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Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

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Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

Old 03-03-11, 04:23 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
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?
The roller on the pin is like a really floppy sleeve bearing. I'm not sure what you mean by vestigial flange surface. Roller wear would certainly increase sans lube. If you're concerned about roller wear use one of the chain checker devices available commercially. If you're concerned with wear in the pin-plate interface use a ruler to measure wear.

If you're concerned with neither, just keep on doing what you're doing.

Originally Posted by chucky View Post
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.
I'm no locomotive expert and the picture you shared is not of a locomotive wheelset, but I'd guess journal wear would increase dramatically. I'd imagine quite possibly either the axle or the truck would heat up, deform and um, something like this would result but with only one train hopefully:


Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 03-03-11 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 03-03-11, 05:55 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
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...
Yes, the word is "intelligence". Information should be used to explain observed facts. If your interpretation of the information I provided contradicts the observed facts then the only possible conclusion is that you're not using the information correctly/intelligently.

To put it simply, no matter what you say or think, if it doesn't conclude with "...and that's why chain's don't need lubrication" then you need to go back to the drawing board. You can't force an explanation which contradicts what's been observed...it doesn't work that way.

Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I'm no locomotive expert and the picture you shared is not of a locomotive wheelset, but I'd guess journal wear would increase dramatically. I'd imagine quite possibly either the axle or the truck would heat up, deform and um, something like this would result but with only one train hopefully:
Exactly...pretty much what would happen without lubrication, yet when the bearing is similarly compromised on a bicycle roller chain it works fine. This indicates that the function of the bearing, and thus the lubrication of the bearing, in bicycle roller chain is actually unnecessary...which leaves the function of the wheels/rollers which we know do not need lubrication except when subjected to tight lateral bends. So on a bicycle roller chain, not only do the rollers not need lubrication, but neither do the vestigial "half bushings".

Page 318 of David Wilson's Bicycling Science (can you guess who got a new copy?) says, "A remarkable feature of chain drives is that, even in these very poor conditions, they continue to operate, usually reliably, although their efficiency decreases. (Surprisingly, at least to the author, it is not known by how much, the efficiency of chain drives decreases in adverse conditions". According to my experience I suggest the answer is "not much at all".

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Old 03-04-11, 12:24 AM
  #78  
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Page 318 of David Wilson's Bicycling Science (can you guess who got a new copy?) says, "A remarkable feature of chain drives is that, even in these very poor conditions, they continue to operate, usually reliably, although their efficiency decreases.
Which, yup, seems to support to position taken by everyone on this forum that isn't you. I don't believe anyone has said that your chain will stop turning if you don't lube it. That would require an extended period of disuse on top of your lack of care. What everyone is saying is it will reduce performance, in complete agreement with your quote from "Bicycling Science."

(Surprisingly, at least to the author, it is not known by how much, the efficiency of chain drives decreases in adverse conditions". According to my experience I suggest the answer is "not much at all".
The problem with your experience is the lack of comparison. A chain's performance slowly decreases when it's not cared for. No one day feels harder than the last. It's entirely possible - likely, even - that there is a plateau where performance bottoms. Cleaning and lubing a chain, however, has a sudden impact on performance, and it is indeed quite noticeable.

Look, I'm glad that your rusty chain is working out for you. If you're happy with your riding experience, then go for it. I'm just saying that your observations lack a control, so they're not even acecdotal evidence.
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Old 03-04-11, 12:30 AM
  #79  
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Can we sticky this thread ?

It is highly informative and chucky can play the role of devil's advocate while the rest of us who are logging 10's upon 10's of thousands of km in every kind of weather can contribute our experiences and comment on how lubrication is of benefit to the smooth operation of our bicycles.
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Old 03-04-11, 01:02 AM
  #80  
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Rusty chains are annoyingly noisy and don't run very smoothly. I occasionally pass bikes with rusty chains and can't stand to listen to the "nails on chalkboard" sound. I don't know how someone could listen to a rusty chain mile after mile, day after day.

And to answer the OP's question, YES.
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Old 03-04-11, 01:04 AM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by neil View Post
Which, yup, seems to support to position taken by everyone on this forum that isn't you. I don't believe anyone has said that your chain will stop turning if you don't lube it. That would require an extended period of disuse on top of your lack of care. What everyone is saying is it will reduce performance, in complete agreement with your quote from "Bicycling Science."

The problem with your experience is the lack of comparison. A chain's performance slowly decreases when it's not cared for. No one day feels harder than the last. It's entirely possible - likely, even - that there is a plateau where performance bottoms. Cleaning and lubing a chain, however, has a sudden impact on performance, and it is indeed quite noticeable.

Look, I'm glad that your rusty chain is working out for you. If you're happy with your riding experience, then go for it. I'm just saying that your observations lack a control, so they're not even acecdotal evidence.
neil... we don't know a thing about riding our bikes in abusive weather here.

