Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB beginners

Chain maintenance - Alternative to expensive products

d3mattd3matt Posts: 510
edited November 2010 in MTB beginners
I've only used my 9-week old MTB in very wet and muddy conditions so far. It gets plastered. I've been washing it down after each ride with the hose and also lubricating the chain and cogs with proper 'wet synthetic bike chain lube'. Then the top fell off and nearly the whole bottle emptied onto the rear cassette. At £5 for a tiny 12ml bottle, this stuff is so expensive. Is there a reason why you can't use cheap motor oil for bike lubrication?

My bike has a Shimano HG73 chain, which is now pretty stiff, even though it is only 9 weeks old. It probably will be fine after a proper clean, but I've just ordered a new SRAM 991 chain, so I can remove it easier for cleaning. I intend to start cleaning now!
The price of bike degreasers and chain lube is ridiculous, especially as it comes is such tiny bottles. What's the alternative? It'd like to take the chain off and soak it in a bucket overnight to clean it (is this a good lazy way?). But a bucket of what - petrol, heating oil? What's a cheaper alternative to bike chain cleaner?

Riding this Boardman Team FS 2010. Also trying my first blog.

Posts

  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Engine oil doesn't last at all, I've used it on road bikes but it's mince on mtbs. But what did you buy for £5 for 12ml? You could buy a vial of Jesus' manjuice for less. I'd recommend some sort of proper bike chain lube, but in a proper sized bottle for a proper amount. White Lightning maybe. A bottle does last a long time if you can avoid pouring it on the floor.

    Degreasers, don't buy bike stuff, get a bottle of white spirit or paraffin. A 4 litre bottle of paraffin from B&Q costs about £6 and will last you years.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • I'd avoid solvents like paraffin and white spirit as you should dispose of them responsibly.

    Automotive citrus degreaser is cheap and works well, but i'd imagine coke would probably work well as well. If you get it on BOGOF then it is £2 for 4 litres of the stuff.


    As for lubing, if you want cheap then go for chainsaw lube, personally I'd avoid automotive lube and go for something designed for chains as the lube needs to have rather good lubricating properties under load, not as an oil bath if you see what i mean.
  • Neily03Neily03 Posts: 295
    Why are you lubing the cassette? Only the rollers of the chain need lube, and thats only the inside the them.
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    £5 for 12ml? :shock:

    did you forget to zero on the end of the volume? otherwise that is some expensive lube.

    try CRC there are some inexpensive chain oils (sort by price)
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Categories.aspx?CategoryID=91&SortBy=Price

    Im sure even the super cheap stuff isn't going tobe terrible and melt your chain away.


    With degreasers strong solution of washing up liquid works well, make sure you wash it off well or pop to halfords and see what they have in the automotive section, im sure they all work just as good as bike specific ones. Some can be quite corrorsive if left on but as long as you rinse them off properly there shouldn't be any lasting damage.
  • d3mattd3matt Posts: 510
    Sorry, I missed off a '5'. It was 125ml for £5.

    Riding this Boardman Team FS 2010. Also trying my first blog.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,588
    d3matt: a clean dry chain is 98.6% efficient and role of the lubricant is to take up space so that dirt doesn't get into the rollers and links.

    Anything you put on the chain that attracts dirt will cause premature wear and reduce efficiency. Use dry lube or wax all year round, simply to stop the chain going rusty and to make it easy to clean. Yes you will have to apply it more often and yes your drivetrain will be rustling away at the slightest hint of moisture but believe me, it's better than going overboard with lube and turning it into a high-speed conveyor belt of cack.

    Keep the chain sterile and it will take care of the rest of the drivetrain. Check it regularly and replace it when it's worn - chains are a consumable and much less expensive than other drivetrain components.
  • Neily03 wrote:
    Why are you lubing the cassette? Only the rollers of the chain need lube, and thats only the inside the them.

    I think the cassette lubing was unintentional.
  • Neily03Neily03 Posts: 295
    Neily03 wrote:
    Why are you lubing the cassette? Only the rollers of the chain need lube, and thats only the inside the them.

    I think the cassette lubing was unintentional.

    Really?
    d3matt wrote:
    I've been washing it down after each ride with the hose and also lubricating the chain and cogs with proper 'wet synthetic bike chain lube'.
  • d3mattd3matt Posts: 510
    I had be putting oil on all metal to metal surfaces. Mainly just on the chain, but a quick squirt across the gears too.

    Riding this Boardman Team FS 2010. Also trying my first blog.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Engine oil - No - its designed to attract dirt, you'll end up needing a new mech and hanger

    Paraffin - perfect for cleaning. Unhook the power link slap the whole lot in a jam jar of paraffin for a minute take it out let it dry and put a lid on the paraffin. you can make 300ml of paraffin last 6 months easy by letting the gunk settle and poring the used 'fin into a new container.

    for lube WELDTITE TF2 - about £2.50 - £3 for a 500ml can.
  • lesz42lesz42 Posts: 690
    3 in 1, but only in the winter, wash the bike/chain after each ride, then relube



    cheap and works fine, as long as you clean it, which you do? ( if tis a muddy ride)
    Giant Trance X0 (08) Reverb, Hope Hoops 5.1D, XT brakes, RQ BC, Works Components headset 1.5
  • d3mattd3matt Posts: 510
    Thanks for your replies. Paraffin sounds a good cheap idea. Where do you buy it from? <Edit> Just read above posts again, and seen that you can get pariffin from B&Q.

    Engine oil - why is engine oil any worse than bike chain oil? Proper chain oil is very stringing and tacky and I would have thought this causes dirt to stick to the chain. Engine oil is thinner and probably spreads into the joints in the chain quicker and easier.

    Good idea about chainsaw oil. I have some of this. It is virtually the same as the bike chain oil.

    I wiped my chain through a rag today and it is covered in a fine mud and grit, even after washing the bike off with a hose. I does badly need a soaking and proper clean. Has quite surprised me. Once I have the new SRAM chain with the unlocking clasp, I'll probably clean it after every muddy ride.

    Riding this Boardman Team FS 2010. Also trying my first blog.
  • Halfords are doing a 3 for 2 offer at the moment which includes chain lubes and chains
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    The thicker wet chain lube stops the grit getting into the innards of the chain. Just hold a cloth around the chain and backpedal - the gunk will come off.
    In summer dry lube holds the grit and falls off.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Dunno why engine oil is so bad, but I have tried it on both my motorbikes and my bikes and I ended up wrapping the rear mech around the rear and snapping the frame hanger, because the oil had soaked up all the the sand and muck from the trail and jammed.

    On the motorbike it just spread itself all over the wheel. I don't think either get it close to its operating temp, so it doesn't work.

    Proper chain lube is more waxy than sticky as it dries.

    Bike chains only need a very find oil. Even wd40 is probably better than engine oil, since there aren't seals like on motorbike chains.
  • i got a 5 litre citrus degreaser for a fiver at a local hardware store. its the same as the bike specific stuff that costs a bomb.

    i use white lightening dry lube and it lasts forever
    Burning Fat Not Rubber

    Scott CR1
    Genesis IO ID
    Moda Canon
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    diy wrote:
    On the motorbike it just spread itself all over the wheel. I don't think either get it close to its operating temp, so it doesn't work.

    It's just the thin-ness and lack of stickyness, the rotating force just fires it straight off. Works well in a scottoiler though.
    Uncompromising extremist
Sign In or Register to comment.