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Old 09-16-16, 09:10 AM   #1
gauvins
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Lubrication for long tours - oil vs wax

I am about to decide on a drivetrain lubrication method and would like to hear some more from this community.

Even though I am not touring at the moment, such that lubrication is a non issue (time and supplies are abundant), I would like an approach that is appropriate for long (several months) tours in regions where supplies are limited. it means a lubricant that lasts a long time between applications such that we do not have to carry gallons of lube, and a system that doesn't require frequent thorough degreasing.

I am down to two alternatives.:

1) Chain-L which is a thick (wet) oil. According to reviews, it lasts forever but may attract crud and is not an easy lube to apply. A 4oz container should be good for 10 000+kms

2) White Lightning Clean Ride, a wax based (dry) lubricant that is easy to apply and promotes a clean drivetrain. While the manufacturer recommends frequent applications, there are posts suggesting that one can ride hundreds of Kms between applications.

In addition to longevity and simplicity, I am also considering the impact on the chain's expected life. Over the course of 1 1/2 season, I've already worn two chains (3 000 - 3 500kms each), which is not a major issue, but forces us to carry spares or run the risk of causing damage to the cassettes / chainrings.

I have both lubes on hands. I have an almost new chain that doesn't require lubrication for now. But the time will come where I'll have to make a decision. I am leaning towards Chain-L, but the idea of a wax system has merits.
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Old 09-16-16, 09:42 AM   #2
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I've already worn two chains (3 000 - 3 500kms each), which is not a major issue, but forces us to carry spares or run the risk of causing damage to the cassettes / chainrings.
I get similar life outta my touring chains, partly from lots of backcountry and dirt roads that I explore. I'm not super vigilant with cleaning/lubricating and don't see much chain life difference with either oil or wax lubes. I never carry a chain but I do carry a chain-checker so I'll know when to start watching for a bike-shop.
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Old 09-16-16, 09:48 AM   #3
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just bring a small bottle of your chosen chain lube with you ..

Realistically, would you remove the chain and boil water in a double boiler, to melt the wax

to put your clean chain in, while on tour, to refresh that lubricant?


use something after it penetrates , wipe off the excess, from the outside.





./.

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-16-16 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 09-16-16, 11:13 AM   #4
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I like Boeshield T9. It has the best combinations of dirt resistance, water resistance, and lubrication durability, but it costs like $10 instead of $5. IMO super worth it.
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Old 09-16-16, 11:44 AM   #5
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I like Boeshield T9.
Yes. I had shortlisted it. But isn't it something that you must apply frequently? Like every touring day?
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Old 09-16-16, 11:49 AM   #6
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Yes. I had shortlisted it. But isn't it something that you must apply frequently? Like every touring day?
I've found it to be more durable than White Lightning by far, and even significantly more durable than Tri-Flow, which was my go-to before I discovered Boeshield.

I suppose it depends on how far you're riding every day, but I think applying it every day would not be necessary at all.
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Old 09-16-16, 12:24 PM   #7
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You might try White Lightning Epic. It is a "semi-dry" lube. It is a good compromise between clean and durable. I have had good experience using it. My wife and I have gone on 3-month tours with a 4 oz. bottle, and came back with some left. However, we did have one long tour (3 months) with 35 days of rain, and I had to pick up a bottle of chain lube with about 3 weeks to go. It was still raining I sometimes take a hypodermic syringe filled with Tri-Flow, and will use it for derailleurs, or in a pinch for chains.


I don't usually worry about chain wear on tours less than 3500 miles. I put new chains on prior to leaving, and expect them to last for the duration of the tour.

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Old 09-16-16, 01:00 PM   #8
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I started off my tour this summer with a bottle of Nashbar Dry Chain Lube (poured into a much smaller bottle) but ditched it within a week of the tour. I opted instead to stop at bicycle shops along my route and have it oiled every three to four weeks. I was never charged for the service and never felt like i needed the oil out in the "field" so to speak. The chain was new when I left in May and still doing good after 5,600 miles.

If you're route takes you past a lot of bicycle shops I would consider this.
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Old 09-16-16, 02:52 PM   #9
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While touring I've just checked at gas stations for discarded 'empty' oil containers. They normally still have plenty of oil inside for a bike chain.
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Old 09-16-16, 02:58 PM   #10
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While touring I've just checked at gas stations for discarded 'empty' oil containers. They normally still have plenty of oil inside for a bike chain.
Probably a good idea to make sure it's synthetic oil. Conventional oil is too thick and I feel like it would turn into an abrasive paste and wear the chain and chainrings down in a hurry. Can't say from experience though.
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Old 09-16-16, 03:02 PM   #11
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Ask yourself if you can apply any of your choices on the road in sub-optimal conditions. For example could you apply White Lightning in the rain? If are going to a rainy area White Lightning may not be a good choice.
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Old 09-16-16, 05:04 PM   #12
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1) Chain-L which is a thick (wet) oil. According to reviews, it lasts forever but may attract crud and is not an easy lube to apply.
A vote for Chain-L here. I dunno what constitutes 'not easy to apply'. I just apply a drop to each individual link hinge along the chain.

It does attract surface gunk and I really don't know how long it extends chain life over a dry chain. What it DOES do is make everything run quieter and smoother, which makes life more pleasant for me at least.

Century Cycles of Peninsula OH is where I learned about the stuff when they used it on my bike. They called it an "800 mile" lube, I dunno it lasts THAT far but one application does seem to last for several days of constant use.

I would suggest bringing along TWO 4oz bottles of lube, in case you lose one, as I somehow did on my last tour.

