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  1. #1
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    why is cycling lube so expensive?

    I dont get it. Is there any reason for cycling specific lubes to be so expensive? Besides marketing. At autozone you can get a quart of Castrol Syntec oil for 3 dollars! Then theres the 4oz bottle of pedros ice wax for 5 dollars....
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  2. #2
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    I "believe" its because cycle oil is teflon based, not the same as standard motor oil.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite
    I "believe" its because cycle oil is teflon based, not the same as standard motor oil.
    Well, it doesn't have to be.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    I dont get it. Is there any reason for cycling specific lubes to be so expensive? Besides marketing. At autozone you can get a quart of Castrol Syntec oil for 3 dollars! Then theres the 4oz bottle of pedros ice wax for 5 dollars....
    Pure marketing. Use synthetic waterproof marine greeze from wally mart,and make your own chain lube from synthetic motor oil and mineral spirits.

  5. #5
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    As far as lubing the "outer bits" such as brake pivots, levers, and so forth, you ideally want a lube that penetrates, then leaves a residue that's lubricating but non-sticky. Straight oils tend to keep dripping, making a mess eventually.
    For bearings and such, there's no reason not to use standart automotive or marine greases. They're very cheap.

    For chains...The argument will go on forever. Ideally, the lube should penetrate into the interior of the rollers, where it's needed, then sit there doing it's job without attracting a lot of dirt and dust. An almost-impossible task.
    Motor oils are fine lubricants, but meant to work in a closed system. Even there, they get filthy and have to be changed and filtered.
    On a chain, they not only get flung off but attract lots of dirt. Dirt acts like valve-grinding compound, wearing your chain prematurely. (and making an annoying goo...)

    There appears to be little or no agreement as to what's best; the chain-lube thread in the mechanic's forum went on for pages and pages...

    Waxes, high-tech lubes with molecular-bonding, mixes of synthetic and petroleum....It's all been tried.

    Though a bottle of the best bike-specific chain lube seems expensive, consider that it'll probably last you a couple of seasons.

  6. #6
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    One reason I heard was that motor oils were designed to work best at higher temperatures, and bike specific lubes are designed to work best at colder temps.

    If this is the case, the added cost is most likely due to a lower volume of the market.

  7. #7
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    Pure marketing. Use synthetic waterproof marine greeze from wally mart,and make your own chain lube from synthetic motor oil and mineral spirits.
    Well the synthetic motor oil with mineral spirits was what i was thinking about doing when the bottle of lube i have now runs out. I dont buy cycling specific grease though, ever. I have had good luck with Slick 50 multi purpose and it cost 2 bucks i think
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  8. #8
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    How fast are you going through your lube? I paid about $6 for a 4 oz. bottle of DuMonde Tech and that lasts me for at least a year. I can get Phil's Tenacious for around $3 for a 4 oz. bottle. The Finish Line stuff is around $4.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Its expensive because were stupid enough to pay for it. That being said I own cycling specific lube and grease.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  10. #10
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    FYI motor oil mostly needs to be changed due to build-up of combustion byproducts. You're right about it being designed for a closed system though, plus high temperatures and being applied under pressure.

    Anything you get in small quantities is more expensive (packaging etc). Plus it's a fairly low-volume market... Really, how much of any particular bike lube is manufactured and sold in a year? A couple hundred gallons? Compare that to your far cheaper motor oil... any given jiffy lube probably uses thousands of gallons a year.

  11. #11
    Newbie biker steel_is_real's Avatar
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    Interesting. I think I'll carry on using bike oil for externals, but just use standard grease for internal lubrication.

  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Want your chain to last forever??

    Just run it in an oil bath chain guard...that's all.

    No, I'm not kidding. The knowledge on how to make
    metals last has been around for a long time. So has
    all the expensive snake oil that you waste your money
    on. Bike lubes & stuff are all.......snake oils.

  13. #13
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    what about the mineral spirits and synthetic motor oil, has anybody here had experience witht hat?
    C://dos
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  14. #14
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    I used to use baby oil on my chain, but then I got started thinking about how they make it...

    the guy with the pitchfork pitching babies into that big press...
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  15. #15
    ride like theres not 2mrw chris_pnoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelnel
    I used to use baby oil on my chain, but then I got started thinking about how they make it...

    the guy with the pitchfork pitching babies into that big press...
    That is certainly untrue! They lure the babies with rattles so they're fresh.


    Whatever happened to just WD-40?

