chain lube - wet or dry?

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dalifnei
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chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby dalifnei » 12 Dec 2012, 12:20am

can't decide if should use wet lube or dry lube for my chain (regular city commute only) ... also seen a spray on aerosol dry lube. Too many choices! Any hints? Many thx

Brucey
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Brucey » 12 Dec 2012, 12:31am

you might get away with a dry lube or a wax lube in the summer, but in the winter wet lubes work best. Anything else and most likely your chain will quickly go rusty and wear out.

cheers
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dalifnei
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby dalifnei » 12 Dec 2012, 12:58am

Ideal answer - many thx :)

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Mick F
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Mick F » 12 Dec 2012, 6:08am

Brucey wrote:you might get away with a dry lube or a wax lube in the summer, but in the winter wet lubes work best. Anything else and most likely your chain will quickly go rusty and wear out.
Here I am again going against what others say! :oops:

I use a dry lube all year round and have done ever since I discovered White Lightning.

Advantages are:
Chain is dry and clean - until the wax build-up gets on your nerves!
Dry and waxy, and grit doesn't stick to it - but you must keep adding it to gain any benefit.
Hands and clothing NEVER get "chain rash".
Providing you look after your transmission and buy good quality chains and cassettes, they will run sweetly for many many 1000s of miles.

Disadvantages are:
You need to apply it every few days, and daily in wet weather.
Cost is high.
(Some folk do no maintenance, and replace everything - so it can work out cheaper.)

Wet lubes:
They are just that - wet - and as such can attract road grit to form a grinding paste to wear your chain if you don't clean it regularly.

The above is my opinion formed from many many many commutes and rides in all weathers and seasons. I've tried just about everything over the years ranging from sewing machine oil and 3in1 and WD40, right through to waterproof grease, lard(!), general purpose grease, engine oil, GT85, LPS3, a grey graphite spray I purloined from the RN stores ............ and a few of the modern chain lubes.
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Brucey » 12 Dec 2012, 9:26am

Mick, IIRC you live in a part of the World where they don't throw NaCl around so much like it is going out of fashion. This makes a difference I think.

A friend of mine local to me just tried the 'white lightning' experiment -despite my gloomy predictions. Two bikes (which are used daily) had their chains treated as per. Within a few days both chains were going rusty and squeaking furiously. This is with typical winter conditions locally, i.e. damp (no heavy rain) but the usual road salt.

For typical UK winter conditions, I would describe its performance as 'totally inadequate', unless you are going to fully maintain (i.e. clean and re-lube) your chain every single ride, that is, in which case it simply provides hours of amusement and costs a fortune.

BTW I agree wet lube turns to grinding paste; but with road salt about you basically have no choice. Other lubes just get broken down in short order.

cheers
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Mick F
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Mick F » 12 Dec 2012, 10:02am

Brucey wrote:Mick, IIRC you live in a part of the World where they don't throw NaCl around so much like it is going out of fashion. This makes a difference I think.
Most certainly it does.

I haven't always lived here, you know. I cut my teeth in commuting long distance in the west of Scotland. Helensburgh to Clyde Submarine Base along the loch side, and then latterly from Alexandria in the Vale of Leven, over the Black Hill to Helensburgh, and then along the loch side. 14miles each way. Not much fun really, but I did it regularly. However, when the weather was too bad, I took the car. :oops:

The roads up there are terrible for much of the year. Wet, greasy, and salty in the long winters. Bad enough for cars, let alone bicycles. Summers were lovely - but quite short as autumn comes early.
Mick F. Cornwall

dalifnei
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby dalifnei » 12 Dec 2012, 10:54am

OK... so it looks to me like this is the picture:

Dry lube = great, but in wet weather needs lots of reapplication.
Wet lube = great, stays on wet weather, but accumulates dirt and chain requires regular cleaning or will get paste.

Have seen a ceramic wet lube on wiggle by Finish Line, which claims not to attract so much dirt, though it's a fiver instead of £3 for a wee bottle... This might do the trick.

I hadn't realised there's 2 stages requiring 2 different liquids:
(1) cleaning the chain and using a degreaser, washing it all off
(2) lube.

Brucey
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Brucey » 12 Dec 2012, 11:03am

you are correct about the wet vs dry weather but there is more to it than that; when it is merely damp in the wintertime, road salt chews through many chain lubes like they simply aren't there.

Where Mick is, it is a balmy 3 degrees C this morning; where I am, (like much of the Uk) there is a little snow on the ground, and the gritters were out (again) last night.

cheers
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meic
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby meic » 12 Dec 2012, 11:16am

Another external condition that affects my choice is the grittiness level.

