Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

What lubrication should be on the chain?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

What lubrication should be on the chain?

Old 04-20-16, 11:52 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 193

Bikes: Giant Cypress DX

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 246 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What lubrication should be on the chain?

When the bike is new, there's a coating of grease on the chain, at least on bikes I've ever encountered. However, there are these waxy liquid chain lubes like White Lightning Clean Ride. To use something like this should the grease be completely cleaned off the chain and gears?

What do you consider to be the best chain lube?
Robert P is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:16 AM
  #2  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 362
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 14 Posts
with a new chain I leave it as long as possible before I clean and re-lube, how long that is I cant tell you but once I have cleaned and lubed it, it then becomes a regular chore of varying degrees of thoroughness depending on my mood swings and circadian rhythm. Don’t slap chain lube on a dirty chain(or a new one) clean it first
headasunder is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:22 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 38,657

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5762 Post(s)
Liked 2,535 Times in 1,402 Posts
:
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:55 AM
  #4  
jyl
Senior Member
 
jyl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 7,639

Bikes: 61 Bianchi Specialissima 71 Peugeot G50 7? P'geot PX10 74 Raleigh GranSport 75 P'geot UO8 78? Raleigh Team Pro 82 P'geot PSV 86 P'geot PX 91 Bridgestone MB0 92 B'stone XO1 97 Rans VRex 92 Cannondale R1000 94 B'stone MB5 97 Vitus 997

Mentioned: 146 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 49 Times in 31 Posts
Search for chain lube threads, there are many.

Here's my brief advice:
- Almost any commercial chain lube, or other oil or lubricant, will work. Everything from TriFlow to Chain-L, from 3-in-1 oil to chainsaw lube, from homebrew lube mixtures to paraffin. The difference is how long they will work for, and in what conditions, and in some cases how much hassle they are to apply.
- Lighter (less thick/viscous) lubes don't last as long, heavier (more thick/viscous) lubes will last longer. Even the dreaded WD-40 will work, but for only a very short time. In wet dirty conditions, lubes don't last as long as in dry clean conditions.
- Carefully cleaning and drying a chain before applying fresh lube is ideal, but that adds a significant hassle factor, which may dissuade you from lubing the chain as often as you should. Simply wiping the worst of the crud off the chain (with rag or paper towel) and applying fresh lube to the dirty chain is not ideal, but involves the least work, which may allow you to lube the chain when it needs it.
- Chains are pretty cheap if you're not using expensive 10-11 speed chains. Like a basic 6-9 speed chain can be as little as $9. Unless you enjoy removing, cleaning, drying chains, it may make more sense to do the non-ideal process of wipe and relube, and simply spend $9 a year to replace the chain annually. But if your chains cost $50, or if you're trying to absolutely minimize drag (e.g. you race), then the ideal process might be your choice.
- Ride your bike with a new chain, not cross-chained, and notice how quiet the chain is. When the chain gets noticeably noisy, it's time to relube. You could instead relube on a mileage schedule, or after so many weeks, but if your chain gets noisy it's time to relube.
- So, use whatever lube and process and frequency that keeps your chain silent and fits your tolerance for hassle vs expense.
- Personally, I use Chain-L (lasts longest, especially in wet dirty conditions), relube with the lazy man's quick-wipe-and-relube process, whenever my chain gets noisy (typically every month or two), and figure on spending $9 every year. I don't remove the factory lube. I don't see the point of spending a lot of time fussing with my chain. It just isn't that interesting to me!

Last edited by jyl; 04-21-16 at 12:59 AM.
jyl is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 01:14 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
trailangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 4,848

Bikes: Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1931 Post(s)
Liked 742 Times in 422 Posts
Just use Chain-L and be done with it.
trailangel is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 07:03 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,225

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1572 Post(s)
Liked 643 Times in 364 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
:
Originally Posted by trailangel
Just use Chain-L and be done with it.
Best inside joke combination of posts ever!
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 07:16 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 15,280

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2934 Post(s)
Liked 341 Times in 228 Posts
If you don't clean the chain off, the waxy lubes like White Lightning get just as nasty as the wet lubes. So yes you'd want to clean it completely if you go that route.

