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Lubing a chain and how often?

Old 05-29-11, 06:35 PM
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Lubing a chain and how often?

Or as we say in the UK, greasing the chain. I last had a serious bike as a teenager but didn't know any better about greasing (lubing) a chain because I was young, and forums like this didn't exist then with excellent advice.

What I want to know is, what is a good thing to lube the chain with and how often should I do it? Advice greatly received. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-11, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by eng123
what is a good thing to lube the chain with
Chain lube. If you don't have any, I've used machine oil, and some people claim that vegetable oil works better than nothing, but chain lube is best for lubing chains.

Originally Posted by eng123
and how often should I do it? Advice greatly received. Thanks.
Whenever it asks for it. The chain will start making noise - clean and lube and it's quiet again.

If you pull the chain backwards and the chain kinks or catches on the pulleys on the rear DR, you've gone too long and need to clean the chain, work out all the stiff links and lube it.
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Old 05-29-11, 06:50 PM
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Old 05-29-11, 06:54 PM
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Another quickie, just done a Google and it says to use hot water and washing up liquid to clean the chain. Is it necessary to take the chain off the bike, or can I get away with just putting the chain into the lowest gear?
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Old 05-29-11, 07:42 PM
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https://bicycletutor.com/chain-lubrication/ There are many ways, but this guy offers some other great videos to
help you with your bike. I did not watch the video, have my own method, and chain lube style. But the ones I
have watched are pretty on spot. Richard
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Old 05-29-11, 07:54 PM
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There is also a nice thread on the Hybrid form about chain cleaning and lubing about a year ago, I do not know how to find it though. Maybe someone else will...
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Old 05-29-11, 07:55 PM
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I'll do a search for the thread. Thanks guys.
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Old 05-29-11, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo
did I step on "conventional wisdom" here?

Whoever has strong feelings about lubing chains, feel free and I won't argue But from my perspective it's just not that important. Lube with whatever works, whenever it's needed, is good enough.
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Old 05-29-11, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
did I step on "conventional wisdom" here?

Whoever has strong feelings about lubing chains, feel free and I won't argue But from my perspective it's just not that important. Lube with whatever works, whenever it's needed, is good enough.
I think that meant more like here we go, sit back and watch. There are so many ways, it can become a long thread and get heated.

Just how I perceived it. Richard
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Old 05-29-11, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
did I step on "conventional wisdom" here?
That was not a response to you.
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Old 05-29-11, 08:28 PM
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Thanks, I didn't want to provoke any arguments with 15,000 mpy speed racer types, as my "good enough" opinions sometimes do.
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Old 05-29-11, 08:49 PM
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Oh gawd! I didn't mean to start a WW3 thread. When I picked up the bike last week I was advised by the guy in the shop to keep the chain well maintained and to lube it. Given it isn't a cheap bike (Cannondale Quick 3 - essentially an 800 bike in the UK (or the equivalent of $1316 or thereabouts) I want to look after it.

Last edited by eng123; 05-29-11 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 05-29-11, 08:55 PM
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I learned this from cleaning cosmoline off old rifles but one thing that's really good at degreasing machine parts before re-lubing is non-chlorinated brake parts cleaner (aerosol can).
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Old 05-29-11, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by eng123
Oh gawd! I didn't mean to start a WW3 thread. When I picked up the bike last week I was advised by the guy in the shop to keep the chain well maintained and to lube it. Given it isn't a cheap bike (Cannondale Quick 3 - essentially an 800 bike in the UK (or the equivalent of $1316 or thereabouts) I want to look after it.
Your fine ! That is what this forum is for, to ask questions etc... There are lots of GREAT people on here.
If you do not want to remove your chain, there is a tool for cleaning it, about 30.00 something dollars
I think. Then using a dry lube helps it not pick up dirt as quickly, but I find that you tend to have to use
it more often. So I use both on my chains, will tend to pick up dust faster, but stays lubed for a long time.
Then I use like an old tooth brush and clean off any dirt when needed, but does not require re-lubing.
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Old 05-29-11, 09:56 PM
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eng123 I found it. Richard
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Old 05-30-11, 03:20 AM
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There is a charity in the UK that I found that run classes in my local area for bike maintenance, so plan to attend those too, which will get me started. Thanks guys (generic to cover girls too).
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Old 05-30-11, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive
https://bicycletutor.com/chain-lubrication/ There are many ways, but this guy offers some other great videos to
help you with your bike. I did not watch the video, have my own method, and chain lube style. But the ones I
have watched are pretty on spot. Richard
Bicycle Tutor has saved my butt more times than I like to admit...Looking him up on my phone saved me a 10 mile walk/suicide ride out of the woods with a rubbing front break before, and all he asks in return is a coffee!

