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Chain Lube

Old 06-08-22, 11:03 AM
  #26  
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I'm not brand-loyal at all, and hardly ever stick with any one long enough to use up a full container, but have had a couple evaporate all away (DuPont dry lube, lookin' at YOU) or leak away to empty.

But kind of like Chain-L cause Mr. Bollag has such well-honed "snake-oil" salesmanship talents.
And kind of hate Tri-Flow cause of that cloying SMELL (but I still use it when it is the one my hand lands on).

I have bottles of all the brands mentioned above, PLUS oddballs like (Belgian) Morgan Blue Race Oil (not bad), 3-in-One specialty lubes (meh), and all the home-brews including ATF with acetone, non-detergent 30-weight...even tried double-boiler melted paraffin wax but gave up on that: too fussy.

"Run with what ya got", is my motto
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Old 06-08-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
And kind of hate Tri-Flow cause of that cloying SMELL
That's the second-best reason to use it!
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Old 06-09-22, 02:44 PM
  #28  
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I use 3-in-1 blue bottle oil, just a few drops will do for a chain - too much attracts dirt and makes a mess.
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Old 06-09-22, 06:10 PM
  #29  
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Gasoline or diesel for cleaning, ATF for lubing. Cheap and good results so far.
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Old 06-09-22, 11:30 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
There is a California approved Odorless mineral spirits and you can find it at your Home depot. Mineral spirits clean way better than acetone. You clean the gunk off with mineral spirits, then you clean the mineral spirits off with acetone.
it exists but is emasculated as a solvent.
kerosene is hard to come by now.
so is denatured alcohol
I do understand but at some point, the materials are only marginal.

like aircraft paint stripper... gone
methylene chloride is nasty stuff but effective.
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Old 06-10-22, 05:47 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
On one visit, I stood there are read the labels on all the different solvents offered at Home Depot. There were lots of different names on the cans but the ingredients all said "Acetone".

Still, I am encouraged by your post and will check into it.

I do have 5 quarts of old school mineral spirits but I am not parting with that for chain cleaning.
“Green” mineral spirits is mostly useless. It’s, basically, soapy water. Some things that might work and seem to be available in California (I’m not from there, so I can’t say for certain) are “Painter’s Solvent” which is a mixture of ketones and mineral spirit. Kerosene is also available. Lighter fluid is very close to mineral spirits but maybe a bit more expensive.

I don’t know if you can get Coleman stove fuel (aka “white gas”) but that would be similar as well.

Under no circumstances should you use gasoline. You might as well just go into bomb disposal without a suit. Yes, it is that hazardous! As a chemist, I’d use water…which is totally ineffective…before using gasoline.
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Old 06-10-22, 10:14 AM
  #32  
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Very interesting discussion here, no? The thread topic was lube but the more important discussion is about the pre-lube solvent cleaning.

I used ethanol-free, 50:1 pre-mixed gasoline (gas : oil) because it was right at hand. I picked that over plain gas because it leaves behind a tiny bit of oil after the gas evaporates.

Coleman fuel, as I understand it, is gasoline with no additives at all. I had some but it did not come to mind. It might be better than pre-mix.

I forgot about charcoal lighter fluid but that is a really good one to try next time.

Now that the wax is gone, the acetone will work, too.

Regarding safety - I wore gloves, worked outdoors directly on on a concrete slab with no heat sources nearby (no pilot lights, I don't smoke, etc). It was humid enough that ESD was not a big concern.

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Old 06-10-22, 01:11 PM
  #33  
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Is there any consensus for whether something like the Park Tool chain cleaning machine (the plastic thing with the brushes inside) is worth it for a simpler chain set up like a single speed or three speed? I saw a couple said they use that, and I was looking at it, but not sure whether it is of benefit with a simpler chain set up or not.
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Old 06-10-22, 02:53 PM
  #34  
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I think the park chain cleaner gets all the grit out of the chain periodically. For "squeaky" clean, dump the black stuff out and use fresh from the can for a second washing. For reusable link users, removing and swishing around in the tub of kerosene works as well.
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Old 06-10-22, 02:56 PM
  #35  
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Apparently Coleman Fuel is Naphtha + a small amount of rust inhibitor.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coleman-Liq...MO2/ref=sr_1_1

