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  1. #1
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    THe pro's chain lube

    I've always just bought the tiny expensive bottles of genuine bicycle chain lube. The other day I mixed up a few ounces of home brew because (1) I didn't have any chain lube on hand and had the ingredients (odorless mineral spririts and motor oil) on hand. and (2) I thought I'd try it since it seems to be commonly used. I think I did a 2:1 or 3:1 mixture OMS: oil - I think it was straight weight 30 that I have on hand for my lawn mowers.

    (by the way, it works great - seems to be as effective and clean as "genuine")

    Made me wonder - what do the mechanics on the pro tour use? I'm not talking about bike shop mechanics, but the pro mechanics that are on the road supporting the racers on tour.

    I really can't see them using the tiny 3 ounce bottles we all use, but maybe they do, maybe just supplied by the case by sponsors and just use the little bottles and go through several bottles every day and just toss the empties?

    Or do they have an oil drip type dispenser from which they either dispense bulk "genuine bike chain lube" or do they use home brew?

    Just curious.

  2. #2
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    They use whatever brand sponsors their team and they get it for free from the manufacturer.
    The manufacturer hopes that the fans will see what the pros use and rush out to buy their heavily marked up product at the nearest bike shop.

    How often you clean and lube is infinitely more important than what you use.


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  3. #3
    Asi
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    best chain lube tested: gasoline+manual gearbox oil 75W90 or something like this (2parts gasoline, 1 part oil), take the chain off, clean it in diesel fuel (let it soak a while in a container), let it dry or clean it with a rag, put the chain into the gasoline-oil mix an let it soak a bit, take it out an let it dry, the gasoline evaporates and the oil remains. clean the excess with a rag on the outside plates.
    It's practically free of cost, gasoline/diesel/oil for gearbox is laying around in my shed, so no cost. just a tool chain is needed and also a nice chain that can be broken off easily (without hollow pins or replacement pins, maybe a reusable masterlink is best)

  4. #4
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asi View Post
    best chain lube tested: gasoline+manual gearbox oil 75W90 or something like this (2parts gasoline, 1 part oil), take the chain off, clean it in diesel fuel (let it soak a while in a container), let it dry or clean it with a rag, put the chain into the gasoline-oil mix an let it soak a bit, take it out an let it dry, the gasoline evaporates and the oil remains. clean the excess with a rag on the outside plates.
    It's practically free of cost, gasoline/diesel/oil for gearbox is laying around in my shed, so no cost. just a tool chain is needed and also a nice chain that can be broken off easily (without hollow pins or replacement pins, maybe a reusable masterlink is best)
    You don't want to be smoking as the gasoline evaporates..........................Couldn't do that on a 'NoZone' day, either.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  5. #5
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    Just what I need, a primarily gasoline lube mix. bk

  6. #6
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    The pros? They use straight 5W-20 but with a Bike-Specific Lube Manu's sticker on the bottle.

    J/K.

    Or am I?
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  7. #7
    Asi
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    5w20 is a high temperature oil suited for hydro-dynamic "bearings" and for "smoke of oil" to lube the piston in an engine.

    75W90, manual transmission oil, is suited for EHD (elasto-hydro-dynamic) best for Hertzian efforts found in ball bearings, involute spur/angled gears, chains and any other sort of Hertzian effort (where the area of contact is very small, a point, or a line)

    Chains are best maintained and lubed being submerged permanently in oil like in the timing chain in car. Also the best chains do not have rollers, the plates have an involute profile that match on involute spur gears.
    But for a bicycle we have to deal with a roller chain (we want more than one gear, so we need to be able to shift the chain on different cogs) and not submergerged in oil.. it's not posible, it would complicate the whole thing and would add some 2kg.

  8. #8
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asi View Post
    5w20 is a high temperature oil suited for hydro-dynamic "bearings" and for "smoke of oil" to lube the piston in an engine.

    75W90, manual transmission oil, is suited for EHD (elasto-hydro-dynamic) best for Hertzian efforts found in ball bearings, involute spur/angled gears, chains and any other sort of Hertzian effort (where the area of contact is very small, a point, or a line)

    Chains are best maintained and lubed being submerged permanently in oil like in the timing chain in car. Also the best chains do not have rollers, the plates have an involute profile that match on involute spur gears.
    But for a bicycle we have to deal with a roller chain (we want more than one gear, so we need to be able to shift the chain on different cogs) and not submergerged in oil.. it's not posible, it would complicate the whole thing and would add some 2kg.
    I love these threads

  9. #9
    Asi
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    That's just some basic things about chains. This is my opinion as an automotive engineer and a bike rider. Sorry if i mangle some words or technical words but english it's not my main language.

  10. #10
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    Asi - your English is quite good -- better than many rednecks I know who speak English as a first (and only) language. I wish I was fluent in another language....

    I just wanted to add that chainsaw bar oil mixed with mineral spirits is great too. I love these threads as well

  11. #11
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    I dont know, chain lube last a long time for me, so the $8 4oz bottle is just fine for me.

    Mineral spirits and bar oil sounds like it would work quite well, but likely pick up a lot of dust.

    If you really hate oiling chains, buy one of the trek's with the belt drive system

  12. #12
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    Best quality of a bike lubricant...quick penetration and fast evaporation leaving behind the tacky lubricant. It's very important to keep the chain clean to avoid excessive wear. Don't over-lubricate. I lube every 100 miles or when the rollers start to look shiny.

