Chain Lifespan and Lube Questions
First off, I have tried about 12 different bike lubes and haven't really found one that works for me. I can hear my chain grinding after 5-10 miles with most of the ones I tried, albeit SoCal is usually a very dusty place to ride...
Currently using a home-made sonic tank to clean the chain after each ride. After a good rinse and air compressor drying, a full dunk into chainsaw oil, drip dry and wipe off the outside with a lightly WD-40 moistened rag. This is getting the best results yet. I can ride forever without the grinding (even on very dusty trails), and my chain is lasting longer than ever before. But it is a chore to say the least.
I have heard about the T9 lube, but haven't tried that one yet.
What works??? How many miles do you get out of your chains and what kind? How many miles before you hear grinding and have to re-apply?
Using a sonic tank (or any kind of harsh cleaner) was your first mistake. Chains these days come with lube in them from the factory and cleaning them too well removes the lube from all the nooks and crannys. I live in very dusty AZ and use Nashbar brand dry lube. Been using it for years and I get years out of my chains....they will stretch out before they get grindy and noisy. Every three rides I wipe the chain with a clean rag and re-lube. Every other month or so I wash the chain with soap and water to get the gunk off. WD-40 or chainsaw oil is not recommended as it will attract dirt. Don't blow it off with air either, it blows out the factory lube. Hope this helps.
I get 400 to 500 miles out of my 9 speed chains. I'm a Clyde, though. Nothing seems to make chains last for me. Chain bar oil helps, as does running an 8 speed cassette and chain, the chain is wider and handles more load better at my weight... 245 pounds wet, ready to ride with camelbak.
I run Mobil 1 TDT 5w 40 for chain lube. Put it on, ride around the driveway a bit, and wipe the excess off. Clean the ring gears and cassette too and jockey rollers. Seems to help the chain last mayby 40 to 50% longer, but being in steep country, riding up hill, and being heavy, I flat out just wear out and kill chains quickly. KMZ brand seems to be a lot better than the SRAM chains I've bought, in terms of lasting longer. I run Steel ring gears for granny and middle rings too, I eat the aluminum ones with my weight way too quickly, they wear poorly.
Originally Posted by motochick
I've used some highly recommended wet and dry lubes over the last 30 years of trail riding. Lately for the last 3 years, Squirt dry lube seems to run quiet and shift well the longest I've tried, and chain life, before too "stretched", riding all conditions from dry dusty to wet and muddy.
After 5 or so rides my new chains are broken in and with Squirt they ride quietly except when cross chained and the ring makes noise, for 20+ miles of the worst dry grainy desert dust type rides or wet rides, and closer to 40+ miles when dry dust isn't very grainy near home in NorCal foothills.
Wet lubes all quickly attract dirt, but do work well and are probably best where there is no dust and no mud, such as pavement.
I've tried Clean ride, Squirt, Rock & Roll, and a few others of the type. They all last a handful of miles. Squirt by far lasted the longest (about 15 miles). Maybe I will give it another try.
I've tried leaving the factory lube in, and I've tried cleaning it out and applied the dry lubes, they just don't last thru a normal 18-25 mile ride either way. At 220lbs, I didn't think weight would make that much a difference in performance/chain life. I have been using chainsaw oil for about six months now, and my chain life has doubled - Plus, a way smoother ride. Don't think I will ever convert to 10 speed as a result due to the fact that the chain is narrower.
It's a lot of work cleaning so I now have 6 new chains for my two bikes. I put a clean one on before each ride. Cleaning and oiling them all at the same time is faster and easier.
I also recently heard that chainsaw oil is very close to what they use when they manufacture the chains, Anyone use that T9 yet?
Last edited by guitarjohn21; 11-22-2012 at 12:03 PM.