Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: froze on December 29, 2014, 07:59:57 pm

 
Title: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on December 29, 2014, 07:59:57 pm
I'm in the planning stages for a tour across the US, and in that process something came to my mind.  When a person is touring they simply can't carry a bottle of chain cleaner and a chain cleaning machine do they?  if not then how do they clean their chain?  or do they?

Is there a special lube that stays clean that I'm not aware of?  Wax lubes stay clean but a person would have to reply it every day, is that what touring people do?  My experience with drip on wax lubes is that my chains get about 2/3rds LESS mileage on them before they are worn out, so replacing a chain once or twice going across country would be ridiculas too.

On my road bikes I currently use ProGold Xtreme but when it runs out I'm going to try Rock and Roll Gold, but either lube requires that I clean the chain every 150 to 200 miles, a bit impractical while touring.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: John Nelson on December 29, 2014, 09:38:58 pm
Most wet lubes contain both oil and mineral spirits. The mineral spirits keep the chain clean enough. Just put it on and wipe off the excess. I just use paper napkins or paper towels I pick up along the way. No other cleaning required.

Even if your chain does get dirty on the outside, it won't hurt anything.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: Patco on December 30, 2014, 01:11:30 am
Similar to John Nelson, I, too, use paper towels that I pick up along the way but my first choice is the small shop rag that I carry with me. As for lube, I take a small bottle of Dumonde Tech (lite). I place a drop on each chain link then I wipe off with the shop rag, and I only do this when I begin hearing chain noise.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: DaveB on December 30, 2014, 08:52:50 am
On my road bikes I currently use ProGold Xtreme but when it runs out I'm going to try Rock and Roll Gold, but either lube requires that I clean the chain every 150 to 200 miles, a bit impractical while touring.
"Cleaning" doesn't have to mean removal, solvent soaking, etc., etc.  It can be as simple as a wipe down by running the chain, still on the bike, through a rag or paper towel followed by dripping on fresh lube.  It can be done in a minute every few days.  Don't over think or over complicate it.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on December 30, 2014, 09:29:45 am
Similar to John Nelson, I, too, use paper towels that I pick up along the way but my first choice is the small shop rag that I carry with me. As for lube, I take a small bottle of Dumonde Tech (lite). I place a drop on each chain link then I wipe off with the shop rag, and I only do this when I begin hearing chain noise.

How many miles will the Dumonde Tech last before you start hearing noise?  And do you think that for touring this has been the best lube you've found?
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 30, 2014, 09:51:44 am
My personal take on this is that most cleaning is bad for chains and shorten the chains life.  Cyclists tend to kill their chains with kindness.

That may sound a little crazy, but think about this.  Solvents and detergents kill the lube deep inside the links help dirt and grit penetrate deeper into the links.

My personal method is to do as John suggested.  There are some exceptions where I do a bit more.  In cases where the chain gets really loaded up with sand I sometimes resort to a quick rinse off with low pressure water or a good spray of WD 40 followed by relubing.  I have only resorted to that a few times.  When I have I bought a can and used as much as needed then gave away the rest.

Using that minimal care method I have been getting 10,000+ miles out of my chains before they get replaced (I replace them when 12 full links measure 12-1/16").
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on December 30, 2014, 10:27:09 am
I use wax; not drip on wax, which I tried and found wanting, but melted wax. Lasts about 500 miles. Not the trouble those who don't wax think it is; I carry a stove anyway. Advantages besides cleanliness is not having to clean chain before re-lubing and better drive train durability than other lubricants. Not want to get into a discussion of pros and cons of waxing; see archives if interested in that. Just saying what I use and how long it lasts.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 30, 2014, 10:56:31 am
I forgot to mention what lube I use.  I have been very happy with Boesheild T9, but there are lots of other good lubes out there.  ProLink is another that I have had good luck with.

Way back when, I used paraffin wax in the manner dkoloko suggested.  It worked pretty well but I found it to be more trouble to deal with even at home.  I have not used it on tour, but it would seem to be even more trouble there.  I agree that it works well though.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 30, 2014, 02:10:34 pm
Sheldon Brown's method is to wipe the chain off (dry paper towel or rag), apply lube to the inside of the chain, and wipe off excess from the outside.  Works as well as anything else for me.

Which lube is a religious decision/war.  I'll use a dry, wax lube in the desert or travel bike that doesn't see rain.  Usually lasts me a couple hundred miles.  Oil works well for other conditions, and usually lasts me a touring week or 300-500 miles.

