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  1. #1
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    Wet Lube vs Dry Lube

    I cleaned my chain last night, & had been using TriFlow - noticed the chain was really black, oily, & a little gunky.

    I had a bottle of FinishLine liquid, that says "dry" on the bottle, & am trying it now.

    What determines whether you use a dry or wet lube? I haven't ridden in the rain, ride on paved roads, but our conditions are usually dry & dusty.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Astra's Avatar
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    'Wet' basically means good old oil. Dry usually means based on wax or teflon, ie it isn't wet and won't attract dirt and dust. Where you live, you could definitely go the dry route. Living in England, I wouldn't even dream about it .
    Oooooh yes, one day I will rid the world of showers and the bath shall come to dominate the cleansing habits of all the human race!

  3. #3
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclwestks
    I cleaned my chain last night, & had been using TriFlow - noticed the chain was really black, oily, & a little gunky.

    I had a bottle of FinishLine liquid, that says "dry" on the bottle, & am trying it now.

    What determines whether you use a dry or wet lube? I haven't ridden in the rain, ride on paved roads, but our conditions are usually dry & dusty.
    I tend to clean my chain and cogs\ chainrings every week. I use Pedros Extra dry on pivots, cables, everything.
    If I go for mud, I clean right after the ride. Sand and oil will grind down your cog\ chainring teeth.
    Last edited by jeff williams; 10-01-04 at 11:25 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    I tend to clean my chain and cogs\ chainrings every week. I use Pedros Extra dry on pivots, cables, everything.
    If I go for mud, I clean right after the ride. Sand and oil will grind down your cog\ chairing teeth.
    I have a similar routine - I clean the drive train after every few rides. I've been using Prolink dry lube. One big advantage to using a dry lube is it makes cleaning the chain/cogs very simple. Since it's dry, you can literally use a dry, stiff brush to knock off all the dust/dirt. So "cleaning" and lubing the drive train takes me 5 minutes.

    I ride in Southern California (essentially a semi arid desert) and a dry lube is perfect. Wetter riding conditions may need more frequent applications of a dry lube, and a wet lube might be more appropriate.

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone. I'll see how the "dry" FinishLine works.

    One thing that made me think about using a more dry lube, was the grit I noticed when changing a flat. I think maybe the wet type lube was attracting all the dust, sand, etc., & common sense was telling me that couldn't be good for the chain or cassette.

  6. #6
    Too Cheap To Meter. rippo's Avatar
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    you didn't mention you did this, so i should just throw this out...you ought to totally degrease your chain when switching from oil to wax (wet to dry) based lubes. otherwise the wax won't get in the nooks and crannies like it should. remove the chain, soak it in degreaser overnight, rinse, dry, then wax it up...twice, the first time.

    one downside to wax: you have to do it a few hours before you ride. the wax (which is the white stuff at the bottom of the bottle before you shake it) flows into the links because of the fluid it's floating in. that has to evaporate first before you get full effectiveness. so you can't go "oh crap, gotta lube!" two minutes before that big ride.

    upsides: cleans more easily. doesn't get your bike all black. and that annoying black stain on the inside of your right calf will go away.

    p.s. another minor downside: you have to lube more often with wax, like every ride or every other ride.

    (southern california rider. your results may vary)
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  7. #7
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    I agree, I live in Seattle and wouldn't think of it either!
    On a second note, try Dumonde Tech oil. I've been using it for a few years now and swear by it. It seems to bridge the gap between dry oil and wax lubes.
    "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."
    -Iris Murdoch, writer (1919-1999)

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    I guess that's what I didn't understand about wet - dry. I've always used a spray, or liquid that seemed to always keep the chain oily & turned it black. I noticed this bottle of liquid said dry on it, so I cleaned the chain, then applied it, & then noticed it wasn't oily.

    I didn't know basically dry meant wax, living out in the sticks, I was just used to when lubing something it remained oily. Dry lube to me, was something like the graphite powder; wax was something that, from what I'd read, I wanted to stay away from; & everything else remained with a wet, oily look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclwestks
    I guess that's what I didn't understand about wet - dry. I've always used a spray, or liquid that seemed to always keep the chain oily & turned it black. I noticed this bottle of liquid said dry on it, so I cleaned the chain, then applied it, & then noticed it wasn't oily.

    I didn't know basically dry meant wax, living out in the sticks, I was just used to when lubing something it remained oily. Dry lube to me, was something like the graphite powder; wax was something that, from what I'd read, I wanted to stay away from; & everything else remained with a wet, oily look.
    Not to be an ass but Dry does't necessarly mean wax! There are many "dry" lubes out there that aren't wax! It should be said that there are 3 kinds of lube: Wet, Dry and wax.
    Long postings short....Dry is good for dry areas, with no rain or wet riding. They have a evaporative base that evaporates and leaves a teflon base behind.
    Wet lubes are heavey lubes good for rainy wet weather.
    Wax lubes apply wet but dry out and when they get dirty, they flake off the chain. That's why waxes run clean but don't last as long. They actually flake off the chain.

    Did that help or confuse?
    "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."
    -Iris Murdoch, writer (1919-1999)

  10. #10
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astra
    'Wet' basically means good old oil. Dry usually means based on wax or teflon, ie it isn't wet and won't attract dirt and dust. Where you live, you could definitely go the dry route. Living in England, I wouldn't even dream about it .
    I live in the UK too. I've been using a 'dry' lube on my SRAM chain for about 2 yrs. I've never had a problem. I find my chain looks just as sh1tty on a wet lube as a dry. I tend to use less oil on the chain now. I even tried using my chainsaw oil as well. Nothing has made any difference to my chain and it works just as good no matter what I use, and as I mentioned, it still looks like sh1t after a few rides. Just as soon as my dry oil is finished I'll pick up whatever I find on the shelf. I could probably use olive oil just as well.