  13. #13
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    There is NO PERFECT CHAIN LUBE for all applications and probably will never be.

    The best lube for you addresses, the conditions you ride in, how often you care to lube, the amount of miles you do.

    For example: I ride in very sandy conditions, the superior lubricants reccomended by many are excellent but attract to much sand for my location.

    I use a lighter, dryer, wax type lube and lube more frequently.

    As far as what's on Lance Armstrongs bike chain. I'll bet it changes whether he is conditioning in Colorado on his own bikes or doing a Time Trial in France.

  14. #14
    AEO
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    yeah, use a lube suited for the place you're riding.

    very wet or humid places with paved roads, use a sticky lube.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  15. #15
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    GOOD GOD GUYS: I was NOT asking about theory and practice of bicycle chain lubrication.

    I was asking: (or intended to ask): does anyone happen to know what pro mechanics actually use: tiny bottles like we buy in bike shops? Bulk supplies of the same? Home brew?

    I'm not curious about bike lube itself. I'm curious about what the pros actually use. It's just a matter of curiousity on my part. It really doesn't matter at all in regards to influincing my own lube habits since I know and practice: lube often, use whatever you want and it will be good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Made me wonder - what do the mechanics on the pro tour use?
    What makes you think they use anything at all (unless some chain lube is a sponsor)?

    Do you think pros worry about chain wear? They just put a new chain on whenever they feel the need. The factory lube lasts until the next new chain goes on.

  17. #17
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    They use whatever brand sponsors their team and they get it for free from the manufacturer.
    The manufacturer hopes that the fans will see what the pros use and rush out to buy their heavily marked up product at the nearest bike shop.

    How often you clean and lube is infinitely more important than what you use.


    Enjoy
    First time in recent memory that I saw a sensible answer in a thread about chain lube.

    Of course no one will get it, and this will go on forever about almost useless info, thinking the material is more important. I clean my chains often enough and correctly. Some people notice, they ask what lube I use, not how do I do it!!! Then they have to have what I use. I have given up trying to explain.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_s View Post
    What makes you think they use anything at all (unless some chain lube is a sponsor)?

    Do you think pros worry about chain wear? They just put a new chain on whenever they feel the need. The factory lube lasts until the next new chain goes on.
    Interesting thought.

  19. #19
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    Big budgeted le Tour teams like US Postal, Astana or Liquigas don't lube oil on the bicycle chains. They just replace the chain at every station.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Urine and saliva.

  21. #21
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    Pros use the lubes provided by sponsors. Most use the small bottles intended for resale because that's easiest. Some get bulk shop sizes and refill the workbench bottles. Almost all squads wash and lube chains daily because the big dollar sponsors want the bikes bright and shiny. The days where someone like Fausto Coppi would start a stage with torn tape and yesterdays dirt are l-o-o-o-o-ng gone. Most also change lubes according to conditions, many coating chains in heavy grease for rainy stages.

    Teams replace chains more often than we would, usually only running them 500 miles or so with 1,000 miles the outer limit. At this level of competition no team mechanic or manager wants responsibility for an avoidable mechanical failure.

    BTW- Pro mechanical decisions aren't always made for pure technical decisions. Sponsor dollars, team mechanic recommendations, promoters budget, and rider preference are all factors, with top riders getting to make demands, while other riders have take what they get.
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  22. #22
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    If the basis of the question is an assumption that the pros use the best and we, therefore, would benefit from their knowledge, then the premise is flawed. As powers2b said:

    How often you clean and lube is infinitely more important than what you use.
    Just use anything. It will work great.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  23. #23
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    If the basis of the question is an assumption that the pros use the best and we, therefore, would benefit from their knowledge, then the premise is flawed. As powers2b said:
    You know, that's a really good point.

  24. #24
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asi View Post
    best chain lube tested: gasoline+manual gearbox oil 75W90 or something like this (2parts gasoline, 1 part oil), take the chain off, clean it in diesel fuel (let it soak a while in a container), let it dry or clean it with a rag, put the chain into the gasoline-oil mix an let it soak a bit, take it out an let it dry, the gasoline evaporates and the oil remains. clean the excess with a rag on the outside plates.
    I read recipes like this, and I wonder: wouldn't it just be easier to go out and buy a bottle of lube and use that? It just seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    I've always just bought the tiny expensive bottles of genuine bicycle chain lube. The other day I mixed up a few ounces of home brew because (1) I didn't have any chain lube on hand and had the ingredients (odorless mineral spririts and motor oil) on hand. and (2) I thought I'd try it since it seems to be commonly used. I think I did a 2:1 or 3:1 mixture OMS: oil - I think it was straight weight 30 that I have on hand for my lawn mowers.

    (by the way, it works great - seems to be as effective and clean as "genuine")

    Made me wonder - what do the mechanics on the pro tour use? I'm not talking about bike shop mechanics, but the pro mechanics that are on the road supporting the racers on tour.

    I really can't see them using the tiny 3 ounce bottles we all use, but maybe they do, maybe just supplied by the case by sponsors and just use the little bottles and go through several bottles every day and just toss the empties?

    Or do they have an oil drip type dispenser from which they either dispense bulk "genuine bike chain lube" or do they use home brew?

    Just curious.
    Speak for yourself. I've never wasted my money on those. You can buy big spray cans of chain lube for not too much, but homebrew is much cheaper.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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