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Thread: Chain-L Lube

  1. #1
    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    Chain-L Lube

    I'm interested in trying this lube and was wondering who is using it, and how you like it?
    I've been using a wax lube for some time but want to give a wet lube a try, and this product looks like it might be the ticket....

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    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    You know, of course, that FBinNY on the forum
    is the guy who markets this product?

    He is understandably reluctant to comment on
    something in such an obvious possible conflict
    of interest/selling your stuff on the forums situation,
    but would no doubt respond to you in private
    (I think).

    If you use the advanced search function, discussion
    of Chain-L has popped up from time to time, like here:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ing-Techniques

    Mike Larmer
    Quote Originally Posted by The Australian Book of Atheism
    There is only no god, and Cyclaholic is his prophet.

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    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    You know, of course, that FBinNY on the forum
    is the guy who markets this product?

    He is understandably reluctant to comment on
    something in such an obvious possible conflict
    of interest/selling your stuff on the forums situation,
    but would no doubt respond to you in private
    (I think).

    If you use the advanced search function, discussion
    of Chain-L has popped up from time to time, like here:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ing-Techniques

    Mike Larmer
    No, I had no idea that FBinNY marketed this lube, and if this is so I would not expect him to comment due to possible conflicts with others.

    I suppose it's difficult for anyone to comment in a negitive way about his product, after all he helps lots of people here with his incredible knowledge including myself. I would have not started this thread had I known.

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    Saving gas on my commute Scooby214's Avatar
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    I just started using Chain-L last week. I applied it to a new Sram chain and installed it on my commuter with a new Shimano freewheel. I also put it on my son's worn in KMC chain with an equally worn in DNP freewheel. I took his chain off to clean and lube. We have taken two rides so far, and both chains have been quiet and clean. I expected my chain to be quiet, as the factory Sram lube is good stuff, but my son's lube was overdue for cleaning and the Chain-L does seem to last longer on his chain than the Rock-N-Roll we had been using.

    The secret to success seems to be to follow the Chain-L directions for cleaning, lubing, and really wiping off the excess lube.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capecodder View Post
    No, I had no idea that FBinNY marketed this lube,.- ...
    ...I would have not started this thread had I known.
    Why not? I'm fair game, and my product should not be accorded any special courtesy not given to any other. Obviously I like it, so I won't comment except to answer a specific question, if asked.

    I'm sure others will chime in, since chain oil threads always stir up debate. Chain-L has been reviewed in many places, including 2 other forums, that I won't name as a courtesy to this one. If you google "Chain-L reviews" you'll find a bunch to choose from.

    BTW-the most recent review is here. I'll send a free bottle to the first people to email me a translation to English. (Google translate translations don't qualify)
    Last edited by FBinNY; 12-29-10 at 05:38 PM.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

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    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    Yikes, I just found a review and this stuff got 100% total satisfaction!!!! I think that's the first time I've read a review where everyone gave a 5 star rating.

    I'm going to be in Franklin tomorrow, and there is a LBS there that has Chain-L in stock so I will be picking up a bottle I'm pretty excited and can't wait to try it. How dull can I be that I'm excited over chain lube

    I have a question for you FBinNY..... I have a brand new SRAM PC830 chain that I will be using so my question is, should I clean the factory lube off the new SRAM and lube with Chain-L or leave the factory lube on and lube right over it with Chain-L?

    Thanks......................

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    Saving gas on my commute Scooby214's Avatar
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    It seems that most people leave the Sram factory lube intact when lubing with Chain-L. I did when I lubed my new Sram PC850 chain, and it worked fine for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooby214 View Post
    It seems that most people leave the Sram factory lube intact when lubing with Chain-L. I did when I lubed my new Sram PC850 chain, and it worked fine for me.
    +1, factory lubes tend to be good stuff. After all chain makers want you to get good service. The only legitimate beef against factory lubes is when there's excess semi-dried on the outside. You'll wipe that off as you wipe off the added oil.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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    For an independent review check out RoadBike Rider, a biweekly (formerly weekly) e-newsletter sent free via e-mail to anyone who requests it. (Look here for details http://www.roadbikerider.com/) The guys who publish it have mentioned Chain-L a couple of times and given it glowing praise, particularly for its durability.

    And I know for certain that FBinNY does not have a business relationship with them so they have not been paid for their review.

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    I Know I Can't Qualify For The Free Bottle

    But really, FB, what's not to like about
    the Google translate version?