  16. #16
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    OKAY! Here we go again with the FREAKIN WD-40. WD stands for water dispersal, 40 means that the first 39 really sucked. WD-40 is a SOLVENT, not a LUBRICANT!!! Anything that takes bumper sticker adhesive off of your car is NOT going to be good at keeping your chain running smoothly for very long. It will simply attract dirt and gunk everything up. Take the padlock off of your wallet and spend the $4 on a bottle of decent CHAIN LUBE. You spend good money on a bike and parts, don't be a cheap prick about keeping things tuned and lubed properly.

    END SOAPBOX
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  17. #17
    ride like theres not 2mrw chris_pnoy's Avatar
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    ok, whats the next cheapest thing then?

  18. #18
    cab horn
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    Who gives a crap, $3.50 for a bottle of whatever. Use it for 10 years. Buy it, get over it. Next.

  19. #19
    acciaio is real Wurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    what about the mineral spirits and synthetic motor oil, has anybody here had experience witht hat?
    Yep, that's all I use on my drivetrain. I get many thousands of miles from every cassette and chain and quick, quiet shifting. I have no problems with rain rides, lube building up like wax-based stuff does, or excessive dirt attraction.

    Get a small bottle (6-12 oz.) that has a squirt top on it. Mix about 4 parts mineral spirits to 1 part oil, ie: 80%/20% ratio. I use Valvoline Synthetic because that's what I have around for my car.

    Turning the cranks backwards, I squirt the lube right into the center of the chain over the cassette for 1 to 3 complete rotations. You can place a newspaper under the area and up against the rear wheel to keep from getting it on the ground and rear wheel. The mixture will be thin like water, so just squirt away. Let it drip out of the chain for a few minutes, and the black gunk will come out with it.

    Take a folded rag and run the cranks again while running the chain through the rag until the chain looks clean and dry. You'll get a lot of black crud on the rag - that's what used to be in the chain rollers. Wipe off the chainrings & cassette if there is excess on them. Repeat the proceedure if the drivetrain is very dirty, or until the black drippings are lighter in color or none at all. Let it dry for about an hour, otherwise you might get splattering on the rear end of the bike.

    You can also soak the chain in a container of the mixture if you like to do it that way, but I find that it's not neccesary if I lube the chain every couple of rides. The thinness of the mineral spirits gets into the rollers and washes out the dirt. The mineral spirits later evaporates, leaving a nice thin coating of oil.

    If you do it after a ride, it can dry overnight then you're ready to go for the next day.

  20. #20
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelnel
    I used to use baby oil on my chain, but then I got started thinking about how they make it...

    the guy with the pitchfork pitching babies into that big press...
    Yeah, those poor kids. Oh well, thems the breaks!
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  21. #21
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    I dont get it. Is there any reason for cycling specific lubes to be so expensive? Besides marketing. At autozone you can get a quart of Castrol Syntec oil for 3 dollars! Then theres the 4oz bottle of pedros ice wax for 5 dollars....
    I've tried the name brand lubes and the household lubes. No difference. Or none that I can tell anyway. As a recreational rider I don't think it matters.

    3in1 or some lightweight gear oil seems to lube a chain as well as the "cycling" branded lubes for considerably less moolah. I'm also switching over to marine bearing grease from cycling grease for hubs and headsets. Wally World sells it for cheap. Peeled off the cardboard tube and put it into an old peanut butter jar with a putty knife. Works great. I thought about getting something like Slick 50 grease but at the last minute I went with Wally World's Technium brand (or whatever it is) as I thought it would help repel moisture better. Kind of irrelevant since I'm a fair weather rider.

    The only cycling lube (which really isn't a cycling lube) I'm using now is Boeshield T9. I have mixed opinions of it. It does seem to work but it's kind of sticky and tacky. My thoughts are if it's that sticky in my fingers, then how does that make for a better lube? I'm going to use it for the rest of the summer on my road bikes but I'll most likely switch back to 3in1.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  22. #22
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    You folks do realize that they sell large containers of Prolink at motorcycle shops for a lot less per unit/volume than bikes shops right?

  23. #23
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    I use the Liquid Wrench Teflon in the blue-green colored can. Looks, feels, smells, and seems to work exactly like Triflow or Finish Line, but I can get it at Home Depot for cheap.

    Same with CO2. You can spend a couple bucks per cartridge at your LBS, or you can get a box of 24 from Wal-Mart for $10. And no, I'm not driving my LBS out of business by not giving them $2.50 for a CO2 cartridge.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Bugtussle's Avatar
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    Anyone using ATF(automatic trans. fluid) for lube. Ive been using it on my motorcycle chains. Its a good high detergent light oil. Its cheap.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Don Cook's Avatar
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    It's because they're selling the grease to the same people that spend $thousand$ on a bike.

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