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Old 05-22-09, 11:39 AM   #1
applebuilder
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Environment Friendly Maintenance

Hi, new to the forum here and had some questions about enviro friendly bike care. One of the main reasons I got into cycling was to be enviro consciense, so why not go all the way? Phil Wood Hand Cleaner and Pedros Chainj are the only products I've seen that enviro safe, even then Pedros doesn't seem to be completely natural and Phil Wood Hand cleaner is just a hand cleaner. I'm looking for an all-purpose grease (stationary and moving parts) and a lube for my chain, both preferably water-proof. If there's an all natural product out there that's biodegradeable than that's great but if there isn't, substitues are prefectly fine. I heard of Australians using lanolin, so you think if I bought some lanolin (wouldn't know where to find it though) I could just slab it on? Any brainstorming is welcomed. Thanks! O yeah, anyone got a natural degreaser recipe that's safe for the bike?
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Old 05-22-09, 12:46 PM   #2
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Google Simple Green's airplane and parts cleaner. It will do general cleaning and degreasing and is safe for metals and carbon fiber. Also, you can check their site for MSDS. Note that there is low risk to mammals, birds and fish due to runoff.
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Old 05-22-09, 02:27 PM   #3
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Olive oil. Just use it for your chain, derailleurs, brakes, cables and everything else that needs lubrication.

You can even lubricate your bearings with oil, and they will run much smoother than if you lubricate them with grease. The only downside is that you'll need to lubricate them before every ride. You could drill a oiler hole in the middle of your hubs so you can easily inject some olive oil on a daily basis.

If you want to use lanolin instead, you need only head to the nearest pharmacy and ask for all-natural sore nipple ointment for breastfeeding mothers. These ointments are 100% pure medical grade lanolin. As a bonus, not only can you use it to grease your bearings, but you can also use it to soothe your sore bottom after a long day in the saddle.
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Old 05-22-09, 02:39 PM   #4
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I know of ELDuke degreaser . It's a soy based cleaner that appears to work well. I've seen it on youtube.

As far as grease or lube. I have wondered about Ernesto's lube, a soy based lube that you can east, if you want to.
I've asked around and I can only find one user, and he didn't like it, as it splattered all the time for him.... it doesn't dry like pro-link. I've tried emailing Ernesto lube many times.... and gave up. I never got a reply. It think either he's poor business person or it's a scam.

I would love to use a enviro friendly lube..... but I don't see it.

Grease? ...... Lanolin as a sub? Hmm.. I would think it would melt in the heat. Cold weather hardness?


I don't know..... I know of no alternatives to grease, other than using synthetics. We use very small amounts as cyclists, remember that. And.... if you want to really do your part, use parts that have sealed cartridge bearings, so little grease is needed. I've got some 26 year old cart. bearing hubs that have only needed the cart. replaced. No greasing. Think about that when one goes and buys Shimano cup and cone hubs !
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Old 05-22-09, 03:20 PM   #5
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I use Mobile-1 grease (The red stuff) Don't skimp on modern lubricants. The are very good and you do not have to use a lot of it. I use 2-cycle gas for de-greasing.
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Old 05-22-09, 06:09 PM   #6
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Is there anything soy can't do? Man, it's gonna embarrasing asking for mother's sore nipple cream, but wudyagonnado. Garthr, you bring up a good point about lanolin's effectiveness, guess I'll have to do some research. Thanks for the advice so far, they've given me some more ideas to toy with.
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Old 05-22-09, 07:00 PM   #7
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Man, I'd like to try out that El Duke stuff cuz its multi purpose and seems to work really well. To bad it's in Chicago (I'm in SoCal). Has anyone heard of Ballistol? Guess it started in Europe then came over here, supposed to have many uses.
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Old 05-22-09, 08:22 PM   #8
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to wash hands use baking soda and regular dish soap. cheap and very effective.
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Old 05-23-09, 07:28 AM   #9
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Use kerosene or mineral spirits, filter the crud out with a coffee filter and reuse until it's too contaminated, the recycle it with used motor oil. "Environmentally friendly" cleaners aren't environmentally friendly when they are dirty or contaminated.

I agree that modern petroleum or synthetic greases and oil lubes are far superior to the make-shift "green" lubes. You aren't doing the environment any favors by discarding worn components prematurely by using inferior lubricants.
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Old 05-23-09, 08:31 AM   #10
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you aren't doing the environment any favors by discarding worn components prematurely by using inferior lubricants.
+1
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Old 05-23-09, 08:55 AM   #11
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Use kerosene or mineral spirits, filter the crud out with a coffee filter and reuse until it's too contaminated, the recycle it with used motor oil. "Environmentally friendly" cleaners aren't environmentally friendly when they are dirty or contaminated.

I agree that modern petroleum or synthetic greases and oil lubes are far superior to the make-shift "green" lubes. You aren't doing the environment any favors by discarding worn components prematurely by using inferior lubricants.
I fully agree. The 'environmentally friendly' thing can be taken too far. Bicycles by their very nature are far more environmentally friendly than other modes of transportation. Revel in that. Changing as many of of the bearings on a bicycle to sealed cassette bearing units will cut down on the need for grease dramatically but that can get expensive.

applebuilder, if you really want to be more environmentally friendly, start (or continue) using your bike for transportation uses. That makes a bigger impact than anything else. Once you do that...or if you do it already...you are morally superior to the vast majority of the population and you won't have to flog yourself, wear hair shirts or use a cilice to prove it. Just ride
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Old 05-24-09, 12:52 PM   #12
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That makes sense. I'll just maintain my bike so I need as little product as possible. My dad just got some new wax lube for his motorcycle so I'll just use that till something better comes along.
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Old 05-24-09, 02:17 PM   #13
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That makes sense. I'll just maintain my bike so I need as little product as possible. My dad just got some new wax lube for his motorcycle so I'll just use that till something better comes along.
Don't you think it's ironic that you are agonizing over using the minute amount of lubes and cleaners your bike requires but your father's motorcycle or your family car creates more pollution in one day than your bike would in several years.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:45 PM   #14
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You could say that, but gotta change myself before I can even hope to change others.
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Old 05-25-09, 12:37 AM   #15
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Some of you in here may be interested in The Sustainable Cyclist. There's a lot things planned for the site, and more and more stuff is coming to me everyday. One of our "coming soon" articles is on lubes and cleaners. This is tough thing to research due to the things mentioned in this thread, but we'll see if we can get some come to some conclusions.

thanks,
Tim
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Old 04-25-10, 11:42 PM   #16
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Currently taking apart a bike for overhaul cleaning, ran out of degreaser, and started just using Dr.Bronner's magic soap, baking soda, and vinegar. Works great!! I hear El Duke's is great too, got a bottle for myself from rivendell. Lemons probably work too. Cheers!
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