I like being able to see what I'm reading, and vice versa.

The guy taught me, for free, what my LBS advertised as a maintenance plan they never really delivered.
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Old 05-30-11, 07:46 AM
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Lube your chain like a lover...right before its actually needed is best.

Always always always lube up after heavy rain/salt exposure. It seems to me you'll freeze up as the chain dries overnight.
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Old 05-30-11, 07:56 AM
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If your looking for the BEST here it is. Here is their website with all the info you need on chain maintenance....... https://www.chain-l.com/

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Old 05-30-11, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cranky velocist
Lube your chain like a lover...right before its actually needed is best.
The wax based lubes I prefer should be applied a couple hours or longer before riding.
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Old 05-30-11, 08:29 AM
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I used to grab whatever lube was at hand at the shop, but I've been doing alot more of my own maintenance lately and I'm starting to understand the appeal of a high quality formula. Breaking in a new chain would not be fun.
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Old 05-30-11, 08:57 AM
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The best chain lube is the stuff that comes on them from the factory.

I have yet to apply any additional lubricant to the chains on either of my work bikes. The chain installed 2 months ago is a little dirty, but not too bad.

I may do a clean and lube later today on that one with White Lightning. Saturate, wipe, repeat a few times. Oily lubes attract dirt. No more greasy kid's stuff for me. Rock 'n' Roll is another good clean easy to use wax based lube.
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Old 05-30-11, 12:22 PM
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Who can resist a 'which lube/how to lube chain' thread? I have no shame, so fwiw ...

1. New bike, yes? Do not 'degrease' new chain; the stuff inside the rollers as it comes from the factory is as good as it gets. You don't want to strip it out.

2. New chain getting a little noisy (anything from slightly noticeable up to 'birdy chirps')? Time to do something about it.

3. Choose chain lube. Use ones made for bicycle chains. 'Dry' (or wax, if you can put up with the stuff/I can't) for (you guessed it) dry/dusty conditions; 'Wet' for (got it again!) wet/rainy conditions. Finish Line, RocknRoll, White Lightning ... lots of 'em out there.

4. Clean, dry, lint-free rag; wrap around lower run of chain, turn cranks backwards > takes off a lot of the surface crud. Continue (using clean rag surface) until not too much gunk coming off. Don't obsess over this; the solvent/carrier in any good lube will carry away more

5. Apply lube to lower run of chain, one drop and only one drop on each roller and only on the roller. That's it; that's all you need ... anything more is a)wasted and b) a dirt magnet.

6. Once all rollers are lubed, cycle chain backwards ... fast ... several times.

7. New clean, lint-free rag: wrap around chain, cyle chain backwards through rag, repeat (using clean area of rag each time) until 'pretty clean'.

8. Leave to dry, preferably overnight -- repeat 6/7 -- done.

9. Nice finishing touch (if you can be bothered) ... hold a piece of rag against each jockey wheel of rear der. to get the accumlated crud off.

10. Repeat steps 4 through 9 whenever your bike is washed or goes through a very wet ride; otherwise whenever drivetrain sounds a little noisy again. Process takes (total) about 5 - 6 minutes.
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Old 05-30-11, 01:29 PM
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I was with you through #4. Not saying my way is any better, but here's how I do it;

5) Lean a piece of cardboard against your rear wheel such that is doesn't obstruct the chain but does protect rear rim from dripping lube. Put another piece of cardboard under the chain to keep dripping lube off the floor. While turning cranks backwards squirt White Lightning or similar wax based lube on the chain until it's dripping off onto the cardboard. Continue backpedalling while holding the chain in your hand to make sure the lube is getting into every nick and cranny. Wipe black lube off your hand.

6) Still turning cranks backwards, wipe the chain thoroughly with a clean part of your rag.

7) Repeat 5) and 6) until the lube that gets on your hand is clean, not black.

8) Wipe chain with clean part of your rag. Wipe it a long time. You can't wipe it two much.

9) if there is crud on your jockey pulleys or cogs or chainrings, you should have cleaned that off before lubing your chain. Park Tools makes a nice tool for cleaning between cogs.

10) Wait at least a few hours if possible.

11) Ride.
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Old 05-30-11, 01:58 PM
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Good point, qmsdc15 ... I should have been more specific; the 'one drop/each roller' injunction doesn't apply to wax-base lubes (nor, I think, to Rockn'Roll??). I was thinking more of the stuff I use, like Finish Line Dry (or Wet in late Fall/early Spring).
More generally, though, I agree ... everyone finds his/her own way with this business eventually through trial/error. The OP will be able to figure it out with hints from obsessives like some of us; I pretend to be 'laid back' about these things, but in fact can't stand drivetrain dirt/noise, tbh.
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