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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-15-05, 07:24 AM   #1
drolldurham
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chain lube and noise

I had been wrestling with a noisy chain for a long time. I'd messed with chain tension and chainline and chain lube, nothing really worked for any long period of time.

Anyway, I hadn't lubed my chain in a while, so one morning as I was about to leave for work, I picked up the bottle of lube that my dad uses (ahem, on his bike) and doused my chain in it. It was Finish Line ("all-weather" or something like that) as opposed to the White Lightning that I was using at the shop. Holy Moses! My bike is silent. No squeaks, but even more surprising, no clicking, no "roller-coaster-starting-up-the-hill" noises. Even back-pedaling, which usually made everything louder, is silent.

The Finish Line lube that I used is a real thick lube, almost like Phil's Tenacious Oil, as opposed to White Lightning which is mostly (i think) alcohol, mixed with solids, which gives it that "cleaning" feature.

So all this got me thinking. On a geared bike, you want to avoid over-lubing -- it just attracts lots of gunk. But on a SS or fixie, why is that a problem? Sure, a dirty drivetrain takes away some efficiency, but if it really gets to be a problem I can buy a new chain and clean the cog and chainring for oh, $15.

I'd much rather have wonderful silence due to a gunky chain than that bit of efficiency.
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Old 05-15-05, 08:02 AM   #2
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I too have been wrestling with a noisy drivetrain, and have tweaked and tweaked to no lasting avail. I've been using a Finish Line product, Kyrtech. I've been thinking about doing the whole dip-the-chain-in-melted-wax thing, or possibly buying some super premium $50 chain (throw money at it, that'll solve the problem).
What sort of lube is it? Let us know if it's sorted the problem long-term.
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Old 05-15-05, 08:14 AM   #3
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Chains need a good dousing. If you clean your chain regularly (not thoroughly - all I do is run it through a towel with degreaser while still on the drivetrain) and then apply lube liberally (none of that one drop crap), let it set and then wipe it down again then I get a nice silent chain. It's mostly the letting it set in for me that gets a good silent chain.

I'm currently using ProLink. It's good, relatively cheap and there's quite a bit of it in the bottle. http://www.progoldmfr.com/products/prolink.html

Last edited by absntr; 05-15-05 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 05-15-05, 08:15 AM   #4
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Similar issue, without getting my dropouts cold set to 120, the line is about as good as it gets so I still get a bit of noise. I use chainsaw bar lube (~$2/qt), apply it to the inside of the chainloop and that seems to do the trick. On the frame I have now, a Ciocc, I seem to be tightening the chain far more often than on my old POS. It's a real pain and I'm not sure why it's happening...
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Old 05-15-05, 08:51 AM   #5
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I use that Finish Line lube too, the all-weather "cross-country" type. It's a bit thinner than Phil oil, which I gave up on because it kept getting all "stringy" between the chain and cogs and spattering all over my spokes and chainstay. Yuck. And any wax based lube won't last more than an hour. I probably over-lube a bit, but a dirty lubed drivetrain is still faster and quieter than a dirty un-lubed or wax-lubed drivetrain.
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Old 05-15-05, 08:53 AM   #6
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one of my bike buddies has stuff called BioCleaner or something, that de-lubes yer chain. run that over the chain, it removes the old lube and all the attached gunk. then lube it up. words great, even with a variety of lubes.
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Old 05-15-05, 10:47 AM   #7
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I used to soak my chain n 90 weight gear oil overnight. Then wipe it off and put it back on. Smells kinda bad but lasts for weeks, rain or shine.
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Old 05-15-05, 11:04 AM   #8
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I use the same weight oil that I put in my car...10w30. I squirt it on the chain using a pump oil can, and run the cranks around a bunch of turns to really lube everything, then hold a clean cloth on the chain to wipe off the excess. I don't have chain noise, and I get really smooth shifts. Whatever works for you, keep doing it.
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Old 05-15-05, 11:11 AM   #9
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Good tip on the White Lightning. I don't want to get into the lube debate but it is interesting that you noticed such a difference. It warrants a try at the very least. I have used Phil's Teancious Oil for years and I have also notice the "stringyness" of the consistency. If you go even in the slightest bit heavy handed with that stuff it gets all over everything, so it leaves little room for error. This makes for a tedious lubing process and I'm always on the lookout for a way to make things easier. I just figured it would be the same for all of the "alternative" lubes.

