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  1. #1
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    White Lightening dry chain lube not as good as wet

    I would really like to get the nack for keeping my drivetrain super clean through the use of dry chain lube. I used the drip type of White Lightening and more often than not my chain would be clean but make squealing noises like it hadn't been lubed enough. When I apply more it sometimes would build up on the links looking like a black waxy residue and the chain would still be squealing.
    I decided to try the White Lightening in the spray can. I did my best to thoroughly clean my SRAM chain then I thoroughly treated it 2 days apart. I just got back from a training ride and my chain is chirping a little and I can hear the links grinding on my chainrings. I know its not the derailleur pulleys because I just cleaned and greased them yesterday. Should I try Pro Link? Am I not doing something correctly with the White Lightening or is it just an overhyped product?

  2. #2
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    My experience with White Lightning is that it's good for mountain biking in dry, dusty conditions, as the dirt and grit won't stick to it, but you have to re-apply it often, after every ride or two, even in dry conditions. For wet conditions, it's NOT the lube you want, as it will disappear very quickly. White Lightning has a newer product I like better, "White Lightning Epic Lube" or something like that. It seems to be somewhat like the original, in that it leaves a fairly dry coating on the outside of the chain, but it seems to stay on better and it also seems to be a better lubricant, kind of a hybrid lube with characteristics of both a wax lube and oil-based lube. But for anything other than mountain biking in dusty conditions, I use ProLink Gold, which is an oil-based lube that stays on the chain much longer than any wax-based lube and lubricates better, too-

  3. #3
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Update: The chirping chain situation was bugging me so much I called White Lightning this morning and talked to a guy there. He says White Lightning isn't ideal for wet condtions that they have a new product called "Epic" that's better for that and he's going to send a small sample.
    Anyway, I decided to thoroughly clean my drivetrain AGAIN, this time I got it so clean you can eat off the thing. I did the mineral spirits thing to the chain, chainrings and individual cassette cogs. With the chain sitting in a stainless steel pan in the sun I sprayed a generous amount of the White Lightning aerosol on both sides of the chain, then put it in a ziplock baggy, shook it up real good, let it dry and repeated this one more time. I remounted everything and so far so good. I'll give an update after tonight's ride.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    Let us know. I was using WL in a dry climate (Pasadena) and it worked great. I put over 3500 miles on my chain (Simano Ultegra) and it still was well within spec. I finally changed it, just being anal.

    I started using Boe Shield just because I heard so much about it here. It seems good, but not quite as clean. And I swear that it makes my rear spokes sticky after a few rides. I will probably go back to WL for a dry climate.

  5. #5
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    I used white lighting for a while, but moved away from it because I didn't how the wax builds up and makes it a pain to clean. I just began (this year) to use prolink and so far so good. It seems that it is easier to clean. On the other hand, I've been cleaning my chain more often, so maybe I was just not doing enough maintenance when I used the white lightning.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Old_Fart's Avatar
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    My experience was that the chain had to be damn near surgically clean before starting to use the White Lightening or it just wouldn't flow into the links. If the chain has any old lube or grease on it, the White Lightening will not work. Once you have the chain conditioned with the stuff it works pretty good, but still didn't last as long as Pro Link for me. I bought a bottle of Epic but never actually used it. Maybe when my bottle of Pro Link runs out I'll sterilize the chain again and give the Epic a shot.

  7. #7
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    I just don't sweat the chain cleaning any more. About every other time I ride, I just drizzle a little, and I'm talking about a teaspoon, of motor oil on the inside of the chain as I spin the cranks backwards.

    Then I grab the chain with a paper towel thats been folded over twice and turn the cranks backwards, fold and repeat till the paper towel gets too small to hold. Less than 3 minutes and the chain comes out very clean.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  8. #8
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Update: I just got back from my evening 36 mile ride over varying terrain. I was not entirely happy with the chain, it still seemed slightly noisy to me so 20 miles into the ride at the rest stop, I put one drop of Pro-Link (bought a 4 ounce bottle earlier today for 8 bucks) onto each link, spun the chain then resumed my ride. The Pro Link seems really light but it seemed to penetrate well and it quieted the chain right down and shifting seemed to be slightly quicker. The White Lightning was is still apparent on the side plates. Looks like I've got a hybrid chain lube. I'm still surprised about the obvious shortcomings of the White Lightning product. This stuff is really difficult to get into the chain pins where its needed!

  9. #9
    Seņor Wences jwbnyc's Avatar
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    If you read the literature from Shimano on lubing drivetrains, nowhere do they mention wax. They do, however, mention oil. Wax is not optimum as a lube.

