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Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

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Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

Old 02-27-11, 02:08 AM
  #51  
WalksOn2Wheels
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Chucky, you are so backwards, it borders on pure entertainment. I honestly thought your first post in this thread was a joke of some sort. I'm glad sixty-fiver, a very well respected bike mechanic in these parts, is kindly taking you to school without stooping to your level and insulting your intelligence as you seem to be so willing to do to others.

Let me see if I can clean up this beleaguered train track analogy. When you have a train track and wheels, you want them to be dry so as to let friction do it's job and propel that car forward. In its optimal arrangement, there is no slipping present between the wheel and the track. When you have a roller chain, a pin and roller arrangement, you want the rollers to roll on the pins freely, that is slipping, or with as little friction as possible. Without any sort of lubrication, you have metal on metal contact, which creates lots of friction. When this happens, you have loss of power, or we could call it, loss of efficiency.

What you're basically telling us (I imagine) is that you think the rollers should have no lubricant, because it should grip the teeth in a dry manner for the best efficiency. But what you're missing is that we're talking about lubricating the INSIDE of the roller. What you're suggesting is a small scale version of a train wheel with no grease in it's wheel bearing. Because of the weight, speed, etc. of the train, we can see how this would obviously not fly on a large scale. You can get away with it on the bicycle chain, because the loss of power is pretty marginal, but I can be pretty sure your chains aren't lasting as long as you say they are.

Oh, and as far as wearing out other major components before your chain is toast, how am I supposed to believe a guy who won't lube his chain is taking that great of care of the rest of the bike to begin with? I'm surprised it's still in one piece. Or is it? Didn't you say you had some stress cracks in the steerer?
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Old 02-27-11, 08:46 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
If you want to waste your time and money then feel free to lube anything you want. However, these things seem to get along just fine without all of their metal on metal interfaces being lubed:
If you'd like to compare railcar wheels to bicycle chain rollers, you'll need to look more closely at the parts. Railcar wheels and axles turn together and are greased where they meet the trucks (the assembly that holds the axles) in an area called the journal.

Chain pins and rollers can be compared to railway car axles and trucks. They work better with lube between them. I suppose you could compare the outside of the rollers to the treads of the railway car wheel (the shiny bit that rests on the rail). Railways try to keep the tops of the rails and the treads of the railcar wheels dry so that the locomotive wheels can gain traction.

There are circumstances where oil is needed, however. On tight turns the flanges grind on the insides of the rail, throw sparks and sometimes start fires. This action also wears down flanges and rails decreasing replacement intervals.

In such areas there are flange oilers installed to decrease the friction as the train runs through turns. Ideally the oil would only be deposited on the flange and not the tread, as oil on the tread decreases locomotive traction for acceleration and traction of all wheels on the train for braking. I suppose you could compare the desire to keep the treads of railcars dry to the desire to keep the outside of the bicycle chain dry with the exception that bike chain rollers don't need the same type of traction that a railcar tread does. Bike chain rollers just need properly shaped teeth, some tension and a reasonable chain line to keep from skipping or being thrown. Automobile timing chains work just fine in an oil bath.

Flange oiler.

Flange oiler at Eymore 2.8.08 by svr_p_way, on Flickr

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 02-27-11 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 02-27-11, 10:08 AM
  #53  
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That's it.. I'm draining the oil outta my car.
It's just collects dirt and crap and messes the engine up.
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Old 02-27-11, 10:48 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by MNBikeguy View Post
That's it.. I'm draining the oil outta my car.
It's just collects dirt and crap and messes the engine up.
Don't forget to drain the axles and transmission, too!
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Old 02-27-11, 11:14 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
If you'd like to compare railcar wheels to bicycle chain rollers, you'll need to look more closely at the parts. Railcar wheels and axles turn together and are greased where they meet the trucks (the assembly that holds the axles) in an area called the journal.

Chain pins and rollers can be compared to railway car axles and trucks. They work better with lube between them. I suppose you could compare the outside of the rollers to the treads of the railway car wheel (the shiny bit that rests on the rail). Railways try to keep the tops of the rails and the treads of the railcar wheels dry so that the locomotive wheels can gain traction.

There are circumstances where oil is needed, however. On tight turns the flanges grind on the insides of the rail, throw sparks and sometimes start fires. This action also wears down flanges and rails decreasing replacement intervals.

In such areas there are flange oilers installed to decrease the friction as the train runs through turns. Ideally the oil would only be deposited on the flange and not the tread, as oil on the tread decreases locomotive traction for acceleration and traction of all wheels on the train for braking. I suppose you could compare the desire to keep the treads of railcars dry to the desire to keep the outside of the bicycle chain dry with the exception that bike chain rollers don't need the same type of traction that a railcar tread does. Bike chain rollers just need properly shaped teeth, some tension and a reasonable chain line to keep from skipping or being thrown. Automobile timing chains work just fine in an oil bath.

