Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Thanks for the comments and questions about last week’s Chain Care how-to. Let’s keep the link love going with your tips, recommendations and I’ll answer a couple of related queries that came in.
The Lubes You Use
Several of you said that you use a homemade concoction. I bet it would interest other roadies if you would share your recipes in the comments.
For known lubes, there was one vote for Pro-Link: https://amzn.to/3sFlS6f. I’ve used this on several bikes and it’s performed well for me here in Northern California.
Rock N Roll
Via email, another reader, “longrider” raved about Rock N Roll lube: https://amzn.to/3qDCV7b.
Former USA pro roadie, cycling author and bike product guru Thomas Prehn gave props to a lube I didn’t know about. He wrote,
“I use pure wax – Squirt Lube https://amzn.to/2LBJQyU and it’s also 100% biodegradable. Wax is dry so dust doesn’t attach. Wax has been used for years and years as a water repellant. My ENTIRE maintenance = reapply after a ride where I have totaled about 80 miles since previous application.”
Response to Thomas:
Thanks, Thomas! Knowing how many miles you put in, I’m going to try it. I’ll never forget how you won the $10K prize winning the Spenco 500 in 1985.
Then, Neil Larson stuck his neck out with this,
“I’m going to throw a hand grenade in here with my method, but for a chain that’s not too dirty it’s quick, clean and easy. Less than 5 minutes tops. It’s the same method that Jim has outlined with the rag, spinning the crank and moving the rag around the top and sides of the chain.
BUT, I use WD-40 for both the cleaning and for the lube. Spray it on the exposed straight section of chain, wipe it off, advance the chain 10 inches or so, repeat until the whole chain is ‘cleaned.’ Then spin the pedals and wipe with a clean part of the rag. The chain is perfectly clean, has WD-40 in the rollers, and won’t pick up too much dust or grime like a lube does.
The usual response to using Wd-40 is that it is a solvent and not a lube, but after using it for over 10 years on my motorcycle and bicycle chains I get the same chain life as my pals using lube, and in many cases longer chain life. It may not be a lube, but it sure works like one.”
Response to Neil:
Thanks, Neil! In 1970, as a new mechanic, that’s all we used at the little bike shop I started at. And it sure seemed to work fine. But it begs the question, have you considered WD-40’s line of bicycle specific lubes https://amzn.to/35PRLiY? And if not, why not?
Chain Cleaners Used
From the comments, it’s clear that many of you like using the snap-on type chain cleaners. These nifty devices act as mini solvent tanks and brushes in one. They enclose the chain and surround it with brushes and/or sponges. By simply pedaling, the links get a scrubbing and solvent bath at the same time.
Park Tool’s Cyclone received the most votes: https://amzn.to/2LBNKI4. And one reader raved about Pedro’s Chainpig (great name!): https://amzn.to/3qyqxFe.
A reader named “Tal” had another recommendation, he said,
“One tool I do use (that none have mentioned so far) is a grunge brush https://amzn.to/2LDl4ym. There are several brands on the market. It is essentially a stiff brush designed to get the larger dirt particles off the chain before performing any other type of cleaning. It takes very little time to spin the chain through the brush. It is especially useful for those who ride in wet or dusty conditions where there is a lot of grit and grime.”
Why Some Choose Not To Use Chain Cleaner Tools
“Bert” asked a related question:
“For about the past 15 years I’ve been very happy with the clamp-on chain cleaning systems. I find them very fast, effective, and tidy, especially attractive since my family has a lot of bikes. I use an aqueous citrus solvent, which I buy cheap by the gallon from the auto store, and a teflon-based dry lube that I buy in a quart size and transfer to 3-oz squirt bottles. Cleaning and lubing a
chain takes me about 5 minutes. From reading online, I get the impression that these tools are not popular with pro mechanics. Do you agree with that, and if so, why aren’t they?”
I don’t have any stats that support it, Bert, but I do think you’re correct that most pro mechanics don’t use chain cleaner devices containing solvent that snap on the chain. I can’t speak for other pros, but I can tell you why I don’t use them.
NOTE: I’m not trying to run down these tools, just answering your question. Also, as you read my reasons, understand that I’m comparing using the tool & solvent approach to my quick clean, where all you do is lube, wipe clean with a rag/T-shirt and relube.