Mike
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Old 09-16-16, 05:22 PM   #13
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I just toss a small dropper bottle of whatever I'm currently using in my bag. Chains are consumable and I don't really think it's worth a whole lot of worry.
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Old 09-16-16, 05:27 PM   #14
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I just toss a small dropper bottle of whatever I'm currently using in my bag. Chains are consumable and I don't really think it's worth a whole lot of worry.
Same here. An empty eye-dropper bottle filled with (currently) Tri-Flow. When the chain starts to whir or squeaks, time to add a drop per roller. The little bottle fits neatly with the other tools, delivers the required size of drop, even with thicker motor oil (Mobil 1 which I used to use) and should be good for months of use.
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Old 09-16-16, 05:57 PM   #15
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I started off my tour this summer with a bottle of Nashbar Dry Chain Lube (poured into a much smaller bottle) but ditched it within a week of the tour. I opted instead to stop at bicycle shops along my route and have it oiled every three to four weeks. I was never charged for the service and never felt like i needed the oil out in the "field" so to speak. The chain was new when I left in May and still doing good after 5,600 miles.

If you're route takes you past a lot of bicycle shops I would consider this.
Still doing good by what determinant?
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Old 09-16-16, 09:28 PM   #16
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Still doing good by what determinant?
I usually get around 10k out of my chains. 12K on my last one. Took my bike into the shop for a full checkup when I returned. Chain is at 50% they said. About what I expected.
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Old 09-17-16, 04:50 AM   #17
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I usually get around 10k out of my chains. 12K on my last one. Took my bike into the shop for a full checkup when I returned. Chain is at 50% they said. About what I expected.
Wow, if I went that far I'd have to toss my entire drivetrain.
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Old 09-17-16, 05:11 AM   #18
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...stop at bicycle shops along my route and have it oiled every three to four weeks......still doing good after 5,600 miles.
wholly carp! you covered your route in ten weeks....at about 500 or so miles a week.

....and you had your chain oiled every 1500 to 2000 miles?

any idea what the shops used? something with alien DNA perhaps?

whatever it was, i wants some of it!
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Old 09-17-16, 05:13 AM   #19
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With regular cleaning and oiling I get about 3000 miles before the chain starts to show any stretch. I don't lose sleep over what to oil my chain with on a very long ride. I'll wipe off the chain with a shop rag once every few days, and oil the chain link by link. The fresh oil displaces the old stuff pretty well.

"Probably a good idea to make sure it's synthetic oil."

It won't make any difference, synthetic oils resist heat better than organic oils, and breakdown from fuel and exhaust residues. Bike chains produce none of these. Any automotive grade oil is far more than adequate for a bike chain, and all types of oil attract dust and dirt.
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Old 09-17-16, 07:14 AM   #20
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With regular cleaning and oiling I get about 3000 miles before the chain starts to show any stretch. I don't lose sleep over what to oil my chain with on a very long ride. I'll wipe off the chain with a shop rag once every few days, and oil the chain link by link. The fresh oil displaces the old stuff pretty well.

"Probably a good idea to make sure it's synthetic oil."

It won't make any difference, synthetic oils resist heat better than organic oils, and breakdown from fuel and exhaust residues. Bike chains produce none of these. Any automotive grade oil is far more than adequate for a bike chain, and all types of oil attract dust and dirt.
I use to think like you but I was wrong. I tried it all including motor oil attracted the most dirt, grit and grime.
Not only that but my bike was always really dirty after a ride.

Then I tried this. Amazing stuff. No affiliation.

https://muc-off.com/collections/bicy...y-ceramic-lube

After application, my chain is night and day from before and the back of my bike is actually clean, nothing like it was before.
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Old 09-18-16, 06:04 AM   #21
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I just bought a bottle of finish line wet lube and used that. Had to apply every week or so. Chains lasted about 2000km's but the 9 chains aren't that durable in any case.
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Old 09-18-16, 10:15 AM   #22
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I use the cheapest lube I can find. In my case usually Finish Line. I have tried White Lightning but my chain would start squeaking by the afternoon of the same day. I can't put up with daily application. Furthermore the wax built up on the drivetrain quickly and was impossible to remove. I have also tried some of the expensive oil based lubes and could detect no real difference between them and the cheap stuff.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:10 PM   #23
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I like Boeshield T9. It has the best combinations of dirt resistance, water resistance, and lubrication durability, but it costs like $10 instead of $5. IMO super worth it.
+1, the chain remains clean and this lube last long enough. If you use oil based you should clean and re-apply though not as often. I seldom clean my chain and easily get 5K miles out of them. I would rather re-apply on tour than clean and re-apply.
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Old 09-18-16, 03:45 PM   #24
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When we stop for the evening our usual routine is to set up camp then my wife does her journal, and I check over the gear and start dinner. I really go over the bikes at least once a week. If water is available I'll wash the bikes down, especially rims and brake pads with soap, wipe and lube the chain, and check rack bolts. I may be a little anul about keeping the bikes clean, especially when it is raining and/or we are riding a lot of dirt roads. I also enjoy riding a clean, well maintained bike. Besides, we are not going anywhere until my wife finishes the Journal. I'm a little more meticulous about our chains when not on a tour. It is just wipe and lube on tour.

Notice the cut off sports drink bottle on the left side of the picture. That is my disposable bucket. A little dish detergent and a small sponge or rag go a long way in keeping things clean.




Water bottle high pressure washer.
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Old 09-18-16, 08:25 PM   #25
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If money is no object, you could always give this a go,



https://muc-off.com/collections/bicy...rodynamic-lube
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