1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
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Thread: Lube Frequency

  1. #1
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    Lube Frequency

    Hi Guys,

    I have just for the first time got around to getting onto my bike and have some questions ( 2nd year newbie ).

    How many times should I apply a chain lube? I know this can vary for terrain. But at the moment im just doing some paved trails so when I get home I just run my chain until I dont see any more black crud. I think last year when I stuck to pavement I did a few hour riding sessions with just wiping the chain down when getting home and after the fourth applied some new lube. Does this sound right? Im using a lube that was recommended by the local bike shop guys here.

    I guess when I hit the dirt though that is going to me daily lubing of the chain right?

    Thanks for any tips

    Jeremy

  2. #2
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    For your intended riding, I'd strongly consider going with a wax lube, such as White Lightning, etc. They are pretty much self cleaning - no more black crude, you can handle your chain pretty much mess-free. Easy to apply, work great in all but very wet or nasty conditions. Lube it when it seems like it needs it; I probably give mine a dose every 40-50 trail miles or so, at least double that for road riding, taking conditions into account of course.

  3. #3
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    Cleanliness is important. No lubrication will protect against wear from particles of sand and dirt. I lube mine anytime the chain looks dirty or gets wet. I squirt on a lot of lube to clean the chain. If I have ridden 30-40 (3 rides) miles and it still looks clean, I will relube anyway.

    I use DuPont Chainsaver dry lube from WalMart.
    DuPont Teflon Chain Saver, 11 oz: Automotive : Walmart.com
    It is cheap enough (about $7) that I don't have to skimp. It is also a dry lube as recommended by the previous poster, so it doesn't attract dirt like an oil-based lube does. My chain has 1200 miles of almost exclusively off-road use, and I am at .5% wear.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Guys

    My bike shop guys use this stuff

    PL-100 - Products - Prolab Technolub

    So that's what I have been using.

  5. #5
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    depends on conditions and location. i usually lube the chain after every couple rides if it gets wet, sometimes after 1 ride if it's a long one. i've used heavy oil lube before but you need to be careful with that stuff, too much and you'll end up with alot of gunk accumulating. now i use rock n' roll (extreme) and make sure to thoroughly wipe the chain after applying and running the chain a bit to work it in; my conditions can be dry or wet. for really wet conditions a thicker oil becomes necessary. for dry conditions as said a wax lube might be ok.

  6. #6
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    Here in the desert southwest we like wax lubes. Squirt seems to be a local fav. Its water based (no nasty solvents) and seems to not attract dirt. It is also very easy to clean a chain that has been using this product.
    Monte
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Here in the desert southwest we like wax lubes.
    We? People can be pretty opinionated about lubes, myself included. I am very familiar with both types and my experience is that wax lubes do not perform as well as petroleum based ones. IMO.

    Southwest desert rider.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    We? People can be pretty opinionated about lubes, myself included. I am very familiar with both types and my experience is that wax lubes do not perform as well as petroleum based ones. IMO.

    Southwest desert rider.
    Sorry if I hurt your butt. I live in the shadow of Gooseberry Mesa here in the southwest corner of Utah...so I guess this isn't truly the desert southwest either.

    Seems most of us (hence my use of the term "we"....but not you...) prefer a non solvent or petroleum lube. Once the wax dries, it doesn't attract dust. Its also easy to clean a chain when wax is used...soap and water gets it done nicely. We don't have much sand and typically don't ride wet trails either so our lube needs are pretty basic.

    I clean my chain regularly (maybe every 100 miles) because its easy to do and I replace chains when they are at about the 60% worn condition. My chainrings and cassettes seem to never need replacing.
    Monte
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  9. #9
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    On my road bike, I usually clean the chain every 2-3 rides... Even if its a 20-30 miler. Especially when I get bored and want to do some form of maintenance. Anyways, mountain biking, you get more dirt in there. I'd still stick to 2-3 rides, but make sure to use a degreaser, and to scrub the dirt out. Of course, lube it more often if it gets super dirty.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Kirkou View Post
    On my road bike, I usually clean the chain every 2-3 rides... Even if its a 20-30 miler. Especially when I get bored and want to do some form of maintenance. Anyways, mountain biking, you get more dirt in there. I'd still stick to 2-3 rides, but make sure to use a degreaser, and to scrub the dirt out. Of course, lube it more often if it gets super dirty.
    Nice thing about a wax based lube with a water emulsifier is there is not need for a degreaser as nothing requiring it has contacted the drivetrain. Soap and water or a bit of simple green/water and a park tool chain cleaner and it comes out sparkling.
    Monte
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  11. #11
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    Im experimenting with paraffin wax these days. I ride mostly dry midwest trails and road. I bought a small crockpot from goodwill and melted a few blocks of paraffin down and drop the chain in for a soak. Let the chain hang and dry. I have over 200 miles on my road bike no problem and probably 50 miles on my MTB. Have not noticed any issue so far. I am a dry weather rider though so YMMV if you ride in wetter conditions. I will repeat this proccess every few months.

  12. #12
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    Frequency of lube and not type of lube is the question, right?

    Every ride is too often - waiting until it squeaks is not often enough.

    The only thing for certain is you should lube it right after you wash or clean it.

    The type of lube, conditions you ride in and how far you ride will dictate when it will start squeaking.

    If you're looking for a more specific approach, I can give you advice based on my practice: wash it with a chain scrubber (citrus degreaser, then rinse with bike wash and then water) every 500 miles and lube it every 100.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Sorry if I hurt your butt.