    I can not not tell about this remarkable lubrication (Web: http://chain-l.com).
    Love, you know, ride a bike. And really, you know, upset me a routine to lubricate the chain every 150-200 miles - before each and every second was out. Upset, but had to put up. So far, as they say, has not appeared yippie, and behind him - a message from veloforumtsa luden (viewtopic.php? P = 73961 # p73961) on a new miraculous chain oil.
    Ordered and waited for the arrival of a bottle of magical liquid, smelling of common transmission oil. Testing of the fallen to the cycling trip of Kerch and the Crimean peninsula (viewtopic.php? F = 6 & t = 2789).
    I'm thinking of changing my signature line to:

    Love, you know, ride a bike.
    Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by The Australian Book of Atheism
    There is only no god, and Cyclaholic is his prophet.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capecodder View Post
    I'm interested in trying this lube and was wondering who is using it, and how you like it?
    I've been using a wax lube for some time but want to give a wet lube a try, and this product looks like it might be the ticket....
    The Chain-L lube is great, one of the best on the market. Why? It's specifically formulated for bikes with an understanding of the types of metal-to-metal interactions that occur in a bike chain. Here's a post I made a while back on chain lubbing and why motor-oil based lubes aren't really up to the task (A LOT of chain-lubes on the market are just re-packaged motor-oils).

    THe pro's chain lube

    Using properly-designed oils with attention paid to the EP-additives, you can expect 7000-10000 miles out of a chain with regular cleaning and lubing. Much, much better lubrication and durability than dry-lubes or waxes.

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    DannoXYZ, is there a way to buy the EP-additives separately and add them to whatever lube you want?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    DannoXYZ, is there a way to buy the EP-additives separately and add them to whatever lube you want?
    Yes, but to my knowledge, not in small retail quantities. You also need to know how to use the various ones so they work together well in whatever base stock you're using.

    It's also a question of economics. A 4oz. bottle usually lasts people well over a year, so at less than $12.00 per year the potential for saving is pretty limited. That's the number one problem with Chain-L. The repeat business is pretty limited even form my most committed clients (my problem, not yours)
    Last edited by FBinNY; 12-30-10 at 07:24 AM.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, but to my knowledge, not in small retail quantities. You also need to know how to use the various ones so they work together well in whatever base stock you're using.

    It's also a question of economics. A 4oz. bottle usually lasts people well over a year, so at less than $12.00 per year the potential for saving is pretty limited. That's the number one problem with Chain-L. The repeat business is pretty limited even form my most committed clients (my problem, not yours)
    FBinNY, on the general level you are right and I have no intention to compete with your business that I am sure is tough bread to start with. However, because bike business is so tough I have learned that I cannot generally wait for the bike business to solve my problems but need to be inventive myself. My problem is that I ride under any weather conditions which in itself represents a minute fraction of bicycle market. On my own, I have conquered the effects of rain and snow on the chain and on other parts of the bike, but the chain wear remains a problem. So why not go ahead and improve upon that. From the reading so far, it looks like I could add transmission fluid or aftermarket oil additives such as ZDDPlus or Duro Lube. The problem is that these contain liquid EP additives. For my purpose, solid additives could be better such as added to grease.

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    I wasn't worried about losing your business or your going into competition. There are an infinite number of possibilities of additives and bases, some of which work well together, and some which don't.

    As it is, Chain-L is far from perfect, but is what I felt was the best balance between conflicting objectives. I chose to prioritize lubrication, service life and weather resistance, above cleanliness and ease of use. Others take a different approach, and the beauty of the marketplace is that anyone can choose what best suits his needs and preferences.

    When you research EP additives you'll find that there are solids and some that are used as additives with liquids, You also find that some of the solids only work with liquid vehicles. I wish you luck. It took me, and the folks who blend Chain-L very little time to decide on the lubrication science, but much more time, to decide on how to use it effectively, and almost a year of extensive road testing to dial it in.

    BTW- if you want to PM me, and tell me your objectives, I'll be happy to help you if I can.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 12-30-10 at 08:35 AM.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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    Senior Member slide23's Avatar
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    In my experience, Chain-L is some serious foul-weather lube. When I lived in Vermont and commuted year-round, I was able to go three weeks in the winter before the chain made any noise. Pretty impressive for east coast salt, sand, and grit. Before Chain-L, I was getting maybe 1000 miles per chain in the winter; after, easily 4000 miles.
    "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    There are an infinite number of possibilities of additives and bases, some of which work well together, and some which don't.
    This is good and bad. The latter is in the fact that in my impression the majority of lubes does virtually nothing for my chain, i.e. I could just as well spit on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    As it is, Chain-L is far from perfect, but is what I felt was the best balance between conflicting objectives. I chose to prioritize lubrication, service life and weather resistance, above cleanliness and ease of use.

