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  1. #1
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    What can you use to lube your chain

    What can you use to lube your bike chain? I usually use WD-40 although i hear you shouldnt it this true?

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    Powerful-Ugly Creature Greyryder's Avatar
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    Now that you've degreased your chain with the WD-40, you should get some chain lube. Myself, I like White Lightning Clean Ride.
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    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cytotoxictcell View Post
    What can you use to lube your bike chain? I usually use WD-40 although i hear you shouldnt it this true?
    Ask this question of any 5 old-time cyclists and you're likely to get 10 answers. Look around the "Bicycle Mechanics" forum and you'll see the ongoing debates around chain lube and/or WD-40.
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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    To me WD-40 is a very short term lubricant. Depending on which bike I use White Lightning products or motor oil.

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    WD-40 actually works fine for me so long as it is applied frequently. It definitely makes a great cleaner, and IMO works as a light lube. That said, I make my own lube from chainsaw bar oil and mineral oi l- which seems to hold up better and requires less frequent application.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyryder View Post
    Now that you've degreased your chain with the WD-40, you should get some chain lube. Myself, I like White Lightning Clean Ride.
    It worked good on a tour for me.
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  7. #7
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    I use light, general purpose machine oil, about the consistency of sewing machine oil. I get it at my local hardware store at about 10% of the cost of bike chain specific lube from the bike shops. It does a better job than the overpriced stuff from the bike shops (which is a ripoff IMO).

  8. #8
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    you can use vegetable oil. providing you don't care if it goes rancid.

    I use 10W30 mixed with a very tiny amount of WD40.
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    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    I use light, general purpose machine oil, about the consistency of sewing machine oil. I get it at my local hardware store at about 10% of the cost of bike chain specific lube from the bike shops. It does a better job than the overpriced stuff from the bike shops (which is a ripoff IMO).
    +1 much cheaper than most LBS lubricant products.

  10. #10
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    I've used WD-40, spray-on silicone lubricant, motor oil, 3-in-1 oil and a whole assortment of bike-chain-specific lubes.

    Any of them are fine, in the short run, but I've found that Rock-n-Roll Gold is cleaner and stays longer than anything else I've tried.

    http://www.rocklube.com/products_detail_gold.html
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrafl View Post
    +1 much cheaper than most LBS lubricant products.

    Is cost really an issue? I'll readily agree that $5.00 for the amount of oil in one of those little drip bottles of bicycle chain lube is ridiculously expensive.

    On the other hand, I bought a bottle of Rock and Roll chain lube around 2 years ago. It says to put a tiny drop on each link, wipe off the excess, and not to repeat until the chain starts making noise. Following those directions, I still have most of it left. At my age I may never use it all up. At that rate I estimate my chain lube cost to be around one penny per week.

    So far as doing a better job, how do you tell? Chain wear is so gradual that I can't really measure it in any meaningful way with the amount of riding that I do. Several people who have mechanical abillities that I respect have very different, and very strongly held, opinions about chain maintenance practices. If they were dissatisfied in any way I assume they'd change what they do. The fact that they don't is evidence to me that there are a lot of different ways to maintain a bike chain that are all adequate.

  12. #12
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    During the less wet months, I also use White Lightning Clean Ride. It's low-hassle and works well as long as the weather isn't too wet.

    During the winter I've been using Finish Line WET. I do wonder if there's something better than it, though. It seems to hold on to a lot of grime.

    Ignoring bicycle-specific information, I've been told by multiple mechanics and engineers that WD-40 is less a lubricant and more a cleaner. It has some lubricating properties, but it's mostly for loosening up rust and crud. You'd want something else for an actual lubricant.

  13. #13
    Senior Member artimus's Avatar
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    I use bearing grease thinned with white gas. The gas thins the grease to get into the rollers. When the gas evaporates I have the lube right where I need it, in the rollers. I've been doing this for years.
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    Tri-Flow. Found on almost every bike mechanic's bench.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artimus View Post
    I use bearing grease thinned with white gas. The gas thins the grease to get into the rollers. When the gas evaporates I have the lube right where I need it, in the rollers. I've been doing this for years.
    That's one that I haven't heard of before. Sounds like a variation on the "chain waxers".

    I've often thought about immersing the chain in some kind of lubricant inside some kind of pressure vessel then pumping it up to around 100 psi. Seems like a lot more effort than what I'm doing and, since I can't tell the difference, what's the point?

  16. #16
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    Purpose made bike chain lube is not expensiveand plenty of people making it in plenty of forms. But it is pointless lubing a dirty chain.
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    I have read full synthetic motor oil (go amsoil and get the best) thinned with 50-75% mineral spirits, depending on person, works for many folks.

    I use ProLink ProGold for my road only bike, and Pedro's Ice Wax on my offroad/bike path bike. I use the Prolink on my beater bike as well, since it doesnt get used as much I like to keep the chain rust free, and with full fenders, the chain stays very clean.

    I have used *** oil, triflow, white lightening, Pedro's Road Rage (collects dirt like its meant to), wd-40 as a kid... I wouldnt use WD-40 unless I was in an emergency, or if you were out in the rain, it would take care of the water

  18. #18
    Senior Member Paul Y.'s Avatar
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    chain-L No. 5. apply, wipe chain after your ride. Reapply every 700-1000 miles.
    I think its chainsaw bar oil though, but chain is very quiet.

  19. #19
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    But it is pointless lubing a dirty chain.
    +1. Excellent advice. Never, ever, lube a dirty chain!
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  20. #20
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I've used a motorcycle chain lube from time to time but only because I was out of Tri-flow. Seemed to work well though.

  21. #21
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    Kano dryphite, slickest stuff on the planet, used it on my sons pinewood derby axles beat all the other derby cars easily. graphite is a dry lube doesnt attrack dirt.

  22. #22
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    Mobil 1 0W-20 works well, lasts for days, you just have to keep wiping it off, it's like it breeds....

    I have this stainless steel cleaner/polish in a spray can that works well for a dry-conditions/light lube, good for about 2-3 days. Cleans the chain no matter what I use on it, too.

    Stapfam... bike-specific lubes ARE expensive -- $1 an ounce, man! 600% more than Mobil 1!

  23. #23
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    Mobil 1 0W-20 works well, lasts for days, you just have to keep wiping it off, it's like it breeds....

    I have this stainless steel cleaner/polish in a spray can that works well for a dry-conditions/light lube, good for about 2-3 days. Cleans the chain no matter what I use on it, too.

    Stapfam... bike-specific lubes ARE expensive -- $1 an ounce, man! 600% more than Mobil 1!
    Lasts for days?? Heck, I'm used to having one application of Finish-Line wet lube last for a couple months during Pacific Northwest winters. It's getting pretty grungy by the end of that, though.

    (To the OP: see what I mean about chain lube threads?)
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  24. #24
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Synthetic motor oil thinned with a little WD40 or mineral spirits (about 50/50) has been the best lube I have ever used... dispels water as it cleans and when the solvent evaporates you have lubrication where it is needed.

    By itself WD40 is a very poor chain lubricant... as a degreaser or carrier for oil it is excellent.

  25. #25
    The Fred Menace! RI_Swamp_Yankee's Avatar
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    I love the smell of 3-in-1 Oil in the morning... smells like victory. Well, citrus-y, actually. It's like magic - you only notice how much racket your drive train was kicking up once it disappears entirely after a clean-and-lube. Bonus? $2.50 at Benny's Hardware.

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