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Lubricating the chain

rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
edited October 2015 in Workshop
With my old bike I never paid much attention to chain maintenance. I'd degrease and lubricate the chain once or twice a year at most.

I want to do things properly on the new bike. I presume I don't need to degrease and lube after each ride?

Is it just a matter of wiping the chain, applying oil and then wiping off the excess every few rides? And then once every 200 miles or so, to degrease the chain completely and lube again?

I also need some decent oil and I've read that people use everything from olive oil to dedicated bicycle chain oils to car engine oils so I am more confused than ever!

I've got a Park Tools chain cleaning machine by the way, and some degreasing fluid to use with it. I ride mainly in dry weather.

Posts

  • You don't need to relube after every ride. If the last ride was really wet and mucky it might be a good idea to lube again but if the last ride was dry there isn't a huge need to lube again. Every few rides I will wipe the chain and re lube with my bike.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,677
    if you ride in dry weather, a dry lube will keep things cleaner but you need to apply it regularly

    otherwise generic syn lube is good, it stays in place a long time

    tbh i'd fit a kmc link so it's easy to remove/refit the chain, cleaning machines typically result in degreaser being splashed around and of course it gets into the chain itself (i.e. gaps between pins and rollers), where it can linger after use and reduce the effectiveness of whatever lube you use

    running the chain through bit of old linen will take off surface cack quite well
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Thanks for the advice, wongstaa and sungod.

    I'm looking to buy one of these lubes for the chain:

    Morgan Blue Syn

    or

    Muc-Off Team Sky Hydrodynamic

    Any feedback on either of these?
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,677
    the morgan blue is good, the 100ml bottle will last a few years and the nozzle makes it easy to apply, i use this most of the time, nice and sticky, doesn't fling off, very good in the wet, still there even after major soakings, which makes sense, morgan blue is belgian :)

    muc-off over 12 quid for 50ml!!! no doubt the sky branding will help it sell
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • the morgan blue is good, the 100ml bottle will last a few years and the nozzle makes it easy to apply, i use this most of the time, nice and sticky, doesn't fling off, very good in the wet, still there even after major soakings, which makes sense, morgan blue is belgian :)

    muc-off over 12 quid for 50ml!!! no doubt the sky branding will help it sell

    This is what I was thinking too about the Muc-Off one!

    I'll buy the Morgan Blue Syn. Many thanks for your advice.
  • I was just looking at Chain oils as well, getting ready for wet rides as my 6 year old bottle of Halfords Wet Syn is now empty

    Looking at the Muc-Off Ceramic wet, which at £7.99 a bottle of 120mm seems a reasonable price, but not sure of the benefits of "Ceramic" Vs "Syn"
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • Got the Morgan Blue Syn Lube today and tried it out on the old and new bikes. It comes in a fairly non-descript bottle with a plastic nozzle. You cut the very end of the tip off to allow the oil to be squeezed out.

    The oil itself resembles thick treacle! It's a browny-orange colour. I used a rag with GT85 sprayed on it to clean the chain first and then applied it to the (lower part as you look at the side of the bike of the) chain whilst rotating the chain backwards.

    The oil requires a fair amount of hand pressure on the bottle to get it out!

    Anyway, once done I cleaned any excess oil off with another rag, again whilst rotating the pedals backwards by hand. Once I was happy with things I did the same to the new bike.

    Now here's something interesting: I've never been able to pedal backwards on the old bike without the chain coming off the front chainrings. Indeed, as I was applying the Morgan Blue Syn lube to the old bike, the chain came off three times. However, as the oil got applied, it stayed on. Once the chain was oiled properly and wiped down, I found I could pedal backwards without the chain coming off!

    Prior to this oil I had been using a budget lube (Muc-Off Wet and Muc-Off Dry). So, a thumbs up from me for Morgan Blue Syn.
  • DKayDKay Posts: 1,652
    I was just looking at Chain oils as well, getting ready for wet rides as my 6 year old bottle of Halfords Wet Syn is now empty

    Looking at the Muc-Off Ceramic wet, which at £7.99 a bottle of 120mm seems a reasonable price, but not sure of the benefits of "Ceramic" Vs "Syn"

    I've used the Muc-Off Ceramic Wet stuff before and it ends up turning into a sludgy, clumpy residue, which is a complete censored to take off. I threw it away after just using it a couple of times.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 2,965
    I was just looking at Chain oils as well, getting ready for wet rides as my 6 year old bottle of Halfords Wet Syn is now empty

    Looking at the Muc-Off Ceramic wet, which at £7.99 a bottle of 120mm seems a reasonable price, but not sure of the benefits of "Ceramic" Vs "Syn"

    I've used the Muc-Off Ceramic Wet stuff before and it ends up turning into a sludgy, clumpy residue, which is a complete censored to take off. I threw it away after just using it a couple of times.