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Old 03-04-11, 01:09 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Can we sticky this thread ?

It is highly informative and chucky can play the role of devil's advocate while the rest of us who are logging 10's upon 10's of thousands of km in every kind of weather can contribute our experiences and comment on how lubrication is of benefit to the smooth operation of our bicycles.
damn, this thread really went in depth from my original question. Thanks for the information. Now sticky it.
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Old 03-04-11, 08:55 AM
  #83  
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Wow, Chucky. It's like your brain isn't lubed either. So full of rust that any attempt to add information just falls right off or gets ground into a fine paste.
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Old 03-05-11, 09:14 AM
  #84  
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I have heard that Chucky also goes by the nicknames "Squeaky" and "Rusty" where he lives and hangs out. Now I know why.
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Old 03-05-11, 10:28 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by EastBiker View Post
I have heard that Chucky also goes by the nicknames "Squeaky" and "Rusty" where he lives and hangs out. Now I know why.
I give him one more winter until they call him "seizey"
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Old 03-06-11, 01:22 AM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
The roller on the pin is like a really floppy sleeve bearing. I'm not sure what you mean by vestigial flange surface. Roller wear would certainly increase sans lube. If you're concerned about roller wear use one of the chain checker devices available commercially. If you're concerned with wear in the pin-plate interface use a ruler to measure wear.
To give chucky his due, rust on the outside of the chain doesn't have much effect on wear. Rust on the rollers probably wouldn't either. The roller really is something like the wheel on a train in that it makes contact with the cogs and the chainwheel much in the same way that the wheel makes contact with the track. It it wears a little, there's no real problem. However, the real issue in chain wear isn't in the rollers or even the plates. The wear issue is down in the chain where you can't see the rust...at the pins. Elongation of the chain caused by wear is caused by the interface between the pins and the plates. The pins are eroded and the fit gets sloppy. A little wear on each pin translates into a 'stretched chain'. This image from Sheldon Brown shows the pin wear



The pins of the chain are the 'bearing' surface of the system.

Where chucky goes wrong is that the surface of the pin needs some lubrication to slow down the wear. He can't see the rust at the pin surface and where the plates interact with the pins so he assumes that there's nothing to worry about. If only the outer part of the chain were rusty, I'd agree. But, if the outer part of the chain is rusty, the inner part is also rusty. Rust...iron oxide...is harder than the steel so rust will accelerate wear as it sits at the bearing surface.

It seems that chucky rides a single speed so his chain wear isn't as apparent as you'd find in derailered bikes. Worn pins on derailered bikes result in poor performance which wouldn't be as evident in single speed bikes. He probably can ride for very long time without lubrication and not experience any issues. His chain is still wearing out, he just doesn't notice it.
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Old 03-12-11, 11:01 AM
  #87  
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The other night on my way to visit my brother (just a few of the tens of thousands of miles I routinely cover as cycling is my only form of transportation) one of those speedometer signs clocked me at 25 mph on my rusty, unlubricated chain (flat, not much wind...raining of course as I live in the most precipitous city in the northern US).

Eat my dust suckers!

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Old 03-12-11, 11:14 AM
  #88  
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... I use "home brew" on my chains -- that is, mineral spirits mixed with motor oil in a 4:1 ratio. It's inexpensive and keeps away the rust...
Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
I've done the same thing for a decade now. I never have to remove the chain to clean it. My chains last >10,000 miles. It works so well, I'm simply amazed people still actually buy proprietary bike chain lube. Every time one of these threads pop up, I just have to grin and shake my head.
Glad that works for you. Of course that means you buying mineral spirits and oil, mixing it, and finding a container to store it in. The alternative is buy a $5 bottle from the LBS in a nice container that lasts at least a year.
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Old 03-12-11, 11:24 AM
  #89  
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The pins of the chain are the 'bearing' surface of the system.
No, they are 2nd line of support, the rollers are supported by the edges
on what was punched in the inner side plates, as a replacement for the bushings
traditionally used and in the original roller chain patent 100 years ago
Bushing less chains raise the edges that the roller sits on , from steel displaced in making the hole.

#86 is a picture of someone letting chain replacement go WAY too long ..
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Old 03-12-11, 11:43 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Nostradamus View Post
I give him one more winter until they call him "seizey"
It's been four winters since I degreased my chain. Five seasons of high mileage in poor weather would be just fine in my book...assuming your prophecy of impending doom even comes true.

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
#86 is a picture of someone letting chain replacement go WAY too long ..
..too long for the chain makers to make a profit, that is. I'm surprised those "chain checkers" aren't given away for free so that customers don't delay in volunteering to surrender their funds.
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Old 03-12-11, 12:15 PM
  #91  
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Chains are often cheaper to replace than tires and frequent replacement can lengthen chainring and cog replacement intervals. I know, I know you don't care because you're strictly SS and IGH....

Those chain checkers don't check the type of wear I'm most concerned about so I don't use 'em myself.
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