- I don’t want to put solvent on chains because then any solvent residue left behind after wiping might contaminate the lube I apply lessening its ability to lube and how long it lubes
- These tools bathe the chain in solvent and you pedal to pull the chain through the brushes built into the tool. When pedaling the solvent travels with the chain wetting the cassette and chainrings. This can make a mess of both, meaning a bigger clean-up job
- You need to buy the tool and the solvent
- With solvent you usually need to store it somehow and dispose of dirty solvent safely
- Some of the tools contain the solvent fine but some leak and can make a mess
- With use the tool gets dirty and needs cleaning
Those are some of the reasons I can think of why I don’t use these tools and I bet why other pros don’t as well. But, again – I am not trying to talk you out of not using yours – or anyone else from using chain cleaners.
What About Cleaning a New Chain?
Then, Gary Allen brought up another important question:
“What about a brand new chain? I’ve never gotten a good answer about what to do with the “packing” grease that a new chain contains. Should this be removed right away or can it be ridden as is for several hundred or thousands of miles? If or when the grease gets removed can your cleaning/lubing technique be used or must the chain be removed and immersed in a solvent?”
First to answer was roadie “Jeff vdD” who wrote, “Josh Poertner at Silca says clean the factory grease/lube abomination off before installing the chain on the bike.”
My response to Gary:
The issue with the stuff the manufacturers put on the chains is that it’s usually a thick layer of some type of grease preservative to prevent corrosion if the chain sits around for a long time before selling.
As I understand, it’s not meant to lube the chain on the bike, but to pack, seal and protect it in the package. It’s thick and sticky and can be hard to wipe off with just a rag.
If you leave it on the chain and use the chain on your bike that way it won’t do any harm but it will likely get dirty more quickly than your favorite chain lube. And, as you add your favorite chain lube, it’ll break down the grease and you probably won’t get the results from your lube you’re used to and may end up with a greasy mess of a drivetrain.
But, once you clean your chain, cogs and rings, you’ll be fine. So, it’s one of those things that you can deal with before you install the chain or after. But, like Jeff/Josh said, wiping it off before – after applying a little solvent or lube to wet and break it down a bit is the way to avoid ending up with a dirty drivetrain fast after installing that new chain.
Rotating Chains Tip!
Lastly, Fritz Mueller shared his neat trick for always riding a clean chain:
“I keep two identical chains. When one gets a little dirty I remove it (I use a reusable quick link) and install the clean chain.
The dirty chain goes into my ultrasonic cleaner and is thoroughly cleaned. I then hang it from the ceiling in my shop, blow the cleaning fluid out of the chain into a rag and let it hang to dry completely. When it’s dry, I lubricate each link with a drop of my preferred lubricant and let the chain hang to dry after wiping the excess lubricant off with a paper towel.
When the lubricant has dried, I hang the chain inside a length of PVC tubing to keep the shop dust off of the chain. When the chain on the bike is dirty, I repeat the process. It works for me.”
My final response:
Thanks for providing all the details, Fritz. It’s nice to hear from someone using an ultrasonic cleaner in a home shop. For anyone interested, here’s the video to Josh at Silca’s extensive video on which one to buy and how to use it. FYI: the one he likes is not cheap, at $270.
Ride total: 9,885
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.
Kenneth Pierce says
Whereis the hot wax? Been doing it for 10 years and works great, lasts, and stays clean longer. Contrary to popular believe it is easy and fast. Best tip is to use two chains and rotate. Clean and wax when you have a little more free time. I get 400 to 500mi with a paraffin and beeswax mix(80/20 ratio), add a little teflon and viola, long lasting lubrication and no nasty grease mark or messy drive train. Naptha works great for cleaning the dirty chain and wiping wax residue from pulley wheels and chain rings.
Shimano says the grease that comes on their new chains is a lube and should be left on the chain until it wears out. This interview is from 10 years ago, but I haven’t found anything that indicates they have changed their recommendation. https://bikerumor.com/2011/06/28/chainwear-challenge-quick-interview-with-shimano/
Jim Langley says
Thanks a lot for sharing this, Chuck. Great to see this. Just in case people don’t want to click the link, I copied and pasted below what Shimano said:
“Jan 28, 2011
At Shimano XT press camp, Zach Overholt of BikeRumor asked one of Shimano’s main tech gurus, Nick Murdick:
BIKERUMOR: What is Shimano’s official stance on the chain lube that comes stock on a Shimano chain? Is it actually a lube, or a grease? And is it best to leave it on until the chain gets noisy and relube, or strip it right away and relube before riding?
