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Chain lube that won't mess my bike

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Chain lube that won't mess my bike

Old 06-10-10, 07:57 AM
  #1  
RGW
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Chain lube that won't mess my bike

I've been using Tri-Flow chain lube for some time now; I apply a drop to each link and wipe down chain after 10 minutes or so, so I don't think I'm over lubricating the chain. While it does a great job of lubricating the chain, it seems to make a mess of my bike and pannier when I'm riding it rainy weather. When it's raining, the chin seems to throw up black spatters all over the chain stays, seat stays and my pannier . It's a real mess! I'm wondering what people recommend for a chain lube that will keep the black stuff off of the bike & bag. I read that waxing a chain will keep it clean, but don't think I want to go that route as I prefer a more convenient easy to apply option.

So... what do all you wet weather riders recommend??
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Old 06-10-10, 08:43 AM
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Look for Teflon based lubricant with high vapor pressure carrier (glue sniffer delight).
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Old 06-10-10, 08:53 AM
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I think you'll find that riding in the rain will mess up your bike regardless of the lube, but I suppose some messes are easier to clean than others.

I use Finish Line wet lube because it keeps my chain lubed even after several days of riding in the rain. I haven't noticed it contributing to the mess.

For best results, lube your chain the night before and wipe it off in the morning. Also, clean your chain before lubing.
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Old 06-10-10, 09:07 AM
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Bar and Chain Oil (for chain saws).

You won't be able to spin fast enough to fling that stuff off.

Wipe down really well, after lubing the chain.
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Old 06-10-10, 10:00 AM
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I've had good results with White Lighting, which dries to waxy coating. It will wash away in the rain, but it's easy to reapply with its squeeze bottle packaging; it flows on like liquid, but dries quickly.
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Old 06-10-10, 10:37 AM
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Thanks for the insights all. I'm thinking of giving WL a try. I realize I'll have to start with a really clean chain though (soak it in mineral spirits first). Hopefully this will alleviate the black spatter mess when it rains.

Anyone have other solutions that may work better??
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Old 06-10-10, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I think you'll find that riding in the rain will mess up your bike regardless of the lube, but I suppose some messes are easier to clean than others.

I use Finish Line wet lube because it keeps my chain lubed even after several days of riding in the rain. I haven't noticed it contributing to the mess.

For best results, lube your chain the night before and wipe it off in the morning. Also, clean your chain before lubing.
This. Wax lubes don't hold up as well but they are cleaner. Pro Link Gold for my road bike. Pedro's Ice Wax for the commuter.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:31 AM
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I've been using this chain wax for over 20 years and it works great on both my bicycles and motorcycles. No concerns with rain or puddles washing it away.



BTW - it's made by Maxima (I didn't notice the name wasn't shown on the can).

Last edited by BassNotBass; 06-10-10 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 06-10-10, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Bar and Chain Oil (for chain saws).

You won't be able to spin fast enough to fling that stuff off.

Wipe down really well, after lubing the chain.
I really like this idea. Does it last long? Seems like this might be great for a chain lube.
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Old 06-10-10, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I've had good results with White Lighting, which dries to waxy coating. It will wash away in the rain, but it's easy to reapply with its squeeze bottle packaging; it flows on like liquid, but dries quickly.
That's what I use as well. You're generally good for a while even after riding in the rain, unless it's spent hours in a downpour. You won't have to reapply immediately, just sooner.
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Old 06-10-10, 08:33 PM
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Yes, it does last quite awhile - but when you want to really clean it - it takes awhile to soak it off.
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Old 06-10-10, 09:21 PM
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Boeshield T9
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Old 06-11-10, 07:22 AM
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White lightning only lasts 80km for me
Prolink and Rock n' Roll are what I recommend. I can't tell the difference between them.
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Old 06-11-10, 07:43 AM
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road dirt will stick to the white lightning
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Old 06-11-10, 07:48 AM
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I've tried about everything, from just plain motor oil to triflow to chainsaw oil to prolink.

What I use now is DuPont Teflon+Wax spray. It has a lot of carrier that does a pretty good job cleaning and then evaporates, and the wax and teflon stay on and don't tend to gather dirt (I ride a very dirty gravel road route).

It's $5 a can, a can lasts a long time, and I just put the red tube into the nozzle, lay it on top of the chain, spray and pull it along. I can lube my whole chain in 20 seconds, then wipe it down in 10 more.

It works as well as anything I've tried, bettery than many, my chain doesn't get covered in oily dirt and I can service my chain in about a minute per week.
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Old 06-11-10, 05:05 PM
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Well...I'm curious. You say that you end up with "black spatters all over the chain stays, seat stays and my pannier".

Is there a reason I haven't caught onto that you think it's coming from the chain? Chains don't...generally spray oil everything, unless you rub them directly against something. Even if it's raining.

