Originally Posted by cyccommute
Subtle. First you imply that because the press release is old, it can be ignored and then you imply that those eggheads at some fancy college where they only got book larnin' should'a knowd all this stuff to begin with 'cause it was knowd a hunert years ago..
I don't see where I implied anything about the study being ignored because it was done 15 years ago (not old by my standards). But yes, they didn't discover as much as confirm prior knowledge. As a side note, you'll find that far from disagreeing with them, I consistently recommend the use of larger sprockets (as I've done long before the study), so there's no disagreement.
But it's easy to use the study to jump from solid ground into quickstand if you're not careful. They studied the efficiency
or power loss
in chain drives under lab conditions, using new chains. That's very different than studying how to maximize chain life
in the real world. Nor did they study the effects of wear on efficiency.
So, while the study was interesting, it wasn't relevant to the major concern of most riders, which is getting the most bang for their buck out of their hardware. Lubrication comes at a cost in efficiency because lubricants introduce an added source of drag. This is especially true with chains because of the large flat areas between the plates which have virtually zero friction when running aligned and dry, but act like wet clutches when oiled. However lubrication's purpose on chains isn't to improve new efficiency, it's to improve chain life. Standard practice in the machinery world, even for fully enclosed chains is to have the chain continuously and positively oiled. The reason is that chain life is important and warrants some loss in initial efficiency.
So, for those who feel that lubes serve only to keep the elements from getting into your chains, I suggest an experiment you can do at home. Take a new chain, wash it in napatha, doing multiple rinses, to ensure it's clean and dry inside. Mount it on your bike, and do some hard training on a home trainer (no water or dirt) and pound some serious hard miles. Remove the chain and set aside, and repeat with a lubed chain (your choice). Ride the same distance, then compare chains, and draw your own conclusions.
As I say time and again, there are many ways to lubricate a chain, so pick whatever you prefer and go with it. If you want minimum power loss (for a while) run your chain dry.
As far as this thread is concerned, let's call it a case of reasonable people disagreeing, and end it there. Feel free to continue debating, but I have nothing more to add, and readers of this thread are free to draw their own conclusions.