NICK: So that brings us to lubrication. I mentioned that the chain wears because of friction as the chain moves to wrap around a gear. Well, that friction is reduced if there is lube on the chain. If there is dirt mixed in, the lube makes a bigger difference in reducing friction. If there is water mixed in, the lube helps displace the water.
The grease that comes on a Shimano chain is applied at the factory to the individual pieces before the chain is assembled. The grease does a better job of reducing friction than aftermarket chain lubes and it lasts longer.
The main reason we use liquid chain lube, whether it is one that stays liquid or a dry lube that has a solid lubricant in a liquid carrier (like a PTFE lube) is because we need to get the lube on a part that is not accessible without disassembling the chain.
So the best thing to do when installing a new chain is to leave the factory grease on, not apply any other lube, ride until it wears out and then start applying liquid chain lube. In dusty conditions you can wipe off the outside of the new chain with a rag that is wet with a gentle degreaser to keep dirt from sticking to the grease. The factory grease also keeps the chain nice and quiet. After soaking a chain in degreaser and then lubing the chain with liquid lubricant the chain gets noticeably louder.
Shimano does not have an official recommended chain lube. They all seem to work pretty good. Different people have different preferences and different conditions require different lubes.”
Marc B says
I spoke to a SRAM rep over the phone. He told me that the chain factory lube is built to last, assuming clean dry riding, for many miles. I have used just the factory lube for more than 500 miles twice last year during good weather. The chain on the outside looked amazingly clean i.e. it did not pick up dirt, and the drive train worked quietly and smoothly.
The last time I used the factory lube it lasted 1,000 miles. I was amazed and realize no one will believe me, but the chain seemed fine. I was also amazed that in the metro Boston area I had such great luck with the weather.
PS: I have no relationship with anyone from SRAM.
I use quick links to easily remove my chains, I clean a chain by putting it in an empty 4lb Skippy peanut butter jar with diesel fuel. A bio-solvent, such as Simple Green could also be used. I then put the lid on the jar and hold the jar against an upside down orbital car buffer. The orbital buffer shakes the dickens out of the chain and solvent, thereby, cleaning the chain. An extremely dirty chain may take two or three changes of solvent. When I’ve finished I hang the chain up to drain and dry. After replacing the chain on the bike, I put a drop of waxed bike lube on each link, let it set for awhile and then spin the chain through a clean rag.
Brian Nystrom says
It may not be ultrasonic, but it’s a pretty clever idea!
Jim Langley says
Thanks for sharing that cool tip, Bob!
Brian Nystrom says
Regarding factory chain lubes, perhaps I’m missing something, but all of the chains I’ve seen recently come with OIL on them, not grease. I use KMC chains almost exclusively now and not only is the factory lube fine to use, they actually sell it for people who prefer oil for their chains. That said, I agree that the sticky oils that come on new chains will collect dirt and get messy, so if you want a clean drivetrain from the start, you have to remove them, either by cleaning the chain completely, or by cleaning the outside with solvent and applying your favorite lube to displace the oil in the chain.
While I respect Josh Portner’s knowledge, some of the things he says about ultrasonic cleaning border on ridiculous. You don’t need an expensive, 6-liter cleaner to get the job done. A 2-liter model is plenty large enough to clean chains and smaller ones will work, too, though you will need to change the solvent more often. While having a heater helps the process, it’s not actually necessary because the cleaning process itself generates heat and given sufficient cleaning time, the solvent will become hot. That’s why the cleaner manufacturers caution you not to use flammable solvents. Of course, you can always pre-heat the solvent if you feel the need.
As for my home-brew lube, I took the Friction Facts formula and substituted an equal volume of synthetic motor oil for the wax, since I find waxing chains to be too much bother. I add an equal amount of odorless mineral spirits to aid penetration and help to flush out dirt and old lube. I find that in dry conditions on my road bikes, I can get 700+ miles between applications, though I typically lube the chain a bit more frequently than that. Chain wear is negligible. It works well on my off-road bikes, but I lube them more often due to the dust, dirt and water they are subjected to. Just for fun, I plan to experiment with adding ZDDP to my lube, as Silca does with their new lube.
Jim Langley says
Thanks for sharing your lube secrets, Brian!
Big Ring Bob says
I have used almost all of the mentioned processes over the last 45 years, starting with 10W30 motor oil, then switching to paraffin and then an assortment of commercially packaged lubes. I can’t find the specific reference now, but recently read an article that stated Teflon does not aid in reducing friction and is considered a pollutant by the EPA. It does not breakdown..