I couldn't say what the best lube is because I don't care much. My m.o. is pick one, keep it lubed and don't wast time or energy on it. For some people it's of supreme importance and they will have infinitely diced up opinions about the relative merits of particular qualities of various lubes and methods. Where we fall on that spectrum helps determine what lube is best.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 09:04 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,660
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 582 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 138 Posts
Chain care, wear and skipping by Jobst Brandt

I remove my chain every 800 miles and clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner. I lube with chainsaw bar oil.
davidad is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 09:32 AM
  #9  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,355 Times in 862 Posts
Some is Universally considered much better than None.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 09:45 AM
  #10  
buy my bikes
 
mrv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,799

Bikes: my very own customized GUNNAR CrossHairs

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 519 Post(s)
Liked 426 Times in 248 Posts
WD-40. no, really! watch the video. close to the end.
mrv is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 10:26 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
trailangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 4,848

Bikes: Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1931 Post(s)
Liked 742 Times in 422 Posts
^^stupid
Only limeys would do that.. and the guy just killed his mum's lawn.
trailangel is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 10:38 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 38,657

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5762 Post(s)
Liked 2,535 Times in 1,402 Posts
Originally Posted by trailangel
^^stupid
Only limeys would do that.. and the guy just killed his mum's lawn.
I love the part about washing road dirt off the tires. OCD anyone?

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. It may be true, and certainly if you clean your bike daily as shown in the video, those components that need lubrication, including BB and hub bearings will see God that much sooner.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 11:14 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 4,400

Bikes: Bianchi Infinito (Celeste, of course)

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 754 Post(s)
Liked 104 Times in 77 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
I love the part about washing road dirt off the tires. OCD anyone?

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. It may be true, and certainly if you clean your bike daily as shown in the video, those components that need lubrication, including BB and hub bearings will see God that much sooner.
My personal favorite was spraying the brakes with WD-40 at the end. WD-40 and brakes NEVER mix. My guess is that things get washed differently when other people pay for them.

Having said that, I do admit to using WD-40 on my bike. Usually to remove road tar. It has a place, in very limited quantities..
gsa103 is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 11:53 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
rmfnla's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: La La Land (We love it!)
Posts: 6,301

Bikes: Gilmour road, Curtlo road; both steel (of course)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 273 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
:
Exactly...
__________________
Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...
rmfnla is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 11:58 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Posts: 9,080
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3369 Post(s)
Liked 5,488 Times in 2,843 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
I love the part about washing road dirt off the tires. OCD anyone?

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. It may be true, and certainly if you clean your bike daily as shown in the video, those components that need lubrication, including BB and hub bearings will see God that much sooner.
It was the underside of the saddle and the handlebars that got me;
I only clean/overhaul my bike once/year at most, and I have *never* seen either of those get dirty.
Shimagnolo is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:12 PM
  #16  
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,843

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1173 Post(s)
Liked 927 Times in 612 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
I love the part about washing road dirt off the tires. OCD anyone?

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. It may be true, and certainly if you clean your bike daily as shown in the video, those components that need lubrication, including BB and hub bearings will see God that much sooner.
Looks like I'm going to hell.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: https://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:26 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by trailangel
^^stupid
Only limeys would do that
Team mechanics clean bikes the same way.
techsensei is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:35 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Ronno6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Deep South
Posts: 1,335

