Bicycle Mechanics - Jojoba or other vegetable oil as bike lube?
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Some say jojoba oil (a liquid wax) can be used as bike lube. Is it good? Is that pure jojoba oil without blending with anything else? Can it be used for both the chain and other parts of the bike? Also, is it maybe even better than the regular bike/chain lube?
What about other vegetable oil--are they OK, worse, or better than regular lube? They are certainly cheaper, so that would be good news.
If it were better (in the opinion of those who market chain lubes) you'd see folks incorporating it into their formulas, so that's a hint, but not a definitive answer. I've been experimenting with animal and vegetable oils, as has every maker of lubricants in the world, including the major petroleum companies looking to develop a greener oil.
So far I haven't found anything that beats mineral oil base stock, but it's a changing field. I expect that you'll see natural/mineral blends first, and maybe eventually all natural plant or animal oils, but as of now (for me at least) they're not ready for prime time.
BTW- even if the base stock goes all green, it's the additives that contribute tremendously to the final product, so I don't thing there'll ever be a good straight vegetable oil lube, except for light duty applications.
Mineral oil... So I can use "Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil", whose ingredient is mineral oil? When you say nothing beats it, what's the problem with those other oils?
Oh, also, probably you have heard of the Pedalite Green Oils? How are they?
J&J is highly refined mineral oil, but mineral oil comes in various grades, so it isn't necessarily the best option. Also as I said the additives are at least as important as the base stock. Just as not all carbonated water is beer, not all oils have the same lubricating properties.
So far my problems with vegetable oils are their lack of water resistance, and their stability over long periods exposed to weather. That can and will change, but don't expect that any one naturally occurring oil will magically have the desired properties. It'll be used as a base, and things added to improve the film strength and/or water resistance, resistance to breakdown or rancidity, adhesion, etc.
BTW- keep in mind that mineral oil is a relative new comer, only being around for 150 years or so. Prior to that animal and vegetable oils and fats were the only game in town for multiple millennia.
Also keep in mind that "green" products aren't always as green as they seem. There's been a big rush to bio fuels and bio lubricants. In the short term it's driven up food prices, and led to deforestation in the tropics to harvest products such as palm oil. Eventually there will be an equilibrium, but the current headlong rush is proving that Kermit is right and it isn't easy being green.
Thanks for the information. Since my bike is not high end, maybe I can experiment on it like you did :)
09-06-11, 07:09 AM
Keep in mind that the health benefits of most vegetable oils are based on the fact they are "unsaturated" (Hydrogenated, fully saturated vegetable oils are solids at room temperature). That means there are unreacted double bonds in their long hydrocarbon chains and these are potentially reactive sites. So, vegitable oils can oxidize and go "rancid" over time.
09-06-11, 08:28 AM
Some say jojoba oil (a liquid wax) can be used as bike lube.
This makes me think about bees wax as a protective coat on cables.
Can one melt bees wax and dip the cable in it then wipe off the excess leaving a thin protective coat on the cable? Would this work?
09-06-11, 08:34 AM
Dont do it. Vegetable oil tend to dry out and become thick and sticky.
09-06-11, 08:44 AM
Amen. Like rubber
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