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Chain Lube Suggestions?

Old 04-30-20, 04:01 PM
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ember1205
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Chain Lube Suggestions?

Predominantly will be riding in nice weather along bike paths and reclaimed rail beds ("rail trails"). Have always preferred something that prevented collecting dust and such, but I'm wondering what the current preferences are in the world of chain lube, especially dry.

What one do you use (or recommend for me), and -why-? In other words, why would you recommend the one you do versus a competing product that's similar?
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Old 04-30-20, 04:07 PM
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If you don’t want a dirty chain and you will be in mostly dry conditions, a wax based lube works well. You will get many, many opinions, and many suggesting a crockpot and blocks of wax. Go get a bottle of Squirt and don’t look back.
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Old 04-30-20, 04:25 PM
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Rock 'n' Roll Absolute Dry. I've been using it for a few months on one bike. Closest thing I've found to hot wax dipping. It appears to be just PTFE powder suspended in red-tinted naphtha, but it works. Very slick. Doesn't attract much road grit -- when I wipe the chain with my bare fingers it feels slick and waxy, but little or no grit compared with other wet lubes.

Only drawback is it doesn't seem to last longer per application, so I reapply every 2-3 rides (usually 20-50 miles per ride).

I might try Rock 'n' Roll Gold next. Reportedly similar, lasts longer per application. Both the Gold and Absolute Dry rank among the lowest friction lubes in tests.

Cleanest, by far, is melted wax/paraffin. Lots of previous threads on this, pro and con, plain wax or with additives such as PTFE, moly, etc. I mostly switched to paraffin 2-3 years ago to reduce chain tattoos since my bikes are in the apartment with three cats who rub against everything. At worst a waxed chain will leave a smudge like graphite from pencil sharpener shavings -- it rubs right off with a dry napkin. Lasts 100-500 miles per waxing, depending on who you ask. Prep to strip a new chain for waxing is a PITA, but after that's done the rest is easy -- just use a small crock pot like a Little Dipper. Anyway, waxing has been done to death so check the many previous threads.

TBH, tho', I can't feel or measure much difference in rides using waxed chains, R'n'R Absolute Dry, White Lightning wax in solvent, Boeshield T-9, etc., compared with my one bike that still runs wet lube -- Park CL-1. The hybrid/errand bike with Park CL-1 usually needs attention only once or twice a year. It runs quietly and smoothly. Rain doesn't easily wash out the lube and, if anything, a good drenching seems to clean the chain a bit. I doubt my old legs generate enough power to tell the difference between any magical chain potion. If my bikes could live in a garage I'd probably stick with something simple like Park CL-1, Chain-L, or the mythical NFS.
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Old 04-30-20, 04:48 PM
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I personally use Finish Line Ceramic Wax Lube and it works well for me and I kind of stopped my lube pursuit there after trying a few things. Though many of the wax lubes out there will work great.

I would love to actually try waxing a chain just to try it but haven't had the energy to do it.
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Old 04-30-20, 05:18 PM
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Chain-L works great for me, but it's a little more of a nuisance to apply than other lubes. If you don't wipe it off after it soaks in, it'll be sticky and would not mesh well with dust.
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Old 04-30-20, 06:16 PM
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I use Clean Ride wax based on my mountain bikes and road bikes. It keeps things clean but doesn’t last long. I decided to go with an oil line on my road bikes. Cleaning a chain is easy compared to cleaning chainrings and cassettes. I’m back to a wax lube, but may look for one that lasts longer.

John
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Old 04-30-20, 07:10 PM
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I switched over to Squirt a few years ago and haven't found any reason to try anything else. It does need to be applied fairly frequently but it runs very clean so you don't have to wash off the old that often.
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Old 04-30-20, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ember1205 View Post
Predominantly will be riding in nice weather along bike paths and reclaimed rail beds ("rail trails"). Have always preferred something that prevented collecting dust and such, but I'm wondering what the current preferences are in the world of chain lube, especially dry.

What one do you use (or recommend for me), and -why-? In other words, why would you recommend the one you do versus a competing product that's similar?
General rule is dry lubes don't attract as much dirt, but wash off quickly in rain. Wet lubes attract dirt, but survive rain better. Some people that use dry lube carry a tiny bottle of wet lube in case they get caught in rain.
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Old 04-30-20, 07:52 PM
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2 of my friends like rock n roll gold. It seems to have a dual action clean and lube. Youíll use quite a bit so it can get slightly pricy. But it runs clean.

I use MoltenSpeedWax and occasionally squirt. My chain seems to get loud and rattly after just 50-60 miles. A tiny bit squeaky after 120-150miles. I have 2 friends who have the same experience as I do. Maybe I just never degreased it totally. But I used soap water, 2xdegreaser, 2x mineral spirits and 2x rubbing alcohol 🤷‍♂️. Donít mean to turn this into yet another waxing debate but it really isnít as magical as I thought it would be. Not nearly as fast as the chain feels during a proper downpour 😂. The rust after is no good either.