Using the WD-40 degreaser in a Park Cyclone with about a 1/3 water to 2/3 degreasing solution do quick chain cleanups. After cleaning the chain this way, I replace the degreaser with denatured alcohol to remove any moisture that may have penetrated the chain. The alcohol mixes with the water and flushes the links and then I apply the above mentioned Squirt.
When I want to do a thorough job, I remove the chain, use a wide-mouth plastic bottle, use enough solvent to submerge the chain and shake it for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the process to make certain I have removed as much gunk as possible, then use the alcohol bath to remove moisture and re-lube with Squirt. After applying the Squirt, I let the chain dry overnight and wipe with a clean cloth the next morning. The last time I bought the WD-40 Bike Heavy Duty degreaser, I had to order it from Australia. When I can’t find it, I use a solution of distilled water and Simply Green,
I have also found articles that state (including here at RBR) that quicklinks are only useable once. I believe this advice came from Shimano.. It may not apply to other manufacturers. I have personally re-used them many times, using the Park tool for disassembly. I also examine the quicklinks with a magnifying glass looking for signs of wear before re-using. I typically get about 3500 miles on a Shimano 11s chain and clean the chain quickly every 500 miles, and thoroughly about every 2000 miles. On an average year, I will put 6,000 miles on the bike. Most riding is in a relative dry environment (Midwest) and I won’t start a ride in the rain, I occasionally will finish in the rain. I’m riding on roads and my typical average power output is about 140 watts.
Jim Langley says
Thanks Big Ring Bob! You may have seen that info on Teflon in a comment to last week’s story – that’s where I saw it. Regarding reusing quick links, yes, I wrote that story here on RBR a while back. I asked Shimano about it and SRAM – but I also asked Park Tool about it. They don’t make chains so they’re impartial. All 3 said to not reuse quick links unless you are using one that is made to be reused.
The reason is that – according to all 3 sources – single-use quick links wear if you take them off/on repeatedly. And this causes them to break. You may never have broken one, but from what the experts say, you’re taking a chance of the chain breaking on you.
Thanks for sharing your tips,
I tried a Park solvent bath type cleaner years ago and it just made a huge mess.
I spray WD40 or Lemon Pledge on a rag, rotate the crank backwards and hold the rag on the bottom section of chain to clean after every ride.
When necessary, input one drop of of Pro Link lube on each link.
What I would like to see in another chain lube article is the home based chain lubes that riders have come up with. I think that would make an interesting read also.
Fritz Mueller says
I use an ultrasonic cleaner that I got at Harbor Freight for $80 along with a container of their ultrasonic cleaner solution powder. I put two liters of water into the cleaner, a teaspoon of the powder in the water, and turn on the heater to get the solution nice and hot. Put the chain in for about eight or nine minutes, hang the chain and make sure it gets completely dry, then apply lubricant. The things I have learned are to be certain that all of the water or other cleaning solution are completely out of the chain and it’s dry, and to use a dependable, reusable quick link.
I found a chain lube called SCC Slick. One drop on each roller. This lubricant resists dirt and cleans at the same time. Wipe down chain, chainrings and cassette between rides. No need for fancy chain cleaners or solvents. Keeps everything perfectly clean.
How often do you have to reapply it?
Fred R says
I read the reviews on that stuff Frank, and it’s not that great. People are complaining that it’s wet lube that flies off if you don’t wipe it excessively well, and it has to be reapplied after every ride? It is a wet lube, so if you live in a very wet climate, it would probably be great stuff, but reviewers were saying that in a dry climate dirt accumulates like crazy on the chain.
Dave Minden says
I think there’s a lot of over-thinking and over-doing on chains. My goal is to ride, with minimal maintenance. I’m an all-weather mid-western rider, so lots of rain and some grit that goes with it. When the chain gets gunky or squeeky I lube and clean. I don’t measure chain life. Really, chains just don’t cost that much for the average middle-of-the-pack rider, so why obsess over it? Replace and ride again!
John Pristash says
I’ve been using Rock ‘n Roll lube for years, and it works great! Every 300 miles, I “liberally” squirt it on the chain, rotate the crank for a few turns, and let it soak in for an hour or so. Then wipe the excess off with a clean rag. Chain is well lubed and clean as well!!~
Fred R says
Rock n Roll Ultimate Dry would last me about 250 to 300 miles as well, it’s good stuff, and the chain stays relatively clean, but someone who bicycle tours, which I do as well, told me to try Dumonde Tech Lite, so I did, and it last about 500 miles. I found out that most people who tour use Dumonde Tech, but they use the regular Dumonde Tech, I decided on the Lite version and haven’t had any issues with rain whatsoever.
