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Old 09-12-05, 12:50 PM   #1
SJK
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3-IN-ONE - It may be worth a try

I needed to lube my chain last night before my morning 8 mile commute, and I had some 3-IN-ONE Oil in my cupboard. WOW that was the smoothest ride I have ever had. My chain was nearly SILENT. I have been using Tri-Flow and home brew. Is it true that this will gum up my chain? Have any of you actually had this stuff gum up? I remove and clean my chain occasionally, so if it does, I am not very concerned.
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Old 09-12-05, 01:00 PM   #2
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I used 3-in-1 years ago for bikes and other things. It will gum up and attract a lot of dirt, count on it.
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Old 09-12-05, 03:17 PM   #3
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Ya know cyclists really get snooty over chain lube. 3-1, motor oil, heck even WD-40 have their place. Optimal? Likely not. But if you keep it clean and adjusted all of these products will work just fine for many common applications. Modern lubes just buy you time between cleaning in many cases.
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Old 09-12-05, 03:24 PM   #4
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As a naive teenager, I always lubed my bike with 3-in-1 oil. I concur with both va_cyclist and CastIron; 3-in-1 WILL adequately lubricate you chain, but it is a dirt magnet. I still use it on gear and brake cables and on brake and derailleur pivots. I have also used it successfully in freewheels and in pedals I didn't have time to disassemble and rebuild properly. For chains, however, I have come to prefer White Lightning, just because it is alot cleaner and because it works well in a dry climate.
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Old 09-12-05, 04:39 PM   #5
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3-in-1 contains organic oil (i.e. vegetal); it will gum up, good luck on the next chain cleaning. Motor oil is actually very good for those applications that need oil: chain (athough it tends to run), cables, brake and derailleur pivots.
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Old 09-13-05, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CastIron
Ya know cyclists really get snooty over chain lube.
For good reason
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Originally Posted by CastIron
3-1,
Has an organic compound that WILL gum up a chain
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Originally Posted by CastIron
motor oil,
Only if you thin it out with mineral spirits so it will actually get inside the rollers
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Originally Posted by CastIron
heck even WD-40 have their place.
Yeah it's called a trash can. WD-40 is a piss poor lube at best. I will admit it does bring in more business from people with rusted out chains. "I don't understand, I lubed it up with WD-40 whenever it started to squeek and now it's all rusted tight!"
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Optimal? Likely not.
Try not even close
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Originally Posted by CastIron
But if you keep it clean and adjusted all of these products will work just fine for many common applications.
Just not on a bicycle
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Originally Posted by CastIron
Modern lubes just buy you time between cleaning in many cases.
Gee a lube that lasts longer in between having to clean it off and reapply? Makes perfect sense to me
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Old 09-13-05, 02:54 PM   #7
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Point taken. WD is an excellent lube when the mercury drops to the single digits and lower. Fact is, when it's just plain cold and miserable, silicone and WD aerosol are about the only reliable lube I've found. Like I said, cyclists are amazingly snooty about this--sometimes for no good reason.
That said I've got a drawer of various hi-zoot lubes and use them regularly. They are not, however, a cure all.
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Old 09-13-05, 07:14 PM   #8
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I use regular motor oil on my chain. Well actually, it's over priced Mobil One 20w-50 (the thick stuff). It gets down inside the rollers just fine. Chain runs super quiet but kind of messy.

As far as I'm concern WD-40 is great stuff but is not the proper lube for chains. Nor is dry lube appropriate for chains except in extreem dusty and dry conditions.
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Old 09-13-05, 08:15 PM   #9
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I should take this moment to point out that WD-40 is in fact not much of a lube at all. Mostly, it's a cleaner. So if you are having wonderful success with WD-40 on your chain, it is because there is no salt on the ground or in the air, and no dirt anywhere.

I have and will continue to use WD-40 when cleaning chains. I don't have any simple green, I have tons of WD-40.

