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Old 04-01-14, 01:31 PM   #1
vol
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What type (viscosity) of chain lube to use?

My bike is a hybrid, rarely ride in rain, usually 35-minute x 2 round trip commute about 5 days a week on city streets in leisure speed. Should I buy high, mid or low viscosity chain lube? Pros and cons? Thanks.
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Old 04-01-14, 01:49 PM   #2
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Short answer - ProLink I'm laughing because you just started another landslide of opinions
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Old 04-01-14, 01:51 PM   #3
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There's about 6000 discussions on chain lubes on this board and everybody has their own opinion of what's best.
Personally, I like the Chain L from FBinNY on this board, but it's a bit messy.
I didn't think my chain was noisy until I heard it quiet.
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Old 04-01-14, 02:08 PM   #4
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pick a number , I'll go with 20..
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Old 04-01-14, 02:25 PM   #5
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I know there have been a lot of discussions... Right now I just hope know about the viscosity factor. Never mind what brand, just the pros and cons of high/mid/low viscosity?
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Old 04-01-14, 03:00 PM   #6
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Very generally: thick lubes stay in the chain longer, but they attract grime and grit more. Thin lubes don't attract grime as much, but they wash out quickly. Find a balance applicable to your specific situation.
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Old 04-01-14, 03:20 PM   #7
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I know there have been a lot of discussions... Right now I just hope know about the viscosity factor. Never mind what brand, just the pros and cons of high/mid/low viscosity?
I don't think I've ever seen the viscosity of any chain lube specified.
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Old 04-01-14, 03:47 PM   #8
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Very generally: thick lubes stay in the chain longer, but they attract grime and grit more. Thin lubes don't attract grime as much, but they wash out quickly. Find a balance applicable to your specific situation.
Thanks.

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I don't think I've ever seen the viscosity of any chain lube specified.
This is what led me to ask the question.

Last edited by vol; 04-01-14 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 04-01-14, 03:55 PM   #9
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You sound like a medium, since heavy is for mud and rain and light doesn't really work very well for anybody (at least that's what I've read on here).
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Old 04-01-14, 04:15 PM   #10
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Viscosity is only part of the equation. Actually, film strength is more important, and it doesn't always follow with viscosity. Short answer, thicker lubes tend to stay inside longer, thin ones wick in quickly, then wash out just as quickly.

As far as cleanliness goes, I find that thick oils can be as clean or cleaner if you wipe the outside of the chain down before the dirt gets ahead of you.

In a perfect world, chains would be like car engines with a way to get good oil inside where it's needed without spilling it all over the outside where it isn't. But life isn't perfect and we have to make do.

My bias is obvious, so I've kept this short and balanced. Use a few lubes according to how they're designed to be used, and stay with the one that gives you the best balance of properties according to your tastes.
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Old 04-01-14, 05:00 PM   #11
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. . . This is what led me to ask the question.
Avoidance is sometimes the most elegant solution. Maybe pick a brand with only one variety?
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Old 04-01-14, 05:08 PM   #12
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I didn't understand why the one with the highest viscosity is said to have "Longest lasting performance in all conditions".
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Old 04-01-14, 05:25 PM   #13
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I didn't understand why the one with the highest viscosity is said to have "Longest lasting performance in all conditions".
Probably because it does.

If we roll the clock back a few years to before I introduced Chain-L, lubes were getting thinner and thinner, and all marketing was focused on being clean. Then I brought out Chain-L and everybody else ignored it figuring I'd go away. But over time, the issue of better lubrication and longer life cycles began to come into the conversation, and we saw heavier offerings from the other players, with claims to be longest lasting. (hah!).

But it' not all that simple, because some lubes are solvent oil blends that seem thin, but thicken after the solvent evaporates.

As I said before, it's about balancing good lubrication against other issues. There's no arguing against better lubrication but the right lube depends on how much weight you assign to those other factors.
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Old 04-01-14, 05:35 PM   #14
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some home brews use STP which does a sticky thing

IDK what the tenacious ingredient is in Phil's maybe something like that ..

Chainsaw bar oil? IDK.. around here they use what came out of the truck at the last Oil change.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:05 PM   #15
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Short answer - ProLink I'm laughing because you just started another landslide of opinions
I mix the Blue and Yellow Dumonde Tech, because I like Green.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:08 PM   #16
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I mix the Blue and Yellow Dumonde Tech, because I like Green.
Pack it in some small bottles and then you will be able to make some real green lol
Not many folks talks about Dumonde Tech stuff...how do you like it? What riding conditions?
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Old 04-01-14, 09:30 PM   #17
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Pack it in some small bottles and then you will be able to make some real green lol
Not many folks talks about Dumonde Tech stuff...how do you like it? What riding conditions?
High Desert conditions. It works pretty good. It's not great in wet conditions, so I might mix it a little thicker during the winter. Other than than that, I like it because it's one of the few that actually self cleans. I also like the little bottles they sell because they fit nice and comfy in my hydration pack.

I have a drive train going on 5 years old that has seen plenty of abuse, yet not a single broken chain and very little wear. Before I started using this lube regularly I would replace drive train components at least once a year. I'm not sure if there is a correlation to be made, but as they say...'if'n it ain't broke...'

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Old 04-01-14, 09:37 PM   #18
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Thick oil is best, for a number of reasons. Chain L, Phil Tenacious and chainsaw bar oil are superior because they are thick and stay in place because of additives that make them 'sticky'.

Apply one of these oils and let them soak into the chain. Then, wipe all you can off the exterior. These oils and this technique will ensure that proper oil is where it needs to be and that very little is out gathering dirt.

