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Newbie line question, lube without “degreasing”?

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Newbie line question, lube without “degreasing”?

Old 03-27-20, 05:06 PM
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CyclingBK
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Newbie lube question, lube without “degreasing”?

Got a new bike months ago, ride regularly but not too much, never touched/lubed the chain yet besides just running it through a rag to clean it.

Its been fine and quiet and maybe just starting to make a little noise so I want to lube it.

I don’t have any degreaser and could get some, but was wondering if I could just run it through a rag really well and if it looks pretty clean, I can just apply some lube.

I can always get some degreaser online but just impatient and looking for stuff to do, lol

Any help appreciated.

*trying to edit the word “line” in the subject to “lube” but not working.

Last edited by CyclingBK; 03-27-20 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:20 PM
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I understand this question to be kind of a Pandora's box on these forums, so I would view any advice you get with that perspective in mind. What you can get away with and what is the ideal represents a very wide range of practice and opinion. I would say get it as clean as you can and lube, then ride. If you can clean more, great, but if not, don't let it stop you from riding.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:24 PM
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To lube is a billion times better than to not lube.
To clean and lube is better than to lube alone.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:31 PM
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I don't degrease, as it tends to flush out lube from the interior parts of the chain where you need it. On the other hand, lube on the exterior doesn't have any function other than to attract dirt and turn into gunk.

So, I just apply lube, wipe off the excess, and ride. Repeat ad infinitum.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:32 PM
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It just depends how fussy you want to be. In my entire life, I have never done anything more than just wipe the outside chain plates with a rag soaked in light lube or solvent. Then I'll drip lube on it or again take a clean rag soaked in lube and rub it on.

I don't have any premature chain failures due to breakage or wear. But I don't have strong legs either so I'm not putting mega amounts of muscle into my drive train.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:47 PM
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Perfect, thank you, gents (and ladies, if applicable; )

Makes sense. Yes, I’ve seen some of the epic lube threads but all your replies are consistent as far as doing it this way should help and can’t hurt.

And now I get to use the handy bike stand I got, only used it once so far, lol.

Stay safe all and at least it’s warming up out there; )
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Old 03-27-20, 06:28 PM
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I generally agree with the advice you’ve received.
But, it’s a shame for a chain lube thread not to go on and on and on...................😀
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Old 03-27-20, 09:48 PM
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I add lube & often don't even wipe.

Rubbing with a rag will tend to push the grit into the chain, so it's only cosmetic IMO.
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Old 03-28-20, 01:00 AM
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Break your chain, then put it back together using a master link. When you want to clean the chain, remove it from the bike (takes about 10 seconds), put it in an old spaghetti sauce bottle (the Prego Italian Sausage and Garlic flavor bottles work the best, or so I've heard) about 3/4 full of mineral spirits. Shake vigorously for a minute or so. Come back 10 or 15 minutes later if you really want to and shake it again. Remove chain from bottle, hang up to dry for a short time. Reinstall on bike. Re-lube. Done. It's so much easier, and more thorough, than any wiping down with a rag can possibly be. I personally take the extra step of rinsing the chain off in a second bottle of cleaner mineral spirits.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
I don’t have any degreaser and could get some, but was wondering if I could just run it through a rag really well and if it looks pretty clean, I can just apply some lube.

I can always get some degreaser online but just impatient and looking for stuff to do, lol
Degreasing does more harm than good because you'll never get the same penetration as the factory lubricant applied in a hot bath.

I add lubrication (currently ProLink Gold) whenever my chain ceases to run silently (could be 800 miles on factory grease, or 100 riding in the rain) and wipe the excess off.

That gets me 4,500 miles per chain reaching 1/32" of elongation measured over 11" and 5+ chains per cassette (25,000 miles on my current cogs).

