistance, minimum cost  etc. 

My favourite is Rohloff Chain lube but just about anything will do.   Some use WD40 which I wouldn't recommend,  others use melted WAX which again I wouldn't recommend.  But just about any oil will do an OK job, just won't be as good/ clean/ etc   as a dedicated oil.

If the cleanest is what matters then you should be looking at a 'DRY'  Teflon based lube.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 02:46:45 PM by stutho »

anweald

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 10:20:18 PM »
Which is the cleanest chain lub to use, but one that still does the required job?

No grease can be clean since it gathers up dirt into a nice grinding paste.

White Lightning (wax) is very clean since it sheds dirt chemically.

Dunno about the teflon ones.

Danneaux

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 06:53:37 AM »
Hi All,

It's been a little while since we revisited this topic, and that came to mind this weekend when I mixed up a fresh batch of my blend of Phil Tenacious Oil and Tri-Flow and packed it in a little eyedrop bottle to tuck in my underseat bag for use on long day rides. I've found it handy to have chain lube on-board with me to quieten a noisy chain that started out silent, or to replenish lubricant after a rainstorm. For me, the Phil Oil is reasonably tenacious, but it can fling off the chain's tight circuit 'round the derailleur's jockey pulley and it has poor immediate penetrating ability due to its high viscosity (it is not so much thick as very sticky). In contrast, I like Tri-Flow's PTFE in suspension, and it penetrates well. I've been playing with a mix of the two, and think I now have it about right at 90% Phil Wood to 10% Tri-Flow. I apply a drop carefully to the inner run (gear side) of each link initially, and a very thin drizzle across the edges of the link plates thereafter, also on the inside run.

In some past experiments, I had good luck using Lucas Oil Stabilizer ( http://www.lucasoil.com/products/display_products.sd?catid=7&iid=25&loc=show ), an aftermarket "oil extender" that clung to my chain like grim death and held fast in wet weather. It is still viable for that use, but absolutely horrible in the dry because everything sticks to it. Retail outlets for the product here in the States usually have a little demonstrator model on the counter, consisting of two pairs of stacked gears with crank handles, each partially submerged in a reservoir of Lucas Oil Treatment on one side and plain motor oil on the other. A turn of the crank makes it clear the Lucas' greater viscosity allows it to be drawn up by the gears, transfer between the teeth, and fully coat all friction surfaces. It is a bit like Phil Tenacious Oil in that regard. It certainly kept my chain well-lubed, but when the rain stopped, the thing soon looked like a loose sweet in a coat pocket -- furry with the lint of everything it contacted.

In April 2011, Future Bike conducted a test of commonly available chain lubricants, including Oil of Rohloff, here:
Original German version: http://fahrradzukunft.de/13/kettenschmiermittel-test/
Google-translate English version: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffahrradzurmkunft.de%2F13%2Fsteckdose-unterwegs-3%2F&act=url

I know Rohloff have tinkered with their Oil of Rohloff formulations, but the author didn't note which iteration was tested here.

The test was conducted by Rainer May, a German mechanical engineer and everyday cyclist. He cites Rohloff's extremely long "steeping time" (Ein Ziehzeit) or soak-in period ("...at least a few minutes"; even longer in cold weather due to greater viscosity than some of the competitors in the test, which he describes as "water-thin"). Of the three oils used in the test, Rohloff's came in third for elongation, but the author preferred it for ease-in-application. Methodologically, he concluded his use of a high-quality chain made differences in the lubes less apparent; a lower-quality chain would likely have manifested increased wear showing the differences in lube more clearly. Overall, rainy weather in his on-road tests revealed a greater diversity in lubricity (term commonly used to describe the ability of a compound to reduce friction between moving parts) than did lab tests; some lubricants were not water-resistant and were quickly washed away in real-world use. A final note: Finish Line Wax did surprisingly well in his tests, given it is so thin.

Bottom line: Stutho is right when he says,
Quote
Ask 10 different cycles you will probably get 10 different answers!  The best lube depends on the conditions you are riding in and what your successes criteria is: minimum dirt; minimum service interval; maximum rust resistance, minimum cost  etc.
Lab test results may be clear, but real-world conditions and a user's frequency and care in re-application are factors that really prevent objective comparisons.