Getting naphtha is a bit tricky in the UK currently so I did the research (great for cleaning brake tracks on rims).
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Old 06-10-22, 07:39 PM
  #36  
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I have used ProLink for the past 20 years or so. It's a good lube and a good cleaner. But I doubt that the chain lube a person uses makes any difference in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 06-10-22, 11:34 PM
  #37  
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I tried White Lightning (wax lube) when it first came out. I hated it; it made the chain run stiff and slow, IMHO. I then went back to oil-based lubricants:

Phil Wood's Tenacious Oil, Triflow (teflon), Boeshield, etc.


With oil-based lubricants, I don't have to endure the misery of trying to scrub off accumulated wax. Here in smoggy and drought-dry Southern California, I now clean my chain using Park CB-4 "Bio" chain cleaner, applied by using a Finish Line chain scrubber box with the chain still on the bike. After two scrub cycles, I follow up by removing the chain and giving it a quick acetone rinse in a stainless steel can. Since I use a Wipperman chain with a slip-fit master link, the quick rinse is an easy task. After a 15 minute hang-dry on an outdoor hook, the chain is ready for reinstallation and lubrication.


I have no experience with the newest class of lubricants which are using micro particles instead of teflon.


However, here's my current lubricant, which isn't 'state of the art', but at one generation back, I think is still very good. I've been using for a few years now and I really like it: https://lillylube.com

Lilly Lube is available thru Amazon.


Of course, you can also search for Google reviews on bicycle chain lubricant and decide accordingly.
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Old 06-11-22, 05:18 AM
  #38  
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I used Break-Free CLP for a while. I always figured it was equivalent to Tri-Flow but cheaper in bulk sizes. I could be wrong.

I got the impression that it was picking up to much grit and creating a grinding paste.

I switched over to Nixfrixshun. It seems to work as described. I'm also a little bit more facetious since wearing out a couple drive trains using CLP.
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Old 06-11-22, 06:04 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Very interesting discussion here, no? The thread topic was lube but the more important discussion is about the pre-lube solvent cleaning.

I used ethanol-free, 50:1 pre-mixed gasoline (gas : oil) because it was right at hand. I picked that over plain gas because it leaves behind a tiny bit of oil after the gas evaporates.
There are thousands of house fires started each year by people using gasoline. With a flash point of -40°F, it is not a safe solvent to use at any temperature that you will regularly encounter. It shouldn’t be handled cavalierly.

Coleman fuel, as I understand it, is gasoline with no additives at all. I has some but it did not come to mind. It might be better than pre-mix.
You are misinformed. Coleman fuel isn’t “pure gas”. With an octane rating of 50 to 55, it would make a car run extremely poorly if you use it. The “white gas” name comes from the fact that some oil wells will produce a clear, colorless liquid that is also called “drip gas” because it will “drip” from the well head. It is naphtha which is similar to mineral spirits, although it usually has some more benzene in it. That gives it a lower flashpoint of around 0°F compared to mineral spirits’ flashpoint of closer to 70°F to 131°F, depending on the grade.

I forgot about charcoal lighter fluid but that is a really good one to try next time.
Again, similar to white gas and mineral spirits. It has a higher flash point.

Now that the wax is gone, the acetone will work, too.
Not really. Acetone is water soluble which is known as a polar solvent. All chain lubricants are nonpolar. You can fiddle a little with the polarity by adding a surfactant (soap) which is what Simple Green and other water based solvents do but there is a limit (very small limit) to how much grease they can solubilize. Mineral spirits and stove fuel have no limits. You can mix as much grease and oil with them as you like to the point where you have more grease and oil than solvent and they will still dissolve grease and oil.

Regarding safety - I wore gloves, worked outdoors directly on on a concrete slab with no heat sources nearby (no pilot lights, I don't smoke, etc). It was humid enough that ESD was not a big concern.
There is a toxicity factor to consider with gasoline as well. The acute issue with it is flammability but it does contain a large percentage of chemicals that can result in chronic problems. Coleman fuel and mineral spirits can contain some of those same chemicals but they are there is far lower concentrations which is why they aren’t quite as flammable.

