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Thread: Bulk Chain Lube

  1. #1
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    Bulk Chain Lube

    I am currently using the 4oz bottles of Pro Link Gold . I have (5) Mountain Bikes,(2) Road Bikes and (2) tandems that I am currently maintaining.So I go through alot of lube.
    I would like to find where I could purchase my lube in bulk.
    The Pro Link lube seems to be the best I have used and would prefer to stay with it.
    Gal. 2:20

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    Pain Cleanseth Feltup's Avatar
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    I just rebuilt my shock and went to the local motorcross store to get some shock oil in bulk(a quart for 8 bucks, compared to 16 bucks for a whole lot less). While I was there I see motorcycle chain lube. It is a huge can (spray) for $5, I am wondering if it is the way to go?
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

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    sch
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    www.progoldmfr.com sells Pro Link in 32oz containers for $57 or so incl shipping.
    Steve

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    Finish Line Drylube runs about $6 in shops, but I've found same bottle sold under DuPont label (DuPont must be the mfr of the teflon - probably that all drylubes use). Its a nice applicator bottle, and in Lowe's for $3.47 for 4oz bottle. I'd think you couldn't ride that much to find this uneconomical. Otherwise look at a homebrew mineral spirits / synthetic 10w30 mix that should last you for years. Theres plenty of posts to search for on suggested homebrew ingredients & ratios.

    Peter

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    Finish Line sells their Teflon-Plus "Dry" Lube and their Cross-Country "Wet" Lube in both quart and US gallon sizes. They are not carried by many on-line dealers, so you have to look around. If your LBS carries Finish Line, they should be able get what you want.
    I bought a Finish Line "Shop Pack" from my LBS some years ago, containing 4 quarts of oil, a gallon of degreaser, grease, bike wash, lots of dispensers. It is nice not needing to worry about buying lube.

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    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    You can make a home brew lube that is VERY similar to Prolink by purchasing 1 gallon of odorless mineral spirits (paint thinner - $5/gallon) and a quart of Mobil 1 motor oil (or similar). Mix the whole mess together and you are done. Apply liberally and the thinner helps wash away the grime. After a short while, the thinner will evaporate leaving the oil behind.

    Done and done.

    Ed
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    Insane Person algorithm0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    You can make a home brew lube that is VERY similar to Prolink by purchasing 1 gallon of odorless mineral spirits (paint thinner - $5/gallon) and a quart of Mobil 1 motor oil (or similar). Mix the whole mess together and you are done. Apply liberally and the thinner helps wash away the grime. After a short while, the thinner will evaporate leaving the oil behind.

    Done and done.

    Ed
    I've been running on Home Brew for the past 4 months or so. I can't tell the difference between it and the Race Day Extreme lube from white lightning that costs $9 / 4oz at the lbs. The recipe I use is 3 parts odorless mineral spirits : 1 part full-synthetic Valvoline motor oil.

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Seachris
    The Pro Link lube seems to be the best I have used and would prefer to stay with it.
    I've been using Pro Link for about 5 years - very good stuff!

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    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algorithm0
    I've been running on Home Brew for the past 4 months or so. I can't tell the difference between it and the Race Day Extreme lube from white lightning that costs $9 / 4oz at the lbs. The recipe I use is 3 parts odorless mineral spirits : 1 part full-synthetic Valvoline motor oil.
    3 to 1 sounds like a good idea. Drain off one quart of thinner into the chain solvent jug and dump in the oil.
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    I've used the Mobile1 (or any synthetic motor oil) and odorless mineral spirits (OMS) at a 1/3 ratio for several years. I used Pro Link for quite a while when it first hit the market and neither I nor my chain can tell the difference. However, there is a big cost difference.

    If I were maintaining one bike, I wouldn't go to the trouble of making the home brew but I have 5 bikes of my own and supply several family members and friends too. $10 a gallon of excellent lube is a worthwhile bargain.

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    Senior Member biker7's Avatar
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    A couple of questions....when you guys make your 3+1 home brew with mineral spirits and sythetic motor oil, what viscosity syn. motor oil do you use?...the heavier stuff?...say a around a 40W? Doesn't this combo attract a lot of dirt?
    Seems to me 3 parts mineral spirits would cut the viscosity of the motor oil down which I presume is partially the objective...what weight syn motor oil works best?