I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.  I've generated pretty hefty oil/dirt cakes on derailer idler wheels with both of those.  Give me Finish Line (excess flakes off by itself) or Phil's (wipe excess off immediately, and it doesn't cake nearly as badly).
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 30, 2014, 02:15:32 pm
I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.
I apply liberally, spin the pedals for a minute or so and wipe off.  Way too much buildup if left on overnight each application.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: John Nelson on December 30, 2014, 02:57:00 pm
I have carried ProLink and Dumonde Tech.

One problem with very thin lubes like ProLink is that it's difficult to keep the bottle from leaking in your pannier, and even keeping it inside a Ziploc bag doesn't solve the problem (because it's thin enough to get through the Ziploc seal). Keep the little red plug that came with the bottle when it was new to help prevent this. ProLink is very good at keeping your chain clean. I try to wipe off the excess before the mineral spirits completely evaporate (but giving it a few minutes for the oil to penetrate) for maximum cleaning effect.

Dumonde Tech is a very thick lube (and expensive). It's almost like molasses. It doesn't clean the chain as well as ProLink, and it does attract dirt more easily (because it is sticky). But you need less and thus can take a smaller bottle. Furthermore, it does not leak as much as ProLink because it is thicker, and I believe it lasts longer. With Dumonde Tech, don't put a full drop on each link--that's too much. Hold the bottle tip in contact with the chain and you can put less than a drop on each link (i.e., you don't have to wait until a whole drop forms). I like to apply it in the evening in camp and wipe off the excess the next morning. That's less messy because most of the excess drips off on the ground, and it gives the thick oil more time to penetrate the links.

With either, I lube about every 500 miles, more often if it rains. In fact, I try to lube again after any rain.

I don't like to carry a rag to wipe my chain because, once dirty, it stinks and it's hard to keep the smell from permeating everything else in the pannier. That's why I prefer disposable paper. Napkins from Subway are my favorite, but Subway is pretty stingy with them (i.e., they don't put them out for you to help yourself), probably because they are high-quality napkins.

Lubing chains is a religion and everybody worships in a different church.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on December 30, 2014, 04:00:40 pm
My personal take on this is that most cleaning is bad for chains and shorten the chains life.  Cyclists tend to kill their chains with kindness.

That may sound a little crazy, but think about this.  Solvents and detergents kill the lube deep inside the links help dirt and grit penetrate deeper into the links.

My personal method is to do as John suggested.  There are some exceptions where I do a bit more.  In cases where the chain gets really loaded up with sand I sometimes resort to a quick rinse off with low pressure water or a good spray of WD 40 followed by relubing.  I have only resorted to that a few times.  When I have I bought a can and used as much as needed then gave away the rest.

Using that minimal care method I have been getting 10,000+ miles out of my chains before they get replaced (I replace them when 12 full links measure 12-1/16").

Since Bicycle chains do not have O-rings seals like Motorcycle chains have you will never have an issue with cleaning lube out of places you cannot get lube back into.  Chains pick up all sorts of grit including dirt from the road but also bits of metal of the gears being deposited onto the chain and if you don't clean the chain those tiny bits (look like powder) grinds at your chain like fine sand paper.  You can see this metallic powder if you use a Park Cyclone Chain Cleaner because it has a magnet at the bottom which attracts the metallic powder as the chain device is being used, if the magnet isn't there then the solvent just carries a lot of the particles back onto the chain.

I tried not cleaning my chains (this was on older wider 6 and 7 speed chains) and the chain life reduced significantly from an average of 13,000 miles per chain to just 5,000 miles.  I had the same experience with wax drip lubes compared to teflon dry lubes, with the wax stuff the chain life was significantly reduced.  Long time ago I use to do the melting wax thing but once TriFlow came out with their Teflon spray lube I tried it and found the chains to last about 5,000 miles longer than with the hot wax treatment and I gained a lot less time and mess to do a chain.   I'm not a big fan of wax either hot or drip based on my experiences over 40 years of doing this sort of thing.  I've never ever had melt on wax go anywhere near 500 miles, about half that was my experience and I did that for about 10 years.

The best lube I've used was Finish Line Teflon Dry until they changed the formula and added more wax then I notice the lube didn't last long at all like it use to, instead of making noise around the 150 mile area it started at around 70 which is typical of wax drip lubes, so I decided to try ProGold Xtreme and the chain noise went away and actually when I did clean the chain at the 150 mile mark the chain still wasn't making noise, so ProGold Xtreme sort of impressed me, problem is I'm not sure how it would handle a tour.