Of course, I always follow with a liberal application of rock 'n roll lube.
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Old 09-13-05, 11:45 PM   #10
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I use regular motor oil on my chain. Well actually, it's over priced Mobil One 20w-50 (the thick stuff). It gets down inside the rollers just fine.
You sure about that? There's a reason why the motor oil folk thin out thier stuff
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Chain runs super quiet but kind of messy.
Understatement of the century. I've seen chains lubed with straight motor oil - 't ain't pretty
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Old 09-14-05, 09:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nessism
I use regular motor oil on my chain. Well actually, it's over priced Mobil One 20w-50 (the thick stuff). It gets down inside the rollers just fine. Chain runs super quiet but kind of messy.
I've never had a problem with it penetrating the rollers either. If it's too thick to get in a bike chain it isn't going to be much use in a motor engine where there are much tighter spaces that need lubrication.
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Old 09-14-05, 11:02 AM   #12
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SJK - It will be fine, no-one will die, the bike won't explode. The chain will appear dirty and start to "gum up" providing a useful indicator that it is time to clean and re-lubricate (sparingly).

I have been using castor oil (homebrew experiment) as chain lube - obviously this is "vegetable based". It is viscous like motor oil or the Finish Line Cross Country blends and works brilliantly. My chain has 2000 all weather miles from new and still measures 12" over 12 links, implying that this lube gets to the parts that matter. Yes, it gets dirty, but I can live with that.

I say ride on!

Cheers,

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Old 09-14-05, 11:57 AM   #13
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If it's too thick to get in a bike chain it isn't going to be much use in a motor engine where there are much tighter spaces that need lubrication.
Umm, yes, if you never turn it on. Methinks a car engine gets a tad hotter than a bike chain ;-)
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Old 09-14-05, 12:30 PM   #14
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Umm, yes, if you never turn it on. Methinks a car engine gets a tad hotter than a bike chain ;-)
Ahh, but capillary forces are a wonderful thing Besides, the metal surfaces are "attractive" to the oil (sorry, can't think of the appropriate term, perhaps lipophilic?) so it will wet the chain surfaces rapidly. The combination of these effects will have your rollers bathed in oil in no time. Finish line even produce a rather viscous "wet" lube - the Cross Country stuff is a good example. One might like to ponder the difference, in practice, that this would offer in comparison to motor oil. Then compare costs.

What to use for lubricant is somewhat academic anyway. I think the real issue is paying attention to regular cleaning according to the conditions seen by ones own chain. Don't let it get too dirty (unfortunately rather subjective), dont use too much lube and NEVER let it run dry.

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Old 09-14-05, 12:43 PM   #15
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Ahh, but capillary forces are a wonderful thing Besides, the metal surfaces are "attractive" to the oil (sorry, can't think of the appropriate term, perhaps lipophilic?) so it will wet the chain surfaces rapidly.
I don't know about "rapidly" - certainly less rapidly than something designed for bikes with a lower viscosity. But I'll admit I'm not enough of an engineer to argue real science with someone on this.

I was just pointing out the silliness in defending the incorrect use of a product by making a comparison that fails to take into account the single greatest environmental factor in its proper use, i.e. temperature.

To get back on topic, I've found that how you apply the lubricant is nearly as important as what you're using. Taking the time to treat each link at the "gaps" and wipe off excess will result in a much cleaner drivetrain than just spinning the crank and draining a can on the chain as it goes by. Of course, I've used 3-in-1 (and created enough chain and chainring gunk to create a new Pacific island chain!) so I'd better get off my high horse...
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Old 09-14-05, 02:42 PM   #16
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use finishline lube, this stuff has never steered me wrong (pun intended) and is specificly designed for being used on bikes.
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Old 09-14-05, 02:54 PM   #17
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use finishline lube, this stuff has never steered me wrong (pun intended) and is specificly designed for being used on bikes.
Perhaps the best advice of all. I've got three varieties in the shop. Love the stuff.
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Old 09-14-05, 03:58 PM   #18
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I've never had a problem with it penetrating the rollers either. If it's too thick to get in a bike chain it isn't going to be much use in a motor engine where there are much tighter spaces that need lubrication.
Yes. But an engine is a high temperature, pressurized oiling system.