I have found the easiest/ most economical way to clean the chain is to use the 2 liter bottle method. It works surprisingly well and it allows you to collect the nasty environment hating degreaser in a bottle for later disposal. I believe Sheldon Brown has put up instructions on how to do this but I have been doing it since I was an 11 year old BMX'er. Very simple:

1) Remove chain
2) Place chain in two liter bottle
3) Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of degreaser in the bottle(it is important to note that the chain need not be totally immersed in degreaser)
4) Put cap on bottle and shake for about a minute and let it sit for a few minutes
5) Repeat step 4 as many times as you wish, I only do it twice
6) Use a screwdriver or other long thin object to remove the chain from the bottle(much harder than it sounds. Most of the time I just end up cutting the bottle open)
7) Run the chain under extremely hot water for a minute or so
8) Try to shake off/wipe off as much excess water as possible let sit until dry
9) Place chain on bike and lube

This whole process takes under 15 minutes with very little work on your end and your chain comes out looking like new. Worth a shot if you clean the chain while on the bike and still have a little grit left over(it is just as easy IMO and works a ton better).
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Old 05-15-05, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatle bailey
and I get really smooth shifts.
Shifts? Am I in the right forum?
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Old 05-15-05, 11:14 AM   #11
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a piece of wire coathanger with a little bend in the end makes getting the chain out somewhat easier.
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Old 05-15-05, 11:18 AM   #12
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True dat. As you can infer from the post above I am lazy. Therefore, I just use what's within an arms length. Even then I think it would be difficult to remove the chain since it tends to loop around itself if you know what I mean. I will give it a shot next time, though.
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Old 05-15-05, 11:20 AM   #13
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With a little oil your shift key can also work much smoother, allowing for ultra fast ALL CAPS TYPING!
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Old 05-15-05, 11:22 AM   #14
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I use prolink too. I usually take my chain off, put it in a plastic ziplock bag, pour some biodegreaser in, let it soak, i agitate (shaking the bag side to side, like a wash machine) the chain in the bag several times. Rinse with warm water, dry the chain off and then lube up with prolink. Its like a brand new chain everytime.
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Old 05-15-05, 01:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by absntr
Chains need a good dousing. If you clean your chain regularly (not thoroughly - all I do is run it through a towel with degreaser while still on the drivetrain) and then apply lube liberally (none of that one drop crap), let it set and then wipe it down again then I get a nice silent chain. It's mostly the letting it set in for me that gets a good silent chain.

I'm currently using ProLink. It's good, relatively cheap and there's quite a bit of it in the bottle. http://www.progoldmfr.com/products/prolink.html
I've been using that for a while and have had pretty good luck.

Do you follow the instructions on the bottle which say to apply liberally before wiping clean and then *reapply*? My chain is pretty quiet if I do that, but that uses a lot of lube too, and "relatively cheap" when you're talking about chain-lube is still pretty expensive.

-Trevor
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Old 05-15-05, 01:06 PM   #16
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Great tip with the bottle. I usually just end up using a brush and bucket with degreaser while the chain was still on the bike, and then a subsequent scrub with warm water. I will take it off next time.
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Old 05-15-05, 01:08 PM   #17
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I used to use Prolink, but found it didn't last very long. I like Pedros, it's a bit gooey-er.
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Old 05-15-05, 02:48 PM   #18
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When I do a bottle rinse, I loop a little bit of string through the last link of the chain, and keep the ends out of the bottle. If you use a thin string, the bottle still seals tight. When you're done, hold onto the string (if you don't, it may get sucked into the bottle when you open it), undo the lid, and pull the chain out. No struggle, no coathangers. Dead easy. I think I got that idea from Sheldon.
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Old 05-15-05, 03:05 PM   #19
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An old spoke works too.
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