How often do you lube your chain?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How often do you lube your chain?

    I'm talking about regular non-muddy or wet rides. Just the normal trail rides that are a little dusty and don't even require that I wash my bike.

    I've got the cleaning down to a science; chain cleaner with simple green, then rinse off and blow dry completley with a compressor.

    But how often do you guys lube your chain without cleaning it? If I lube it without cleaning it it seems to just get grimier and cake more stuff on the jockey wheels and chain rings. And cleaning/relubing it after every ride is a pain.

    I usually go about 4-5 rides before I clean and lube it. Good, bad or ugly?
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  2. #2
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    I lube every ride whether I've cleaned the bike and/or drive train or not. Eventually either the drivetrain gets so grimy I can't stand it---or the tires and frame does--then I clean it all up.

  3. #3
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    It all depends on the lube you use

    Use a dry or wax type lube, and you should probably be lubing it every single ride. Wax-type also require MUCH less cleaning, but on longer rides or lots of stream crossings I've had my chain go dry (I use either white lightening, Pedros Ice wax or finish line--whatever's around).

    If you you a wet thicker viscosity lube, you can go much longer without lubing, but they get MUCH dirtier.
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  4. #4
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    Yep, like it was mentioned above, it all depends on what kind of lube you use. Dry lubes require application before every ride, and actually works better if you don't wipe off the excess. The mechanic at my LBS said it's pretty hard--downright impossible to over apply dry lube. Wet lubes last longer, but attract more dirt and grime.

    I use Tri-Flow Dry lube because all the wet lubes just seem to attract too much crud--even if I wipe off the excess. That being said, I am pretty anal when it comes to cleaning the drivetrain on my bike. As I have read and been told, the key to making your drivetrain last is to take good care of it. When you think about how much it costs to replace your components, I think it is worth the extra effort. It also performs better when it is clean.

    To be on the safe side, I would lube before every ride, even if it's just a little bit. Just my .02
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSDuke
    To be on the safe side, I would lube before every ride, even if it's just a little bit. Just my .02
    I do the same and also use Tri-Flow...same exact reasons

  6. #6

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    Every single ride I clean the chain to varying degrees.

    Every ride I carry an old sock and small bottle of oil in my small saddle bag. I have a saddle bag on my xc bike and freeride. The bags contain glueless patches, tiny piece of sandpaper and chalk, 3 tyre levers, and allen keys. After a few miles, if the chain looks black, I'll stop, wipe the chain with sock, apply new oil, and carry on my way.

    After a long and/or muddy/dusty ride, I jet wash the chain completely clean. I then spray with WD40 and liberally apply Finish Line synthetic (over-priced perhaps but it's my favourite cos you don't have to worry about it swelling rubber seals). Wipe off excess and reapeat...............

    I have got 800 miles this way at 200lbs out of my last chain and I'll was still able to re-use the cassette (chain rings were wasted though!). In other words the chain checker showed the chain was ok (about 1/16in stretch) and so I was throwing away as preventative maintenance.

    With the usual negligence that most riders show to their chains I would always totally wreck a chain, rings and cassette in less than 800 miles.

    As an aside, I really wish someone would make decent steel chainrings. Aluminium chain rings make very little sense in this day and age of not worrying about the weight.

    I waffled on a bit there.
    Last edited by mushypeas; 08-15-2005 at 03:25 AM.

  7. #7
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    Just get the deore rings if you are riding LX o/r old style XT shimano, they are steel in granny and middle ring and last long. As for dry lubes been using WL epic and itlasts about 16 miles and I just wipe it down and re-apply every 16. I only clean my chain when I run wet grease type lubes in the rainy winter time here in CA. Have fun!

  8. #8
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    Personally I try and lube every ride. I lube after the ride because I use homebrew and want the thinner to evaporate before the next ride. If you use dry lube and lube every ride anyway why not use wet lube? It lasts longer and IMHO lubes better. You don't get a buildup of gunk because you're essentially cleaning your chain after every ride.

  9. #9
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    Wet (oil/grease based) do lube better but also get dirty and form a grinding compound over time. I ride very dusty trails so dry lubs stay clean longer and spawl off better. Depends on your local conditions which lubes work best, have fun!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    Personally I try and lube every ride. I lube after the ride because I use homebrew and want the thinner to evaporate before the next ride. If you use dry lube and lube every ride anyway why not use wet lube? It lasts longer and IMHO lubes better. You don't get a buildup of gunk because you're essentially cleaning your chain after every ride.
    I don't use wet lubes because when I do, my chain is black and gritty 15 minutes into the ride. I can only imagine what that kind of gunk is doing to my drivetrain. When I use dry lube, the chain only gets a light shade of brown and performs flawlessly.
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  11. #11

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    I just can't help but think that those dry lubes aren't really doing a great deal of lubrication.

    Besides, Finish Line ain't too bad for attracting crap. I apply quite a bit of oil just to make sure that it has got well into the rollers.

    I used to use bog stanbdard oils, then I made the mistake of spraying some regular oil inside an XT shifter (ok so grease is better in there). The rubber seal around the shifter lever swelled and fell out immediately and it took a lot of blotting and fiddling to get it back in position. So now I use synthetic Finish Line for all jobs.

    I've often wondered whether grease would be a better bet on a chain. It's less likely to displace and fly off....

    High end motorbikes often have chains with o rings seals on every roller that seal in the oil/grease.

  12. #12
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    Use white lightning wax and only apply it when my chain starts squeeking. Contrary to what alot of people in this thread are saying you can over apply dry/wax lubes. I've seen it and it wasn't a pretty sight. Everything gets all gummed up and it takes a long while to clean.