Overall, they are just safer. Frankly, the CARB standards getting rid of mineral spirits was an unwise decision. People will probably go to using gasoline which is more hazardous and more of a volatile substance…which adds to the air pollution problem.

Finally, as to chain lubricants, there really isn’t one that works better than all the others. There isn’t even a handful that work better than all the rest. No matter what you use, you can expect to get about the same mileage out of a chain. If there were one that was far superior to all the others, we would never had long involved discussions about chain lubricant.
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Old 06-11-22, 06:15 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Andrew_G View Post
I tried White Lightning (wax lube) when it first came out. I hated it; it made the chain run stiff and slow, IMHO. I then went back to oil-based lubricants:

Phil Wood's Tenacious Oil, Triflow (teflon), Boeshield, etc.


With oil-based lubricants, I don't have to endure the misery of trying to scrub off accumulated wax. Here in smoggy and drought-dry Southern California, I now clean my chain using Park CB-4 "Bio" chain cleaner, applied by using a Finish Line chain scrubber box with the chain still on the bike. After two scrub cycles, I follow up by removing the chain and giving it a quick acetone rinse in a stainless steel can. Since I use a Wipperman chain with a slip-fit master link, the quick rinse is an easy task. After a 15 minute hang-dry on an outdoor hook, the chain is ready for reinstallation and lubrication.
As a long term solvent wax user (White Lightning and other related products), I’ve never had to “scrub off accumulated wax”. People who are new to the material are overusing it because they want a drivetrain that “sounds” like an oiled one…i.e. dead silent. The chain isn’t squeaking but it is noisier. That solvent waxed chains aren’t as quiet as oiled chains which is something that the user just has to accept. The chains last as long so there isn’t really a problem with the (slightly) increased noise.

That said, I’ve used solvent wax for 25+ years and the major advantage is that I don’t have to clean my drivetrain….ever! Chains are stripped of the factory wax before they go on the bike because I’ve found the drivetrain to stay cleaner that way. Wax lubricant is put on the chain every 600 to 700 miles, just like oil lubricants. But the chain stays on the bike for about 3500 miles and never needs cleaning. No weekly chain cleaning. No weekly tear downs of the bike to remove oily crud. No chainring tattoos on my legs. No oily mess if I have to put the bike in a car. And no oily hands (clothing, pets, wife, kids, etc.) if I happen to brush up against the chain. My bicycle maintenance duties are so little that I have to volunteer at a co-op to work on bikes
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Old 06-12-22, 08:55 AM
  #41  
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6-700 miles on one application of wax chain lube!? If you don’t keep track of miles, how do you know when to re-apply if the chain is always noisy?
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Old 06-12-22, 10:51 AM
  #42  
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@cyccommute , thanks for your inputs to this thread. Those are significant contributions, clarifying erroneous info picked up over the years and for the cautions on safety.

Thanks to everyone for your contributions, really.

My old Regina Oro chain is clean and lubed with Phil Oil and is back on the bike. I have a new chain sitting in my tool box and there are new chainrings in transit to me. I am set.
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Old 06-12-22, 03:36 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
6-700 miles on one application of wax chain lube!? If you don’t keep track of miles, how do you know when to re-apply if the chain is always noisy?
The same question could be asked of oil users. I usually only apply after rain. People who use oil should do the same because the oil is contaminated with water and the water seeks the metal since both are polar. Oil just masks the sounds of the rust where wax actually squeaks.

That the chain is “noisy” doesn’t mean that the chain is squeaking. It just makes more noise. It’s something you get used to. Solvent wax doesn’t need to be refreshed every 100 miles like White Lightning tells you. You are never going to drown out the whirring sound of a wax lub chain. Trying to do so will only result in excess wax.

I don’t usually track my mileage between lubrications but I have had occasion to do so. I did a 1500 mile tour and applied it shortly before the tour, at about the half way point and just before the end. I also have total mileage on that chain which was 3500 miles.
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Old 06-12-22, 04:13 PM
  #44  
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I have noted the ever-present sound of rattling rollers on chains that were wax-lubed, which is why I don't use wax myself.

