Chain Gang
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Thread: Chain Gang

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Chain Gang

    Stupid title I know...I am just in need of some advice. I have a trek 5000, which I bought in September 04 and have put 600 miles on so far. The other day when I was riding, my gears were slipping and found a chain link to be twisted. Anyway, I had the chain replaced and am now wondering what lube to put on it. I have white lightning, but have read about not using this type in a cold, wet area, which I live, in upstate new york. I ride about 40 miles a day if possible, if that information helps. Do I stick with the white lightning or go with a different type of lube? My two lbs had conflicting views (one said wlightning and another said a plastic lube or wet lube). I appreciate the input.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Lube theories

    Three schools of thought: 1) wax lubes (White Lightning is the leading brand), 2) oil lubes (numerous brands, with probably TriFlow and ProLink the leaders), and 3) "magic" lubes that leave some sort of super dooper residue behind (Boeshield). Wax lubes, begun originally by folks soaking their chains in melted paraffin, tend to be clean to the touch, not hold up well in the wet, require relatively frequent application, and in White Lightning's case, are fairly expensive on an annual basis. Oil lubes may have all kinds of secret ingredients and additives, but hold up well in the wet, go long between applications, and if not applied properly, can be really dirty. Type 3 lubes claim that their ingredients leave behind some sort of much superior surface effect than wax or oil, and reported results are mixed. My own preference is for ProLink, which is an oil/additive package diluted perhaps 3X in odorless mineral spirits (OMS). You get a chain cleaning while applying due to the solvent effect, and then if you wipe things clean, oil is left only where needed after the solvent evaporates. TriFlow is just as good a lube, but very hard to wipe your chain clean enough after application to prevent a very messy build up. Some swear by simply diluting 1 part motor oil in 3-4 parts OMS and getting a much cheaper alternative to ProLink (which only costs about $6.5 per 10K miles IME). Recent simple tests have shown that ProLink leaves behind a more waxy residue than oil/OMS, so it is different than just that.

    Assuming we're talking road riding, use the following technique for successful ProLink or homebrew lube (1 part motor oil to 3-4 parts odorless mineral spirits) application and use:

    1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
    2 - drip on lube while pedaling (forward is better) so that the chain just starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
    3 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
    4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
    5 - repeat 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

    If you do this every 300 miles or so, you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain.

    No lube is "perfect." A brite shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink is the best compromise.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Chain Lube

    My $0.02. I found WL performs very poorly in wet conditions, as does Boeshield, and Ice Wax. You need a clean wet lube. My favorite is Slick Willy Slush Armor. I can get about 100 to 150 miles in the most horrendous slop you would ride in, before relube. It doesn't wash off as others do and stays pretty clean. Some will probably swear by Pro-Link, but I found it went away too quickly, lerss than one ride, in the wet.

    I used to live in upstate NY, so I know what the weather there can be like.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Thumbs up I've Had Excellent Results With Rock n' Roll Lube

    I've been using Rock n' Roll Gold lube for about a year now, with good results. It's a self-cleaning lube that doesn't seem to leave much of a residue. My chains stay nice and clean (cleaner than with Prolink) if you give them a quick wipe after every ride, and I haven't noticed anything wearing out any faster since making the switch.

    In terms of what's in it, I haven't a clue. If you let it stand for a while it separates out with a white spooge settling on the bottom. I suspect that the spooge is the lubricant. It smells pretty flammable.
    It's Been Fun...See You Down The Road.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Prolink and read the directions. Its very thin and after you wipe off your chain,some might think nothing is there but infact it is and lasts for quite awhile.
    Just Ride
    03 Fuji Marseille

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Fine summary!

    I let the lube sit 15 minutes or so and brush the chain before I wipe it off. Otherwise this is both my experience and my method.

    I use Cyclo brand AirTool Oil rather than Pro-Link or Slick Willy. In my experience it works as well and costs < $5.00 for a 12 oz bottle.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

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