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 03-28-20 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 03-28-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
Break your chain, then put it back together using a master link. When you want to clean the chain, remove it from the bike (takes about 10 seconds), put it in an old spaghetti sauce bottle (the Prego Italian Sausage and Garlic flavor bottles work the best, or so I've heard) about 3/4 full of mineral spirits. Shake vigorously for a minute or so. Come back 10 or 15 minutes later if you really want to and shake it again. Remove chain from bottle, hang up to dry for a short time. Reinstall on bike. Re-lube. Done. It's so much easier, and more thorough, than any wiping down with a rag can possibly be. I personally take the extra step of rinsing the chain off in a second bottle of cleaner mineral spirits.
Prego bottle? That’s absurd, that stuffs nasty.

How about Rao’s?
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Old 03-28-20, 09:23 AM
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https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html
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Old 03-28-20, 10:04 AM
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That's a great resource, David! Also, as covered in Sheldon's topic, a shiny clean and lubricated chain doesn't mean you shouldn't consider replacing it. Chains wear with use, and it is cheaper to replace the chain regularly versus your rear cluster.
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Old 03-28-20, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
Prego bottle? That’s absurd, that stuffs nasty.

How about Rao’s?
I'm a culinary philistine, what can I say. I do loves me them empty Prego bottles though. So useful for little projects and whatnot. I've still got a couple Prego bottles filled with wax concoctions from the last times I waxed my chains.

I just have a hard time understanding why so many folks still insist on cleaning their chains on the bike, when having a removable chain using master links is so quick and easy, and allows much more thorough and easy chain maintenance. Speaking of which, I swap between two chains and this one's been on long enough, so today I'll remove the chain currently on the bike, wipe down the chainrings and cogs, put the clean chain on it, and throw the current dirty chain into the mineral spirits. I guarantee it'll be under ten minutes for the whole operation.
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Old 03-28-20, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
Prego bottle? That’s absurd, that stuffs nasty.

How about Rao’s?
Rao's is good stuff but pricey.

Just a note on chain lube. Last year bought a new bike and got into bike riding, solely on Pa's rail trails, which 90% are crushed limestone. After riding 700 miles I decided to check chain wear, thinking my chain was going to be fine, because I often cleaned with a Park chain cleaning tool, and lubed often. Well when I checked my chain, I found that it was wore pretty bad. They only conclusion I had for my rapid chain failure was the lube I was using collected the fine limestone grit and coupled with the lube it turned it into a grinding paste. So I got a new chain, and went the hot wax route. After getting the new chain on, I had chain slippage on three of the most often used gears on the cassette. Looking at the cassette, I couldn't see wear, but it was obvious the worn chain wore the cassette enough for a new chain to slip. So replaced the cassette. Just 700 miles of riding wore both the chain and cassette. I don't think I will ever use a wet lube again for the kind of riding I do.
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Old 03-28-20, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Alzerbster View Post
Rao's is good stuff but pricey.

Just a note on chain lube. Last year bought a new bike and got into bike riding, solely on Pa's rail trails, which 90% are crushed limestone. After riding 700 miles I decided to check chain wear, thinking my chain was going to be fine, because I often cleaned with a Park chain cleaning tool, and lubed often. Well when I checked my chain, I found that it was wore pretty bad. They only conclusion I had for my rapid chain failure was the lube I was using collected the fine limestone grit and coupled with the lube it turned it into a grinding paste. So I got a new chain, and went the hot wax route. After getting the new chain on, I had chain slippage on three of the most often used gears on the cassette. Looking at the cassette, I couldn't see wear, but it was obvious the worn chain wore the cassette enough for a new chain to slip. So replaced the cassette. Just 700 miles of riding wore both the chain and cassette. I don't think I will ever use a wet lube again for the kind of riding I do.
Wow, I can see how the elements can combine to do that. Like a science experiment.

Im just riding the asphalt loop in Prospect Park and the bike been pretty clean. Although the one thing I have picked up from the replies is to watch not to grind grit into the links by squeezing the rag on the top/bottom of the chain and just hold and wipe the sides.