Iíd recommend something that isnít wax based, as those work best on chains that have been stripped bare, at which point you may as well go hot wax.

I also never liked finish line dry. Gets oddly grimy.

Wend wax also seems to be a lowkey scam that just suppresses sound and vibration but doesnít actually lubricate the chain. So low perceived friction but high actual friction. Some people swear by it though 🤷‍♂️

Last edited by smashndash; 04-30-20 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 04-30-20, 08:59 PM
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I use finish line dry lube works great
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Old 05-01-20, 06:23 AM
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WD-40 Bike Dry, works reasonably well, But like I have found with most dry lubes you need to apply it more often.
And it has a pleasant odor.
Any lube is better than no lube.
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Old 05-01-20, 08:34 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations, especially the few that specifically called out Squirt. I had read about it, but the fact that seems to be a common one to be mentioned makes me think it's a good place to start. I was considering something in a Ceramic (like one of the Muc-Off dry ones) style "just because", but I'll start with the Squirt instead.

I know I have a bottle of "something" from about 20 years ago that I've used over the years, but I haven't ridden in quite a while and honestly don't remember where it is. If I find it, maybe THAT is what I'll start back out with.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:12 AM
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Chainsaw bar oil mix with unscented mineral spirits. Wipe the chain down after a few rides. After 800 miles remove the chain clean it, dry it and install and lube it. repeat.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I switched over to Squirt a few years ago and haven't found any reason to try anything else. It do -es need to be applied fairly frequently but it runs very clean so you don't have to wash off the old that often.
Squirt appears to be similar to the old Pedro's Ice Wax.. wax and water-based formulas both. So a watchout on this type of formula is recommended dry time of overnight for water to evaporate

Trying out Pedros newer Slick Wax -- seems good so far. Wax is in alcohol-based (fast drying) formula, so can apply not too much before heading out on a ride. Comes in a 32oz bottle option too, if you're really a heavy user and want more price efficiency.
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Old 05-01-20, 10:30 AM
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Old 05-01-20, 02:45 PM
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I use a homemade wax lube that does not attract dirt. 4 parts paraffin to 1 part heavy gear lube. Melt together and mix with 3-6 parts naphtha/white gas/camp stove fuel. If all ingredients are put in a container, the paraffin will dissolve, but it takes quite awhile.
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Old 05-01-20, 05:04 PM
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Molten Speed Wax for the win!
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Old 05-01-20, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
WD-40 Bike Dry, works reasonably well, But like I have found with most dry lubes you need to apply it more often.
And it has a pleasant odor.
Any lube is better than no lube.
I use WD40 Bike Wet chain lube. Seems to do a fine job too. I'll wipe the chain down every 200 - 300 km and relube. I bought it because thats all Canadian Tire had. If I were in the bike shop I'd buy what they recommend. I'm pretty sure for 90% of us it makes little difference. Any reputable brand should be good if you get the right lube (wet or dry) from them.

The important point is to do it I think keeping the chain reasonably clean and lubed not only makes peddling easier and smoother, But extends the life of the chain, chainring, cassette or rear sprocket.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 05-02-20 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 05-01-20, 06:53 PM
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I have used ATF automatic transmission fluid. I put some on a rag a run the chain through it. I apply it as light as possible. Been using it for 30 years. I don’t ride in loose dirt or mud. It does not dry out but can be cleaned off if needed.
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Old 05-01-20, 10:20 PM
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T9 Boeshield. It's a great dry lubricant and is found in most hardware stores, so no need to find a specialized LBS
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Old 05-02-20, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
You don't need popcorn you need a wide s... shovel.
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Old 05-02-20, 11:42 AM
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I have tried many different chain lubes over the years, wet, dry, silicon based, graphite based and so forth. Ditto on MarcusT comment...

I recently swapped over to Bioshield T-9, a paraffin wax based lube, one drop per link, goes on wet, dries in two hours, then a quick wipe off of any excess. Hands down the best. Chain, cassette and chainrings stay clean looking and no DIRT....
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Old 05-02-20, 12:04 PM
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I went on a dirty ride yesterday and decided to hose off the bike. After hosing off I wiped the chain down with a towel. There was no chain mark. I use Squirt as I said above, and it really does stay clean, the dirt just falls off with the wax. I then ran my hand over the chain, and even my hand stayed clean. What was dirty were the chainrings but not even the cassette.
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Old 05-02-20, 06:28 PM
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I have used T-9 for a long time and have had great success. I do re-lube quite regularly, which means a bottle doesn't last that long. But it cleans the chain nicely.

A friend suggested Squirt so I tried it but didn't have much success. Chain seemed gunky. Stopped using it and went back to T-9.

Full disclosure: Just bought some Rock 'n Roll Gold, as that has a better ranking in the chain lube analysis by Friction Facts. Supposedly it too cleans the chain while lubing it...
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Old 05-03-20, 10:01 AM
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You can have a clean chain, or one that lasts several thousand miles. You cant have both. A chain is a machine and needs oil.
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