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  1. #1
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    White lightining lube - Disappears too quickly

    After my cl-1 park tool lube ran out, i decided to pick up white lightning all conditions light lube. First time I put as much lube as I usually do and after about 30 miles my chain started squeaking. At first I thought maybe i didn't put enough on the chain, but the second time I put a lot more and the same thing happened after about 70 miles. With cl-1 this had never happened before the next chain clean.

    I do clean my chain before each application pretty good and apply the lube only on the inside of the chain. I clean it after about 120 miles each time and I would like to think that lube lasts at least that much.

    Does this kind of lube need to be applied at enormous amounts to last 120 miles or do I need to apply it after like each ride or what?

    Thanks

    Edit: Lightning is the correct spelling on the title.
    Last edited by spock; 10-04-10 at 08:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Park CL-1 is what many term a "wet lube". That means it is basically oil. There are some additives, but there's real oil in there.

    White Lightening "EPIC Ride All Conditions Light Lube" (Is that what you have?), is one of those combinations of lubes and solvents. Park CL-1 looks to me like the sort of lube you'd put on one drop at a time. The White Lightning is the sort that you just soak down your chain with: spin your chain backwards, soak liberally until lube is dripping off the chain, and then wipe off the excess.

    My experience with oil-based lubes is that they will last a long time. My experience with lubes like White Lightening Epic is that you must reapply them pretty much for each ride, and I'm talking 10-mile long rides here. I'd go with a wet lube were I wanting something that would last for 120 miles. Finish Line makes a good Wet Lube. Lately I've been using Chain-L #5. There are plenty of other good brands to choose from.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    If you want to stick with White Lightening brand ,look into their "Wet Ride" lube. Here's what the White Lightening website has to say about that: "In dry conditions, Wet ride is especially popular with road cyclists seeking optimum performance over ultra long distances."
    Last edited by JonathanGennick; 10-04-10 at 10:16 AM.

  4. #4
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. I think that answers my question. Next time I'll be looking into wet lubes now that I know the difference.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Is the WL you have a white liquid? If so you may have their original wax based lube. While it works decent for dry and dusty conditions it's a waste of money for rainy conditions and regardless of where it is used it wears away quickly just like you found.

    I think that the key market for it is off roaders that trail ride in dusty and dry conditions. It's pretty much useless for anyone that road rides for longer distances for the same reason you found.

    But it's a GREAT lube for clipless pedals and shoe cleats. Makes snapping in and out a breeze but doesn't let the cleat snap out by accident and doesn't leave an oily spot on floors or carpets when you walk into a house or office.
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  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the stuff in solution is transported by somethhing that evaporates,
    it evaporates to keep from giving dust and dirt something to stick to.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The solvent for the original WL smells a lot like Coleman white gas stove fuel. If it's not the same stuff it's a close cousin from the distillation process. The white stuff left behind seems to have much the same consistency as candle wax or canning parafin wax with perhaps just a trace of something more sticky to keep it at least a touch flexible and to adhere to the metal. But in use it sure doesn't stay around for long.

    Wax of this sort is also a horrible lube because it doesn't flow back into the contact areas unless forced by pressure. That's where oil and grease excel because they will migrate due to their surface tension.
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    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    I've been using White Lightning (Clean Ride) for a while now with very good results. I find wax to be a very effective chain lube and it does not collect much road dust, dirt or sand. Years ago we cleaned our chains with diesel fuel dried them and dipped them in melted wax and that worked fine just a lot of work.

    I like the wax lube mainly cause I can handle my chain without getting my hands full of oil and grease. I don't know if that sounds quite right?

  9. #9
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    My big beef with the WL wax lube was when I tried to use it on my commuter bikes in a rainy environment. I had very noticable rust within a couple of days because of the stuff. It's good with repeated reapplications in a dry environment but it's useless as a long term lube or for wet regions. If I recall it came out of California where it was highly acclaimed. Given their climate I don't doubt that it was good for them. Sucked for up here in the North"WET" corner of the country.

    And I'm sorry, but wax is never a good lube for much of anything. It works on some applications only because it brings some unique advantages with it. You've seen what they are. Dust doesn't stick and what grunge does collect flakes away with the wax that falls off the chain. But as a lube it is very poor in the WL form and it was very poor back in the old days of the folks that dipped their chains into melted parafin wax. All the analysies of wax as a metal lube say the same thing. The big issue is that it gets pushed out of the way and unless it's pushed back in it never returns into the contact points. Meanwhile grease and oil are subject to the suction that occurs behind the max pressure point so the surfaces are re-coated with every motion.