As far as Rao’s. Yes, it’s more cash but that stuff is just about as good as making fresh sauce ; )
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Old 05-23-20, 01:12 PM
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Ok, finally got around to this. It’s raining hard so I threw the bike on the stand and wiped the chain down good, lubed it....with obviously too much lube ; ) and then took some time to get off the excess. Even wiped some grime off some gears.

Cant wait to go back out. Figure, this should add at least 3 or 4mph to my speed!

🤣
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Old 05-23-20, 01:48 PM
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What I like to do is spray wd40 on it at least once a week, which both degreases and lubes, then to put full lube on whenever I feel like it probably couple times a year. This keeps it clean enough and lubed enough for my purposes. Then if chain looks worn or saggy or starts skipping I toss it in the garbage and get a new one, don't bother measuring it.
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Old 05-23-20, 04:59 PM
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https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

No, this is not same link as above. Needs to be posted periodically.

Crushed limestone does create particularly nasty grinding paste. If that’s what you are going to be riding that is one of the few good reasons to attempt wax. If you discover you can’t get along with waxing rites and rituals try NFS Chain Lube. Attracts less dirt because so little is used. Cheap to use because so little is used.

In normal use a chain should last 3000 to 5000 miles. Many replace sooner to save life of the cassette and chainrings. How long you will get varies enormously, as you have already discovered. Keeping it clean helps a lot. If you are big or strong, if you ride hard, you will not use wax and you will use a lot of chain no matter what you do.

Buy a Sunbeam with sealed oilbath chaincase. Chain might last longer than you do. (This animal does exist, but ShelBroCo cleaning is equally realistic.)
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Old 05-23-20, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
...put it in an old spaghetti sauce bottle about 3/4 full of mineral spirits. Shake vigorously for a minute or so. Come back 10 or 15 minutes later if you really want to and shake it again. Remove chain from bottle, hang up to dry for a short time. Reinstall on bike. Re-lube. Done. It's so much easier, and more thorough, than any wiping down with a rag can possibly be. I personally take the extra step of rinsing the chain off in a second bottle of cleaner mineral spirits.
This protocol has worked well for me for many years. I use a one-pint plastic ice cream container ("Talenti" jars are perfect). I don't see the need to re-attach the quick-link, but YMMV... I *do* include the quick link. I use kerosene, but mineral spirits are at least as good. I shake the heck out of the jar, then drain out the solvent into a larger (half-gallon OJ bottle) container, then repeat two or three more times until the solvent is fairly clear (not turbid). I leave the used solvent to settle for a week or so, then decant off the supernatant for use next time. I have been re-using the same solvent for years, I think. Once it gets too dark in color (still "clear", though), I recycle it. I may use fresh solvent for the final rinse. Hang the chain up overnight, then re-install and lube... good to go.
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Old 05-23-20, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
This protocol has worked well for me for many years. I use a one-pint plastic ice cream container ("Talenti" jars are perfect). I don't see the need to re-attach the quick-link, but YMMV... I *do* include the quick link. I use kerosene, but mineral spirits are at least as good. I shake the heck out of the jar, then drain out the solvent into a larger (half-gallon OJ bottle) container, then repeat two or three more times until the solvent is fairly clear (not turbid). I leave the used solvent to settle for a week or so, then decant off the supernatant for use next time. I have been re-using the same solvent for years, I think. Once it gets too dark in color (still "clear", though), I recycle it. I may use fresh solvent for the final rinse. Hang the chain up overnight, then re-install and lube... good to go.
This thread is awesome, sounds like moonshine recipes!

😂
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Old 05-23-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
This thread is awesome, sounds like moonshine recipes!
Moonshine tastes better!
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Old 05-23-20, 10:39 PM
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https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html I use an ultra sonic cleaner and dilute chain saw bar oil.
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