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  1. #1
    Senior Member rapattack's Avatar
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    Bike oil - which one to buy?

    Hi i attended a bike maintenance course some weeks ago and i didn't catch what oil to get. In particular they talked about cleaning the chain and showed is how. Anyway i am about to buy a bike chain tool from one ebayer so thought i would see if he has the oil as well. There are too many oils and i have no idea what i should get . This is the page http://stores.ebay.com.au/BicycleHer...=p4634.c0.m322
    Can you give me some advice as up until a few months ago i didn't ride or own a bike for 20 years. We used to just use any oil about the place but then :0)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Spectators in place? Buttered popcorn and sodas at hand? Then let the show begin!

    Okay, you don't need any oil. There are plenty of products designed for one-step chain maintenance and plenty of others equally suitable. Everything else on the bike gets grease. So, instead of spinning a wheel while you oil the hub, pedal or bottom bracket as we did as kids, you actually take these assemblies apart and clean and grease. This only has to be done after many miles or years, depending on your hours on the bike. With seldom or very lightly-used bikes, the problem becomes dried-up grease more so than dirty grease. And with today's cassette (sealed) bearing assemblies, there essentially is no maintenance.
    You could also hold off on the chain tool as chains can easily be cleaned on the bike. You normally wouldn't need one unless you had to remove the chain from the bike for replacement. Not that a good selection of bicycle tools isn't good, just that you can get in over your head with a chain breaker or spoke wrench. Some chains don't need a breaker, for example.
    Inquiring minds want to know.

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    I agree with 1saxman. But if you really want to have some stuff on hand get a small tube of Park Polylube (grease) and small bottle of Park Chain Lube (oil). They may not be the best but they are decent and by the time you use them up you'll have a good idea of what you really want to have on hand.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rapattack's Avatar
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    OK student listening he he

    Yeah the guy in the course that i did(free course put on by the sydney government trying to get ordinary citizens out there and riding) we left the chain on the bike and dripped some kind of oil after cleaning the chain. Wasn't anything major. The dude i bought the bike from(ex rental ebike 1.5 years old) did say it would need a maintenance check and he didn't have time. I did give the chain an oil at the course over a month ago so maybe everything is cool.
    I get out on the bike everyday. I go into parks, roads, footpaths. Nothing too wild.
    I have noticed a clicking of some sort and it seems to come from the chain or the pedals. Not sure. Or is it a resistance? Not sure. Got no one around to observe as i ride to ask :0(

    Maybe it was called a chain checkup tool...sorry i get the names wrong.

  6. #6
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    Buy Chain-L!!!

    I'm sorry folks, this time I just couldn't resist.

    Asking which oil to buy is like going on a forum and asking whether you should date blonds or brunettes. The answer of course is redheads.

    Same with chain oil, everyone has favorites, and ones they hate, and you won't get any good consensus. Some folks get very worked up about the subject so be ready to be assaulted from all sides.

    The simple fact is that there are a number of good, but very different products out there and any will do OK if used properly. Of course, I too have a bias since I make Chain-L, but in all fairness the right oil for you depends on your tastes and where and how you ride.

    Is it dusty or rainy?
    Do you do long road rides or short trips of an hour or two?
    Are you diligent and willing to service your bike frewuently, or do you want something that requires less attention?
    Are you fussy about how your chain looks, or a pure performance, looks be dammed kinda guy?

    The answers to these questions will help you select an oil suited to your needs and preferences. There are also a number of review sites (on other forums) and numerous field test articles on various sites. Look for a product that receives high ratings in conditions similar to yours. For example if you live in Arizona, a review from someone in Vermont may not be as relevant. Also ask folks at the local shops what they use on their own bikes since they've probably experimented the most.

    Once you've gotten down to a short list pick one, use it per the makers instructions and see how it works for you. If you're not happy you can always change, because it's not like you're buying a bike or expensive component you'll be stuck with for years. Chain lube is a consumable and most riders try a few before settling on a favorite.
    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rapattack's Avatar
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    OK will try and seek out those products as i have no idea. There is a bike store in my suburb but thought it was easier to buy online. I don't know also if we have those brands in Australia

  8. #8
    Senior Member rapattack's Avatar
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    Oh cool you guys answered my question as i didn't know it was called lube.....see that is most of the battle he he. I am a female although a very good with mechanical things female :0) I am a tech nerd and very handy around the flat. All my neighbours borrow tools from my tool box :0)
    FBinNY-so didn't i open a can of worms? lol
    Yes well it is a new world to me so i will go down to the local bike store and see what they have to offer and ask questions now that i know it is lube that i am after and not grease or oil. Oh did i mention my dad is also a sewing machine mechanic. I am good with those too. I have two old machines which i have to oil. So i am good at maintenance. As long as things work i am not fussed that it looks pretty.
    Got all sorts of terrain around me but nothing too wild. Mostly road, footpaths and parks :0) . Can get dusty though.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapattack View Post
    Oh cool you guys answered my question as i didn't know it was called lube...so didn't i open a can of worms? lol[/B]
    Lube is shorthand for lubricant and describes the entire category. The sub categories would include oil, grease, wax, dry lubricant, etc.