  10. #10
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    As I said above, in my opinion, if you're not riding in dry, dusty conditions, White Lightning is not the lube to use. It simply doesn't lubricate as well as an oil based lube.......it's only advantage is the dry, waxy coating it leaves on the outside of the chain that dust and grit don't stick to like they do to oily lubes. If you're road riding, I'd go to an oil based lube (the ProLink Gold is my choice) and forget about White Lightning. As for the Epic White Lightning, as I mentioned above, it's better overall than the original White Lightning, but still, its main advantage is in dusty conditions. Oil lubes lubricate better than it, too-

  11. #11
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    Like Avalanche, I live and ride in a dry climate (also Pasadena!), so I tried White Lightning. It seems to work OK, but it's incredibly wasteful, and thus expensive. The bottle it comes in doesn't allow you to put a drop on each roller; instead, it squirts all over the place. I've gone back to ATB (Absolutely The Best), which is quite popular around here, and it seems to work well.
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  12. #12
    Ex-Lion Tamer Bklyn's Avatar
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    I am a White Lightning user, and I have an irritating squeak too. I was ready to move to ProLink, but my LBS guy sadly informed me that using Simple Green or Chain Brite won't get rid of WL. You've got to buy this toxic proprietary White Lightning cleaner (@ around $15!) to strip the wax off. And then you've got to invest an evening breathing in death fumes just so you can start over with a new lube? It's almost more cost-effective to buy a new chain!
    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk View Post
    Sure, that sort of behavior might be acceptable in California, where people are all concerned about color video and feelings.

  13. #13
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    I am a White Lightning user, and I have an irritating squeak too. I was ready to move to ProLink, but my LBS guy sadly informed me that using Simple Green or Chain Brite won't get rid of WL. You've got to buy this toxic proprietary White Lightning cleaner (@ around $15!) to strip the wax off. And then you've got to invest an evening breathing in death fumes just so you can start over with a new lube? It's almost more cost-effective to buy a new chain!
    Put about an inch of paint thinner in a coffee can or something similar (not inside the house, of course), take your chain off and soak it in it, maybe slosh it around some to agitate it, take it out, wipe it off, hang it up or re-install it to let it dry a while, take the paint thinner and either pour it into a sealed container so you can re-use it or put it outside (where it can't get rained on) and let it evaporate, come back later and apply a drop of your favorite oil-based lube to each link, cycle the chain a few times to let the lube penetrate good, then wipe off any excess lube from the outside of the chain. You'll be good to go-

  14. #14
    Ex-Lion Tamer Bklyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    Put about an inch of paint thinner in a coffee can or something similar (not inside the house, of course), take your chain off and soak it in it, maybe slosh it around some to agitate it, take it out, wipe it off, hang it up or re-install it to let it dry a while, take the paint thinner and either pour it into a sealed container so you can re-use it or put it outside (where it can't get rained on) and let it evaporate, come back later and apply a drop of your favorite oil-based lube to each link, cycle the chain a few times to let the lube penetrate good, then wipe off any excess lube from the outside of the chain. You'll be good to go-
    You think I can put thinner in a Park chain cleaner?
    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk View Post
    Sure, that sort of behavior might be acceptable in California, where people are all concerned about color video and feelings.

  15. #15
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    You think I can put thinner in a Park chain cleaner?
    I've never used one of those, can't say for sure. I suppose if there's no part of it that the paint thinner (mineral spirits) would damage, you'd be fine. Paint thinner isn't a terribly strong solvent like, say, laquer thinner, so it would probably be okay. And just clean the Park chain cleaner out with dishwashing detergent or simple green, etc. after you're done........Just make sure you work with solvents like paint thinner in a well ventilated area (preferably outside), it's flammable.

  16. #16
    Senior Member erader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche325
    Let us know. I was using WL in a dry climate (Pasadena) and it worked great. I put over 3500 miles on my chain (Simano Ultegra) and it still was well within spec. I finally changed it, just being anal.

    I started using Boe Shield just because I heard so much about it here. It seems good, but not quite as clean. And I swear that it makes my rear spokes sticky after a few rides. I will probably go back to WL for a dry climate.
    sticky spokes? you might be laying it on a bit thick...if you know what i mean .

    erader

  17. #17
    Johnny G. Pragmatik's Avatar
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    The other problem I've had with WL is that it makes little black flakes that get EVERYWHERE when you clean your chain. Not to mention the whole riding with no lube once it rains thing

    I spent two and half hours getting the WL off my drive train tonight (it builds up) with a lot of elbow grease. Got that Epic one, which I hope works better. It smells funny, kinda like vanilla.

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