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Aerosol Chain Lube - Better Than Drip Lube Sometimes?

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Aerosol Chain Lube - Better Than Drip Lube Sometimes?

Old 02-18-10, 02:47 AM
  #1  
kmcrawford111
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Aerosol Chain Lube Instead of Drip in Winter (for Rust Prevention)

I recently placed an order at biketoolsetc.com and thought I ordered two 6 oz. drip bottles of Tri-Flow, but I received aerosol cans instead. May or may not have been my fault. I was a little disappointed, but today I started thinking that it might actually work better sometimes. I commute year-round, I keep the bikes indoors, I use fenders, and I wash the bike regularly (thought I admit maybe not regularly enough, probably monthly on average) followed by a chain re-lube. Still, I see rust on the chain, and it seems to appear even after two days or so sometimes. If I see that it is very rusty I'll wash the bike right away. But with aerosol lube, I can easily coat the entire chain and I imagine better prevent rust formation. I believe if applied from above the lube will get into the rollers. I'd still lightly wipe the excess off.

What do you think? I may try this out tomorrow.

Does temporarily having rust on the outer plates of the chain decrease its life? I don't let it go for very long, and it seems to wipe away - maybe not all with one cleaning, but once winter ends this seems to fade away. But if using the Aerosol will help maintain the chain a little better, I'd like to do it. If not, I'm sure I can use the Tri-Flow for something else.

Last edited by kmcrawford111; 02-18-10 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 02-18-10, 03:43 AM
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I really only find spray lube handy for lubing derailleurs and shifter internals. Don't like using it anywhere else because of the overspray.
Oil spreads itself into spaces where it's needed, so a drip bottle is all I use most of the time.
If your chain has any signs of rust you:
a) aren't lubing often enough or b) aren't using the right oil for your conditions. Rust should never be tolerated. It's steel biodegrading into dirt.
If it's wet, I like using a thicker oil like Phil's Tenacious. Doesn't get washed away so easily. Tri-flow is great for dry conditions.
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Old 02-18-10, 05:18 AM
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Yup, overspray: a chance of getting oil on your brakes Plus, most aerosol stuff is a waste.

Adam
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Old 02-18-10, 06:49 AM
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+10 You waste a lot, plus overspray. Lousy application for an aerosol IMHO.
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Old 02-18-10, 07:39 AM
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well, you've got it - so use it. if it is labeled "chain lube" then maybe it's only good for the chain. I have 4 or 5 different kinds of lubes some drip and some spray. the sprays also have a thin red tube so one can direct the forced stream into tight joints like derailers and cable housings. I always use a couple paper towels as backup when spraying to eliminate overspray. I put the tube right on the area and then cover it all with paper towel and shoot the lube in.

kind of a waste of money if that's not what you ordered or wanted.
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Old 02-18-10, 08:16 AM
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I would not waste money on bike specific lubes when you can make a home brew chain lube for pennies per ounce. If you're riding in nasty conditions, you can apply it after every ride if you like and there will be no build-up. Always wipe the exterior of the chain before lubing.

Some spray lubes, like Slick 50 1-lube can be controlled down to a slow ooze, so there is no overspray if the extension tube is used.

I guess none of the spray lube whiners ever thought about using a paper shop towel around the item being lubed to control overspray. I use spray lubes all the time for derailleur pivots and pulley bushings.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 02-19-10 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 02-18-10, 09:38 AM
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I really like the TriFlo penetrating oil and that waxy chain lube that creates a coat of wax on the chain, it really keeps the chain clean. It's not terribly expensive either. What's really overpriced is bike specific degreasers, that stuff I never buy.

