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Lube Question(11 posts)

Lube QuestionPeter
Jan 13, 2002 3:33 PM
I cleaned my drivetrain for the first time awhile back. The bike shop sold me this lube to spray on afterwards.. it's called Schwin Polytech, contains PTFE's, supposed to be for chains and such.. leaves a waxy kind of residue when applied. Then I talked with another bike shop guy who told me never to use wax-based lubricants, because they're very bad for the derailers, and that I should just use something like teflon-plus from Finish Line. Is he right about the wax thing? What kind of lube should be applied to a freshly cleaned chain? Thanks..
Wax or not waxedKerry Irons
Jan 13, 2002 5:34 PM
Three schools of thought: 1) wax lubes (White Lightning is the leading brand), 2) oil lubes (numerous brands, with probably TriFlow and ProLink the leaders), and 3) "magic" lubes that leave some sort of super dooper residue behind (Boeshield). Wax lubes, begun originally by folks soaking their chains in melted parafin, tend to be clean to the touch, not hold up well in the wet, require relatively freqent application, and in White Lightning's case, are fairly expensive on an annual basis. Oil lubes may have all kinds of secret ingredients and additives, but hold up well in the wet, go long between applications, and if not applied properly, can be really dirty. Type 3 lubes claim that their ingredients leave behind some sort of much superior surface effect than wax or oil, and reported results are mixed. My own preference is for ProLink, which is an oil/additive package diluted perhaps 3X in odorless mineral spirits (OMS). You get a chain cleaning while applying due to the solvent effect, and then if you wipe things clean, oil is left only where needed after the solvent evaporates. TriFlow is just as good a lube, but very hard to wipe your chain clean enough after application to prevent a very messy build up. Some swear by simply diluting 1 part motor oil in 3-4 parts OMS and getting a much cheaper alternative to ProLink (which only costs about $6.5 per 15K miles). Your shop buddies are trying to sell you what they've got.
Wax or not waxedWoof the dog
Jan 13, 2002 8:46 PM
the wax type like White lightning seems to gunk up the derailure pulleys but that does not affect their performance at all, just messy. I also like prolink because it cleans the chain when I apply it and lasts a while, plus I can make my chain real clean by applying only a small amount that will still lube the chain where necessary (inside those little roller bushing thingies). It may not be as quiet as WL but in my experience the WL wax wears off faster in critical places and a chain begins to sqweek(sp?) while it seems to be lubed enough. Boeshield may be a good lube, but it is way too wet for me and its a huge mess all over my good lookin' frame when you spray it on.


Woof the dog.
Don't sprayChen2
Jan 14, 2002 7:46 AM
Woof, I use Boeshield T-9 but would agree with you that it's way too messy if you use the spray. If you want to try it again get the small dropper bottle and put one drop on each link, let it set 4 hours or more. My impression is that it is an excellent lube, not quite as clean as ProLink but the chain will run much quieter than with ProLink.
Wax or not waxedweiwentg
Jan 14, 2002 9:05 PM
indeed, my chain squeaked like a mouse being tortured (I mentioned this some time back) when I was using WL. after a few weeks using boeshield, it was fine.
Wax or not waxedWoof the dog
Jan 15, 2002 2:14 AM
I actually use WL to fill some small crevices like around the headset or qr. It forms a film of wax that just stays there unless it is between the moving parts. I use prolink on the chain, pedro's dry lube on my speedplays, grease in the headset and elsewhere as needed.

Chen2, thanx for a suggestion, but I will stick with prolink. Boeshield smells funny too. It would be just plain weird to use it.


Woof, the hungry dog.
another oil/additive option is hydraulic tool oil.dzrider
Jan 14, 2002 9:20 AM
It's much less money than Pro-Link, or any other allegedly bike specific product, and works quite well. It's intended to penetrate cylinders on pneumatic tools so it's light enough oil that it doesn't gunk up very much if you wipe off as much as you can before riding. It also does pretty well surviving a rainy ride. I use it for commuting 'cause the bike sits in the offfice on rainy days and I'm not willing to relube it before riding home.

The question looks to be whether one is more tolerant of dirt or noise. I'll live with a little dirt, but hate a squeaky chain - hence a wet lube.
re: Lube Questionmaximum15
Jan 14, 2002 9:47 AM
I let a shop sell me some sort of special Schwinn spray one time because they were out of Pro Link. What a diaster. The stuff was suspose to have teflon in it - whatever, it was a magnet for dirt. Worst thing I could have ever put on my chain. I like Pro Link, but am running an experiment with a homemade version (4:1, mineral spirts, 30 weight). So far I really like my home lube. Should be applied after a ride so excess is gone before the next ride.
re: Lube QuestionJimP
Jan 14, 2002 11:37 AM
I belong to the old school of hot waxing a chain. I use a parafin type wax from Performance. I clean the chain on the bike with an old chain cleaning box and naptha before drivetrain disassembly and cleaning. The wax is melted in a glass jar in the microwave and then dropped into the wax without removing it from the bike. I cover the chainstay with some aluminum foil so the wax dripping from the chain doesn't cover it. I use a little piece of wire to move the chain so that all of it will be waxed. After the chain is removed from the wax and cools, the drivetrain is reassembled.
re: Lube Questionpmf1
Jan 14, 2002 12:57 PM
Sounds like the shop you went to is having a slow month.

You're best off using a drip rather than spray lube. Drip it on the rollers (round parts in the middle) of your chain. I've tried all kinds of lubes and find they all work about the same. White Lightening (a wax) is great for traveling because its clean, but it does gunk up your drive-train (esp cassette). Its hard to get off too. Boeshield and prolink work well as does a mixture of 3:1 meneral spirits to motor oil (what I've been using lately). Tri-Flow is great, but it only comes in a spray can. I've always liked Finish Line except the drip bottles it comes in are tiny (something like 3 oz). They appear happier to sell it in big spray cans.

So, try a few and you'll settle on something. I wouldn't throw away what you've already bought just because some bike shop employee wants to sell you something else. See for yourself if it gunks up. What's the worse that can happen? A few extra minutes cleaning?

And BTW, the best tip I ever got on this site is to use Zepp citrus degreaser sold at Home depot for $7/gallon. Same as the stuff at the bike shop that goes for $89/gallon. Works great. Froze my finers off cleaning two bikes yesterday.
re: TriFlowKEN2
Jan 14, 2002 7:19 PM
Triflow does come in drip bottles--I have two in my garage right now, I think 2 oz. and 4 oz. I use it for derailleur lube.