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Dry chain lube(11 posts)

Dry chain lubestinkfoot247
Apr 25, 2003 9:36 PM
Purpose: No rain at all. Just good ole PA sunny days. Smooth shifting and longevity and clean are my only interest. Suggestions.
re: Dry chain lubeross
Apr 26, 2003 3:50 AM
try white lightning!
Or notKerry
Apr 26, 2003 5:19 AM
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. 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). Recent simple tests have shown that ProLink leaves behind a more waxy residue than oil/OMS, so it is different than just that.

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. Also, you'll only need one 4 oz. bottle of ProLink for every 5-10K miles. 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.
Great answer, Kerry.KG 361
Apr 26, 2003 11:40 AM
Prolink is the best I've used, too. White lightning I would not recommend to anyone.
Or notseeker333
Apr 26, 2003 12:26 PM
A very good lube summary above, thanks. Thought I would add my $0.02. I am fairly meticulous about chain cleaning/lubing as I try to keep the cost of replacing chains, cassettes and rings to a minimum.

I have used Prolink and WL a good bit, they both work ok. The WL feels dry to the touch, which makes you think it won't pick up grit so easy, but I believe it actually collects more contaminates than any other lube choice. The wax and dirt forms a nice hard paste that is difficult to remove from cassettes.

I have been using common motor oil diluted 2:1 (thats 1 part oil with 2 parts diluent) with mineral spirits (aka paint thinnner) for a couple years now, and I believe it is the best chain lube so far. Its super cheap, lasts longer than WL and much cleaner. In fact i took an old WL bottle, divided it into thirds with a marker, and use these as fill lines for the oil/thinner mix. The idea here is the oil provides the lubrication and the mineral spirits serves as a vehicle to carry the diluted oil to the chain/ring/cog surfaces. The mineral spirits will evaporate over a period of 12-24 hours, leaving only the oil on the chain. If you used oil only, then you'd end up with excessive lube on/in the chain, no matter how much you wipe it down afterwards.

I use SRAM chains with the gold link so the chain can be removed for cleaning. This works much better than those funky chain cleaing gizmos and expensive citrus solvents. I put the dirty chain in an old watter bottle, add a couple inches of mineral spirits, shake, drain, and hang chain overnight to dry. Mineral spirits make an excellent inexpensive chain cleaner.

I lube my chain after every ride. I "bottle clean" the chain after every 4-5 rides. I use excess lube to flush debris from the chain and wipe down in between bottle cleanings. Getting a good cleaning is at least as important as actually adding lube to the chain. I have ridden the chain dry a few times, the only downside seems to be its noisier, which i suspect means more friction, but can't really feel it. I try to clean/relube right after a ride, that way the mineral spits has more time to evaporate before the next ride. I wipe the chain thoroughly too to speed this process. Excess lubricant does no good, just more stuff to attract road debris.

BTW you should check your chain for "stretch" every few months as this is the cheapest way to avoid replacing parts. I believe the spec is 1.0 elongation (see park tool website, i have to check everytime because i can't remember). I measure 2 feet of chain instead of 1 as the instructions state because its easier to discern the small amount of wear. In 24 inches, 1.0% works out to about 1/4 of an inch. So when it gets to 24.25 inches, I retire the chain.
re: Dry chain lubeB2
Apr 26, 2003 6:37 AM
I've found pretty good success using Kerry's application method, but with the Boeshield T-9 in lieu of Prolink. My experience was that the Prolink made for a much noisier drive train than the Boeshield. Others on the board have had very good experience with the Prolink though - YMMV.

I've also used the Finish Line Dry Lube with good success, but find the Boeshield a little cleaner.

Different opinionKEN2
Apr 26, 2003 6:55 AM
I've used ProLink, Boeshield, and others from those two categories. Boeshield builds a black gunk that's difficult to remove. ProLink is cleaner, but it's messy to apply.

My favorite lube is Pedro's Ice Wax. It goes on thicker than White Lightning, which dribbles all over everything, and lasts longer while still giving minimal buildup. I lube my road bike with it every 100-150 miles. Runs very clean and smooth, and I get 2000 miles from each chain.
Another FlavorDoc Hollywood
Apr 26, 2003 7:43 AM
Wax lubes are poor lubricants. Ice Wax and WL basically wash off in any water. Ice Wax dissolves in water and WL builds gunk.

Pro-Link is good, but is somewhat washout susceptible to if exposed to rain. I know you will be riding in dry conditions. I found a Slick Willy's Slick-N-Dry to be the best lube out there for your conditions. I have gotten up to 500 miles from one application. If the chain looks dirty, I just wipe it down with a dry rage to shine it right up. Slick Willy's doesn't attract dirt or gunk up like other "clean" lubes.

slick willy'sstinkfoot247
Apr 26, 2003 1:54 PM
is she quiet and smoothe
Dry lube = Oxymoron ?Nessism
Apr 26, 2003 9:11 AM
My vote goes out to some sort of oil based lube. Been using Finish Line Century Lube and/or Cross Country for some time now with good results. A bit messy but very functional for the purpose of lubricating the chain and cogs. Just wipe off the cogs and chain with a cloth when they get too dirty and apply more lube.

Do use a dry type lube for my Speedplay pedals though.

White LightingSteve98501
Apr 26, 2003 2:07 PM
WL gets a lot of criticism from many experienced cyclists, and I agree that it's not perfect. However, I like that it's cleaner to use than oil - no chain tatoo. Maybe it's more expensive than other alternatives, but a $5 bottle lasts me a year or more, which is reasonable to me. And I've got a Campy 9 speed chain with 6,400 miles on that has only ever had WL used on it as a lubricant, and it still shows absolutely zero stretch. These results tell me that WL is a prudent investment in maintaining my bike's drivetrain. Yeah, I do have to re-lube after every rain ride.