    For those that live in areas where wax is sutiable it's a great lube... as long as you reapply often. But for much of the rest of the world it just doesn't make any sense at all.
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  10. #10
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    My team used to be sponsored by WL. We always said it was good we get this stuff by the case.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  11. #11
    I ain't no newbie redirekib's Avatar
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    I've been using WL for more years than I can remember. You can't just squirt the stuff on and take off for a ride. I apply it, one drop on each roller, and let it the carrier evaporate overnight. Never had a squeeeky or prematurely worn chain and the drivetrain stays much cleaner than with oil.
    "Never send a monkey to do a man's job." ~ Captain Leo Davidson ~

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    I have used all 3 of White Lightning's chain lubes. My thoughts:
    Clean Ride (original stuff): Good for use in dry environment. IMO, one application good for maybe 100 miles.
    Epic Ride: I use on my touring bike. Good for a few hundred miles between applications and maybe some moisture wile still a relatively light weight lubricant.
    Wet Ride: consistency of maple syrup (of course REAL maple syrup) and really sticks to the chain. Good performance in pouring rain, but will make a total mess of the bike.
    IMO, these are all very good products for their intended use. No doubt, there are many others onthe market equally good, but I seem to have settled on WL's product line.

  13. #13
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSchlichting View Post
    I have used all 3 of White Lightning's chain lubes. My thoughts:
    Clean Ride (original stuff): Good for use in dry environment. IMO, one application good for maybe 100 miles.
    100 miles? Wow. I rate it for five, maybe 10 miles on the outside, or one mud puddle, whichever comes first.

  14. #14
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSchlichting View Post
    Epic Ride: I use on my touring bike. Good for a few hundred miles between applications and maybe some moisture wile still a relatively light weight lubricant.
    I think that's the one I have http://www.whitelightningco.com/products/epic.htm.

    From my experience, there is no way I'd use it for long distance. I don't think I am doing anything wrong as far as lubing process. If anything I put too much sometimes and of course I wipe off the excess before I let it sit for a while. Maybe the weather is too humid here.
    Last edited by spock; 10-06-10 at 12:17 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    I think some of you are far too concerned about your chain than you really need to be. ALL the lubes mentioned work well and will protect your chain just fine. Hey it's just a chain and can be replaced for $10-$15 each year if needed. I like my drivetrain to be nice and clean and I do not mind if I have to add a little extra lube once in a while, but I get at least 100 mile per application of WL Clean Ride.. I do very little ridding in the rain so I guess that's why the wax works for me, but if I were doing a lot of ridding in wet weather then A wet lude is what I would use, and my choice would be Finish Line (Cross country)....

    One other note... I'm the kind of person who is always tinkering with his bikes and I do not mind the extra work, and here is the other reason (Clean Drivetrain)....



    Last edited by Capecodder; 10-06-10 at 05:49 AM.

  16. #16
    djb
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    I used to use WL more when I was riding in Nov and Dec, and the non gunking up aspect of it and thinness of it worked well for cold temps. But yes, I noticed that the tradeoff for a cleaner drivetrain, less cleaning, and not getting thick like reg chain oil with cold (5c and below, freezing and just above) is that you do need to use it alot. I would commute about 20k each day and seems to me that I would put some on every other day or so--but offset by less drivetrain cleaning in general, so it sort of balanced out.

    I do admit that I stopped using it because of the "rusting" aspect, in the end for me, as wet riding does happen for me, good ol Phils Tenacious stuff is what I am back to--though might go back to it for Dec when it is cold and dry, as I tend not to ride in teh rain in the later fall months anyway. Rain in warm temps is alright, but not crazy about it below 10c.

    capecod--Finish Line stuff is good I agree, I used that too, not quite as thick as Phils, but still a good wet lube for all around and rainy stuff.

    I am pretty picky about keeping my drivetrain fairly clean, dont mind taking the time to clean teeth with a rag often, as I know the drivetrain overall will last longer and friction etc is less, less "paste grinding" etc. Im not fanatical about it, but I like keeping an eye on the drivetrain anyway, leads to keepping an eye on the whole bike anyway. Not a lot of time anyway spent and I enjoy it.
    Last edited by djb; 10-06-10 at 02:43 PM.