  13. #13
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    I use a really hi-end lube called "Bar & Chain Lube"...Comes from Wal-Mart and costs about $3 a gallon. I just pour it in my old White Lightining bottle and dribble a bit on before every ride. Wipe off the excess with your shirt sleeve or some old underwear and you are good to go...Works good, love you long time.

  14. #14

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    $3 a gallon! How about $1 for 5 gallons....

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipV
    I use a really hi-end lube called "Bar & Chain Lube"...Comes from Wal-Mart and costs about $3 a gallon. I just pour it in my old White Lightining bottle and dribble a bit on before every ride. Wipe off the excess with your shirt sleeve or some old underwear and you are good to go...Works good, love you long time.
    $3 a gallon sounds reasonable, but using it on every ride......sheesh, that gallon must only last you for a few years.....and then you got to buy a whole nuther gallon.
    Any discount if you by a 4-pak ?

    A cheaper method is to buy the old oil they drain out of cars at the local "quick-lube"
    I pick it up for $1 for a 5 gallon container. Now 5 gallons lasts quite while.
    I run a drip line from my seat post mounted 1 qt container to the rear chain/cassette area and as such my chain is lubed constantly.....drip drip drip. Also allows my fellow riders to track my trail if they fall too far behind and an added bonus is that it helps to keep the dust down on my regular summer loops..

  15. #15
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    That's why you lube after every ride. The oil/thinner mix of homebrew cleans and lubes the chain. Sure, the chain looks dirtier than wax based lubes after a ride but it's the performance, not the looks, that count and I believe wet lubes perform better, in wet or dry conditions. I used to submerge my chains in liquid parrafin wax long before there were "dry" lubes and I've tried several of the dry commercial lubes. I kept going back to what works best, homebrew (or the commercial products similar to homebrew if you want to spend the money). Now I don't bother to use anything else.

  16. #16
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    Dang, that is ingenious. I generally pour my used motor oil around the foundation of the house...keeps the bugs down.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipV
    Dang, that is ingenious. I generally pour my used motor oil around the foundation of the house...keeps the bugs down.
    Hmmmm....I usually bottle it up in some old homebrew beer bottles and leave it out in the crackhead/alcoholic areas .... for free, of course

  18. #18

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    i just spit on my wang, never fails slides right in..........

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMJ23
    i just spit on my wang, never fails slides right in..........
    Spit only works on a really small wang. I get cotton mouth way before the whole thing is lubed.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHLEG
    I usually go about 4-5 rides before I clean and lube it. Good, bad or ugly?
    I know I'm a little "out there," but I simply lube my chain when it's dry. Call me crazy. And other than after a cleaning, there's no way to tell when a chain needs to be relubed, you simply have to feel the dang thing to know if it's necessary yet; and, as others have noted, that will also depend on the type of lube you use. But in a nutshell, over-lubing is wasteful and leads to really gunky, dirty chains and reduces chain life.

    I've had most excellent results with Rock and Roll chain lube. Read about it here. Using their Extreme formulation, I reapply lube about every 8-10 rides.


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chester View Post
    $3 a gallon sounds reasonable, but using it on every ride......sheesh, that gallon must only last you for a few years.....and then you got to buy a whole nuther gallon.
    Any discount if you by a 4-pak ?

    A cheaper method is to buy the old oil they drain out of cars at the local "quick-lube"
    I pick it up for $1 for a 5 gallon container. Now 5 gallons lasts quite while.
    I run a drip line from my seat post mounted 1 qt container to the rear chain/cassette area and as such my chain is lubed constantly.....drip drip drip. Also allows my fellow riders to track my trail if they fall too far behind and an added bonus is that it helps to keep the dust down on my regular summer loops..
    You guys must be extremely rich, and illogical. The best lube out there is the grease from Waffle House's grill. Every day they scrape all the deliciously smelling grease into a 5 gallon tub. After every month they call me and I come over and they pay me $20 to take the four 5 gallon tubs they've filled up.

    The 20 gallons surprisingly only last a month. Just the right time to go back for more! I use it to lube everything on my bike: the chain, the BB, the cranks, the pedals, the stanchions, both derailleurs, the cogs, the seatpost/seat tube, in my headtube, on my brakes, in all the random cable housings, and especially in my tubes! I opened my pump and poured the oil down, closed the pump, and I keep the psi at around 1 or 2, because the oil doesn't compress much!

    I highly recommend Waffle House brand grease. I tried McDonald's for a while, but once I found some chicken nuggets in there. They still looked like they just came out of the frier. So go to your local WH and order up some grease now

  22. #22
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    Way to revive a 9 yr old thread!

  23. #23
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    I get mine from Adam & Eve. It is about $15 for an 8-oz bottle. It is water-based. We like the unscented version. It doesn't work worth a dam on chains but my wife likes it. We also wipe it off with underwear.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mushypeas View Post
    I've often wondered whether grease would be a better bet on a chain. It's less likely to displace and fly off....

    High end motorbikes often have chains with o rings seals on every roller that seal in the oil/grease.
    Second statement really answered first question. The objective in lubing a chain is to get the lubricant into the rollers and between the plates. Not to coat the outer rollers just to attract grit and grim.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I get mine from Adam & Eve. It is about $15 for an 8-oz bottle. It is water-based. We like the unscented version. It doesn't work worth a dam on chains but my wife likes it. We also wipe it off with underwear.

    More tequila, my dear?
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  26. #26
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    Double duty Organic Coconut oil outlasts AstroGlide two to one.
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