Touring - What lube for an extended tour?
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I am going on an extended tour from China to either Turkey or England starting in July.
I am looking at something like 14,000 to 20,000 km, with few good bike shops.
I have a factory built Surly LHT.
I am wondering what lube you would recommend and why?
Also, how do you deal with chain/rear cassette and front crankset wear on an extended tour?
02-11-12, 04:25 AM
Well, it took me about an hour to find mine but this is what the local bicycle shop owner sold me when I asked for the best cleaner/lube money can buy.
That page wont load for me, maybe a china thing. Can you give me the brand name?
02-11-12, 06:10 AM
Rock N Roll is the brand of lube IndianaShawn recommends.
For the chain, I personally prefer Finish Line Cross Country as it is long lasting and great under humid/wet conditions. I also carry a small TriFlow (Teflon bases) for lubing pivot points on my derailleurs and inside cable housings.
02-11-12, 07:25 AM
I take Finish Line but the question is really, how much?
Can you get advanced bike lube in Chinese small town bike shops?
Istambul has some bike shops where you can re-stock and I imagine in Cappadocia (MTB hotspot in central Turkey) there are decent bike shops.
To reduce wear, you really need to replace your chain before it gets to a critical amount of "stretch" and starts to wear down your cogs. What is the availability of 9 speed chains in small town China?
02-11-12, 09:07 AM
you need to define 'small.' in china, a place with a population of 250,000
is little more than a village. if less than 500,000 don't expect to find a
dedicated bike shop. you want bike stuff? go to the home appliance
dealer. bike 'shops' will carry your basic huffy-quality bikes with little
in the way of parts and accessories.
better check the cities along your route.....nanning, kunming, chengdu
for example. these places will have decent cycling shops where you'll
be able to find piece-parts and lubricants like finish line (wet and dry).
I'd start out with a 2oz squeeze bottle of anything. Yes, anything. And apply it when needed but more importantly wipe off excess after oiling and riding a day. When the bottle was empty I'd fill it with whatever was in the bottom of empty qt. containers in gas stations.
The dry lubes will let your chain rust in a days worth of heavy rain and the oily lubes will collect dirt. The important part is wiping off the extra so it doesn't collect dirt. I'd be inclined to go with a wet lube if there's regular rain and just be scrupulous with wiping extra off.
Yes, good old car engine oil/ I've used it for years on all my bikes and have been happy. I've recently tried some of the "recommended" lubes, including those suggested here, and they just don't cut it.
You don't even need to carry lube with you. You can find enough to lube a chain in a bottle or can disposed of outside a service station anywhere, and even on the side of the roads.
Personally, I carry oil in an eye dropper bottle. I place one small drop on each roller, and that will do the trick for at least 2000km of dry-weather riding. It saves having to wipe down the chain afterwards.
The only way to extend chain and chainring/cassette life if to clean often. Probably once a week, you should have a routine in place to do this. It's not that difficult with a wide-mouth softdrink bottle and some kerosene or diesel. Bike maintenance is a way to break the monotony when it sets in during bad weather or enforced layovers. Chain joiners can be a godsend for this job, but I don't think I would go on an extended tour without a pair of the KMC joiner tool that keeps my hands for getting grimy and guarantees instant separation.
But, others have found they can get by just by adding oil to the chain regularly without worrying too much about cleaning. Having new components on leaving helps, too, and you just have to hope that when the wear is terminal, as in the chain jumping or chainsuck becoming a permanent feature of your riding, you are close by to somewhere that has the right components for your bike.
I would also carry a small bottle of light bike-specific grease. In the conditions you are likely to encounter, I'd expect the headset and wheel bearings are going to take a beating, and you may need to do some maintenance of them on the way. I certainly would suggest having the highest quality hubs and headset you can afford. Obviously, if you have sealed bearings, this makes things easier, although a spare set of bearings might be useful.
Oh, and your wheels are top-notch in components and build, too, aren't they?
02-11-12, 06:22 PM
hard to beat TriFlow and if your going to try it shake it really well first.
also another super lube is pro gold i use this on all my bikes for the chain works like magic.
but you have got to try them for yourself..
best of luck on your tour sure is a long way.