  17. #17
    I ain't no newbie redirekib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capecodder View Post
    I think some of you are far too concerned about your chain than you really need to be. ALL the lubes mentioned work well and will protect your chain just fine. Hey it's just a chain and can be replaced for $10-$15 each year if needed. I like my drivetrain to be nice and clean and I do not mind if I have to add a little extra lube once in a while, but I get at least 100 mile per application of WL Clean Ride.. I do very little ridding in the rain so I guess that's why the wax works for me, but if I were doing a lot of ridding in wet weather then A wet lude is what I would use, and my choice would be Finish Line (Cross country)....

    One other note... I'm the kind of person who is always tinkering with his bikes and I do not mind the extra work, and here is the other reason (Clean Drivetrain)....

    Your spokes are corroded
    "Never send a monkey to do a man's job." ~ Captain Leo Davidson ~

  18. #18
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by redirekib View Post
    Your spokes are corroded
    thats priceless--mind you, being a 6 speed, it must be from the 80s, so we should give him some slack (like some of his spokes? ;-)

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    While it works decent for dry and dusty conditions it's a waste of money for rainy conditions and regardless of where it is used it wears away quickly just like you found.

    I think that the key market for it is off roaders that trail ride in dusty and dry conditions. It's pretty much useless for anyone that road rides for longer distances for the same reason you found.

    But it's a GREAT lube for clipless pedals and shoe cleats. Makes snapping in and out a breeze but doesn't let the cleat snap out by accident and doesn't leave an oily spot on floors or carpets when you walk into a house or office.
    I beg to differ that it wears away quickly. I use it exclusively on all my bikes and I don't apply it more often than wet lubes I've used in the past. I commute 3 to five times per week and I apply White Lightning at around 6+ week intervals. Even in light rain, it holds up admirably. I got rained on in Alabama last week and didn't have to reapply lubricant on any of the 3 bikes we were using.

    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    The solvent for the original WL smells a lot like Coleman white gas stove fuel. If it's not the same stuff it's a close cousin from the distillation process. The white stuff left behind seems to have much the same consistency as candle wax or canning parafin wax with perhaps just a trace of something more sticky to keep it at least a touch flexible and to adhere to the metal. But in use it sure doesn't stay around for long.

    Wax of this sort is also a horrible lube because it doesn't flow back into the contact areas unless forced by pressure. That's where oil and grease excel because they will migrate due to their surface tension.
    White Lightning is a mixture of calcium stearate, some naphtha and other longer carbon chain hydrocarbons (waxes). In that respect is much like bearing grease, just not a thick. Once the carrier has evaporated, it leaves the stearate and the waxes behind. The waxes aren't oils but they aren't like candle wax either. The stearate is what you are seeing as the candle wax like substance. In many respects WL is very much like the factory chain lube but is a lower, less sticky concentration.

    Once the waxes are in place on the contact surfaces, they should act like bearing grease in that they are going to be viscous and should stick around on plates. Under pressure, the wax is going to be less mobile than the oils found in wet lubricants. The carrier will ensure that all surfaces are wetted, which is why you drench the chain.


    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    My big beef with the WL wax lube was when I tried to use it on my commuter bikes in a rainy environment. I had very noticable rust within a couple of days because of the stuff. It's good with repeated reapplications in a dry environment but it's useless as a long term lube or for wet regions. If I recall it came out of California where it was highly acclaimed. Given their climate I don't doubt that it was good for them. Sucked for up here in the North"WET" corner of the country.
    There in lies the problem. It's not a good lubricant for wet applications. I'd not suggest it for places like the Pacific Northwest. Use in other areas would depend on the rain fall and rain exposure. In the desert Southwest where sand and attracting sand is much more of an issue, it's good stuff. A wet lubricant and a sandy ride can chew through a chain in very short order. In your area, you may have to content with some grit but the main point of your lubrication is to keep the chain from being exposed to water which leads to corrosion. The water riding on top of the lubricant will act as a bit of a lubricant by itself...as well as flushing contamination away more quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    And I'm sorry, but wax is never a good lube for much of anything. It works on some applications only because it brings some unique advantages with it. You've seen what they are. Dust doesn't stick and what grunge does collect flakes away with the wax that falls off the chain. But as a lube it is very poor in the WL form and it was very poor back in the old days of the folks that dipped their chains into melted parafin wax. All the analysies of wax as a metal lube say the same thing. The big issue is that it gets pushed out of the way and unless it's pushed back in it never returns into the contact points. Meanwhile grease and oil are subject to the suction that occurs behind the max pressure point so the surfaces are re-coated with every motion.