Jim Pettett says
I am OCD about the cleanliness of my drivetrain. When I clean and lube my drivetrain, (I use Pro Link as a cleaner-lubrication agent) I clean the chainrings, cassette cogs, and derailleur pulleys as well as the chain. It doesn’t make sense to clean only one component and leave the others dirty. Before I use a new chain, I hang it from a nail and use a can of to silicone spray to clean the new-chain gunk from all the links. This will simultaneously remove all the sticky goo while providing a lubricant to the interior of the chain links. The aerosol will evaporate almost immediately and the chain can be installed and lubed without delay.
Charley Bell says
Before the ultrasound came into the market, I uses a bowl of solvent placed on a non-skid rubber mat. All of that went on the cloths washer. I have since tried to clean and lube in an environmentally sound way. It’s getting easier and easier to keep things clean, from hands to driveways to sewers.
I boil water and use it in an ultrasonic cleaner with Dawn for about 10 minutes to get the wax and big chunks off of my chain, then into a shaker bottle with mineral spirits, then an alcohol bath, measure for stretch, then into the crock pot with wax. I’m using straight paraffin on most of my chains but my “super important race chain” goes in a separate crock pot with molten speed wax. (I’d use MSW on everything but something in there makes the wax black and it can get on carpet, cars, skin, etc. when moving the bike along) Between mountain/road/TT/wife’s bike I usually do a few at a time. As far as overall ease…..I guess it’s not terribly difficult LOL.
I’ve heard that using a grease solvent to clean bicycle chains can remove the internal grease in the link pins which is not advisable. That is why I use diesel fuel which is an oil base. After agitating the chain in diesel fuel to clean it, I hang it to drain and dry. After reinstalling it on the bike, I put a drop of wax-based chain lube on each link, let that set for a while and then run the chain through a clean rag.
Fred R says
That is true, Sheldon Brown even said that years ago. I don’t use any solvent based stuff, all I use is Dawn For Dishes (the non citrus stuff, the citrus acid can pit chains), put it on a damp sponge and scrub the chain. Wait for it to dry, or I use an air compressor and blow it out, but I use to dry it with a rag then wait about an hour with the bike in the sun, then reapply my lube.
Dave Le Fevre says
I’ve always simply fitted chain with the factory installed grease. However …
At the end of November 2019, I fit a new chain to one of my bikes that has Shimano 10-speed transmission. I use various chains, and this time I fit a KMC. A couple of weeks later, the derailleur jockey pulleys seize up. Chain seems to lock up when pedalling backwards. And before you ask, no, it’s not a chainline problem, this happens in the middle sprockets.
When I later check it out, I’m perplexed. Strip, clean, lube, and reassemble the derailing cage. (The lower jockey pulley is sealed, so I can’t access it.) Chain still complains when pedalling backwards. GT85 on chain.
Chain still complains when pedalling backwards, but after a few miles it’s ok. Presumably the GT85 did the job. I’m guessing that KMC factory-installed grease is rather viscous, and the GT-85 sorts it out.
Ken Herrington says
I have been using a combination of lubes and wipes from Silca. About once a month after a ride I use their Gear Wipe to clean the gunk off the chain. I then use their Synergetic wet lube. One drop per roller. I put one drop on the chain at the top part where the chain issuing from the crank to the cogs, and then put a drop on the lower part that goes from the cogs back to the crank. Rotate the chain until I have a unlubed section and repeat. Go in the house and change, come back and use a clean rag to wipe off any excess. Chain is so quite and clean. I was using their Super Secret chain lube before the other. Worked great also. They recently had a sale on mislabeled Synergetic ,gave it a try. Thanks for all your information.
Mayor of Howe street says
After buying new Shimano Ultegra/XT CN-HG701 speed chain I switched to Squirt . No more inadvertent grease stains on socks . Easy to clean and lube up.
I like to keep thing simple, no need for special expensive lubs. The main thing is to keep the chain clean.