    It took me, and the folks who blend Chain-L very little time to decide on the lubrication science, but much more time, to decide on how to use it effectively, and almost a year of extensive road testing to dial it in.
    I am glad to hear about the effort by a manufacturer to actually put out something that is supposed to meet some hopefully quantifiable expectations.

    Quote Originally Posted by slide23 View Post
    In my experience, Chain-L is some serious foul-weather lube. When I lived in Vermont and commuted year-round, I was able to go three weeks in the winter before the chain made any noise. Pretty impressive for east coast salt, sand, and grit. Before Chain-L, I was getting maybe 1000 miles per chain in the winter; after, easily 4000 miles.
    I am not sure whether the noise should be a criterion in assessing the performance of a lubricator. It is a criterion that people can use, but is it the right criterion? There is this Johns Hopkins University test which demonstrates that lubrication (at least for 3 different lubricants) does nothing as far as chain efficiency is concerned under laboratory conditions. Without a lubricant, I am sure the chain produced a lot of ringing, but that had apparently no impact on efficiency. Now the efficiency is not the same as wear, but they must have some connection. Further, you may imagine a lubricant acting to dampen out the sound without any wear reduction. On the other hand, I will have no problem damaging metal with a sandpaper, without any ringing present.

    Anyway, I am not sure whether one should use the chain ringing in deciding on lubrication. On the other hand, if there are chemicals that harden the surface of a metal and are applied successfully in other similar contexts, I am sure my chain could benefit from that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post


    .... There is this Johns Hopkins University test which demonstrates that lubrication (at least for 3 different lubricants) does nothing as far as chain efficiency is concerned under laboratory conditions. Without a lubricant, I am sure the chain produced a lot of ringing, but that had apparently no impact on efficiency.
    This test has been referenced for a number of years, and IMO has a few serious flaws which lead me to question their methodology. One thing that raised red flags is their "discovery" that sprocket size is a major factor in efficiency, something that had been known for over half a century.

    The real problem with the test as far as cyclists are concerned is that it's misunderstood and measures the wrong thing. They studied efficiency, not wear. Also in my reading of the report, I couldn't find their load factor which is important because bike chains are run at higher loads (relative to chain width) than what is normal industrial practice.

    At low load dry friction is often more efficient because lubricants add parasitic or viscous drag. Viscous drag is unusually high in chains because it happens not only at the bearing (pin/bushing/roller) but at the shearing area between the overlapping plates which in a chain with good chainline doesn't need lubrication.

    Viscous drag is the price you pay for lubrication and is one reason oils are blended in so many viscosities. You want the lightest oil that's do the job. Put gear oil into a clock and it'll stop the clock, put clock oil into a gearbox, and you'll get excessive wear. Now back to bike chains and chain lube. Viscous drag is a constant so at low loads may exceed the friction reduction benefit. But as the load increases friction rises proportionately surpassing the loss to drag and yielding a net gain.

    Lastly, even if there is zero gain in efficiency, how do you want the energy loss to occur, overcoming viscous drag in a lubricant, or removal of metal from mating surfaces?
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

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    The original paper can be found in this 2000 issue of Human Power.


    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    This test has been referenced for a number of years, and IMO has a few serious flaws which lead me to question their methodology. One thing that raised red flags is their "discovery" that sprocket size is a major factor in efficiency, something that had been known for over half a century.
    I think that naivety for some members of the research team could be good thing as they approached the problem without an agenda. They were testing and rediscovered what others considered obvious.


    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    The real problem with the test as far as cyclists are concerned is that it's misunderstood and measures the wrong thing. They studied efficiency, not wear. Also in my reading of the report, I couldn't find their load factor which is important because bike chains are run at higher loads (relative to chain width) than what is normal industrial practice.
    From the paper, they pretty much tried to reproduce the situation of a bicycle rider. Shimano representatives were on the research team.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    At low load dry friction is often more efficient because lubricants add parasitic or viscous drag. Viscous drag is unusually high in chains because it happens not only at the bearing (pin/bushing/roller) but at the shearing area between the overlapping plates which in a chain with good chainline doesn't need lubrication.

    Viscous drag is the price you pay for lubrication and is one reason oils are blended in so many viscosities. You want the lightest oil that's do the job. Put gear oil into a clock and it'll stop the clock, put clock oil into a gearbox, and you'll get excessive wear. Now back to bike chains and chain lube. Viscous drag is a constant so at low loads may exceed the friction reduction benefit. But as the load increases friction rises proportionately surpassing the loss to drag and yielding a net gain.

