Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

Old 02-23-11, 02:59 PM
  #1  
SurlyLaika
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,251
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Does lubricant prevent chain rust?

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.
SurlyLaika is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 03:01 PM
  #2  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 37,589

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7752 Post(s)
Liked 2,823 Times in 1,533 Posts
Yes.

As to the WL, rain riding with WL never worked well for me. Chain would commence to howling in no time.

I stopped using it once when coming home from Salem I had rain for the first 25 miles then it dried out for me. The chain was deafening by mile 40, so I pulled into a gas station, dug through the trash cans and poured some leftover motor oil on my chain. (most people leave enough oil in a can to lube your chain if you're ever on the road and can't stand the sound of your chain anymore.
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 03:21 PM
  #3  
SurlyLaika
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,251
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
is it that bad to ride with a squeaky chain? i know it's annoying and can ruin a ride, or at least it can affect the joy of my ride, but can any real harm come of it?
SurlyLaika is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 03:48 PM
  #4  
ItsJustMe
Seńior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
If a chain is squeaking, it's almost certainly wearing faster than if it wasn't. in a properly lubricated chain, there is a layer of oil between any two moving metal surfaces that keeps them from wearing on one another. if the chain is squeaking, that means that layer is not there.

I've tried a bunch of different lubes and finally wound up with DuPont teflon+wax spray-on lube. I can take care of the chain in about 30 seconds and it doesn't attract quite as much dirt as oil. It doesn't really seem to make any difference in longevity of the chain (I get about 1800 miles regardless of what lube I use) but at least the chain isn't quite as grungy.

I ride 8 miles a day over gravel roads, so if it's raining, even a brand new chain will be caked with mud within 20 minutes of leaving home, so I tend to be fairly resigned regarding lubrication and cleaning.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 05:46 PM
  #5  
coldfeet
Senior Member
 
coldfeet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,118
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I used to use WL, now use Boeshield, similar idea, but I think it works a little better. I get about 200km in wet conditions before I start to hear the chain begin tiny noises. Unless it's torrential rain, then I might get 100.
coldfeet is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 06:08 PM
  #6  
SurlyLaika
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,251
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
I used to use WL, now use Boeshield, similar idea, but I think it works a little better. I get about 200km in wet conditions before I start to hear the chain begin tiny noises. Unless it's torrential rain, then I might get 100.
Do you mean Boeshield T-9 ?
SurlyLaika is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 06:23 PM
  #7  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 13,217

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 393 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2303 Post(s)
Liked 1,021 Times in 514 Posts
I'm lazy and like to lube my chain and forget about it until it starts to squeak. The longer I can go between squeaking, the happier I am, and I generally don't even bother to clean the chain if it isn't squeaking. I use Finish Line Wet lube during the rainy season. It's very thick and sticks to the chain well. It also sticks to road grit really well, so it's important to wipe off the excess. Here in the PNW, where it rains nearly every day during the winter, I can generally go about two weeks between cleaning and lubing with this stuff.
Andy_K is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:03 PM
  #8  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,930

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1615 Post(s)
Liked 840 Times in 522 Posts
White Lightning is one step up from WD-40 IME. The wax type lubes will not stop rust, but chain lube with oil will prevent rust.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:08 PM
  #9  
CliftonGK1
Senior Member
 
CliftonGK1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 11,375

Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I use Finish Line Wet lube during the rainy season. It's very thick and sticks to the chain well. It also sticks to road grit really well, so it's important to wipe off the excess. Here in the PNW, where it rains nearly every day during the winter, I can generally go about two weeks between cleaning and lubing with this stuff.
+1 to the Finish Line green **** for the Pacific NorthWet winters. The only gloop of any comparison (IMO) is Phil's Tenacious, and that stuff is a nightmare to contend with if you get it anywhere except on your chain.
__________________
"I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
- Mandi M.
CliftonGK1 is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:14 PM
  #10  
chucky
It's got electrolytes!
 
chucky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,388

Bikes: Self-designed carbon fiber highracer, BikesDirect Kilo WT5, Pacific Cycles Carryme, Dahon Boardwalk with custom Sturmey Archer wheelset

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Oil prevents rust, but not all lubrication necessarily prevents rust.

If you put a lot of miles on an unoiled chain, first it will rust (from riding in the rain) and then the rust will grind to a fine lubricating powder. I don't oil or lubricate my chains:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
2.jpg (73.0 KB, 122 views)
chucky is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:21 PM
  #11  
JeffS
not a role model
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,659
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Some, but not all lubricants will inhibit rust.

