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Chain Lube: Do you got religion?

Old 07-16-13, 04:01 PM
  #1  
lesiz
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Chain Lube: Do you got religion?

The title of this post is reference to us cyclists having a religious-like adherence to their choice of chain lube.

I recently found out via the cycling blog "Red Kite Prayer" that a testing company that has done a scientific testing of chain lubes using a contraption that drives a chainwheel with a motor. (https://redkiteprayer.com/2013/06/the...ciency-part-i/) It measures the amount of force needed to drive a load, and by using different lubes on the chain, they precisely measure the drag and rate the different lubes. https://www.friction-facts.com/equipment/chain-full-load

The surprising result is that parafin (plain old wax), is best, ie. it has the lowest driving friction. The differences are small, to the extent that for most cyclists the difference would not be noticed. So this topic is mainly of interest to bike nerds like me who are fascinated with the science of bikes.

I had gotten the result of the testing as a free download from Friction Facts, however at this time the download is "out of stock" (??)
https://www.friction-facts.com/test-results/free-reports

The link below shows the bottom line from the report, a chart that compares the various "religions" and rates them along a line of efficiency. The lube I have been using, Dumonde Tech Lube, doesn't fare so well, having more friction that plain old 3-in-1 oil!

For my part, I'm switching to Rock n Roll Gold, however I admit that I would have to be the princess on top of the 3 mattresses to ever notice the few percentages of difference it will make.

But also, I want to try the paraffin, just because it intrigues me. I already got a wax heating appliance cheap from a thrift shop and when it's time to re-lube I will heat it up and wax my chain.

Here's that bottom line I mentioned:
https://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t...inFriction.jpg

Comments from fellow bike nerds?
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Old 07-16-13, 04:07 PM
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Praise Chain-L!
Amen.
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Old 07-16-13, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by lesiz View Post
. . . is best, ie. it has the lowest driving friction.
That's a rather narrow meaning of "best."

Last edited by AnkleWork; 07-16-13 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 07-16-13, 04:56 PM
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I don't get worked up over chain lubes.

When you measure total chain friction, you're combining the actual friction of the drive train and the parasitic (viscous) drag of the lube itself. So when you use a heavy viscous lube like mine, you may reduce the friction and wear within the chain, but you'll give back some of the gain because there's quite a bit of parasitic drag introduced by then oil itself.

Then there are other considerations, such as frequency of application, weather resistance, dirt attraction, and so on.

My message to everyone is very simple. Don't obsess over chain lube. If you're enjoying good results with what you're using stay with it. OTOH, if you're not satisfied or would like to improve one property or another, then try another, focusing on one known for that specific property.

Tests are fine, but if the oil doesn't meet your specific needs, and isn't suited to how and where you ride, it really doesn't matter how good it's supposed to be. Tests also can create misconceptions. While parasitic drag is a constant, friction increases with load. So a lubricant that excels at high loads may test poorly at low loads and vice versa.

BTW- even though I make chain oil, I'm a chain lube atheist.

Last edited by FBinNY; 07-16-13 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 07-16-13, 04:56 PM
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The original article appeared in VeloNews several months ago.
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Old 07-16-13, 04:57 PM
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Right, I should have said just "lowest friction". Other factors go into desirability of chain lube. This is strictly about friction.
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Old 07-16-13, 05:34 PM
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Hi,

My problem with wax is just rewaxing has no mechanism to
move wear particles out of the chain, long term don't trust it.

So far I've worked out :

1) WD40 is good for cleaning, but not lubing.
2) 3in1 is somewhat better, but not that much.
3) Any decent chain lube for the job is far better.
4) Decent chainlife requires some form of method
that consistently washes the crud out if the chain.

After that YMMV and choose your lube.

rgds, sreten.

I use Wolf's, because its dirt cheap
and good, and WD40 for cleaning.

Last edited by sreten; 07-16-13 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 07-16-13, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lesiz View Post
...plain old 3-in-One oil
Give me that old time religion!
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Old 07-16-13, 06:47 PM
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I apply lube on bike's chain more often than I'm sitting in Church.
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Old 07-16-13, 07:33 PM
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I wonder if the paraffin from church candles protects better. I'm almost sure it does.
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Old 07-16-13, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
BTW- even though I make chain oil, I'm a chain lube atheist.
Keeping "in the spirit" of OP's question:

"Don't waist your breath on needless friction, friend, you are preaching to the choir!
Regardless of faith, the devil is in the details...
"Praise be" to silent chains!"



LOL!
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Old 07-16-13, 10:06 PM
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This isn't a very relevant test at all...



There's no shifting, and more importantly, there's no water or dirt. If you wanted to conduct a test that provided any kind of verdict on the question, you'd have to construct a rig that performed both front and rear shifting (perhaps optional, that shouldn't be huge effect I'd guess), and crucially, sprayed water and grit at the chain from the usual directions. But the kind of grit matters, too. I'd harvest it from filthy commuting bikes.