Before closing, a question: Have any of you tried the Rohloff Lubmatic semi-automatic chain oiler? If so, how effective was it? It consisted of a chainstay-mounted oil reservoir and hose that delivered user-triggered, metered doses of oil to the chain via a specially grooved derailleur tension pulley. It is no longer offered by Rohloff, but was popular among mountain-bikers for a time, particularly in wet climates. Anyone have one for sale? For details, see: http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/lubmatic/index.html

Best,

Dan.


Andre Jute

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 03:43:10 PM »
No grease can be clean since it gathers up dirt into a nice grinding paste.

White Lightning (wax) is very clean since it sheds dirt chemically.

Dunno about the teflon ones.

I used White Lightning Dry Wax for several years on inexpensive base chains in chain cases. I used to get about 2200-3200km out of a cheap chain on the Gazelle herehttp://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLINGgazelletoulouse.html and the Trek Navigator L700 "Smover" in this photo essay http://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLINGsmover.html.

With a more expensive class of bike I also switched to KMC X8 chains as simply the the best available, and since I switched at the same time to a Rohloff gearbox, I switched to Oil of Rohloff too, and have been most satisfied. http://coolmainpress.com/AndreJute'sUtopiaKranich.pdf

Oil of Rohloff sticks like the proverbial to the baby blanket. My first chain dosed with it lasted 4500km, perhaps not as high as some reports here, especially considering that I use either a chain case or a Hebie Chainglider so that my chain is fully enclosed, but still between a third further and double what it lasted before.

If you're using Oil of Rohloff for the first time, be sure to use only a few drops. A 50ml bottle has lasted me into a third year now. It works out substantially cheaper than white wax...

Presently, having bought a wholesale lot of X8s, I'm running an experiment to see how far the factory lube on a chain, highly spoken of by Sheldon Brown, will carry me without any lube being added. Currently at 600km without any visible ill effects. (When this experiment runs out, I'll fit my new crankset and stainless chain ring.)

Andre Jute

jags

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 05:08:51 PM »
i use tri flow on all my bikes  excellent stuff alltogether  ;D
but i use pro gold on the chain just find it great ;)

il padrone

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 07:53:49 AM »
I used triflow for many years on my bikes in the 80s and 90s. Then I switched to Finish Line Cross-country for quite a while - seemed as good. I tried Pedros Road Rage. Bleaagh! really crappy black gunge. Anyone want a bottle cheap?

Next I tried Prolink for a while but found the re-application rate was very rapid and went through a whole bottle in 2-3 months. Various dry wax-lubes were similarly poor - the chain was dry but needed re-application virtually every ride. I switched back to the old faithful Triflow and was horrified by how messy the chain became  :o

Finally I bought a bottle of Purple Extreme. Twice the price (here in Aus) of regular lubes..... but it lasts at least 2-3 times as long. I get up to 600kms between re-applcation. And the lube does not wash off after wet rides. And the chain does not attract dirt. And the chain stays clean and quiet  ;D

All a big thumbs up for PE

« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 07:57:16 AM by il padrone »

Danneaux

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 09:25:32 AM »
Quote
...I bought a bottle of Purple Extreme...All a big thumbs up for PE
I'm sure glad you posted this, Pete; I recall you mentioning elsewhere on the forum you used Purple Extreme and were very pleased with it.

Do you prepare a new chain specially for subsequent use with PE, or do you "run out" the factory oil and then clean and convert to PE? I notice their website indicates PE can cause any previously-applied oil to migrate to the surface and cause a mess, so they advise a complete cleaning using a citrus product like the one they offer. Do you use that product or something else?

Purple Extreme sure sounds appealing, and is something I'd like to try for myself.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 02:09:14 AM by Danneaux »

il padrone

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 10:41:02 AM »
I have used Purple Extreme on at least two chains on the Sedona, the chain on my wife's bike and three chains now on the Thorn Nomad. With most of them I either cleaned off old lube and applied PE or ran the chain from new with the manufacturer's lube, then cleaned it and applied PE. This has always worked well for me.

Here's the first chain on my Thorn, after it had run with the original new lube, then been cleaned with kero, applied PE and now ridden about another 530kms (mix of sealed & unsealed and reasonable amount of wet rides too). I have not wiped this chain clean at all for the photo, it's just the way it was.