    Lastly, even if there is zero gain in efficiency, how do you want the energy loss to occur, overcoming viscous drag in a lubricant, or removal of metal from mating surfaces?
    I think that the viscous drag was a negligible factor in their measurements. It would be unlikely for the gain in the lowered friction to always nearly exactly cancel the loss from drag for every RPM and every lubricant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    This test has been referenced for a number of years, and IMO has a few serious flaws which lead me to question their methodology. One thing that raised red flags is their "discovery" that sprocket size is a major factor in efficiency, something that had been known for over half a century.

    The real problem with the test as far as cyclists are concerned is that it's misunderstood and measures the wrong thing. They studied efficiency, not wear.
    If I can choose between more efficiency or better wear I'll choose efficiency every time. I want a chain lubricant that will help me produce the most work with the least energy spent in a given time frame.

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    car guy, recovering aixaix's Avatar
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    What about rust? In actual use, the formation of rust, which is inhibited by many lubricants, will increase the friction substantially, as well as speed up wear. This would argue for using lube on any chain that gets wet, as rust can ruin a brand-new chain. As FBinNY observes, the JHU study doesn't address real-world factors that are far more significant to the cyclist than efficiency.
    Michael Shiffer
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    Quote Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
    What about rust? In actual use, the formation of rust, which is inhibited by many lubricants, will increase the friction substantially, as well as speed up wear. This would argue for using lube on any chain that gets wet, as rust can ruin a brand-new chain.
    In my experience, most lubricants on the market are weak as far as rust protection is concerned. (Note that I have not tried Chain-L yet.) Sure they are better than nothing. Factory protection, praised by many, in my tests is not that great either.

    Quote Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
    As FBinNY observes, the JHU study doesn't address real-world factors that are far more significant to the cyclist than efficiency.
    They have put plenty of effort into the measurements and came up with numbers, diagrams, figures and etc. that you can inspect from different angles. If you think that there are some better studies please point to them. Otherwise, this is an open area and if you can up with a way to quantify the factors you deem to be more important, everybody would be happy.

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    That the JHU study didn't address issues that affect cyclists more profoundly than efficiency is no criticism of their study: they were examining efficiency and from what I read it sounds like they did a good job of it. Finding that lubricant has no effect on the percentage of power transmitted by a roller chain in a controlled environment is interesting and of value, as are their other findings. My point is that lubricants offer benefits to riders, both in the short and the long term. Spicer, the study's supervisor, says as much. He doesn't mention rust, though, and I thought I'd point it out. My experience with lubricants is different than yours. An unlubricated chain will rust a lot faster after getting wet than an oiled one. A rusty chain has a lot more friction than it did before it rusted. I don't think we need a study to prove these things. Again, I was not criticizing the JHU study, just pointing out another reason to use oil on a bicycle chain.
    Michael Shiffer
    EuroMeccanicany.com

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    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    If I can choose between more efficiency or better wear I'll choose efficiency every time. I want a chain lubricant that will help me produce the most work with the least energy spent in a given time frame.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i
    They have put plenty of effort into the measurements and came up with numbers, diagrams, figures and etc. that you can inspect from different angles. If you think that there are some better studies please point to them. Otherwise, this is an open area and if you can up with a way to quantify the factors you deem to be more important, everybody would be happy
    Al1943 and 2_i:

    I am curious. What would you consider to be an acceptable chain life?
    Put another way, how often are you willing to replace the chain on a
    bicycle-- either in terms of miles ridden or months on the bike? It does
    seem that given your argument for maximum efficiency at all costs, spit
    might very well be your best choice. Is your focus on racing?

    I remember the halcyon days when the Sedisport chain first came out
    and you could buy them for about eight bucks. I rarely cleaned a chain
    in that period of time. The life cycle equation seems to me to be a
    little more complicated now. Nor can every mechanical decision be
    based on studies. Were that the case, this would probably turn some
    heads:

    http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c6801.full

    Respectfully,
    Mike Larmer
    Last edited by 3alarmer; 12-30-10 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Add Information
    Quote Originally Posted by The Australian Book of Atheism
    There is only no god, and Cyclaholic is his prophet.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    Al1943 and 2_i:

    I am curious. What would you consider to be an acceptable chain life?.....I remember the halcyon days when the Sedisport chain first came out and you could buy them for about eight bucks.

    Respectfully,
    Mike Larmer
    I remember reading about the same time that Pro Teams bought Sedisport chain in 100 meter rolls and their mechanics changed the chain ever day or two during the major stage races. It seems their expectations for chain longevity were pretty low.

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