How do you properly lube a chain?

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by Doobie, May 4, 2009.

  1. Doobie

    Doobie Guest

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    I have been told by those in bike shops that you need to remove the chain from the derailleur and sprockets to properly lube it. They said to place it in a bucket with a Cleaning and lubing solution to get rid of grease and debris.
    This seems a little too extensive for just a routine maintenance kind of thing.
    What do the rest of you think?
     
  2. littleblackxj

    littleblackxj New Member

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    Eh, it probably is for "pro-riders". Me personally, I just tip my bike upside down, turn the crankshaft and spray the chain with some clear chain lube. The lube I use is meant for motorcycles, but it works great for my bike :)
     

  3. Doobie

    Doobie Guest

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    I went out and got some T-9 lube, stuff works great. Doesn't clog the chain and keeps the dirt from sticking.
     
  4. Doc

    Doc Guest

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    Sounds interesting man, are you using anything special to apply it with?
     
  5. cbman

    cbman gnar! gnar! gnar!

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    The right way

    You're supposed to remove the chain, wash it in warm water/ solvent, soak the chain in oil overnight, then the next day hang the chain up to dry until excess oil is removed. After that you either reinstall it or (if you're going to store the chain) wrap it in some wax paper.
     
  6. Doc

    Doc Guest

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    Thanks for the information there, I never actually thought of completely removing the chain to lube it up. I will give it a try.
     
  7. hophead

    hophead New Member Tavern Member

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    I have been using Rock & Roll lube. It cleans and lubricates the chain on the bike in one operation. Basically, you just freewheel the chain backwards while applying a stream of R&R. Wipe off the excess and go ride your bike. It's simple and works very well.
     
  8. Neuner

    Neuner New Member

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    Same here only I use White Lithium Grease. Spray it on the chain & cassette before every ride. Never had an issue. I replace my chain every year. I don't have cassette damage either due to 'chain growth' wear & tear.
     
  9. hophead

    hophead New Member Tavern Member

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  10. Roguefx

    Roguefx New Member

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    Before using the method in the post above please be aware that in europe the possesion and use of:
    Shelbroconol Pre-soak
    Shelbrothane Cleaning Solvent
    Deakinol Rinsing Solvent
    Is illegal under the new antiterrorist legislation.
    I believe that it is also illegal to use these in most of the USA except Utah and Texas.
     
  11. camilo

    camilo New Member

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    Nah, it's not common to remove the chain to lube it, except for those who use melted wax.

    Yes, there are a lot to be said for removing it for soaking/agitating to clean it, but not to soak in the actual lube. No need for that.

    For actually lubing it, all you do is put a drop or two of lube onto each roller, run the chain around the drive train a few times, wipe off excess. The application can be with a drop bottle or a spray.

    Remember, lube on the outside/plates of the chain does nothing to lubricate it. It's the inner workings that need lubrication. Therefore, wiping the outside as dry as possible is best - it does not detract from the lubrication, but does remove excess oil that attracts dirt.

    I remove and soak maybe once or twice per season. But generally what I do is just spray the he!! out of it with WD40 to flush out crud and moisture (WD40 is a good solvent and moisture displacer, but not a great lubricant), let it drip as much of the crud out as possible, then wipe that off as well as possible, then lube it up as above with some sort of real oil. I generally use chain oil from the LBS or Triflow, but in a pinch have used any oil I have around including sewing machine oil, chainsaw bar oil, 2 stroke oil, motor oil, 3in1 oil, even WD40. Any lube is better than none, remembering that some just don't do as good a job or last as long as others.
     