My plan is to take a spare chain and rear cassette, and am hoping this will get me the 14,000 km to Turkey. There will be few to no shops selling this on the way.
I read a blog of somebody who had two chains and rear cassettes, and swapped them back and forth every 2000 km, hoping to get even wear on the front cog. What do you think about this strategy?
02-11-12, 08:43 PM
I did a 11,000 mile tour and changed my chain 5 times which kept my rings and cassette in fine shape. I never had chain jump even after the last chain replacement. I would carry an extra chain when you know you won't be able to get one for 1-2k miles or have someone send one general delivery to post offices along the way. I did this for a friend who cycled in Africa and he always got his parcels but I am sure a lot of that might have been luck. Anyway, replace your chain fairly frequently and the rest will last you. I personally wouldn't carry a spare cassette.
You already have some great advice regarding lubes. A small bottle will last you for quite sometime and when you run out, you can always find something that will work like asking at an automotive garage for whatever spray lube that might have on hand etc...
02-11-12, 10:23 PM
If you are traveling by air and have it in your luggage make sure it is not ORM-D designated.
Everything I have ever used is ORM-D.
I made many trips with < 4 oz ORM-D bike lube in my checked bags. (not knowing it was prohibited). My bike gets searched 40% of the time and I'm still baffled I did not get busted in a big way. However, once I did get busted for an 8 millimeter allen wrench in my carry on.
One day a friend explained why.
"What would you think if you pulled a bottle out of a travel bag which read Rock n Roll EXTREME LUBE."
"It's a personal product"
"Right, and then you would quickly run to the bathroom to wash your hands." :roflmao:
escii, that was funny, and pretty much sums up a possible reaction (Im still paranoid about carry-on restrictions nowadays so wouldnt take the chance, but your friends take on it is quite amusing!)
02-11-12, 11:37 PM
Take a good size bottle of bike specific stuff and if it runs out just use whatever is around until you can find a shop that may have something. Anything is better than nothing (usually)
My favorite long lasting chain lubes are Prolink, Finishline Wet, and Dumunde Tech, they all last quite a while and do not get washed off in nasty conditions very easily.
I would bring a spare chain and swap them every 1000-2000 miles depending on conditions and if possible halfway through have a new set of chains and cassette shipped to you along the route. Not sure if that is a possibility or not but you could add a 3rd chain to the rotation if you want to try and stretch it further.
02-12-12, 03:50 AM
If chainwear is gong to be important, take a chainguage. They are just small, thin bits of metal.
Diesel is good for cleaning chains and you can salvage enough from what is left in the hose of a gas-station pump. Diesel in not good for your skin.
If you have to use car engine oil (from the remains of new cartons in the gas station waste bin), dissolve it in a little diesel for better penetration.
Tourist in MSN
02-12-12, 07:10 AM
I'd start out with a 2oz squeeze bottle of anything. Yes, anything. And apply it when needed but more importantly wipe off excess after oiling and riding a day. When the bottle was empty I'd fill it with whatever was in the bottom of empty qt. containers in gas stations. ...
Agree, except that I would also bring a bit of grease.
Make sure your spare chains have enough links. I do not know how many links you need for a factory LHT but my custom build LHT with a road crank and 11/32 cassette needs a link or two more than on some new chains. The LHT has long chainstays that contribute to this issue. You do not want to be in the middle of outer Mongolia putting on your new chain and find it is two links too short.
And, bring some web addresses for companies that can ship stuff to you in odd places. So when you need a new cassette, couple more chains, brake pads, etc., you can get them shipped. Regarding companies like that, I do not know who would be on the list as that is not my type of touring. I think Wiggle.com would be one of the ones you may need to buy from later.
Be very careful that you do not pedal hard when shifting the front derailleur, if you have a chain suck problem develop, you can damage a front derailleur that way and if you can't buy a replacement, ... ... you get the picture.
02-12-12, 08:09 PM
My chain wear history is documented here (http://www.aushiker.com/bicycle_chain_wear/). My lube of choice is Rock and Roll Gold (http://www.rocklube.com/). I will let you decided if the wear rates justify the choice of lube. BTW I have seen a lot of good reports on Purple Extreme (http://www.purpleextreme.com/) but I will probably stick with Rock and Roll Gold for my forthcoming Dreaming Tour.
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