If it is totally gritty, like New Forest trails then dry lube.
If it there is some grittiness about then a thin lube like Prolube or 3in1.
Only if I am sticking to nice clean main roads to I find standard cycle Wetlube (or gear oil) a good option as it is a grit-magnet.

I have done extensive non-scientific road tests on chains and different lubes and my results are it makes no perceptible difference with a regular cleaning and lube routine but that cleaning and lube routine is less needed with thinner lubes.

3in1 oil or Poundland 101 oil give just as good chain life as my £16/pint Prolube and probably better than Finishline Wetlube.
With a proviso that you do have to apply it more frequently but you need to wash the chain less frequently than with Wetlube.
Yma o Hyd

reohn2
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby reohn2 » 12 Dec 2012, 11:28am

TF2 all year round.
Always applied after a ride so it can soak in and dry off slightly(less attraction to muck).If the chain is particularly mucky I'll apply then wipe the chain vigorously,then reapply to the clean chain.

BTW Astonish engine degreaser (£2 Ebay)cleans a chain very,very,clean with just a brush followed by a rise with warm water in the chain scrubber bath.
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Mick F
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Mick F » 12 Dec 2012, 1:42pm

Brucey wrote:Where Mick is, it is a balmy 3 degrees C this morning ............... and the gritters were out (again) last night.
Nope.
Really frosty, and only gone in the sunshine - even now @13:30. Frost pockets everywhere and wide variations in temperature. Gritters out last night here too - but only on the main roads. Minus 4 here last night. Minus 8 was forecast for Exeter last night. Yesterday, the ice and frost was here all day though no snow ............... I'm not venturing out on the bike until I can wake up and see the temp is above zero and no frost.

In my commuting days, we lived on the main road - gritted - so I would ride to work when it was below zero. Now we live half a mile away from the main road - no gritting, so there's black ice, frost and slippery roads. It's bad enough walking (as I did this morning) so there's no way I'm venturing out on two wheels.

R2.
I've not tried TF2 yet. If you remember, I tried Prolink Gold earlier this year(?) and wasn't really impressed. I'll give TF2 a try next time I order stuff, and I'll let everyone know how I get on.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Vaya
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Vaya » 12 Dec 2012, 2:30pm

dalifnei wrote:can't decide if should use wet lube or dry lube for my chain (regular city commute only) ... also seen a spray on aerosol dry lube. Too many choices! Any hints? Many thx

Brucey wrote:you might get away with a dry lube or a wax lube in the summer, but in the winter wet lubes work best. Anything else and most likely your chain will quickly go rusty and wear out.

cheers


I tried using dry lube for the chain, seemed to work ok during the summer but it comes off as soon as it rains. If I pt the bike away after cycling home and take it out the next day there was patches of rust.

Switched back to 3in1 oil for the winter - chain goes black and grease but it stays nice. I do clean my chain every so often - I run it through a chain bath then re-oil it.

Might give the wet lube a shot at some point.

Brucey
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Brucey » 12 Dec 2012, 2:53pm

Mick F wrote:
Brucey wrote:Where Mick is, it is a balmy 3 degrees C this morning ............... and the gritters were out (again) last night.
Nope.
Really frosty, and only gone in the sunshine - even now @13:30. Frost pockets everywhere and wide variations in temperature. Gritters out last night here too - but only on the main roads.


apologies; I was looking (with a certain degree of envy, if I'm honest) at the weather forecast, having just looked outside here. Of course there are local variations and so forth. I checked my outside thermometer (which is on the side of the house in a reasonably sheltered spot) here at 2pm. . 0.6 C it said.... Gah....

cheers
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gentlegreen
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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby gentlegreen » 12 Dec 2012, 3:21pm

One other thing I've been considering the past few days is what effect temperature has on various lubes.
I've been using the slightly thicker prolink gold lube "extreme" recently, but haven't been able to resist topping up with the normal thinner stuff.

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Re: chain lube - wet or dry?

Postby Brucey » 12 Dec 2012, 3:33pm

at risk of pointing out the b.obvious, my town bike has an IGH and a chaincase. The chain is the original one, and is now about 15 years old. The bike has seen enough use to wear out about three or four sets of tyres in that time. I adjust the chain once a year (maybe...) and lube it twice a year (maybe...) .

An exposed chain subjected to similar use (and considerably more maintenance) does well to last a couple of years.

Keeping the crud off the chain lets you use pretty much whatever you like as a lube and it will likely work just fine.

The chaincase adds about 1/2 or 3/4 lb to the weight, and a fair bit of faff to rear wheel removal, but its effects on the 'practical bicycle' quotient are considerable.

cheers
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