    Maybe the marketing hype rules, not the technology?
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978
    Did that help or confuse?
    Actually helped a bunch, cause the bottle says Teflon based; must have picked it up by mistake, but I actually think for my area I'll like it better.

  12. #12
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    I have used the Finish Line "Dry" and found that it builds up this thick sort of black gunk on the cassette just below the chain. It is also good at turning your chain black.

    I've been using the the "older, wax based" White L for sometime now -- lube the night before when I have to since the bike is in the parlour with me anyway. I always lube after a rain, when the chain is dry, and maybe once or twice a month if no rain. I get 5K on a chain.

    I heard that an overlubed chain wears prematurely -- possibly from picking up too much grit?

  13. #13
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    First of all any wax based lube is not as durable (long lasting) as a dry teflon or wet lube. Any wax based lube will only last about 60 miles before you need to reapply it to keep the chain quiet; and a noisy chain means wear is happening-you wouldn't let your engine rattle would you? That means you have to reapply the lube after every ride or during a ride that would be greater then 50 miles!

    Finish Line Dry is a excellent product made by a company that only just recently has became the number one lubricant manufacture in the world due to their superior products (http://www.finishlineusa.com/). The Teflon Dry product has the advantage of wax in that it will not attract dirt like a wet lube will, but has an added advantage of lasting far longer then wax. I tested it on my bike for 450 miles without the chain ever making a noise during that time OR MAKING THICK BLACK GUNK, as one poster said. It did make the chain black which cleaned up very well when I used Finish Line Chain biodegradeable cleaner and their cleaning machine. To keep the chain from appearing black all one needs to do is to clean the chain at least once every 150 miles and reapply the lube. The only way Finish Line or any other product for that matter would form thick black gunk on a chain, is if the person caring for the bike rarely cleans it!

    The first lube I ever used was TriFlow which is the original chain lube and used that product for about 15 years and my chains averaged 10,000 miles. Then due to an urging of a LBS I switched to the wax based lubes and tried all the Pedros and White Lightning products; and during the time I tried that I noticed my chains life averaged dropped to about 5,000 miles. I then tried a short test with Speed Skate Lube but didn't like the spray so switched to Finish Line Teflon Dry. I have been using the Finish Line product now for about 3 years and my chain after over 13,000 miles still has not gotten to the point of needing replacing. Keep in mind, my chain is a wider chain used on friction/freewheel systems and the narrower chains used on STI and ERGO systems do not last as long. I also noticed when I switched off the wax lubes to the Finish Line the drivetrain seemed to have less friction...this would also account for the longer chain life.

  14. #14
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    OR MAKING THICK BLACK GUNK, as one poster said...
    froze, that might be me you refer to or imply leastways! I'm nothing less than fastidious when it comes to post ride bike cleans. Every 3rd ride or so I take a damp and oily cloth and run the chain through it to remove the surface crud and that usually does the trick for me. When I detect a serious amount of oily contaminant inbetween the cassette rings then I give the chain a thorugh clean (citrus-based cleaner) and I give the cassette a good wash as well.

    I think a dirty chain indicates a less than ideal approach to bike ownership. If you keep the chain clean as you can, then generally the rest of the bike is equally looked after (imho).
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bokkie
    froze, that might be me you refer to or imply leastways! I'm nothing less than fastidious when it comes to post ride bike cleans. Every 3rd ride or so I take a damp and oily cloth and run the chain through it to remove the surface crud and that usually does the trick for me. When I detect a serious amount of oily contaminant inbetween the cassette rings then I give the chain a thorugh clean (citrus-based cleaner) and I give the cassette a good wash as well.

    I think a dirty chain indicates a less than ideal approach to bike ownership. If you keep the chain clean as you can, then generally the rest of the bike is equally looked after (imho).

    Maybe your method of cleaning and/or that citrus cleaner is not working. I use Finish Line chain cleaner and it's biodegradeable; I then use their clean machine and a toothbrush. The clean machine along with their cleaning fluid works great and I never see crud buildup like you have. I drip some of the cleaning fluid on the toothbrush to clean the gears better and thats it. I never run the chain through a damp and oily cloth, that's pointless. If the chain gets wet, I will spray it with WD40, then wipe the chain down, then clean the chain with the Finish Line products.

  16. #16
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    No, I think Froze was referring to me. 10,000 miles on a chain with no stretch?! I'm using the C10 Ultra chain from Campy for $40 and I don't want to sound cavalier, but if I need to replace this chain every nine months, that is a tank of gas in an SUV. (I don't own one.)

    Part of cycling for most members here I think is the idea that cycling is partially aesthetics, i.e., the art and engineering in our machines, a narrow 10sp chain with hollow links included. Finishline -- dry, teflon -- deposits a ton of black gunk on the cassete and throws off a mix of black oil on the chainstay. I would rather have a clean chain. And have the enjoyment of tinkering with with the bike replacing a worn chain.

    Besides, the used chain every nine months, with 5 thousand miles or so, is a fine Christmas gift stamped with my expereince and miles.

    What was that wax lubricant in a can several years back that required melting in steam, and then dipping the chain in. I used that too.

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