This QT is based on a recent experiment I decided to do on my last new chain. I am a years-long user of Chain-L chain lube (click for the RBR review). It is a honey-thick lube (in fact, it looks like dark honey) that you apply to a new chain, let it soak into the pins, wipe off the excess and install the chain. It’s a bitof a messy, time-consuming process (I let it soak in overnight), but the results are unbeatable — you really don’t need to re-lube again for the life of the chain. A slight touch-up after a rain ride, maybe; but that’s it.
Now, about that experiment.
My application process for years has been to lay out some old newspaper, lay the chain down on the paper and – link by link – apply a big drop of Chain-L directly onto each spot where plate meets pin.
I trusted that the lube would soak into each pin effectively enough that I didn’t need to turn the chain over and do the same on the other side. Following this process has served me well for years, but I’ve always thought it was a shame that so much of that lube ended up on the newspaper after trickling down through the chain.
Then it struck me while unpacking my last new chain: “snaked up” like chains are packaged (in a plastic bag smaller than a typical sandwich bag), what if I could find a way to use basically the same amount of lube and soak the chain completely before installing it?
The ‘Soak’ Test
Doing so would ensure that the lube got into every nook and cranny possible, and it would surely be an improvement in the efficacy of my long-time method.
So, I pulled out a quart-sized freezer bag from my kitchen (they’re thicker and more heavy duty than a basic sandwich bag), carefully pulled the chain out of the packaging it came in, and inserted the chain into the freezer bag.
Then, I added enough lube to basically cover the entire chain (again, this was about the same amount of lube I had been using all along anyway), folded the bag over to ensure the smallest possible space, placed a book on top to hold it all in place – and let it sit for a day or so. Then I flipped it over, top to bottom, and let it soak another day.
When I was ready to install the chain, wearing rubber gloves I pulled it out of the bag, wiping it down with a microfiber cloth before installation. All the excess lube stayed in the bag, and the process was actually much less messy and easier than the old way.
That was in August.
Other than to wipe off the chain after the first couple of post-install rides (which is always required) and occasionally run it through a dry rag just to clean it up a bit, I haven’t touched the chain since. No more lube has been required, even after wet rides.
The real test will be to see the extent of the wear I get from this chain: that is, whether it lasts longer than normal. I fully expect that it will, but only time, and miles, will tell.
In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the quiet, smooth ride of a well-lubed chain.
If you have an idea for a QT, fire away. We’re always looking for good info we can share with fellow roadies. We would love to hear from you with any suggestions you have. Contact us by clicking Quick Tips Ideas.
—John Marsh & The RBR Team