    For those that live in areas where wax is sutiable it's a great lube... as long as you reapply often. But for much of the rest of the world it just doesn't make any sense at all.
    I don't think the lubrication gets pushed out of the way as much as you think. Nor do I think that the oil in a wet lube gets sucked back into any gaps. The oil may flow into some gaps but even then the oil is viscous and doesn't flow that quickly. The waxes...and I'm talking about light waxes that are almost oils themselves here...would tend to resist getting pushed out of the way in the first place.

    I have the feeling that spock's problems may stem from his cleaning method. If he is using a water based degreaser followed by a water rinse, he may have water trapped within the chain itself. Adding WL on top of the water inside the chain won't displace it so it will squeak after only a few miles because the metal surface will oxidize.

    A much better cleaning method...for any chain...is to use a nonwater based degreaser like mineral spirits. No water means less chance of oxidation which results in a smoother surface. Mineral spirits works wonders at cleaning the chain and leaving a dry chain at the end of the process.
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    what about boeshield T9? I know the stuff dries slow and sticky, but how does it compare to white lightning?

  21. #21
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I have the feeling that spock's problems may stem from his cleaning method. If he is using a water based degreaser followed by a water rinse, he may have water trapped within the chain itself. Adding WL on top of the water inside the chain won't displace it so it will squeak after only a few miles because the metal surface will oxidize.
    I always let the chain dry completely before lube application. I clean it with purple power degreaser than rinse it with water and I use chain cleaning tool with rolling brushes.

    I live in an area where humidity is almost never below 70% except in winter, so I think that might be the issue here.

  22. #22
    djb
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    pointy eared one, your last comment about the humidity makes sense. Thats been the only time Ive had slight rusting, and in the end for me, as I keep track of all the maintenance on all the families bikes, I just went back to Phils as it has more "staying power" for all kinds of conditions and for when I dont get around to spending time on the rest of the families bikes as I would with mine. (plus, being on a car rack, can get rained on while on the highway--basically its less work and less rusty chains for me.

    all that said, in dry sandy or cold condtions, I think those types of chain oils are great.

    plus you guys do spend more time than I do, I'm a "rag" and lube feller, not keen on the roller brush thingees. Important thing no matter how we fiddle with our chains, is that we keep an eye on them. My system works well and my drive trains last a good good long time with minimum wear.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redirekib View Post
    Your spokes are corroded
    No, the spokes are not corroded it's spray from the wax lube......

  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spock View Post
    I always let the chain dry completely before lube application. I clean it with purple power degreaser than rinse it with water and I use chain cleaning tool with rolling brushes.

    I live in an area where humidity is almost never below 70% except in winter, so I think that might be the issue here.
    I live in an area where 50% relative humidity is insufferably humid Even here I'd not use a water based degreaser that had to be rinsed with water to remove it. Corrosion due to water is rather rapid and the corroded surfaces are very rough. A rough surface is difficult to lubricate.

    With your high humidity, water is going to take a very long time to leave the metal surface...if it ever leaves. That makes corrosion even more likely. If you were to treat the chain after cleaning and rinsing with water to remove residual water, you'd have less problems. However the solvents you could use to remove water...acetone, methyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol being the best choices...are more dangerous to use than mineral spirits (aka paint thinner or naphtha). Just use the naphtha and skip several steps. It does a great job, is relatively safe in terms of flammability and toxicity, and you can load a lot of bicycle grease and gunk into it before it's useless.

    Please note that when using flammable solvents, it's best to do it with adequate ventilation. That usually means outside, away from flame.
    Stuart Black
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  25. #25
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    For areas of high humidity where the water doesn't want to evaporate decently quickly that is the prime time to pull out the can of WD40. The WD will displace the water and once it's gone you can blot away most of the WD with a paper towel and then apply the final oil for lubing.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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