The Dumonde lube sounds interesting though for touring, I may try that instead of the Rock and Roll Gold I was thinking of trying this season on a bike I ride a lot and see how it fairs before putting it on my touring bike.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dminden1 on December 30, 2014, 09:41:06 pm
I'm a fan of Chain-L. 'Secret formula' is pretty thick, like molasses. I drip it on each link of a new chain, let sit a couple of hours, then wipe of all excess. I get 1000 plus miles with this. On a tour I carry a small bottle which Chain-L says to wipe on a bit with a rag. I've done this a couple of times when squeaky. Don't know how many miles I get - I tend to lose chains after a few thousand miles due to stretch.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 30, 2014, 09:44:19 pm
I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.
I apply liberally, spin the pedals for a minute or so and wipe off.  Way too much buildup if left on overnight each application.

You must have the magic second hand; if I wipe shortly after application, I seem to pull all the lube out, leaving me with a chain that squeals two days later.  :(
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dminden1 on December 30, 2014, 09:52:00 pm
Couple of hours to overnight seems to work. Never had a squeek for at least 1000 miles.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: Patco on December 31, 2014, 12:51:03 am
Responding to Froze's question - I do not know how many miles between lubes. It isn't something I track but similar to John Nelson, I do lube after I have been riding in the rain, but then the chain is generally making some noise. As for the Dumonde Tech, yes, it is the best I have tried. As indicated earlier in this thread, like much about riding, lube is in the eye of the beholder. And to be clear, I use Dumonde Tech, LITE (it is not a heavy lube). It is a small bottle; no issues with leaking; and it doesn't take much to be effective.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 31, 2014, 07:02:18 am
I strongly dislike stuff like Boeshield or chainsaw bar oil, because I have a hard time remembering to wipe it off the next morning.
I apply liberally, spin the pedals for a minute or so and wipe off.  Way too much buildup if left on overnight each application.

You must have the magic second hand; if I wipe shortly after application, I seem to pull all the lube out, leaving me with a chain that squeals two days later.  :(
I apply liberally, have not had a problem with squeaking, and get very good chain life.  Maybe I don't wipe it off as thoroughly as you?
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on December 31, 2014, 08:19:13 am
All chain lubes that I know of suggest leaving the lube on after applying it overnight to allow the carrier to evaporate before wiping the chain down.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 31, 2014, 09:01:35 am
All chain lubes that I know of suggest leaving the lube on after applying it overnight to allow the carrier to evaporate before wiping the chain down.
Most do recommend that.  I don't find that typically works as well for me.  I recall following the instructions on the White Lightning bottle for a few weeks  on the Trans America.  The build up was awful.  The spaces between the cogs were pretty much filled with waxy gunk and the bikes were not shifting properly.

I have found that applying liberally, spinning the pedals for a minute, and wiping off with a napkin leaves enough behind that the chain is lubed and stays shiny clean and rust free with no noticeable build up.  I have had great chain and drive train component life as well.  So bottom line, I much prefer the results when I ignore the directions.

Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on December 31, 2014, 12:24:06 pm
"Since Bicycle chains do not have O-rings seals like Motorcycle chains have you will never have an issue with cleaning lube out of places you cannot get lube back into."

FWIW, chain manufacturers say not to soak chains in cleaner, so that original lubricant is not removed from innermost areas.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on December 31, 2014, 12:31:21 pm
"Since Bicycle chains do not have O-rings seals like Motorcycle chains have you will never have an issue with cleaning lube out of places you cannot get lube back into."

FWIW, chain manufacturers say not to soak chains in cleaner, so that original lubricant is not removed from innermost areas.
Sheldon Brown had the following to say about that:
"Factory Lube
New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain.
This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact.

Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don't do this!

The factory lubricant all by itself is usually good for several hundred miles of service if the bike is not ridden in wet or dusty conditions. It is best not to apply any sort of lube to a new chain until it is clearly needed, because any wet lube you can apply will dilute the factory lube."


Excerpted from http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on December 31, 2014, 04:01:52 pm
"Since Bicycle chains do not have O-rings seals like Motorcycle chains have you will never have an issue with cleaning lube out of places you cannot get lube back into."

FWIW, chain manufacturers say not to soak chains in cleaner, so that original lubricant is not removed from innermost areas.
Sheldon Brown had the following to say about that:
"Factory Lube
New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain.
This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact.

Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don't do this!

The factory lubricant all by itself is usually good for several hundred miles of service if the bike is not ridden in wet or dusty conditions. It is best not to apply any sort of lube to a new chain until it is clearly needed, because any wet lube you can apply will dilute the factory lube."


Excerpted from http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

Actually, Sheldon is answering a different question: should the lubricant that is on the chain when new be removed? Is that lubricant just for protection until sold?

My response you replied to answers the question, if you clean your chain, is it wise to soak it?