  12. vassago

    vassago pedal pusher

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    ok first off to the guy the uses white lithium... as a mechanic that SCARES ME. almost as much at the guy to said he used used motor oil from his diesel truck. some people.

    any way. no matter what lube you use (i prefer Phil Wood's Bio-Lube) clean you chain FIRST. it's very easy if you do it often. if it's heavily soiled and "caked" with dirt, it's easiest to take it off and soak it in a degreaser and hit it with a good stiff brush. if you take care of it and it doesn't get dirty much, you can do it on the bike, Pedro's makes a good citrus degreaser thats like a white cream. drip it on and hold a rage to the chain and wipe. disc brake cleaner works well too and dissolves itself.

    always let it dry and then lube. wipe the excess as much as possible, the chain should NOT be black.

    thats about it.

    also, make sure your derailleur pulleys and cassette are also clean during this process, or else you'll just be lubing dirt and wearing out your drivetrain in the process.
     
  13. Sean

    Sean New Member

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    I leave it on the bike. Clean it very good with a brush and towel, with a little citrus degreaser. Then lube with a 4 to 1 mixture of mineral spirits and motor oil.

    This works very nicely. The min. Spirits evaporates or drips off, but thins the oil so it can get into the rollers, and I do not end up with a thick mess on my chain that will attract dirt. This is more or less what the little $6 bottle of stuff does, but I can make a lot more for $6.

    But hophead's method looks thorough. :p
     
  14. jeepster93

    jeepster93 New Member

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    I use WD-40 as a cleaning solvent and spray the chain down real well with it. Then use a dry cloth or paper towel to wipe all the WD-40 off the chain.
    Then apply a good coat of dry lube(personal choice) on to the chain.
    Using my hand and fingers, I make sure the chain is covered, and also to wipe off the extra lube.


    If you break a Shimano chain, they want you to use their special tapered pin to re-install it.

    My understanding is that Shimano requires one to use a "special" pin to install a chain. This pin is a one time use thing as it is tapered and should not be pushed back out and reused.
    This is highly recommended on the 9 and 10 speed "very thin" chains.

    So...
    Be careful about breaking your chain for cleaning. This should be only done rarely. Especially if it is a Shimano racing chain...
     
  15. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    Nope you are incorrect, it is legal in all 50 states and in Europe. But it is dangerous to others so the loophole in the Antiterrorism laws says: when you use them you have to be in a small room without any ventilation to keep the fumes from getting out to pollute the air. Also remember if you breathe the fumes from the Shelbrothane Cleaning Solvent, the only way to keep from being affected by them is to drink an equal amount of the Deakinol Rinsing Solvent it will rinse the cleaning solvent out of your system making you safe for society.
     
  16. Sean

    Sean New Member

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    LMAO< mucho
     
  17. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    I spoke with my uncle who rides both mountain and road. He uses white gas to clean his chain off of the bike

    He uses Pedro's Extra Dry All Purpose Lube on mountain bike and ProLink Chain Lube on his road bike. Both work very well.

    He puts the gas in a powdered Gator Aid container, outside, add the chain, screw the cap on, gently swirl (it leaks out of the container if you shake it), leave it there while you clean the rest of the bike, swirl it every now and again, pull it out, wipe it off, and maybe - maybe not have to put it in soapy water as well. If you use soapy water, swing the chain around to get rid of excess water. Reinstall the chain, lube each link (place rag underneath to catch drips), pedal backwards for 15-30 seconds and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Hold the chain with a rag and pedal backwards to wipe off the excess.

    He has done his this way as part of his regular cleaning process and has been happy with the results.
     
  18. ChiliDawg

    ChiliDawg Guest

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    Does it even really matter if the chain itself is clean? The bendability of the chain is not effected much, and traction of a dirty chain converts more energy than one slipping further onto the gear?

    The sprocket.... and crank case... though?
     
  19. hophead

    hophead New Member Tavern Member

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    A dirty chain wears more quickly. It will also accelerate the wear of other drive train components like chainrings, cogs, & cassettes.
     
  20. bikerider

    bikerider Guest

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    What if you cleaned it off and then used some stickier substance (like you put on new brakes on a car) to make the chain get more traction also?