    It isn't so much that you opened a can of worms, it's been open for a long time. There are certain areas that always generate lots of emotion, and long strings of contradictory posts, and how "best" to lubricate a bicycle is on of them. As I said everybody has a favorite, and one they hate, and they're all different, buy may also all be right, the very properties that make something good for one bike, make it very wrong for another.

    Given that this is such a regular topic, it would be nice if there was a sticky laying out an overview, so someone like yourself could get general info without as much confusion and controversy.
    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.

  10. #10
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    Snake brand oil is always popular.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    A true life adventure. I just finished cleaning my chain for the upcomming season. It has 6000 miles on it and still doesnt show .75% wear with a Park chain wear tool. It has always been lubed with Mobil 1 oil.

  12. #12
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Buy Chain-L!!!

    I'm sorry folks, this time I just couldn't resist.

    Asking which oil to buy is like going on a forum and asking whether you should date blonds or brunettes. The answer of course is redheads.

    Same with chain oil, everyone has favorites, and ones they hate, and you won't get any good consensus. Some folks get very worked up about the subject so be ready to be assaulted from all sides.

    The simple fact is that there are a number of good, but very different products out there and any will do OK if used properly. Of course, I too have a bias since I make Chain-L, but in all fairness the right oil for you depends on your tastes and where and how you ride.

    Is it dusty or rainy?
    Do you do long road rides or short trips of an hour or two?
    Are you diligent and willing to service your bike frewuently, or do you want something that requires less attention?
    Are you fussy about how your chain looks, or a pure performance, looks be dammed kinda guy?

    The answers to these questions will help you select an oil suited to your needs and preferences. There are also a number of review sites (on other forums) and numerous field test articles on various sites. Look for a product that receives high ratings in conditions similar to yours. For example if you live in Arizona, a review from someone in Vermont may not be as relevant. Also ask folks at the local shops what they use on their own bikes since they've probably experimented the most.

    Once you've gotten down to a short list pick one, use it per the makers instructions and see how it works for you. If you're not happy you can always change, because it's not like you're buying a bike or expensive component you'll be stuck with for years. Chain lube is a consumable and most riders try a few before settling on a favorite.
    I just got a small bottle of your lube free in with an ebay purchase I made. I might try it the next time I clean my chain, but was sort of surprised that your note said not to use citrus cleaner as that's usually what I see recommended to put into my chain cleaner machine thingy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    but was sort of surprised that your note said not to use citrus cleaner as that's usually what I see recommended to put into my chain cleaner machine thingy.
    I'm following Shimano's lead here and they're probably right. Pure citrus solvent, D-limonene which is a clear (not cloudy) yellow or orange colored liquid is chemically much like turpentine and is probably fine, though it's expensive. But most citrus cleaner are blends of D-limonene in water, with other additives, and that's where the problem is. Shimano warns against the use of acids or caustics as chain cleaners, and some are OK while others may not be, the problem is that it's hard to know which is which.

    I prefer naphtha or mineral spirits because I know they're safe for the chain, they dry completely and with some easy management can be reused making them very economical. If you prefer to stay with citrus, don't leave the chain in it for days, and rinse it thoroughly, then dry the chain completely with a hair drier, or off the bike, by baking it in an oven at 200 for a 10 minutes or so.

    I might add, that Shimano generally recommends against washing chains, and I never wash chains unless it's absolutely necessary, and never on the bike if I do. I dry wipe the chain as well as possible, and avoiding the entire washing process was a reason that I wanted the maximum service interval when I formulated Chain-L.

    I'm not saying that my way is the only way, or even the best way, but It's served me well for 40 years and well over 100,000 miles, so I know it works.

    BTW- I used to use pure D-limonene which I sourced by the drum for my business, but when it passed $20.00 per gallon I went back to a kerosene based solvent for the factory.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 03-11-11 at 10:04 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.