And as far as staying clean, it is a closed and filtered system.

Motor oil is designed to hold contaminants in suspension. That means motor oil is supposed to attract dirt. That way it is carried away from the moving parts to the filter.
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Old 09-14-05, 05:49 PM   #19
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Yes. But an engine is a high temperature, pressurized oiling system.

And as far as staying clean, it is a closed and filtered system.

Motor oil is designed to hold contaminants in suspension. That means motor oil is supposed to attract dirt. That way it is carried away from the moving parts to the filter.
Exactly. Last I checked chains don't have filters
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Old 09-14-05, 07:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Raiyn
You sure about that? There's a reason why the motor oil folk thin out thier stuff[/color]

Regular motor oil works great. All it take is a couple couple spin of the cranks to get the lube to distribute down into the rollers. The only reason to thin the oil down (using mineral sprits works well if so inclined) is to provide some cleaning action.

I use straight motor oil on a clean chain and thinned down motor oil if the chain is looking dirty (and I don't feel like taking it off to properly clean). When using the thinned lube I wipe the chain off after applying liberal doses to get some cleaning action.
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Old 09-14-05, 10:42 PM   #21
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WD-40 works. I have used it almost exclusively without any ill effect like many people saying. I'm thinking they never used WD-40. I tried 3-in-one and motor oil also. They work equally good, WD-40 just little easier to apply. I have no idea why some people think the chain must be kept show room clean.

Bottom line is this. Any lubrication is better than no lubrication at all. I have used White Lightening and that was pretty close to no lubrication. I dropped it off at a hazardous waste site.

Of course, this is just one man's opinion. Not meant to go against anybody. You use whatever you prefer. It's your bike.
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Old 09-14-05, 11:10 PM   #22
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WD-40 is not a lube. It will act as lube while wet, but once it dries it provides NO lubrication.

What do you think the WD stands for? It's "Water Displacement". It works great as a cleaner, and excellent for removing sticker residue. The only time it should be used on a bike chain is after you've soaked the chain in degreaser and hosed it off to remove all the degreaser. Then you can spray the chain with WD-40 and let it dry overnight. Then lube with an actual lubricant.

I've been on these forums for a long long time. This topic comes up often. I'm curious. If scientist and engineers who do nothing all day but create lubricants designed for specific applications and uses (i.e. bicycle lubricants) have created a product, why do so many of us refuse to use them. I can hear my Dad's voice in the back of my head right now, "Right tool for the right job, Son!".

If there is a specific lube that costs, oh, 20% more, but does everything you need it too, why would anyone use an inferior product to perform at an inferior level just to save a buck?

I just don't understand why a person will spend more money for a step up in the component level (lets say 105 to Ultegra, or LX to XT) and then douse it with motor oil. It's a bike, there is no motor! Use the motor oil, oh let's see, IN YOUR MOTOR!
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Old 09-15-05, 03:28 AM   #23
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My years of science training are busting to make sense of this. I wish I had the resources to set up a chain testing laboratory. This way we could set up properly controlled experiments and establish some solid facts. The variables are interesting to consider, and would include at least the following:

Chain construction & materials (8,9,10 speed, plated parts etc.)
Lubricants, various, operated in clean dry conditions.
Lubricants, various, operated in simulated wet and or dirty conditions.

One could establish the time taken for a certain level of wear to occur in each test. The results could be presented as a paper to a peer-reviewed journal e.g. Advances in Applied Mechanics - and referenced here every time the "lube" question is asked.

But that would take all the fun out of it

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Old 09-15-05, 03:32 AM   #24
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Also, Qudos to the poster who highlighted the importance of care in applying lube to the gaps at each link position.

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Old 09-15-05, 06:47 AM   #25
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mobile 1 is good and it doesn't attract dust. i think it was discontinued but i found a case at Big Lots for like 99 cents each.
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