    No thanks bro- hetro and married, anyway I only meant to imply that most people don't appreciate someone else speaking for them, which is exactly what you did when you say "we" in reference everyone in the southwest. If I said "We here in Utah really like bunging sheep!" then you might feel implied to make a correction, or not.

    As I said, I've used both a lot and much prefer petroleum based. I'm about as OCD as they get concerning chain cleanliness by the way, and find that maintenance is easy and quick using plain old tri-flo. We get very fine baby powder dust here and a quick wipe down after a ride is all it takes.

    As for the OP, I believe it's best to lubricate your drivetrain as infrequently as you can get by with, which can obviously vary a lot depending an a number of conditions. I apply mine liberally on a clean chain and let it sit for a few minutes, then get all of it I can off with a clean rag. Ideally you wouldn't have any lube on the outside of the chain when done. I can feel it when peddling when it starts to dry out and that's when I know it's time for more.

  14. #14
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    Its simple, treat it like sex. Keep it clean ,lube when dry.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    ... and I replace chains when they are at about the 60% worn condition. My chainrings and cassettes seem to never need replacing.
    Cool on the chainring and cassette life.

    How do you determine what 60% wear is, or do you mean 0.6% wear? What measuring tool do you use?

    My chain is at 0.5% wear now, at about 1300 miles, lots of riding races in the rain this year and mud with what is probably not the best lube for mud. I have been replacing at 0.7%, but I have another chain on order and may just go ahead and replace it. I have good chainrings and cassette and do not want to have to replace them.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    Cool on the chainring and cassette life.

    How do you determine what 60% wear is, or do you mean 0.6% wear? What measuring tool do you use?

    My chain is at 0.5% wear now, at about 1300 miles, lots of riding races in the rain this year and mud with what is probably not the best lube for mud. I have been replacing at 0.7%, but I have another chain on order and may just go ahead and replace it. I have good chainrings and cassette and do not want to have to replace them.
    The shop has this measurement device that slips down between the links. It has a 10%-100% scale on it. The further it inserts between the links the more worn the chain. I replace at about 60 but never let it go further than 70. I use the middle quality SRAM 9 speed as its a good value and I prefer their quick-link set up. Cassettes and chainrings are expensive and a new chain is under $30. Cheaper to replace chains than entire drivetrains.
    Monte
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    No thanks bro- hetro and married, anyway I only meant to imply that most people don't appreciate someone else speaking for them, which is exactly what you did when you say "we" in reference everyone in the southwest. If I said "We here in Utah really like bunging sheep!" then you might feel implied to make a correction, or not.

    .
    You do realize the irony in that you did the exact thing in your comment for which you are chastising me when you claim I only meant to imply that most people don't appreciate someone else speaking for them. Kind of like saying "we". I rarely feel compelled to make corrections of others. Id rather ride than win on the interwebs.
    Monte
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  18. #18
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    You're absolutely right. I apologize.



    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Id rather ride than win on the interwebs.

    So would I, been off the bike way too long (injury) and probably I'm getting touched with cabin fever.

  19. #19
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    Just to buck a trend - I never, ever scrub, degrease, or do anything else that could be considered actual cleaning when it comes to chains. Dump on wax based lube, quickly wipe off the excess, ride. I find it hard to believe that all the care in the world is going to gain make an actual appreciable difference in their lifespans.

    My advice to beginners - don't get too wrapped up in the maintenance 'requirements' you hear a lot of people throw around when it comes to mtbs. Much of it is overkill, some is right up there into OCD-land, particularly on this website. It's just a bike, and you're not racing for the World Cup. Pretty clean and usually lubed is fine. Really.

  20. #20
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    I hit my chain and my rear cassette with RemOil before any ride, every time. It is not a bike-centric lube... it's a firearm lube / cleaner. http://www.remington.com/products/ac...s/rem-oil.aspx

    Teflon-based lube, thin, cleans and penetrates, repels water, doesn't attract dirt / dust. I keep a spray can at home and a small squeeze bottle in my bag. Best thing I have used on a bicycle for a quick, general lube / cleaner.
    - The only thing that keeps me on a bike is happiness.

  21. #21
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    Slap head: I thought you used this

    The ShelBroCo Bicycle Chain Cleaning System
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  22. #22
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    Thanks again for all the tips and help guys, very much appreciated. I never thought of rem oil for a bike.

    Also guys, I know that chains come with the factory lube. I was just wondering how long does it take for the factory lube to work itself out of the chain? I know some guys like to remove this before they use a chain.

    Thanks again

  23. #23
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    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  24. #24
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    I use White Lighting clean ride on my mtn bike and road bike. I lube it every few rides depending on how many miles and how quiet it runs. I like smooth running gear. I ride in Arizona for years have felt the wax lubes are good because they don't attract as must dirt. Around here sand and dirt getting in the system is what causes wear. I bought my road bike used and PO had some black lube on the chain. I hated it and in time cleaned it off and have gone with clean ride on that chain too. Keeps the cassette and chain so much cleaner and works.

    However chain lube can be a very personal preference thing. As for how often I lube at the first sign of noise or after 3-5 rides. More dust will mean another squirt of lube to keep things smooth. I never remove the chain for cleaning. I will just wipe down on occasion.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Slap head: I thought you used this

    The ShelBroCo Bicycle Chain Cleaning System
    Nice!

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