The OP's old Regina chain is likely a bushed-design chain, which tend to be far more reliant on more than scant lubrication since these chains are much less flexible laterally.

My own preference for chain lube is something that is 75% solvent-diluted, which helps get the chain clean quickly on the bike and which leaves no excess of oil inside of the chain after wiping it down thoroughly with terry cloth.
I am thus able to complete the whole lube and wipe to the chain using a continuous stream, and it takes just a minute or two.

Emphasis on using a suitable squeeze bottle with calibrated applicator tube, so as to deliver the oil at an optimal flow rate while turning the cranks through two or three passes of the entire length of the chain.
The flat-sided, 4oz squeeze bottle with thin applicator delivers just the right amount of lube to a moving chain using a 75% solvent mix.


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Old 06-13-22, 09:44 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
“Green” mineral spirits is mostly useless. It’s, basically, soapy water. Some things that might work and seem to be available in California (I’m not from there, so I can’t say for certain) are “Painter’s Solvent” which is a mixture of ketones and mineral spirit. Kerosene is also available. Lighter fluid is very close to mineral spirits but maybe a bit more expensive.

I don’t know if you can get Coleman stove fuel (aka “white gas”) but that would be similar as well.
How about charcoal lighter fluid?


Is this same as mineral spirits?
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Old 06-13-22, 10:08 AM
  #46  
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This entire topic is ALMOST a moot point .. I mean c'mon everyone is replacing their chain 1-2 times/season anyhow right? No need to make so much fuss IMO.
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Old 06-13-22, 01:58 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by tendency View Post
This entire topic is ALMOST a moot point .. I mean c'mon everyone is replacing their chain 1-2 times/season anyhow right? No need to make so much fuss IMO.
Umm, no. That would be wasteful, environmentally poor practice and pointless.

I replace chains when they exceed 0.5% elongation. That's the approximate point where the chain starts destroying the freewheel cogs and chainrings. Using a quality lubricant (e.g. Molten Speed Wax or Silca Super Secret) means that you can get many thousands of miles out of a chain. If you pay attention to the testing done by Zero Friction Cycling you will realize that there is a massive difference between the wear rates of the different lube types and in general, heat-applied encapsulating lubes (e.g. wax with friction-reducing additives) score the highest, some (but not all, e.g. White Lightning) drip-on solvent-containing wax lubes are pretty good, and wet lubes score incredibly poorly in this regard.
https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/lubetesting/
https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/w...-FAQ-v1.3b.pdf

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Old 06-13-22, 02:14 PM
  #48  
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I use one of those chain cleaners with the brushes inside. I fill it with Marvel Mystery Oil. Chain cleans up pretty nice, after I wipe it off any residual Marvel Mystery Oil won`t hurt anything. Then I lube it with Synthetic Gear Oil.
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Old 06-13-22, 02:34 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by tendency View Post
This entire topic is ALMOST a moot point .. I mean c'mon everyone is replacing their chain 1-2 times/season anyhow right? No need to make so much fuss IMO.
Completely disagree.

My SRAM 8-speed chains go 2500-3500 miles before hitting 0.5% elongation, at which time they are replaced, so 2-4 years/bike. I’ve been using Pro Link Gold or Boeshield for years, typically reapplied every 300-400 miles when they start “talking”.

I decided to try Smoove on one bike after reading impressive comparative test results, and it’s a love/not love relationship. Love that after 4,000 miles there’s zero elongation, and re-application only seems needed every 500-600 miles. Not loving the mess it creates on the pulleys, cogs and chainstay. It doesn’t attract dirt, but the instructions “Do not wipe off excess” lead to that mess.

Last edited by Dfrost; 06-14-22 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 06-13-22, 04:26 PM
  #50  
cyccommute 
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
How about charcoal lighter fluid?


Is this same as mineral spirits?
Almost. It’s slightly more flammable than mineral spirits so that it ignites easily. I believe the flashpoint is somewhat higher than Coleman fuel, however. It will work just as well as mineral spirits and is likely available because you can’t really make “green” lighter fluid.
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