Bikes: Cannondale SR's and ST's from the '80's

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 340 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 46 Times in 20 Posts
I'm hooked on Chain-L
Ronno6 is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 12:58 PM
  #19  
jyl
Senior Member
 
jyl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 7,639

Bikes: 61 Bianchi Specialissima 71 Peugeot G50 7? P'geot PX10 74 Raleigh GranSport 75 P'geot UO8 78? Raleigh Team Pro 82 P'geot PSV 86 P'geot PX 91 Bridgestone MB0 92 B'stone XO1 97 Rans VRex 92 Cannondale R1000 94 B'stone MB5 97 Vitus 997

Mentioned: 146 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 49 Times in 31 Posts
If you're going to clean and lubricate your bike after every ride, I think WD-40 will work fine as a general purpose lube. Yes it only leaves behind a small amount of very light oil, but it only needs to last 5 hours!

Race teams, and guys who always ride the latest bikes and wheels, don't need to worry too much about how long hubs and bottom brackets last. They're not trying to get many years between bearing overhaul.
jyl is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 01:19 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 660
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 151 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 16 Posts
Don't use a wet lube if you live in a dry dusty area like the Southwest because it becomes a grinding paste that wears down your chain pins and rollers faster. Wet lubes help prevent rust if you live in high humidity or near the ocean, but I would be inclined to buy a nickel-plated chain and use a dry wax-based lube like White Lightning just to prevent grit from building up on your chain.
Clem von Jones is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 02:20 PM
  #21  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2,077
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 760 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The special brush the 2nd mechanic was using looks like the brush that's used for cleaning the fins under a refrigerator. should be available at Home Depot or such.
Squeezebox is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 02:51 PM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
trailangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 4,848

Bikes: Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1931 Post(s)
Liked 742 Times in 422 Posts
Hey! Bikes don't need to be that clean.
Water is not a bike's friend.
trailangel is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 03:25 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 588

Bikes: Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Deluxe, Giant Stance, Cannondale Synapse, Diamondback 8sp IGH, 1989 Merckx

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Hey NuBe: Use the search function in the upper RH corner of the home page.
If you simply input "chain lube" in the blank space, you will get 20 pages of threads dealing with the subject.
If you choose "advanced search", you'll get 11 pages of threads.


Quotes from two threads:

From an earlier thread:
"The chain lube issue is rather simple, if you know what oil does and how lubrication works:
I lube my chains with a material very much like Chain-L. If anything it is thicker and stickier (after the carrier evaporates). I wipe all that I can off the exterior of the chain with a hand towel. A thin layer remains and picks up very little dirt. I simply wipe the chain every few rides. The lubricant fills the gaps between side plates and does not let any debris get between the moving parts. I don't know how long my chains are going to last but it's going to be very many miles; after about 2500K of this lube, I cannot measure any wear (and I'm pretty good at measuring).

Oh Yeah -- none of the lube gets on the bike, partly because of its thickness and partly because I wipe off the excess.

And:
The whole idea is to separate metal parts; if they do not touch – they cannot wear.

FbinNY has an effective solution: an oil that is thick and stays in place.
The reason that thick oil is needed in bicycle chains is that the spaces between moving and loaded parts of the chain are large and irregular. Also, the chain is not submerged in oil as it ‘ought’ to be.

The best we can do is apply some ‘form’ of oil that stays in place, is thick enough to be effective and, hopefully does not attract much attention from CRUD (Carbon, Rust and Undesirable Dirt).

This is the fundamental truth: --- If the metal parts of your chain do not touch each other ---- they do not wear.

Joe

Last edited by Joe Minton; 04-21-16 at 03:51 PM.
Joe Minton is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 03:46 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Wileyone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: GWN
Posts: 2,537
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1858 Post(s)
Liked 606 Times in 403 Posts
Originally Posted by trailangel
^^stupid
Only limeys would do that.. and the guy just killed his mum's lawn.
What would Californians do? Smoke a joint do a chant and wish it clean?
'
Wileyone is offline  
Old 04-21-16, 03:52 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
trailangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 4,848

Bikes: Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1931 Post(s)
Liked 742 Times in 422 Posts
^^
trailangel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.