's Forum Archives - Components

Archive Home >> Components(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 )

"Home Brew" -vs- ProLink(14 posts)

"Home Brew" -vs- ProLinkWiseGuy
Aug 2, 2003 4:26 AM
I recently posted a message related to chain cleaning and lubrication. Several of the responses recommended using ProLink or "Home Brew". I have used ProLink and like the product except for the price (especially if used liberally). I have however been using Ice Wax for years and generally like it but am always looking for the best.

I have a few questions I would like opinions on before relubing my clean chain.

1) What is the preferred formula for home brew? I have heard 3-4 parts oderless mineral spirits to 1 part motor oil.
2) What type of motor oil is preferred? What weight? Synthetic? Brand name? Etc.
3) How does Home Brew compare with ProLink in wet conditions?
4) How does Ice Wax compare with ProLink/Home Brew on the "messy to handle on the chain index"?

Your opinions please!!
home brew...C-40
Aug 2, 2003 6:07 AM
I use a mixture of 3-5 parts mineral spirits (odorless is not necessary, plain old paint thinner will do) to one part synthetic motor oil. The ratio can be altered to depending on conditions and application technique. I use a thin mix to provide more cleaning and apply frequently. Any brand of synthetic oil will do and weight probably doesn't matter much. In multigrades, only the first number is of concern. You can choose from 5, 10 or 15 weight.

Apply the mixture heavily, to the lower section of chain between the rear derailleur and the crank. An old Prolink bottle or contact lens solution bottle work great as applicators. Catch the excess with a paper towel, folded 8 layers thick, held under the chain. Wipe each section of the chain, before rotating the crank to the next section. When the entire chain has been lubed, spin the cranks several turns, wiping with the wet towel. The wet towel can also be used to clean the cogs, derailleur pulleys and chainrings. Follow up with a dry towel. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes. If done at least once a week (more often in dirty conditions), the chain will never need removal for additional cleaning and there will never be any lubricant build-up. If you happen to neglect the chain for more than a week, apply the lube twice, to enhance the cleaning effect. The lubing should be done after riding, to allow time for the mineral spirits to evaporate (leaving only a thin coating of oil) before the next ride. This stuff is a wet lube, so expect a slight wet/black look to the chain after riding. A wipe with a dry towel after each ride will keep the chain looking good.

I apply the mix every other ride, which is probably excessive, but I don't get a buildup problem and my chains show virtually no elongation after 3000 miles. I probably use a quart of this mixture every season.

Can't comment on the wet performance. Never ride in the rain.
re: "Home Brew" -vs- ProLinkLC
Aug 2, 2003 9:36 AM
I use 2:1 ratio in the rain and it works fine, but it will turn black by 50 miles. Guess just about anything will turn black during a 50 mile rain ride.

The brand and weight does not seem to make any difference. I use whatever 10-30W is cheap. Your not going to get any thermal breakdown so I doubt synthetic will help, unless you can pedal like Aaron.
Home brew and ProLink not the sameKerry Irons
Aug 2, 2003 4:21 PM
ProLink does have some waxy residues (just let it evaporate it on a piece of glass) that are not present in motor oil, and motor oil contains detergents and other additives that make it somewhat less durable in the rain. I find that a bottle of ProLink lasts something like 10K miles, so the cost is insignificant to me.
Aug 3, 2003 4:35 AM
I use 3 parts ODS to 1 part 10/30w Mobile One. I reapply every 100-150 miles depending on conditions. While Kerry may be right that Prolink has some extra stuff in it (and a whole lot of marketing hype too) I question whether in practice it makes any noticable difference. I've given up on wax-type lubes. They don't last long enough and require frequent application. If you miss a chain lube with homebrew the chain may be a little dirty but it won't squeek. With wax lubes, you really can't skip a lube or the squeeking will drive you insane.
Another Choice...Doc Hollywood
Aug 3, 2003 10:24 AM
I personally like Slick Willy Slick-N-Dry. Lasts alot longer than Home Brew and Pro-Link, is as clean as both, and more waterproof. For really wet conditions, use Slick Willy Slush Armor.

For Home Brew use a 3 or 4:1 ratio of OMS (odolerless Mineral Spirits) to Sythetic oil. 3:1 for longer lasting, 4:1 if you want to it to remain cleaner. Any brand of sythetic is fine. For weight, any where from 0 to 30 weight or mixtures thereof suchs as 10W-30.