Adam
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Old 02-18-10, 10:03 AM
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I got white lighting as a gift this year and I like it so far. for cleaning I spray WD-40 on paper towels and run the chain through my fist a few times. I don't get in between the links so maybe I should take an afternoon in March and get out the Q-tps!
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Old 02-18-10, 10:38 AM
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If this is the same oil but just in spray bottles and if you're getting surface rust on the outsides of the plates in that time frame then it obviously isn't protecting your chain as well as you need. It doesn't matter if you're using a drip bottle or a spray bottle. At least I'm assuming that you're using a paper towel to wipe away the excess in either case so the plates are getting coated regardless of which type of container you're using.

Slight rust on the outer faces of the plates isn't a biggie. It would have to get really bad before it compromised the strength. But if it's rusting on the outer plates I have to wonder if it isn't getting at least a little rust in the rollers and pins since water will tend to get trapped in their for longer before drying away. If your chain lube isn't protecting well enough between applications then you either need to apply it more often or switch to something longer lived.

For myself, who used to commute in some hellishly foul rainy weather all winter, a better option turned out to be a fairly thick chain saw bar oil that I would cut almost 50-50 with mineral spirits. Thinning it let it penetrate well and flush out anything inside the chain as well as it allowed me to more easily wipe away the excess with a paper towel. The mineral spirits dried away overnight and left a light coating that was very protective for quite a long time. At least I never had any rust on any chain. Some of which stayed dirty for maybe 6 weeks at a time.

Chain waxes in wet weather just don't cut it. I tried White Lightning and got rusting on the plates overnight after the first wet weather ride. I cleaned it and went back to oils and greases. Maxima brand motorcycle chain wax may work as it stays a little greasy and tacky feeling. But it also makes the links fairly stiff and "oozy" feeling what with being made for motorcycles with a lot more HP than our legs can dole out. I've since shifted to using the same oil and spirits mix on my motorcycle chains and they don't get rusty even after two to three months on my dual sport which is only used for around town rainy weather and all.
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Old 02-18-10, 11:17 AM
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I'm obviously biased, (especially because my product can't be made into an aerosol), but I consider aerosols far too wasteful for chain lubes. First of all there's a very high ratio of packaging material and propellant vs. actual product. Secondly because a higher percentage will be wasted in overspray missing it's intended target. You'll find that you consume those 6oz cans in far less time than you used to consume the 4oz. drip.

If you follow up a normal drip-on application by wiping off excess, your rag or towel will pick up some lube and spread it onto the plates as rust protection. If it isn't providing enough protection, adjust how you apply it, or use it more often.

Regarding rust. None is best, though a bit of surface rust here and there is usually meaningless. But if the chain is allowed to continue rusting, or allowed to rust internally, it'll definitely cut into it's usable life, and in more extreme cases can weaken it enough to snap under load.
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Old 02-18-10, 11:34 AM
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That's what I'm using: White Lightning. The method of application matters since it's some sort of wax in solvent. You need to apply it and let dry for few hours before riding out and never mix with other lubes. I've been using it since December in mostly wet weather (snow, rain, sludge) and I have no rust on the chain.

Adam

Last edited by AdamDZ; 02-18-10 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:17 PM
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adamdz - I have happy chains too. I usually wipe; lube and wipe and then ride another day. so I guess it's good I haven't been riding them right after lubing. do you wipe the excess right away or after letting it sit?
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Old 02-18-10, 01:45 PM
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I use my fingers to spread it over the chain and also turn the pedals to run the chain for a bit while shifting to make sure it's spreaded over the chain and sprockets and it usually doesn't drip afterwards and I just leave it like that. If you ride too early it won't really ruin its lubricating properties but it'll make stuff stick to it. That's why drying is recommended.

Adam
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Old 02-18-10, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I use my fingers to spread it over the chain and also turn the pedals to run the chain for a bit while shifting to make sure it's spreaded over the chain and sprockets and it usually doesn't drip afterwards and I just leave it like that. If you ride too early it won't really ruin its lubricating properties but it'll make stuff stick to it. That's why drying is recommended.