Flange oiler.
Not only do you have to oil the flanges but you may even have to sand the tracks



Most old steam locomotives had track sanders of some sort. They even filled with water and sand.
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Old 02-27-11, 11:30 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
No, no, no....aaand no. Rollers and bushings are separate chain components with separate functions (with the roller functioning as a wheel and the bushing functioning as bearing). More accurately they were separate components since most bicycle chains don't even have bushings anymore. That leaves the wheel part which you yourself said should not be lubricated.
If there are no longer any bushings at all, what, exactly, allows the chain to flex? There has to be something functioning as an internal bearing, otherwise the chain is just a solid lump. And it's those internal bearings that you're lubricating, not the outside. That's why every bicycle lube tells you to wipe the chain clean after application.

I hate to break it to you, son, but there is one person in this conversation that has the knowledge and real world experience to back up his claims and the pictures to prove it and two people who are haven't a clue. You can argue till you're blue in the face, but it won't make you right because the fact is that unlubricated chains work. So your only choices are to either try to understand why they work or to make yourself look stupid by insisting that the Pope isn't catholic. Here's a start:
https://www.chain-guide.com
I understand perfectly well how chains work. Now, son, I've provided references supporting the position that chains need to be lubricated, both in the general sense that bike chains contain bearings and bearings need to be lubricated, and in the specific sense that the references specifically talk about lubricating bicycle chains. Unless you can provide similarly specific references, I'm going to chalk you up as being an ignorant Internet yahoo and just ignore anything you say in the future.

And really, you think "I've broken everything else on my bike, but my chain is still working!" is a positive recommendation of your mechanical prowess? That's like someone saying "well, my car's engine burned up, the wheels fell off, brake rotors are gouged to hell, and the frame is bent, but hey, the transmission still works" and expecting people to take them seriously on the topic of car mechanics.
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Old 02-27-11, 12:30 PM
  #57  
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Poor chucky.

In the train analogy, the track would be your cogs and chainwheels, the wheels would be the rollers of your chain, and the GREASED BEARING between the wheel and the axle on the train truck would be the bushing surfaces pressed into the inside face of the inside sideplates of the chain at manufacture. Some older and singlespeed chain rollers might still run off an actual bushing, but on many if not most multispeed chains nowadays, it is the inner sideplate which provides a bearing surface for the roller. Take a chain link completely apart and check it out.

Most manufacturers and repair instruction still recommend the use of lubricants on a chain. Since I work in a shop, I think I'll stick with manufacturers' recommended best practice...

I like KMC's INOX/Stainless chain for SS applications. But I still lube them regularly...
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Old 02-27-11, 12:57 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Most old steam locomotives had track sanders of some sort.
I think sanders might be still fairly common on modern diesel locos. At least some of our electric light rail units have sanders even. On one generation the sand hoppers serve as the bases for the 2 most fore and 2 most aft passenger seats.
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Old 02-27-11, 07:37 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
On the contrary I think nothing is better than anything. I've worn out just about every component on this bike (including nonconsumables, such as fatiguing the stem), but the dry chain is still going strong:
It depends on your situation. On my route, if I ride in the rain and then don't clean and lube the chain, by the next morning the chain doesn't bend anymore. Here's a photo I took of my chain after cleaning and lubing, wiping down and riding ONE DAY and not relubing afterwards. This is caused by the 8 miles of gravel road I ride on, often combined with salt spray. In this situation the chain does not bend anymore, I have to drop oil on each roller and manually break loose each joint on the chain.

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Old 02-27-11, 08:33 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
It depends on your situation. On my route, if I ride in the rain and then don't clean and lube the chain, by the next morning the chain doesn't bend anymore.
I have had rust develop on the chain after a single day with the lowest-rated lube on my rust-resistance scale. With my current lube mixture, I can ride for months of weather that includes a rain persisting for weeks at a time, without the need for relubing on account of the rust. On a work day, the bike is parked outside no matter what the weather. If I walk outside in the wet in my environment, my shoes immediately develop salt rings.
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Old 02-28-11, 07:22 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
I have had rust develop on the chain after a single day with the lowest-rated lube on my rust-resistance scale. With my current lube mixture, I can ride for months of weather that includes a rain persisting for weeks at a time, without the need for relubing on account of the rust. On a work day, the bike is parked outside no matter what the weather. If I walk outside in the wet in my environment, my shoes immediately develop salt rings.
Interesting. I've tried motor oil, tri-flow, Dupont teflon+wax spray, and 3 different kinds of chain lube from the bike shop. It doesn't seem to matter.