Bruce "0le" Ohlson says
I lube my chain every 100 miles or so (about once a week). I “flood irrigate” the chain the evening before with cheap 30-weight, vehicle engine oil applied generously with a pump oiler. Before departing on the ride, I wipe the outside of the chain by folding a rag around it and spinning the pedal cranks backwards a half dozen revolutions. This method allows some of the oil to seep into the chain rollers over night. Wiping before departure cleans off most of the oil from the outside of the chain and keeps my rim somewhat clean. I replace my chain every 1,000 miles or so. My chain-rings and cogs last a L-O-N-G time. I admit to having a bad attitude about bicycle chain lubrication., but this method is fast; it’s cheap, and it works. ~0le
Motor oil? Man, that crap attracts bugs and dirt like a magnet, and dirt is abrasive so you know the chain loves that, and that’s why you replace your chain every 1,000 miles, my chains last 8,000 miles! Chains cost more than good lube, a bottle of $8 to $12 lube will last a couple of years and longer, chains cost $32, if I did what you do, I would have to replace my chain 6 times a year! I think $8 to $12 every other year is a lot cheaper than $432 for chains over the course of 2 years.
I was wondering if anyone has experience using the “Lubridisc” device to apply lube to a chain as opposed to either a drop at a time or squirting directly on the chain? I think this product is German made and it looks like a clever concept.
Fred R says
I’m not about to spend $300 for a chain cleaning device, that’s for people who have $15,000 bikes and work on their own bikes. I work on my own bike too, but all I use is hot water, a sponge with Dawn For Dishes (non-citrus) on it, get the sponge soapy, and do the fist thing over the chain, get a good sudsy lather, and then rinse with clear water, wipe with a rag, let the chain air dry for an hour or so (nowadays I use my air compressor and blow the water out of the chain) and the chain sparkles afterwards, and I never have to take the chain off. I know, people want to spend money for stuff, but it’s not necessary, I’ve been doing it that way for 40 plus years and my chains last an average of 10,000 miles on a modern narrow chain (I use to get 12,000 miles on the old wide chains), and the cassette about 3 times longer than the chain. The chain won’t rust doing that either as long as you apply the lube within 6 hours, but a lot of chains today won’t rust anyways.
I did for about a year, tried using a Park Chain cleaning tool, but I discovered it didn’t work any better, in fact not as well, as my Dawn For Dishes on a sponge did.
I had a bike shop that had a racing team that I raced for taught me to do it that way, and since then I ran into other shops that do it that way as well over the years.
The other strange thing, Sheldon Brown said it’s not good to strip all the oil off a chain, because lube being applied to the outside does not penetrate all the way through, the factory lubed those links as they were disassembled, so all the deep inside areas have lube, removing all that lube is not a good idea. Sheldon Brown also said years ago not to strip off the new lube that comes on chains from the factory, to go ahead and ride it as it is, then clean and relube later when the chain starts to make noise, and all the bike shops I’ve ever knew never did that either when they installed chains.
As far as lubes go, I tried WD40 and it didn’t last long, I got about 100 miles on it and then the chain would start to make some noise, I found that to be true with most lubes though except for wax, wax lasted maybe 65 miles if I was lucky. The only two lubes I really like is Rock n Roll dry, and Dumonde Tech Lite, Dumonde Tech lube I can go for at least 500 miles before I have to reapply, and that includes the occasional rain. I do some touring on one of my bikes and I don’t want to be lubing my bike every 45 or 100 miles while on the road, that Dumonde Tech stuff holds up the best of anything I’ve ever tried. I just wipe the chain down after every ride and it’s good to go.
Michael D Povman says
The advice to remove factory lube from a new chain is the opposite of what I have always been told by my LBS – that you should leave it on as long as possible. Sheldon Brown agrees:
New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain. The chain and this lubricant need to be warmed during application.
This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact — well, unless…see below.
Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don’t do this!
The factory lubricant all by itself is usually good for several hundred miles of service if the bike is not ridden in wet or dusty conditions. It is best not to apply any sort of lube to a new chain until it is clearly needed, because any wet lube you can apply will dilute the factory lube.
Reapplication of this lubricant depends on how many miles and environmental conditions.
I’m very conscious about keeping my drive train sparkling clean so I’ll clean and reapply after every long ride. Or every hundred miles.
William Wightman says
So many ways to clean and lube. My current method seems odd but is extremely low friction. I clean the chain in hot soapy water in an ultrasonic cleaner, rinse in hot water, blot dry, and dewater at 170 deg F in oven for an hour, leave chain in a wax bath on low heat overnight, cool and reinstall. After that I do a counterintuitive light lubrication with NFS (Null Frix Shun) with about 20 drops and go for a ride. After the ride I dry wipe any static debris that has collected on chain along with excess lube and reapply 20 more drops of NFS. I have never had such excellent high power group riding results as with the addition of a good lube on top of plain paraffin waxing. Well worth the effort to me.