Originally Posted by KLiNCK View Post
Praise Chain-L!
Amen.
+1.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by lesiz View Post
Right, I should have said just "lowest friction". Other factors go into desirability of chain lube. This is strictly about friction.
Because that's what really matters in a chain lube

I've been wanting to try the wax method for a while now, simply for the cleanliness factor. But if it will wear out my chains faster I won't be happy about that.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:11 PM
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Wax is a bad idea; once it's forced off the working surface it has no means to re-coat it.

It would probably last longer on a SS, but whether it lasts long enough to bother is still a question I bet.

Might be worth the constant hassle of re-applying if you're getting sand on the chain.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:21 PM
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Chain Lube: Do you got religion?

Tried dry chain lube on my commuter....too loud , and just simething i didnt like about it. switched to tri flo, and drive chain is silent. My religion is In cleaning the chain, not the lube...any good non dry lube goes on my bikes.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:23 PM
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Finish Line wet lube works for me...
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Old 07-16-13, 10:25 PM
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Not a fan of thinner lubes, except maybe for light-duty use like track work or for the rest of a stable that includes a rain bike.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:52 PM
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Just what we need. Another chain lube thread..

Hey mods. We can't make it on Popcorn alone, how about a Coke (or Diet Pepsi), or maybe some Milk Duds or Jujube's? PLEASE!
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Old 07-16-13, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I'm a chain lube atheist.
Decided to buy a bottle, just in case this turns to apatheism.
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Old 07-16-13, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided View Post
I wonder if the paraffin from church candles protects better. I'm almost sure it does.
paraffin from church candles does protect better, except when riding in wet conditions that include holy water, which neutralizes the special properties of the church-candle wax
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Old 07-17-13, 05:27 AM
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Since Holy Water can't go into the waste/run-off stream, I'm going on faith it will be okay.
A better test apparatus may be found here:https://djconnel.blogspot.com/2010/01...fficiency.html in which we see a bit more involved apparatus which Frank Berto from Bicycling Magazine was involved in. Mr Berto did a lot of technical testing for Bicycling, until 1991, when Bicycling decided to get away from technical considerations.

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Old 07-26-13, 07:42 AM
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FB, Can you make Chain-L smell a little sweeter? I like the product but it is a bit overpowering indoors. I know, don't ride your bike inside your house, right?
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Old 07-26-13, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jsjcat View Post
FB, Can you make Chain-L smell a little sweeter? I like the product but it is a bit overpowering indoors. I know, don't ride your bike inside your house, right?
I'm continuing to experiment with different formulas, but Chain-L as it is won't ever smell sweeter. What you smell is the sulfur additive, not the oil, and the sulfur is a key EP lubricant. We tried masking the odor with a few things, but have to use so much that the oil would reek of banana, mint, or almond, among others, much more than it smells now.

I do keep my 7 bikes in my house (no garage) and only smell the Chain-L for a few hours after it's applied, which I usually do outdoors except in winter. The key to managing the odor is to wipe off the excess very thoroughly. You can also try spraying some lemon Pledge on a rag and using that to do the final wipe or two.

OTOH- I know there are some people with far more sensitive noses than mine.
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Old 07-26-13, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

My problem with wax is just rewaxing has no mechanism to
move wear particles out of the chain, long term don't trust it.


rgds, sreten.
You aren't understanding how waxing works. When you rewax a chain, you have to dip the chain in molten wax. Any liquid can be considered to be just a form of the solid that has been melted. Water, for example, is molten ice. Solvents like mineral spirits are just molten paraffinic hydrocarbons. Paraffin...or wax in laymen terms...has the same generic molecular structure as mineral spirits but the chain length is longer which makes the paraffin solid at room temperatures. Once you've melted it, it will act just like mineral spirits and remove any wear particles out of the chain like mineral spirits will. WD40, by the way, is roughly 70% mineral spirits and 25% heavy parraffinic oil. Most all chain lubricants contain similar components to mineral spirits as a carrier to thin the lubricant so that it washes out the old stuff and replaces it with new.

I'm not an adherent to the waxing method. I've tried it in the past. It does work but the results aren't good enough to justify the time spent doing the process...i.e. melting the wax, removing the chain, dipping the chain, cooling the chain, cooling the wax, reinstalling the chain, etc... nor the short effectiveness time. I found it only lasted a couple of hundred miles which is far too short a time for all the fuss of doing the process. I'd choose Phil's Tenacious Oil over waxing...and everyone knows how much I hate oil based lubricants
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Old 07-26-13, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Just what we need. Another chain lube thread..

Hey mods. We can't make it on Popcorn alone, how about a Coke (or Diet Pepsi), or maybe some Milk Duds or Jujube's? PLEASE!
All requests for additional food emoticons have been refused, so I sent out for a couple..........

Some guy posted up a thread on the wax/friction study when it first got published.

Strangely enough, it turned out to not be the definitive answer to the problem.

But if you want to wax your chain, I'm good with it. The more time everyone else
spends on maintenance the less crowded are the riding conditions on the trails here.
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