All apply the same. Apply each to a clean chain, allow to "dry", wipe off excess.

Another Choice...samcat
Aug 3, 2003 1:39 PM
"use a 3 or 4:1 ratio of OMS (odolerless Mineral Spirits) to Sythetic oil"...

Why Sythetic oil? Unless you've got a ton of heat and friction going on in your drivetrain what's it buying you that regular old motor oil won't?

maybe nothing...C-40
Aug 3, 2003 3:38 PM
Unless someone goes to the effort of using both types over thousands of miles of identical conditions, it would be hard to prove that one is any better than the other. Some folks do use ordinary motor oil. Synthetic oil only adds about $4 to a several year supply of lube, so that's what I use.

Probably the most important thing is frequent application to flush out the grit and replace with new oil. That's been my approach to long chain life.
Another Choice...curlybike
Aug 3, 2003 5:01 PM
Synthetic oil has been tested to be 700 times as slippery as mineral oil is. That is all the reason I need to use synthetic. Slicker the better!!!
Wrong application procedure for ProLink/homebrewKerry Irons
Aug 3, 2003 5:05 PM
You do not apply, let dry, and wipe. If you do this, you will have excess lube on the outer surfaces of the chain where it does nothing but attract dirt. Assuming we're talking road riding, use the following technique for successful ProLink application and use:
1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
2 - sluice on ProLink while pedaling (forward is better) so that the chain starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
3 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
5 - repeat 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

If you do this every 300 miles or so, you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain. However, no lube is "perfect." A brite shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink is the best compromise.

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 paraffin, tend to be clean to the touch, not hold up well in the wet, require relatively frequent 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. TriFlow is just as good a lube as ProLink, but very hard to wipe your chain clean enough after application to prevent a very messy build up.
Yet Another Reason Why I Think Slick Willy is BetterDoc Hollywood
Aug 3, 2003 7:44 PM
I found that when I was using ProLink and I followed their instructions (Saturate the Chain), I would be using a lot of lube for both "cleaning" and lubing. Saturating the chain did help "flush" stuff out, but I was only getting 5 or 6 applications per bottle. Doing this every 200 to 300 miles meant I was going through a bottle every two months. I also found it was just not holding up in wet rides.

I tried the "homebrew" and go the similar results with the amount of material being used, but at least it was less expensive. It also appeared to fair better in wet environments. So that become my lube of choice.

I won some of this Slick Willy lube at a training race. Hands Down the best stuff I have ever used. Instructions say Start with a clean chain or at least Wipe down the chain. Add a generous drop of lube per link junction. Rotate chain to work in lube and "flush" any contaminents out. Wait 10 minutes and wipe down chain, rings, and pulleys. Ride your bike and wipe down after first ride. Done.

One lube application lasts between 300 to 500 miles (dry conditions) and I get about 10 to 12 applications per bottle. So instead of getting 1000 to 1800 miles per bottle with ProLink, I am getting 3000 to 6000 mile with SW for the same price. My chain stays nice and clean (no build-up) and I can get almost 10,000 miles per chain on my road bike before the chain is beyond 3/32" stretch. Longer lasting chains has meant longer lasting cogs. I also find that SW is much more "waterproof" than ProLink.

As with with ProLink and Home Brew, subsequent applications of SW "flush" any acquired contaminants so I don't need to conduct a separate cleaning step, except maybe once a year as part of my yearly overhaul.


Doc, you're sluicing WAY too much! (nm)Kerry Irons
Aug 5, 2003 4:07 PM
Wrong application procedure for ProLink/homebrewSkip
Aug 3, 2003 7:45 PM
That's what I've been doing for the past three years. I don't know how you make a 4 oz bottle last for 13,000 miles though, by sluicing. I guess I must be sloshing, instead of sluicing.
Anyone ever try Psyco-Lube?boyd2
Aug 5, 2003 8:39 AM
I recently had my LBS push this stuff on me and I don't really like it. I only get about 100 miles before I clean and reapply, but that is mostly because I tend to get wet about once every other week. It does not seem to stand up to rain and it gathers grit. It also seems kind of gimicy with its "molecular bonding" promise. Problem is that this is my first road bike so I have nothing to compare to. I have about 2,000 miles on this chain now and I will probally switch lube in the near future.