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Question about chain lube(6 posts)

Question about chain lubeJFarley
Jun 16, 2003 3:50 PM
In the opinions of the participants of this forum, what is the best type of lube for road bikers? There are many different types-pedro's,white lightn',t-9 and many others. Would be intrested to know your experiences and opinions.
It's been discussed many timesKerry
Jun 16, 2003 4:14 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 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.
How about chain cleaning machines?94Nole
Jun 17, 2003 5:02 AM
these contraptions that you can run the chain through to clean it. Do they work? Worth the money?
clean and lube...C-40
Jun 16, 2003 5:15 PM
I use a mixture of 4 to 5 parts mineral spirits to one part synthetic motor oil to "clean and lube" the chain. The mix is also referred to as "homemade Prolink". Works about the same as Prolink, but only costs $6 a gallon, compared to $200+ for that much Prolink.

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.
Good LubeDoc Hollywood
Jun 16, 2003 8:04 PM
Everyone elsde pretty much covered it re: lube and application. I too have have used most lubes and found that Pro-Link works well, but Slick Willy Slick-N-Dry is as clean or better and lasts longer. I swear by this stuff.

Wax-based lubes do not work well, really don't lube well and just make a mess.

re: Question about chain lubeChen2
Jun 17, 2003 9:47 AM
I've tried several, including ProLink, I like Boeshield T-9, dropper bottle, spray is too messy. With ProLink I could hear my chains, a slight clickety-click sound, that may be normal but my chains are definitely quieter on T-9 or other lubes. I like the sound of C-40's home brew formula. I think I'll try that. T-9 is claimed to be especially good in damp conditions, the boating industry seems to like it. It was developed by Boeing. I clean my chain on the bike by wrapping a rag around the chain and pulling it through. The inside of my chains collect dirt, that gets transferred to the cogs, pulleys, and rings where I clean it off. I don't know which lube is best but I got 9500 miles on the D-A chain that I just took off. It was "stretched" 1/16" over a length of one foot.