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    Wiping excess lubricant... am I doing it wrong?

    Very basic, I know, but I'm not sure what "wipe any excess" really entails after I'm done lubricating my chain. Is it one swipe with a rag? Two or more?

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Hold the chain lightly with a rag and spin the cranks backward until the excess lube is gone.
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    Senior Member flim's Avatar
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    I'm not a pro here, but I am guessing you wipe away the excess. If there is a lot it might take more than one swipe.

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    yeah but what do you define as excess? i think that's my real question here. should there be visible shine of lube still on the chain or do you want it dry-appearing?

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    Senior Member flim's Avatar
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    The lube should be inside the chain, not on the outside were it will collect dirt and other crap. Wipe that (the excess) away You also want to put the lube on the right spot in the first place: http://bicycletutor.com/chain-lubrication/

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    I just tighten a rag around the chain and spin the crank for about a minute. Basically, take off as much as possible. As flim said, the lube should not be on the outside, so if you CAN remove it, do.

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    Thanks for all the input. I guess I've got a bit more to wipe off, then.

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    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Truth is that it'll be nearly impossible to wipe it all off anyway. Wipe it until only a very little collects on the rag and the chain is allmost dry looking.

    Keep in mind to that there's no magic barrier that keeps the oil inside the chain and lets you totally dry the outside. The oil inside is only held there by surface tension. But the surface tension of oil is very low so the oil inside will migrate outside over time and vice versa. So when you wipe of the excess you're actually removing some of the internal oil as well. So the idea is to blot away the outside oil as much as practical which leves just a light amount inside. Enough to do the job but not so much that it gets all over the outside and collects a lot of grime. If you get TOO serious about trying to wipe away the outside excess you'll actually wick away too much of the inside.
    Last edited by BCRider; 09-06-10 at 02:15 PM.
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    Let the solvents in lube dry. I usually let it set for ten minutes while I do other maintenance jobs. Then use a paper towel to lightly grip the chain and rotate it once around. Once around again while gripping the side plates. Done. bk

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
    Let the solvents in lube dry. I usually let it set for ten minutes while I do other maintenance jobs. Then use a paper towel to lightly grip the chain and rotate it once around. Once around again while gripping the side plates. Done. bk
    good idea

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    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Not all cable lubes have solvent in them so a single pass around the chain may or may not work for all types. Also if you use too much oil one pass will not soak off into the paper towel enough. The idea is to wipe as you need and fold to a dry patch and wipe agian to make it so that the chain has what seems like a light film on it. It should not look slick and wet and it should not look bone dry. Using a paper towel instead of an old rag will aid you in finding a reasonable balance. When only a semi dry looking stain is left on the paper instead of a wet sloppy streak then you're done.
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    BTW, I find that soft cotton rags (old t-shirts, etc.) work better than paper towels. They seem to conform to the irregularities of the chain a bit better and get more oil off more quickly.

    Also, with wet lubes, I like to re-wipe the chain after the first 30-40 miles after some of the excess lube has worked itself to the outside. Helps prevent too much gunk build-up.

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    Since chain lube only works on the inside of the chain, any nlube on the outside is excess. You want to wipe off as much as you reasonably can, though with most oils it'll be hard to wipe it totally dry. How much to leave on is up to you. If you ride in wet or harsh conditions, you might leave a film as rust protection, but if you ride in sandy or dusty conditions you might use some solvent of your wiping rag to get it dry to the touch so less will stick.

    Don't overthing it, it's a bike chain, if it attracts a ton of dirt, wipe it drier, if it rusts, wipe some oil back onto it.
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