Adam
Maybe that's why it never worked for me. I always used it under pretty humid conditions... Maybe it didn't have time to dry properly. I kept trying that stuff, but I really hated it. It seemed to gunk things up and made my whole drivetrain really noisy.
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Old 02-18-10, 03:59 PM
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Adam, how often are you re-applying the WL? I thought the non stick of the wax would be great to avoid picking up grit but my chain was showing rust in less than a working week of rain and wet road exposure.
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Old 02-18-10, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DArthurBrown View Post
Maybe that's why it never worked for me. I always used it under pretty humid conditions... Maybe it didn't have time to dry properly. I kept trying that stuff, but I really hated it. It seemed to gunk things up and made my whole drivetrain really noisy.
I'm really not sure, since this not water, but some (flammable) solvent it should dry in any conditions. I guess I'll find out when hot and humid NY Summer arrives

Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Adam, how often are you re-applying the WL? I thought the non stick of the wax would be great to avoid picking up grit but my chain was showing rust in less than a working week of rain and wet road exposure.
I'm not an expert by any means, I read some instructions on the net, that's all

I reapplied it every couple of weeks so far, whenever the chain seems to be too dry to the touch or I hear any squeaking (rare, maybe twice so far), I give the chain a little scrub, not major cleaning and then apply some of the WL. I really haven't had a chain this clean, ever, and I'm riding in wet weather most of the time right now. Here is a thought: if the chain had already any moisture on it this won't help and the chain will rust. I started using this on a brand new chain. Perhaps clean the chain in mineral spirits, apply some water displacing light oil, wipe it and dry it before applying the White Lightning?

Also, White Lightning is a brand name and they make several types of lube, which one are we talking about here. Mine is called Clean Ride:

https://www.whitelightningco.com/lubes.htm
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Old 02-18-10, 06:40 PM
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I've enjoyed some really fine white lightning back home in the Ozarks but I don't think White Lightning chain lube is good in a wet environment. An oil base lube would be better. I make my own home brew.
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Old 02-19-10, 08:48 AM
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Spray lube works fine. You don't need to spray full bore. Just use a shop rag or paper towel to control overspray.
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Old 02-19-10, 09:38 AM
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White Lightning is apparently the best lubricant for pieces of cardboard ever made.
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Old 02-19-10, 09:47 AM
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Not to hijack this thread but a couple of you have mentioned home brew lubes. Can you elaborate? Maybe a link to instructions. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and make a big batch for our local co-op. Thanks
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Old 02-19-10, 10:13 AM
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re white lightening - just read a review and I do wipe off my rollers regularly and it sounds like occasion water spray form the road or rare water cleaning around the drivetrain but not necessarily water washing the chain is probably good for it. it helps to know how a lube works, what its strengths and weaknesses are, etc

https://bloombikeshop.com/productrevi...elightning.php
https://www.epinions.com/review/White...t_115482594948
https://www.mtbr.com/cat/accessories/...72_131crx.aspx

good idea: before lubing chain throw down a bit of cardboard or newspaper to catch any dripping excess. much smarter than trying to clean the lube from the floor! :-)
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Old 02-19-10, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Cynikal View Post
Not to hijack this thread but a couple of you have mentioned home brew lubes. Can you elaborate? Maybe a link to instructions. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and make a big batch for our local co-op. Thanks
Just search these forums for "homebrew" and you'll find more than you ever wanted to know.

But, in a nutshell, just mix 1 part automotive motor oil (any grade, dino or synthetic) with 3-4 parts odorless mineral spirits. Put it in a drip bottle or any other convenient dispenser, and you're done.
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Old 02-19-10, 12:28 PM
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Thanks
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Old 02-19-10, 12:41 PM
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Isn't motor oil too sticky even diluted? It's meant to work in high temperatures, no?

Adam
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Old 02-19-10, 02:03 PM
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Motor oil is not sticky and it's designed to work at temperatures starting below zero. If better, or your car's engine is in trouble during the winter.
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