    Lastly, I use WL and am pleased with its performance...presume it has a tephlon or wax base component. One thing I notice is WL will separate...clearly two distinct parts...needs to be shaken prior to application.
    May try the 3+1 home brew...only concern is... wouldn't think it would be as effective as shedding dirt...wouldn't this blend tend to attract dirt?
    Thanks for any further comments.
    George

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biker7
    A couple of questions....when you guys make your 3+1 home brew with mineral spirits and sythetic motor oil, what viscosity syn. motor oil do you use?...the heavier stuff?...say a around a 40W? Doesn't this combo attract a lot of dirt?
    Seems to me 3 parts mineral spirits would cut the viscosity of the motor oil down which I presume is partially the objective...what weight syn motor oil works best?

    Lastly, I use WL and am pleased with its performance...presume it has a tephlon or wax base component. One thing I notice is WL will separate...clearly two distinct parts...needs to be shaken prior to application.
    May try the 3+1 home brew...only concern is... wouldn't think it would be as effective as shedding dirt...wouldn't this blend tend to attract dirt?
    Thanks for any further comments.
    George
    Use whatever grade of Mobil 1 you like. It doesn't make any difference. You don't even need to use a synthetic oil. I use Mobil 1 because it's made from PAO which seems to cling to anything and is hard to wash off. This seems like a good thing for a chain lubricant.

    The lube does not 'attract' dirt. You will get some black residue over time on the outside of the chain. This is no different than any 'wet' lubricant I have used. As you ride, some lubricant will work its way out from between the plates of the chain, carrying microscopic metal particles. It's not 'dirt' as some people believe. All chains wear with use and the metal particles turn any lubricant black.

    The mineral spirits is intended to thin the oil for the application so it will easily penetrate deeply into the chain. Afterward, the mineral spirits will evaporate and leave the thicker oil behind. The thicker oil will tend to cliong better to the chain surfaces that a thinner oil.

    If you are concerned about dirt sticking to the chain, then take a rag after each ride and take a few seconds to wipe the outside of the chain clean. There is no reason, to worry about dirt and lubricants. Just wipe it down between cleanings. How hard can that be?

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    I use 10W30 because that's what I found at the local X-Mart As supcom said, it doesn't matter much.

    The Mobile 1 / OMS lube does let the chain get a bit dirty but the best application technique is: wipe off the chain with a rag or paper towel, add lube generously, wipe off the excess, add more and let it evaporate overnight, wipe the excess off again and ride.

    A bone dry, completely clean chain is a pipe dream unless you hot-wax it with paraffin and then the lubrication has poor durability and the application technique is dangerous and laborious. Been there, did that, won't do it anymore.

    I don't like White Lightening at all. I tried it for a while but found it often plugged the bottle's nozzle, flaked off the chain easily and did a lousy job if the chain got at all wet. Pro Link, then the homemade equivalent, work much better.

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    Another vote for the 3 to 1 homebrew. I use Mobil 1 15w50 because that's what I run in one of my cars so I always have some on hand. I do apply a little differently though and I'd be interested in what anyone thinks. I mix it using a little dixie cup, right into a refillable spray can. You can get them for around $10 at Harbor Freight. I then pump up the can to 50-60 psi with my floor pump and then spray it on the chain through a straw (like what comes with WD40). I just hold a rag behind the chain and blast away about 10" at a time and then wipe it down real good. It really blasts out any built up gunk. Been doing it this way all summer and I like it better than dribbling on Pro-Link, which is what I did before.

    Any comments on this method?

    Shayne

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    10w30 here... not too heavy, not too thin... of course I'm not sure you would ever tell the difference after you mix it with the spirits. The spirits in the lube has 2 purposes. 1: to break down the gunk that is on your chain, and 2: it evaporates, leaving a conservative amount of lube on your chain. The way I apply mine is to squirt it on the entire chain while back-peddling. After 15 minutes I run my chain through a rag, removing as much lube and gunk as possible. I repeat the application procedure twice on my chain after I do a royal degreasing treatment because degreasing pretty much removes all the old lube from the chain.