  14. #14
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    Dirt/contaminant is the #1 cause of excessive chain wear. I wipe down each link with a clean rag every 100-120 miles. Do the same for the front chain ring and rear sprockets. Put 1/4 drop of synthetic 5w-30 motor oil on the left and right side of the roller. Wipe off excess. Repeat and rise.

    I avoid riding in the rain. I don't dip the chain in solvent to deep clean. Average mileage from one chain is min 8.5K miles (re-use at least once). Brand is Nashbar tandem (re-badge KMC Z7.x) cut to length. Item is often on sale for less than $14.

    Love that bottle of snake oil by mike_s.

  15. #15
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    So if you don't clean the chain, you just apply new lube every thousand miles? I like the ease of that plan. Don't want to go with turpentine or something as I just have a small apartment to work in and we have a baby that doesn't need solvent fumes messing up her development (like I did mine).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    So if you don't clean the chain, you just apply new lube every thousand miles? I like the ease of that plan. Don't want to go with turpentine or something as I just have a small apartment to work in and we have a baby that doesn't need solvent fumes messing up her development (like I did mine).
    Yeah, that's about it. I guess I'm a believer in tough love for chains. BTW- until I started Chain-L, I only washed chains in March as part of my spring overhaul while they were off anyway. Since I'm a year round rider the bike gets special attention after the roads are finally free of salt.
    FB
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    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

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

  17. #17
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    The fact that there are so many lubricants advertised for bicycle use and so many more made for other uses that work well on bicycles implies there is no one "best" of anything. Otherwise, all of the others would have gone off the market.

    I use Phil Grease, (bought in 640 gram tubs or 14-oz cylinders, not the very expensive 3-oz tubes) for all of my hub and headset bearings and to grease seatposts, bolts, etc., Tri-Flow oil for all of the pivot points and a 1:3 mix of Mobile 1 with odorless mineral spirits or Chain-L as a chain lube. Are these the best possible lubricants? Of course not but they work and work well so I see no compelling reason to change anything.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ScottNotBombs's Avatar
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    I just use anti-seize on non-moving parts, park grease on moving parts, and 2 parts mineral spirit 1 part 75w-90 gear lube on my chain.
    I'm just a kid who gets in trouble sometimes

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    There is a bike store in my suburb but thought it was easier to buy online.
    By not patronizing your local bike shop, it will go away, close, Go out of Business.
    Then you will find when you really need help, the UPS [parcel delivery company] driver will not fix your bike for you.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-11-11 at 12:45 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rapattack's Avatar
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    Gee there is a lot of opinions :0) Well i got the lube today at last and will see how i go. It is some kind of Soy oil mix. Cleaned the chain and gave it a lube but will be a few hours before i see any type of results when i ride tomorrow.

    Thanks so much!!!

  21. #21
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    Any mineral oil based lubricant will do. People get quite passionate over the subject, but bottom line is that for bicycle use, lubrication isn't critical enough to warrant any specialized kind of oils. I've used everything from bike specific oils to WD40, to plain 30wt-40wt motor oil. They all work fine for bicycles.

    Vegetable oils, I would think, should be avoided, because they have a tendency to polymerize. This can cause them to harden and/or gel up, minimizing their effectiveness, or worse.

  22. #22
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    First drink the snake oil to wash down the BS. Then http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html

    The most important thing to long chain and drive train life is regular cleaning and maintaince.

  23. #23
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    Ask 10 bicyclists which chain lube is the "best", and you'll get 12 opinions. It's apparently a matter of religious faith. bk

  24. #24
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    The feeling that any one oil is somehow best in any absolute sense is BS. I say that as someone who sells oil.

    But different oils can be better or worse for any individual based on where and how he rides, and his priorities. One may feel that an ultra clean oil is best even though it has a short service interval. Another may rank long wet weather survival as more important. A third just doesn't want to be bothered and want's the least frequent application.

    What's best is different for everybody, for real and legitimate reasons. Every product is a compromise involving tradeoffs of various benefits and drawbacks. Even if we could somehow determine the best all round chain oil, that would only be best for someone who matched the all-round profile.

    Every person has to settle on what best suits his own preferences and needs, rather than seeking the Holy Grail.
    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.

  25. #25
    Senior Member rapattack's Avatar
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    OK well i will have to learn by experience. I appreciate all the opinions as i would not have known not being a rider for over 20 years until recently. Just happy to be back on a bike and getting greasy every now and then. I am happy 1 because i can ride(couldn't before because my illness was much worse) and 2 because i am not reacting too badly to the smells. Oils, silicon spray, traffic fumes. They are still bad but i am avoiding the roads to go down alley ways and foot paths. :0)

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