In the past 6-8 months I have run  a chain from new with the manufacturer's lube, then just wiped it clean and re-applied PE. It has seemed to be qite OK and I've had no sign of the claimed mess or 'balling-up'. I will be doing this in future - seems to keep the chain clean and reduces my use of kero.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 10:43:47 AM by il padrone »

Danneaux

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 05:46:43 PM »
Done! Sold! Last hurdle crossed; order went out a few moments ago.

Thanks, Pete; that last photo did the trick, along with the nice endorsement of your own experience based on the sort of environment where you ride (very similar to my preferred playground ranging from the very wet Willamette Valley to America's very dry Great Basin).

Now, where's the delivery truck? Should be here by now... :D

[EDIT: Review of Purple Extreme here: http://www.campyonly.com/roadtests/2005/purple_extreme.html
...and here: http://coachlevi.com/product-reviews/purple-extreme-chain-lube/ ]

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 11:18:46 PM by Danneaux »

stutho

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 12:50:20 AM »
Dan that report from Future Bike makes for very interesting reading.  I remain a big fan of Rohloff chain oil and I can totally confirm that it has a long soak in time!  The one other oil that I am a fan of is Purple Extreme.  I think that Purple Extreme is a little easier to use but not as durable as Rohloff oil.  I know lots of people like use white lightning (wax) but it wasn't for me. 

The one other oil I keep meaning to try is chainsaw lube as promoted by Jobst Brandt http://sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html

Danneaux

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 03:00:19 AM »
Stu,

I just got off the phone with the owner of Purple Extreme, and he mentioned he is in the midst of preparing a 4,000+unit order for shipment to the UK, and said his products are extremely popular overseas (UK, Europe). In contrast, the one LBS listed for my area has decided not to carry it because it doesn't sell fast enough (lasts too long), so they balked at the 1-case minimum order. I applied it to a friend's bicycle in the past and it worked well, but I had cleaned that chain in mineral spirits and dried it with compressed air as a matter of course. It is good to know it worked for you with some residual factory oil remaining, Pete, and I look forward to using it myself on Sherpa.

If I start a tour with a new chain or if I need to replace the chain while on tour, it is nice to know PE is compatible to a usable degree. I couldn't figure how I'd degrease the thing first while on the road. As a former automotive technician, I've sometimes stopped by repair shops and used other mechanics' solvent tanks in a pinch. They were happy to oblige in exchange for a donation to the coffee fund, but those opportunities aren't often available where I go. PE indicate the greatest life can be achieved if their lube is applied to a chain cleaned free of any other existing lubricant. I'm interested to see how that works out in long-term use, and will probably try it prior to the next long desert tour. I sometimes carry an entire spare chain, so it would be possible to pre-clean and pre-lubricate it in PE before departure so that is another option.

I have found Mobil Bar & Chain Lube ( http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=mobil%201%20chain%20%26%20bar%20oil&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CGMQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mobil.com%2FAustralia-English%2FLCW%2FFiles%2FMobil_Product_Guide_South_Pacific_May09.pdf&ei=cKM5T-eWH9PoiAKTv8iiBg&usg=AFQjCNGnc6GoD5obOha3rR0IqLBzszgrpw&cad=rja page 16) works in many ways like Phil Tenacious Oil, but differs in some key qualities. It is worlds cheaper, but I have not found it to be as sling-resistant nor as waterproof, though it does provide excellent lubrication and water resistance. It also penetrates more quickly, thanks to what appears to be a less clingy formula. In any case, I ended up with a lot more Mobil Bar & Chain Lube on my rear rim and tire than I ever did with Phil Tenacious Oil. Run that through the dust, and you end up with a good substitute for valve-grinding compound to scour the rims. I think one reason why it is less clingy is it was developed for chainsaw use, and most of those have "lossy" oil systems that use an automatic chain oiler to replenish the amount lost in operation. When I trimmed the crabapple tree out front last Fall, I made the mistake of parking the Honda nearby. Afterwards, I was horrified to find the entire car covered with a mist of oil droplets, proof that lots was being flung off the saw. My coveralls were covered as well as my safety glasses. No wonder it flung off my bike chain. The tight turns at the derailleur rollers were just too much for it to stay put. I was trying to get the best of both worlds by mixing small amounts of Tri-Flow with Phil Tenacious Oil, and that does seem to help. It is also a hassle.