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    Senior Member biker7's Avatar
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    Thanks for your further comments. I am going to try it since there seems to be a good following for this method and my WL bottle is getting low. I find Shayne's method of application with due respect overly complicated. How about you other guys...after mixing and shaking the blend...what kind of applicator do you use to drip the lube on the chain?
    Thanks,
    George

  17. #17
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    Although I've used WL for some time now, I'm thinking of switching to the homebrew too. Tired of paying for the tiny bottle of WL. I don't lube often, maybe every 300-400 miles, so a bottle will normally last me a season, but still... I think the synthetic oil will make a better lubricant than wax also. I have access to the refillable aerosol can that Shane mentioned, but really hadn't considered it until now. I'll probably use an empty WL bottle, they're easy to open and close securely, and easily portable as well. As for the grime buildup Even the WL has a bit of black gunk that appears after a bit, but wiping down the chain regularly should keep that to a dull roar.
    Another consideration is to dip the whole chain in the container of lube when you do a thorough cleaning. I've been looking for a reason to get rid of the Shimano chain that came on the Kona anyway
    It's either old age or I need more suspension...

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    Seems like a lot of trouble when I can get a 32oz can of the motorcycle chain lube for 5 bucks. It is a lot easier to carry around in my car.
    It is better to lose clean then win dirty. Don't ride dirty

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    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feltup
    Seems like a lot of trouble when I can get a 32oz can of the motorcycle chain lube for 5 bucks. It is a lot easier to carry around in my car.
    Motorcycle chain lube works great but is super sticky, to keep it from flying off, and makes a huge mess compared to homebrew. Works great in terms of lubing I'm sure though.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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    what kind of applicator do you use to drip the lube on the chain?
    Easy, I just refill an empty Pro Link bottle.

    BTW, Motorcycle (or industrial) chainlubes are very effective lubricants when there is power to spare but are too heavy bodied for bicycle use.

  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    The lube does not 'attract' dirt. You will get some black residue over time on the outside of the chain. This is no different than any 'wet' lubricant I have used. As you ride, some lubricant will work its way out from between the plates of the chain, carrying microscopic metal particles. It's not 'dirt' as some people believe. All chains wear with use and the metal particles turn any lubricant black.

    If you are concerned about dirt sticking to the chain, then take a rag after each ride and take a few seconds to wipe the outside of the chain clean. There is no reason, to worry about dirt and lubricants. Just wipe it down between cleanings. How hard can that be?
    Lubes do indeed "attract dirt" depending on the type of riding that you do. If you are riding primarily on dry roads, then the scenario that you presented is partially correct. If however you are riding a bicycle in dirty conditions, such as dusty trails or wet trails with a mountain bike or on dirty roads with a road bike, then oil based lubricants do indeed attract dirt particles. When I was using Phil Wood Tenacious oil or other lubricants, I would find grit on my chains after a mountain bike ride. After switching to the wax based lubricants like White Lightning, grit was no longer a problem.

    However one thing I have noticed from using WL is that the chain is no longer black. Properly cleaned before application of WL, the chain will stay bright and shiny for it's entire lifetime. There is a little discoloration but not nearly as much as when I used oil based lubricants.

    I will state that WL may not be a good lube for all parts of the world. Because it is so dry here, it is a good choice. I apply it only when the chain starts to squeak and still get several thousand miles out of a chain. I have used it in Vermont and it was not nearly as long lasting for obvious reasons.
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    Never before have so many, talked so much, about so little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Never before have so many, talked so much, about so little.
    Sure we have. Lots of times. In fact the last "What chain lube?" thread produced pretty much a duplicate of theis one. It will happen again too. Just wait.

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    it's because everyone loves cheap chain lube... plus it's not that complicated of a topic, so everyone can join in.

    You could probably lube your chain like this and have it work quite well:

  25. #25
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    Most of the home brew formulas that I've seen have been 4 parts mineral spirits to 1 part Mobil 1 synthetic. In other words one gallon of mineral spirits and 1 quart of oil.
    I've not been doing this because of the huge volume. One bottle of chain lube for me will last a year lubing 4 road bikes.

    Al

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