Keep in mind though, the gravel roads I ride on have a high clay content, which makes them ride smooth (the rocks get pressed down into the clay and it can form almost a pavement-smooth surface) but it's sticky; when wet the clay sprays onto the drivetrain, and I've had my chain actually almost disappear under a coat of sticky clay.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:09 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
Some older and singlespeed chain rollers might still run off an actual bushing, but on many if not most multispeed chains nowadays, it is the inner sideplate which provides a bearing surface for the roller. Take a chain link completely apart and check it out.
Yep. Functionally it's the same thing, though.

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Keep in mind though, the gravel roads I ride on have a high clay content, which makes them ride smooth (the rocks get pressed down into the clay and it can form almost a pavement-smooth surface) but it's sticky; when wet the clay sprays onto the drivetrain, and I've had my chain actually almost disappear under a coat of sticky clay.
Yikes! If there's anyone who would be a prime candidate for a belt drive, or at least a fully-enclosed chainguard, it's you!
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Old 02-28-11, 09:04 AM
  #63  
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I'm happy to report that, for me, chain rust is a thing of the past. I can't say I miss it.

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Old 02-28-11, 09:35 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
It depends on your situation. On my route, if I ride in the rain and then don't clean and lube the chain, by the next morning the chain doesn't bend anymore. Here's a photo I took of my chain after cleaning and lubing, wiping down and riding ONE DAY and not relubing afterwards. This is caused by the 8 miles of gravel road I ride on, often combined with salt spray. In this situation the chain does not bend anymore, I have to drop oil on each roller and manually break loose each joint on the chain.

An absolutely staggering example of chloride corrosion of steel. Your aluminum rims aren't too far behind, either.
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Old 02-28-11, 12:36 PM
  #65  
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Don't use WD-40 ...

Use 3-1 oil ... bang-for-buck, it's the best all-purpose.
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Old 02-28-11, 12:36 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Interesting. I've tried motor oil, tri-flow, Dupont teflon+wax spray, and 3 different kinds of chain lube from the bike shop. It doesn't seem to matter.
The majority of commercial lubes performed poorly for me as well, although with a typical lube I needed to wait longer than a day like you for the rust. Still, I could not tolerate having to lube the chain every week or so to avoid rust. This got me thinking that like most products for bikes, the commercial lubes are meant for summer fair-weather bikers and, like with many other bike things, I need to take charge of the lube myself. I read literature on rust protection and developed my own mixture that keeps the chain rust-free for months at a time, mixing Boeshield T-9, LPS 3 and ACF-50. To top it, I am going to add a solid EP additive which is in the mail. However, the latter is just to enhance the chain longevity beyond what one gets from maintaining it rust-free.
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Old 02-28-11, 01:26 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
Okay, this might be a dumb question and yes, I've already googled it.
Does lubing a chain frequently in moist and humid weather, i.e. rain, prevent rust?
You can just chime in with a yes or no answer, or more if you have some special insight.

I use White Lightning and I've noticed I have to apply it more often recently or it starts squeaking quietly.
WhiteLIghtning works where it doesn't rain, it doesn't work where it rains. Oil works, just make sure to wipe the excess off. It may take wiping three or four times over a couple days after oiling to get the excess off.
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Old 02-28-11, 06:36 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I think sanders might be still fairly common on modern diesel locos. At least some of our electric light rail units have sanders even. On one generation the sand hoppers serve as the bases for the 2 most fore and 2 most aft passenger seats.
Yes modern diesels still use sanders.

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Old 02-28-11, 08:22 PM
  #69  
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I guess I'm going to have to buy some Boeshield T9 and give it a whirl.

However, I'm currently running an experiment with my chain. I typically get 1800 miles before it's at the "replace" stage. Last spring I got to that stage and when I put a new chain on, it started skipping - worn out cassette. So I decided, to heck with it and put the old chain back on, it was running OK and the cassette is wrecked anyway. I figured I'd just keep riding like that until it stopped running right, then replace the chain and cassette (and maybe flip the chainrings too).

That chain is currently at about 6000 miles and is pretty darn worn, but it still runs fine and shifts smoothly, so I'm just going to keep going.
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Old 03-03-11, 02:06 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Chucky... you really need to oil your chain... it appears to have some rust forming.
No, no I don't. And I won't, just as I haven't for several years and you know what's going to happen? It's going to keep working, reliably and efficiently, just as it always has.

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Besides being a "lowly" bike mechanic I also work as a frame builder and have a background in the industrial manufacturing of high precision parts, bearings, and equipment and understanding the function of lubricants in highly demanding applications was crucial.
Shame that all that experience can't help the fact that you're wrong. All the words in the world can't change the simple fact that chains DO work just fine WITHOUT lubrication.

Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
Chucky, you are so backwards, it borders on pure entertainment. I honestly thought your first post in this thread was a joke of some sort. I'm glad sixty-fiver, a very well respected bike mechanic in these parts, is kindly taking you to school without stooping to your level and insulting your intelligence as you seem to be so willing to do to others.

Let me see if I can clean up this beleaguered train track analogy.
Why shouldn't I insult the intelligence of others? If you act like a moron and deny that the sky is blue then I will treat you like one. Respect and experience does not change reality and anyone who thinks otherwise deserves no less than the deepest disdain and ridicule.

Analogy or not the fact is that CHAINS DO NOT NEED LUBRICATION. Period.

Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
I understand perfectly well how chains work. Now, son, I've provided references supporting the position that chains need to be lubricated, both in the general sense that bike chains contain bearings and bearings need to be lubricated, and in the specific sense that the references specifically talk about lubricating bicycle chains. Unless you can provide similarly specific references, I'm going to chalk you up as being an ignorant Internet yahoo and just ignore anything you say in the future.
You can chalk me up however you want. Fortunately for me, convincing idiots of their own folly is not a prerequisite to a well functioning bicycle. It works if you believe me, it works if you ignore me, it works if you love me, it works if you hate me, it works if you do it, it works if you don't: It just works.

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
I guess I'm going to have to buy some Boeshield T9 and give it a whirl.

However, I'm currently running an experiment with my chain. I typically get 1800 miles before it's at the "replace" stage. Last spring I got to that stage and when I put a new chain on, it started skipping - worn out cassette. So I decided, to heck with it and put the old chain back on, it was running OK and the cassette is wrecked anyway. I figured I'd just keep riding like that until it stopped running right, then replace the chain and cassette (and maybe flip the chainrings too).

That chain is currently at about 6000 miles and is pretty darn worn, but it still runs fine and shifts smoothly, so I'm just going to keep going.
Your problem is two fold:
1. The derailleur is dragging the chain through the muck. Switch to an internal hub and the chain will stay much cleaner with consequently better operation.
2. As the discussion above (see post #52 from LesterOfPuppets) on the flange wear of locomotives in tight turns elucidates, the cross chaining effect of the derailleur increases friction and requires lubrication where it wouldn't be otherwise needed. Once again, ditch the derailleur and the problem will go away.
I have way over 6000 miles on my chain and it also runs fine and shifts smoothly with rust AND without lubrication. The difference between your chain and mine is that you have a derailleur.

Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
Yep. Functionally it's the same thing, though.
No, it isn't. In fact, bushingless chains do not have bearings and the fact that the chain "bears" on the surface of the vestigial flange surface does not make it a bearing.

So here's a test of intelligence for you: if it works efficiently without any bearings at all, then what does that indicate about the necessity of lubricating the bearings? All you locomotive "experts" who are quick to point out that locomotive bearings are lubricated should also answer this one and consider what would happen if the bearings were entirely removed from locomotive wheels as they have been from bicycle chains.

Last edited by chucky; 03-03-11 at 03:01 PM. Reason: added link, cross chaining, etc
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Old 03-03-11, 02:18 PM
  #71  
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Here's one for all the highly "respected" and "experienced", but apparently illiterate and doltish (and possibly blind) bicycle and industrial mechanics out there:
Originally Posted by Bicycling Science by David Gordon Wilson Professor Emeritus MIT
The type of [chain] lubrication, or even whether there is lubricant present, has almost no effect on efficiency...
These results, which in many cases contradict popular wisdom, were reviewed by Kyle (2000), who had recently himself supervised a similar proprietary study. He confirmed the general findings and accuracy.
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Old 03-03-11, 02:29 PM
  #72  
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Wilson refers to "efficiency" as a function of power transfer. Entirely different.
And a "bushingless" chain actually have half bushings, all requiring lubrication. Google it. I won't bother to give you the links. You undoubtably won't believe it.
Good gawd man.. Do a little research. And stop with the name calling.
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Old 03-03-11, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeguy View Post
Wilson refers to "efficiency" as a function of power transfer. Entirely different.
And a "bushingless" chain actually have half bushings, all requiring lubrication. Google it. I won't bother to give you the links. You undoubtably won't believe it.
Good gawd man.. Do a little research. And stop with the name calling.
Why would I need to "google it" when I have a several thousand miles on an unlubricated chain right here in front of me?

I'll leave it to the reader to determine an appropriate name for people who "research" facts by "googling" instead of using their own brains to observe the real world with their own two eyeballs.
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Old 03-03-11, 03:18 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
I'll leave it to the reader to determine an appropriate name for people who......
lol... I'm sure you will.
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Old 03-03-11, 03:55 PM
  #75  
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chucky graciously provided us with links to information that support the use of lubricant on chains and says it is required for derailleur equipped bikes.

And yet... he just keeps going and going.

There's a word for this...
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