At home, I have tried the oil-soak routine as Jobst recommends, and readily agree it is the best way to ensure the lube fully penetrates all the nooks and crannies of the chain. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me for a couple reasons:
1) I ended up with an excess amount of lube, even after hanging the chain to drain overnight over the soaking bucket and wiping clean repeatedly. What a mess.
2) Midway in a long tour, I have no way to properly soak the chain clean or to resoak it in oil, so once again I find myself applying a drop to each roller from the inside run (gear side) of the chain -- just as he recommends against.

While on-tour, I try my best to keep the chain as free of grit and dirt as possible. To that end, an extended front mudflap helps a great deal. I have pondered modifying a clear polycarbonate chain guard to shield the leading edge of the three chainrings. I do believe it would help in keeping the chain clean of dirt and water thrown by the front wheel. I am pretty conscientious about cleaning the chain when I oil it on the road, and carry a cut-down toothbrush and an ex-mascara brush for that purpose; that does a great job getting between the link plates where the chain contacts the gear teeth. In theory, it would be possible to swish the chain around inside a capped soft-drink bottle, but what would I do with the petroleum-laden discards? I'm surely open to any ideas or methods used by others on an extended tour.

Like you, Stu, I haven't had much luck with wax-based lubes or paraffin soaks, though I know some people prefer nothing else. My problem is there doesn't seem to be much remaining in critical places, and the chain very quickly becomes noisy. It seemed the carrier washed away, and whatever wax was left behind was insufficient. Perhaps a happy user of wax-based lubes will share their experiences so I might better learn how to apply it successfully.

Great thread!

Best,

Dan.

jimmer

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 03:42:06 AM »
Dear Stutho,

After bikes, beer, Moby Dick and Dylan, my next favourite thing is chainsaws.  Great for cutting down trees, punishing duplicitous drug dealers and, best of all, dispatching the evil dead.

Got to be Husqvarna mind, in much the same way as it has to be Thorn.

I'd been thinking of putting chainsaw oil to work as bike chain lube for some time. It does the same job under much more demanding conditions. I reasoned that stuff capable of clinging to 6' of chain (depending on guide bar length) travelling at up to 28 m/s over two tight sprockets must surely be able to hang onto bike chain, even if propelled by Michael on an RST.

And it's cheap. 3 a litre. Furthermore, for 6 you can get gloop that can be poured into limpid highland burns and upon which baby trout will contentedly suckle. Until I hear that rendering down pandas in the purest Himalayan glacier waters is part of the production of the biodegradable version, I'll keep using it to ameliorate the effect of cutting down trees.

I bottled any attempts to run with the idea, believing that only bike specific lubes could cope with the uniquely exteme conditions in a cycle drive train. That there may be an off the shelf, non cycle specific, chain lube solution out there makes all the technical claims, Gucci packaging and hefty prices of the slime peddlers somewhat redundant.

Perhaps saw chains don't have to contend with as much fine grit or water as bike chain (provided you don't try to take a stump down below soil level) but I've not experienced, or heard of, chain stretch in saw chain as being a great problem. Saw chains are treated as a consumable, depending on the wood being cut they may not last long due to frequent sharpening, so each chain may not be in use long enough for stretch to become a problem. Reduced stretch may also  be due to the different  construction of saw chain. The solid rivet pivot pins joining each link in saw chain provide fewer interstices and bearing surfaces than roller pins, which could lead to less grinding by the oil, grit and metal particle paste formed by moving bike chain. It would be interesting, I'm being somewhat generous in my use of the word, to compare the distance travelled by saw and bike chains during typical service.

Anyhoo, emboldened by Jobst "the wheel Jedi" Brandt's,  albeit fleeting, endorsement of saw oil, I'll try some that I have in the shed. I'll be using a part worn KMC 1/8" chain on a 42 - 17 Rohloff transmission, just cleaned with citrus degreaser after going over the bars on some rocks at Cannock. Whilst this endeavour won't have any engineering credibility, it may serve as a prelim to show if it's worth trying on a new chain.

If it's at all promising I'll be hawking alliquots of saw oil decanted into 50ml squeezy bottles under the "Jim's Jooce" brand name for something over thrice cost price.

Yours, James
 

mylesau

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 04:00:22 AM »
 :D :D :D

davefife

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Re: Chain Lub
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2012, 09:27:16 AM »
as a fellow husky owner (just a small one - domestic woodburner 5Kw) and thorn owner: this made me laugh a lot, cheers Jimmer  :D :D :D