I used White Lightning years ago, but didn't care for it. If you like that style of lubricant, Dupont Teflon Multi-Use is cheaper. I've bene using Tri-Flow in recent years. It gets dirty fairly quick, but I'm lazy about chain maintenance and it doesn't require frequent reapplication to stay quiet.
JeffS is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:47 PM
  #12  
SurlyLaika
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,251
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
my neighbor sprayed Tri-flow on my chain, actually everywhere...on the cassette and stuff. Man! is that stuff a nightmare it smears black crap all over anything the drive train touches. Never again. I'm considering the Boeshield T-9 or the DuPont teflon+wax spray-on lube. I like that White Lightning is self-cleaning, though!
SurlyLaika is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:55 PM
  #13  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 37,589

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7752 Post(s)
Liked 2,823 Times in 1,533 Posts
Um, well most lubes will do that when over-applied and not wiped down after application. I like to wipe my chain before and after lube application.
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 09:57 PM
  #14  
Arcanum
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 903

Bikes: 2010 Kona Dr. Dew, Moose Bicycle XXL (fat bike), Yuba Mundo V3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Stuff you put on your chain basically serves one or more of four purposes.

- Cleaning: Dissolves existing gunk so it can be wiped away or otherwise removed.
- Lubricating: Keeps the individual links moving smoothly with minimal resistance.
- Protecting: Repels or carries away dirt and dust. Dirt and dust are bad because they wear your chain more quickly.
- Water Repelling: Prevents water from contacting the chain, thus helping prevent rust.

Cleaning supplies generally make up a separate category from the rest. WD-40 is mostly a cleaner, but does provide a minimal amount of lubrication and water repellancy; don't actually rely on it for anything other than a limited amount of degreasing.

Most oil-based lubes provide some amount of lubrication and water repellance. Lighter lubes will tend to lubricate better and shed gunk better, but will wash off more easily and generally have to be reapplied more often. They also require less cleaning when you relubricate. Heavier lubes are thicker and thus don't lubricate as well, but shed water quite effectively and won't wash off. Unfortunately, they tend to pick up dirt and require more chain cleaning.

Wax lubes (White Lightning Clean Ride, for instance) are only so-so at lubrication and are not very good at repelling water, but they're pretty effective at protecting the chain from dust and dirt. Reapplication is needed fairly frequently, especially during very wet weather. One guideline I've heard for wax lubes is expect 300 miles from an application in a dry environment, cut that in half for puddles and other wet terrain, and cut it in half again for significant wet weather.

Other varieties of lube (teflon, etc.) I'm not familiar with.
Arcanum is offline  
Old 02-23-11, 10:05 PM
  #15  
SurlyLaika
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,251
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
squeeze-drip bottle or aerosol spray for lubricant

from an amazon search it seems both Boeshield T-9 and Dupont Multi-use Lubricant come in the form an 11oz aerosol spray can and a 4oz squeeze-drip bottle, like White Lightning.
What's the better form of chain lubricant? I'm inclined to say squeeze-drip bottle. I've mastered economically dripping White Lighting on only the parts that matter and not wasting a single drop. Also, it's small and fits in with the inner tube, multi-tool, etc. kit.

Actually, is there any advantage to lube in aerosol form? It seems kind of wasteful and inexact and large.
SurlyLaika is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 04:36 AM
  #16  
2_i 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,125

Bikes: Trek 730 (quad), 720 & 830, Bike Friday NWT, Brompton M27R & M6R, Dahon HAT060 & HT060, ...

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 584 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 122 Posts
Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
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.
Add little of ACF-50 to your lube and this will take care of the rust problem.
2_i is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 06:10 AM
  #17  
wahoonc
Membership Not Required
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On the road-USA
Posts: 16,855

Bikes: Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Oil or ATF. They also make Stainless Steel chains...still need lubing though.