    Thanks for that feedback. Might stay with blu syn then!
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    If you're in to your maintenance and end up doing it for others, get yourself a cheap parts washer. Ideal for cleaning cassettes, chains, derailleurs and rings thoroughly without getting the cleaning agent everywhere.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,359
    I tend to use Pedros Ice Wax. I find that "wet" teflon lubes attract too much dirt, and leave a waxy deposit on the cassette and chain unless you're absolutely scrupulous about cleaning; Green Oil is even worse for this. Once a month I drop the chain (quick-link) and cassette and give them a good scrub in warm water and laundry detergent. I use an old washing-up brush to get the cassette spider clean, and run the chain through a sponge. You also need to watch the jockey wheels if using a wet lube, as they'll acquire the waxy deposit also.
  • kirkeekirkee Posts: 369
    Considering the high cost of the chain lubes (and pitiful amounts) that the 'specialist' companies offer Id recommend giving chainsaw oil a try. Get it from any DIY type outlet at toolstation its £3.90 for 1 litre. A 1 litre bottle will last for ages/years? I very rarely remove the chain to clean it. Put bike in repair stand and turn the chain through the chainsaw oiled rag. Clean chain as many times as req, wipe excess oil off and the chain will be good to go. In winter/wet I leave a bit more oil on the chain- its very good gear.
    Caveat - I buy and ride cheap, however, I reserve the right to advise on expensive kit that I have never actually used and possibly never will
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,359
    Considering the high cost of the chain lubes (and pitiful amounts) that the 'specialist' companies offer Id recommend giving chainsaw oil a try. Get it from any DIY type outlet at toolstation its £3.90 for 1 litre. A 1 litre bottle will last for ages/years? I very rarely remove the chain to clean it. Put bike in repair stand and turn the chain through the chainsaw oiled rag. Clean chain as many times as req, wipe excess oil off and the chain will be good to go. In winter/wet I leave a bit more oil on the chain- its very good gear.
    Seriously? The chainsaw oil I have (for my chainsaw) is horrific sticky orange stuff. Having spent a fair amount of miserable time cleaning it off all the places my blasted chainsaw leaks on, I can't imagine applying it to my pristine drive train. It's about three times* the viscosity of 3-in-1, which is to say about 30 times* as viscous as PTFE lube. [*made up numbers].
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    Considering the high cost of the chain lubes (and pitiful amounts) that the 'specialist' companies offer Id recommend giving chainsaw oil a try. Get it from any DIY type outlet at toolstation its £3.90 for 1 litre. A 1 litre bottle will last for ages/years? I very rarely remove the chain to clean it. Put bike in repair stand and turn the chain through the chainsaw oiled rag. Clean chain as many times as req, wipe excess oil off and the chain will be good to go. In winter/wet I leave a bit more oil on the chain- its very good gear.

    Trouble with this approach is - irrespective of what oil you use you aren't cleaning the chain properly. The wear occurs between the pins and rollers and no amount of rag wiping is going to get the dirt out from there. It will clean the outside of the rollers which will make the chain feel much nicer and smoother but it is still dying from within!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
    I talked to my local LBS about cleaning the chain - they charge £28 for that (yes, just to clean the chain). I dug a bit further and they said they use a machine for cleaning the chain. The owner pointed in the direction of the machine. It was a Park Tools £14.99 chain cleaning machine. I bought one myself.
  • lesfirthlesfirth Posts: 1,075
    Considering the high cost of the chain lubes (and pitiful amounts) that the 'specialist' companies offer Id recommend giving chainsaw oil a try. Get it from any DIY type outlet at toolstation its £3.90 for 1 litre. A 1 litre bottle will last for ages/years? I very rarely remove the chain to clean it. Put bike in repair stand and turn the chain through the chainsaw oiled rag. Clean chain as many times as req, wipe excess oil off and the chain will be good to go. In winter/wet I leave a bit more oil on the chain- its very good gear.
    Seriously? The chainsaw oil I have (for my chainsaw) is horrific sticky orange stuff. Having spent a fair amount of miserable time cleaning it off all the places my blasted chainsaw leaks on, I can't imagine applying it to my pristine drive train. It's about three times* the viscosity of 3-in-1, which is to say about 30 times* as viscous as PTFE lube. [*made up numbers].

    I agree. Chainsaw oil acts like glue. Every bit of dust and grit sticks to your chain and your chain is soon running in grinding paste. If you want to lube your chain on the cheap use 3 in 1 oil. A drop on every link and wipe off the excess. Done in no time!
  • kirkeekirkee Posts: 369
    I thought the chainsaw oil use may prompt some feedback! My point is- try it for yourself, for less than 4 quid its worth a go even if you doubt it? The toolstation chainsaw oil isn't actually too thick/tacky, the factory oil that Campag and KMC chains come out of the packaging with is stickier. As a chain lube its very good. Oils like 3 in one are too thin to use as chain oil IMO.
    Caveat - I buy and ride cheap, however, I reserve the right to advise on expensive kit that I have never actually used and possibly never will
  • pinnopinno Posts: 39,170
    Considering the high cost of the chain lubes (and pitiful amounts) that the 'specialist' companies offer Id recommend giving chainsaw oil a try. Get it from any DIY type outlet at toolstation its £3.90 for 1 litre. A 1 litre bottle will last for ages/years? I very rarely remove the chain to clean it. Put bike in repair stand and turn the chain through the chainsaw oiled rag. Clean chain as many times as req, wipe excess oil off and the chain will be good to go. In winter/wet I leave a bit more oil on the chain- its very good gear.
    Seriously? The chainsaw oil I have (for my chainsaw) is horrific sticky orange stuff. Having spent a fair amount of miserable time cleaning it off all the places my blasted chainsaw leaks on, I can't imagine applying it to my pristine drive train. It's about three times* the viscosity of 3-in-1, which is to say about 30 times* as viscous as PTFE lube. [*made up numbers].

    This ^. I used Husqvarna chain saw oil for a while but it does take a lot of cleaning off.

    For a complete stripdown (quick link essential) of the transmission, I wash it in petrol and then rinse with hot water and detergent. I do find that Finish line is excellent. Thin enough to penetrate down to the pins but think enough to stay on the chain. It is also is so easy to clean off with muc-off in a chain cleaner bath. I will look into that Morgan stuff as muc-off is pricey.
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    W - (still at Atlantic boulevard). Neill broke his collarbone.

    "Why are the tractors beeping in the night? I dunno woss goin' on"
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