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Theoretical Question About Chain Lube(14 posts)

Theoretical Question About Chain LubeFez
Dec 9, 2003 10:48 AM
Are the pins and pivot points the only part of the chain that need lubrication?

If yes, then could the rest of the chain, the cogs, and chainrings theoretically be completely dry? I realize this is a theoretical question, since the lube/oil is constantly dripping out from the pivot points and getting sprayed over the rest of the chain body.

Having excess chain lube on the rest of the chain seems to just pick up more grit everywhere. Should we strive for well lubed pivot points but otherwise completely bone dry drivetrains?
I don't think soDougSloan
Dec 9, 2003 10:55 AM
If true, then if you had a chain with internally lubricated, maybe even sealed, bearings, then no lubing at all would be required.

However, I've noticed that lubing the external parts of the chain makes it much quieter and shift smoother, too. I suppose it also helps prevent corrosion, too.

There are dry lubes that don't collect dirt, but to me they don't work nearly as well.

What lube do you like Doug? (nm)PEDDLEFOOT
Dec 9, 2003 11:00 AM
don't think it really matters muchDougSloan
Dec 9, 2003 11:08 AM
I can't tell much difference among wet lubes. I usually use Triflow, but also have used Shimano, Duralube (had to try), White Lightning, Finish Line Teflon, Phil, and several other waxey and dry lubes. I can tell a big difference between any wet lube and the wax or dry lubes, but not much difference among the wets. Also, of course, any lube is a 1000 times better than no lube.

As for wet lubes, I think the all work fine if you don't over apply and then allow it to soak in before wiping off thoroughly. I don't like applying right before riding, as it spins off all over the rear of the bike.

Have not tried Pro Link.

One I found that works really well...MVN
Dec 9, 2003 11:35 AM
For whatever it's worth, I have been using ProLink for 3 years and it's great but I recently bought Rock "n" Roll Dry (Hard Core Road) Lubricant. I got it from my lbs about 2 months ago. I've used it three times and it's really quiet, chain is much cleaner than with ProLink also. Admittedly three times is not a lot of use, but so far the new stuff has my vote.
Rock-N-Roll Gold is good too....Gregory Taylor
Dec 9, 2003 12:31 PM
Our local guru swears by it, and I've had really good luck using it. They also make a bearing grease that is killer. Sticky as heck, and stays in place.
Yes I wondered the same thingFez
Dec 9, 2003 11:05 AM
About that hypothetical chain that was internally lubed and sealed. Would all we have to do is wipe it down?

I don't know.

The outside of the chain doesn't see much contact except perhaps by the derailleur.

The inside of the chain sees contact as it wraps around the rings and cogs. Are you saying that lubing the inside of the chain makes it quieter and smoother?

My understanding is that what necessitates chain replacement is when the holes where the pins and pivots are just get larger from use and makes the chain elongate. I am not sure if any other part of the chain actually wears, inside or out.
The external parts of the chain contact the rings, cogs, andBowWow
Dec 9, 2003 11:09 AM
front derailleur. A externally well-lubed chain shifts smoother, quicker, and quieter, and runs over the sprocket teeth more quietly. Any metal-to-metal contact points *must* be lubed for optimum performance.

Count my vote for pro-link. I'm planning on trying home-brew when my current bottle runs out (in one more lubing...)
Dec 9, 2003 11:16 AM
Agree with your statement, but this conflict comes up:

Lube the entire chain and it picks up lots more grit, further necessitating the need for cleaning and fresh lube.

Keep it as dry as possible and it picks up less grit, but there is less protection.
You're right -BowWow
Dec 9, 2003 11:24 AM
but a good wet lube only needs to be a couple of molecules thick to have full effect. Wiping the chain thoroughly after lubing prevents most gunk-up. I believe that lubing the chain actually prevents grit from entering the pins...
Dec 9, 2003 11:11 AM
...I recall reading about a study (I think the link was posted on RBR) that investigated the operation of two bone dry and the other lubed. The results, if I remember correctly, showed that the lube appeared to keep dirt/grime from penetrating into the roller/pins, and kept the chain slightly quieter. I do not know if there is any data to support my own observation that I feel "faster" with a clean and lubed chain versus a week later on the same chain. But, that could also be due to me taking the weekends off from riding when I typically clean and lube the chain (family stuff) and then riding on Monday afternoon.
Paris-Roubaix chain lube technique:Spunout
Dec 9, 2003 12:14 PM
Bearing grease (in the tube) squeeze about half of a cup into the palm of your hand. Grab chain, backpedal until grease is evenly distributed.

Haven't tried above. But, that first ride on a new chain when you haven't cleaned off all of the packing grease is the quietest ride of the year. So obviously, external lubrication is better for quieter. That said, I home-brew lube and wipe off very very well.
In Lennard Zinn's opinion yes, lube only the pins.TNSquared
Dec 9, 2003 1:44 PM
Zinn makes the exact same point that lubing the external parts of the chain only accelerates chain wear because more dirt is picked up. He recommends only applying lube to the pins/pivot points. He suggests that you wipe down the chain immediately after each ride, re-lube, and lightly wipe down the next morning to remove any excess lube that has leaked out of the pins. He also doesn't seem to think it matters much what type of lube you use. The key is to wipe down and re-lube frequently.

I've followed his advice pretty closely and have just over 3,000 miles on my Ultegra chain with no stretch or visible signs of wear. Shifting is quick and quiet, and the drivetrain is in great shape and pretty darn clean.
Pretty much what I do.dzrider
Dec 9, 2003 3:00 PM
I wipe down very frequently - just grab the chain with a rag in my hand and turn the crank. If I hear the chain, it gets wet, or looks dry after a ride' I relube with air-tool oil, let it sit til just b4 I ride again and wipe it down.