Aaron
__________________
Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
wahoonc is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 07:45 AM
  #18  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,900

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
As others mentioned, oil-based lubricants will prevent rust much better than wax, teflon based ones. 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, although my chain looks a little dirtier than when I used more expensive store-bought lubes.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 08:20 AM
  #19  
Fizzaly
Stealing Spokes since 82'
 
Fizzaly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Boy-z, Ideeeho
Posts: 1,875

Bikes: The always reliable kuwie

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ive been using this https://www.ubcbike.com/store/product...-oz---Blue%29/stuff for two years now well during non winter months since it has wax in it. I haven't noticed having to re-apply more often during rain season and it seems to deter rust formation. Works really well in dry dusty conditions also. In the winter time I use ATF straight.
Fizzaly is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 10:02 AM
  #20  
Azreal911
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 922

Bikes: Wheeler Mtn bike, Strida 5.0, Tern Link Uno, FSIR Spin 2.0, Dahon Mu P8

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
what's a chain?

Been on a belt for the last two years (2000km/year) of commuting on my strida and totally ignored chain maintenance besides a quick hose off after a rain ride to get rid of some dirt and letting it sit dry. switching to a belt drive was a very different feeling for daily commuting I found.

but to answer the op's question, Yes lubricant does prevent chain rust since you are coating the entire chain in a layer of oil. that itself acts like a shield against oxygen which then prevent oxidization (rust). Most of the rusty chains you see on the streets are with dry chains and nothing else on it. My mtn bike has a oily chain on it and I don't let it dry out, doing that it never rusted on me at all. Only thing with my mtn bike is that I gotta clean and re-oil after every ride but that's what you get for riding in dusty conditions. And after rain you should wipe off the chain of all water and then re-oil again. Doing that would push out any remaining bits of water in your chain links since oil is hydrophobic.
Azreal911 is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 12:50 PM
  #21  
seeker333
-
 
seeker333's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,865

Bikes: yes!

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 281 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
... 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...
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.

Before I made the move to DIY lube, I used White Lighting and a few others. WL does come off easier in rain than oil-based chain lube. Actually, the DIY lube doesn't fare much better in rain, since it's motor oil that's been somewhat depolymerized by a solvent. I've never found any bike chain lube to completely withstand long periods of hard rain.

I avoid riding in rain as much as possible. I consider it more dangerous due to reduced visibility (for the motorists) and increased distractions to the bicyclist.
seeker333 is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 08:31 PM
  #22  
enigmaT120
Senior Member
 
enigmaT120's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Falls City, OR
Posts: 1,965

Bikes: 2012 Salsa Fargo 2, Rocky Mountain Fusion, circa '93

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post

I avoid riding in rain as much as possible. I consider it more dangerous due to reduced visibility (for the motorists) and increased distractions to the bicyclist.
Nice if you can manage it. And you are on a commuting forum? I agree it's more dangerous but I'm not ready to move.
enigmaT120 is offline  
Old 02-24-11, 10:16 PM
  #23  
ZManT
Senior Member
 
ZManT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 260

Bikes: 2010 Trek FX 7.2, 2006 Felt F80

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I love chain lube threads - tons of herpty derp about what's the best

do yourself a favor - lube your chain LIGHTLY and OFTEN - can't fail
ZManT is offline  
Old 02-25-11, 04:23 AM
  #24  
2_i 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,125

Bikes: Trek 730 (quad), 720 & 830, Bike Friday NWT, Brompton M27R & M6R, Dahon HAT060 & HT060, ...

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 584 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 122 Posts
Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
Nice if you can manage it. And you are on a commuting forum? I agree it's more dangerous but I'm not ready to move.
Originally Posted by Azreal911 View Post
after rain you should wipe off the chain of all water and then re-oil again. Doing that would push out any remaining bits of water in your chain links since oil is hydrophobic.
I love also the latter kind of advice seemingly coming from someone exposing the chained bike to rain once in a blue moon. Use of motor oil for chain lubrication is just ridiculous. ATF?? Use gear oil instead. See also experimentation with chain rust protection.
2_i is offline  
Old 02-25-11, 04:55 AM
  #25  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 19 Posts
Have tried pretty much everything and ride enough miles in every kind of weather to say that I think I know what works for where I live and how I ride and this has a lot to do with what lube will perform best.

If you live somewhere that is dry or never ride in the rain... use a good dry lube / wax.

If you ride in the rain and snow, and also have a lot of grit / dust a wet lube, applied often, and to a clean chain will give some excellent service life and I swear by home brewed lube as it works as well and often better than any commercial lube and costs a fraction of what bike specific lubes cost.

My chain life is excellent and with proper application and just as important, a thorough wipe down, my chains look good, run smoothly, and defy rust.

You can buy your commercial lubes which are basically oil plus solvent plus additives (like teflon), get a good product, and just pay more.
Sixty Fiver is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.