I just bought a new car (a hatchback) with a light interior. I'm very careful to put the bike in with the chain side up. Still - it's already got quite a few black, greasy marks on it. In places that I could not have possibly fit the chain. You what they're from?

Bike tires. The road is covered in grit. Cars leak oil on the road, stuff gets dropped on the road...it's a mess. Once it starts raining, all that stuff get mixed up in the water. You wheel goes through the water and throws it up onto the bike, or in my case even when it's not raining it sticks to the tire.

I almost wouldn't have believed it myself, but I've seen my tires mark up carpet, car interior...without even riding in the rain, and in ways that couldn't possibly have come from the chain.

I think the best solution to your problem isn't a different chain oil, you need fenders. Even full coverage fenders aren't perfect, but - that's why commuters use fenders. It's often not to avoid getting wet - if it's raining fenders aren't going to help. It's to avoid getting covered in the nasty, gritty water that's kicked up from the street.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Bar and Chain Oil (for chain saws).

You won't be able to spin fast enough to fling that stuff off.

Wipe down really well, after lubing the chain.
Wow, I have a gallon of bar and chain oil in my garage. I never would have thought to use it but I'm definitely going to give it a try. It's like 100x cheaper than specialty lubes at the bike shop.
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Old 06-11-10, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wildergeek View Post
Wow, I have a gallon of bar and chain oil in my garage. I never would have thought to use it but I'm definitely going to give it a try. It's like 100x cheaper than specialty lubes at the bike shop.
I've not found that specialty lubes work any better than 30 weight motor oil. For bonus points, cut it with mineral spirits. If oils work for you, it's as good as any of them, IMO. I ride on gravel roads so oils just attract too much dirt and I have to go with something drier.
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Old 06-11-10, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
I've not found that specialty lubes work any better than 30 weight motor oil. For bonus points, cut it with mineral spirits. If oils work for you, it's as good as any of them, IMO. I ride on gravel roads so oils just attract too much dirt and I have to go with something drier.
Even when cut with mineral spirits, the motor oil manages to trap every piece of dirt in the universe. Add to that, even when you attempt to remove the excess, every pair of long pants in your wardrobe will sport a chain tatoo.

Personally, after a long time trying to do this on the cheap, I've move to Finish Line.
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Old 06-11-10, 07:38 PM
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We've always just used Gulf Wax.


at $4.00 for a pound it lasts forever. It doesn't collect road grime. And it stays inside the bearing surface which is where you want it anyway.
Also in as long as I've been around no one in my family has ever replaced a chain because of rust.

Proper application involves putting the wax in a metal pan (we always used pie tins) on the stove.
Melt the wax.
Insert the chain.
flex the chain around a bunch while it's in the liquid Paraffin.
finally remove the chain, and hang it up to dry outside.... once dry install and ride. You're lubricated for at least half a year of riding

Yes it sounds crazy. Yes it works amazingly well. This same chain has been on this bike for the last 18 years.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
Boeshield T9
It's all I use.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RGW View Post
I've been using Tri-Flow chain lube for some time now;
Tri-Flow contains a lubricant and a solvent.
After application, you need to let it sit overnight for the solvent to evaporate off, else you get splattters.
I have used it for years.
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Old 06-12-10, 06:07 AM
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New chains come with a sticky goo that attracts micro-grit and promotes chain wear. Melt wax in an old pan and drop in the NEW chain (ski wax remnants). Pull out the chain and hang it up to cool (wire in link for handling). When the wax hardens I flex the wax off. When you are done you have a clean chain on which you can apply teflon lube if any lube is necessary. Do not use wet lube unless you live in some ultra-dry region. Any lube will pick up road dirt; new lube loosens the dirt and allows it to splatter all over you. I have used a chain cleaning set that clamps over the chain and brushes cleaning solvent into the chain as you rotate the chain through it, though I haven't seen this product in American shops. But give up on the dirty chain. You will never get it clean. A new chain makes riding more (clean) fun and your gears work better.
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Old 06-13-10, 09:17 PM
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Go buy yourself a good chain-cleaning tool and clean your chain at least once a month. The chain is the most important part on a bike. It has the most moving parts on it. 550 or so to be exact. You'll learn that by keeping your drivetrain clean the bike operates a lot smoother. I use Finish Line Wet Lube. And it works in all kinds of weather. Clean the rest of the bike often to. A little bit of spatter isn't going to hurt as long as you keep things clean.
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Old 06-13-10, 09:26 PM
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Scoatw, I don't doubt that cleaning the chain frequently helps prolong it's life. I do however think that the specific lubrication used makes a huge difference. As stated above the chain in that photo has been on that bike for at least 18 years and still looks nearly new. It's only been lubricated with a liquid twice. First was when it left the factory. And most recently when the bike store serviced the bike they oiled it. I have since soaked it in paraffin, let it dry, and re-installed it.

Unless it's wet, nothing sticks to the chain.
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