I use Poulan bar oil. However, I recommend you use one of the other two I mentioned as they are thicker, stickier and more convenient than the Poulan. You can get them through Amazon and maybe your LBS.

I hope I don't seem too high-handed about this, but, I really do know a lot about this sort of thing. Perhaps because he sells Chain L and doesn't wish to seem self-serving, FBinNY holds back a little with his advice and recommendations. Listen to him; he know of what he speaks.

BTW: If you use one of these oils, you will not need to lube as often, your chain will run quietly and cleanly, shifting will remain smooth and the chain and sprockets will last a very long time.

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Old 04-01-14, 09:43 PM   #19
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Thick oil is best, for a number of reasons. Chain L, Phil Tenacious and chainsaw bar oil are superior because they are thick and stay in place because of additives that make them 'sticky'.

Apply one of these oils and let them soak into the chain. Then, wipe all you can off the exterior. These oils and this technique will ensure that proper oil is where it needs to be and that very little is out gathering dirt.

I use Poulan bar oil. However, I recommend you use one of the other two I mentioned as they are thicker, stickier and more convenient than the Poulan. You can get them through Amazon and maybe your LBS.

I hope I don't seem too high-handed about this, but, I really do know a lot about this sort of thing. Perhaps because he sells Chain L and doesn't wish to seem self-serving, FBinNY holds back a little with his advice and recommendations. Listen to him; he know of what he speaks.

BTW: If you use one of these oils, you will not need to lube as often, your chain will run quietly, shifting will remain smooth and the chain and sprockets will last a very long time.

Joe
I don't like to sit there and apply lube to every single link. There is something to be said for the convenience factor of some of the "lighter" lubes on the market. I can apply it as needed, before, during, or after a ride, and all that is required is some backpedaling and a steady hand. As a bonus, I don't even have to wipe.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:45 PM   #20
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I mix my own with 10W30 semi synthetic and mineral spirits in a 2:1 ratio.

The solvent acts as a carrier for the oil and in this, I have used WD40 in place of the solvent since it is mostly solvent.

When people say a chain lasted 5 years that says nothing as a bike that does not go anywhere is not going to wear out... I was riding 10,000 miles a year in every kind of weather and swapping chains every 3000 - 4000 miles and typically refresh my lube every 300-500 miles (depending on conditions) or when things get so grimy that the bike needs a good clean up.

The semi synthetic is nice in colder temps as it gets less gummy.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:50 PM   #21
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Thick oil is best, for a number of reasons. Chain L, Phil Tenacious and chainsaw bar oil are superior because they are thick and stay in place because of additives that make them 'sticky'.
Most chainsaw oils are SAE30 weight /the same type our grandfathers were using in their cars/, and as you said, they may have some "sticky" additives. I believe that they are very good in forming a protective film. I use a lot of SAE30 non detergent oil in all my pumps that run at almost 4000 rpm, and they run pretty hot. Every time before I change it, I run pump for few minutes to make it hot. This oil is way "heavier" than regular motor oil even when hot. I wonder how much "regular" SAE30 differ from SAE30 chainsaw bar oils. I may try to use it for some time just to see how good or bad it is comparing to my favorite chain lube.
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Old 04-01-14, 09:51 PM   #22
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I mix my own with 10W30 semi synthetic and mineral spirits in a 2:1 ratio.

The solvent acts as a carrier for the oil and in this, I have used WD40 in place of the solvent since it is mostly solvent.

When people say a chain lasted 5 years that says nothing as a bike that does not go anywhere is not going to wear out... I was riding 10,000 miles a year in every kind of weather and swapping chains every 3000 - 4000 miles and typically refresh my lube every 300-500 miles (depending on conditions) or when things get so grimy that the bike needs a good clean up.

The semi synthetic is nice in colder temps as it gets less gummy.
I ride 25-30 miles per week, year round. It's not a lot and I do ride just a single gear up front, which I'm supposing has lessened some of the wear and tear.
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Old 04-01-14, 10:04 PM   #23
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I mix my own with 10W30 semi synthetic and mineral spirits in a 2:1 ratio.

The solvent acts as a carrier for the oil and in this, I have used WD40 in place of the solvent since it is mostly solvent.
I used to mix it same way, but I have no opinion how good it worked on my chain. Advertisement is a powerful thing, and it sucked me into buying bicycle chain lubes.
My mix was Castrol Syntec semi synthetic, with "odorless" mineral spirits. I still use whatever left on some things around my property.
I tried that because I remember my old and rusty gate at my summer house. I was tired of that squeaky noise every time I was opening it, so I poured some regular motor oil on all hinges. I used that gate for another 5 or 6 years, it saw temperature 20F-100F, rain and snow, and it was super quiet for all these years.
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Old 04-01-14, 10:09 PM   #24
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I ride 25-30 miles per week, year round. It's not a lot and I do ride just a single gear up front, which I'm supposing has lessened some of the wear and tear.
I get much better chain life on my singlespeed / fg / IGH bikes... 5000 miles plus per chain is typical and my wife's city bike (with an enclosed chaincase) has over 8000 miles on a single chain and it has not hit it's wear limit yet.
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Old 04-01-14, 10:13 PM   #25
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I get much better chain life on my singlespeed / fg / IGH bikes... 5000 miles plus per chain is typical and my wife's city bike (with an enclosed chaincase) has over 8000 miles on a single chain and it has not hit it's wear limit yet.
Yep. I have an SS as well and I think I've been running a 10spd chain on that for about as many years using all manner of lubes. Sometimes I just roll on some regular old Tri-Flo. DOH!
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