Someone, listening to Sheldon, may run the chain with the original lubrication until dirty, then soak it before re-lubing.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on December 31, 2014, 04:36:02 pm
The Sheldon Brown article is an old article based on chains that use to use bushings, new chains are bushingless which improves the flow of lubricant to all parts of the chain, but even back in the day all of us pulled our chains off and soaked them and reoiled with no problems but the claim is that the oil couldn't get into the tight spaces of the bushings; today I no longer pull my chains off because I'm lazy so I just use a Park Cyclone chain cleaning machine.

Anywho, Sheldon revised that earlier comments with this: http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on December 31, 2014, 10:46:12 pm
The Sheldon Brown article is an old article based on chains that use to use bushings, new chains are bushingless which improves the flow of lubricant to all parts of the chain, but even back in the day all of us pulled our chains off and soaked them and reoiled with no problems but the claim is that the oil couldn't get into the tight spaces of the bushings; today I no longer pull my chains off because I'm lazy so I just use a Park Cyclone chain cleaning machine.

Anywho, Sheldon revised that earlier comments with this: http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

I'm not sure I understand this post. Sheldon said not to soak chains, and then said it's OK?

When did bushingless chains become the norm?  Bicycling Magazine advised not to soak chains at least as late as 2007.

I mentioned this caveat FWIW. I use wax; I do not use any cleaner. Just passed on the caution which I understand comes from chain manufacturers.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on January 01, 2015, 08:56:41 am
Here is a site with various manufactures recommendations on how to care for their chains: http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/archive/index.php/t-69736.html  Note to the use of the word oiling and not waxing a chain.

Each manufacture even have their differences.  And you continue to echo back to the old school method that has long been out of date since bushingless chains came about.  And since you like Sheldon Brown did you not read what he said about waxing a chain?  He doesn't recommend it because it's not a lubricant thereby shortening the life of your chain, and his experience, much more vast than mine, echos my experience.

I will continue to use a chain cleaning machine (Park) along with their Park Cleaning Solution is because I know from experience that a clean chain removes the road grit and metallic particles that will wear down your chain and gears, just putting on new lube of whatever type won't do that.  Like I said before I averaged about 13,000 miles on the old school wide 6 and 7 speed chains, my current modern thin 10 speed chain now has about 5,500 miles on it and still not worn out, most people I've talked to or read about on forums seemed to average about 2,000 to 3,000 miles on a 10 speed chain.  You wouldn't leave dirty oil in a car engine would you?  At least the car engine has a filter to take out the metallic particles from engine wear but the chain does not, so the only "filter" it has is you cleaning it.

So as far as cleaning goes I will continue to do that.  The only chain company who doesn't recommend cleaning their chains with a cleaning machine is KMC, not sure what that is all about, maybe the construction of their chain material won't hold up to it? if that's the case I would never buy a KMC chain.  And Wippermann takes their chain cleaning to the opposite extreme of KMC by suggesting to remove the chain and soaking it in solvent for 24 hours.  If you keep your chain clean by cleaning it frequently I don't see the need to soak a chain in solvent for 24 hours, my chains never get that dirty to warrant that.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on January 01, 2015, 12:36:23 pm
Here is a site with various manufactures recommendations on how to care for their chains: http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/archive/index.php/t-69736.html  Note to the use of the word oiling and not waxing a chain.

Each manufacture even have their differences.  And you continue to echo back to the old school method that has long been out of date since bushingless chains came about.  And since you like Sheldon Brown did you not read what he said about waxing a chain?  He doesn't recommend it because it's not a lubricant thereby shortening the life of your chain, and his experience, much more vast than mine, echos my experience.


I stated to begin with I did not want to get into pros and cons of waxing; that's been done; as I said, if interested in that, see archives. I made clear I was simply stating what I use and how long it lasts. You couldn't resist, however, and had to give a dig. Into what Berto called the most definitive test of chain lubricants waxing caused the least wear to drive train components. Sorry if that does not agree with your experience. I don't always agree with Sheldon; example, his embrace of biopace chainwheels.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: jrswenberger on January 01, 2015, 02:13:25 pm
As often happens, especially with topics like chain maintenance, threads veers from the original question (in the subject line) and often from the focus of the forum itself.

I believe the question was on lube used for touring. How many of you actually carry and use some of these more elaborate processes to clean your drivetrains WHILE ON TOUR. Within the relatively narrow focus of being on tour, I suspect most tours of two weeks or less see no chain maintenance at all while longer tours require at least some occasional work to keep things running relatively smoothly.

I suspect many of us on this and other forums tend to do more maintenance than those not obsessed with their bikes (like me). On our recent longer tours, we met numerous month+ tourists that don't have any idea of preventive maintenance and would struggle to even change a flat.

I believe it would be more helpful to those new to this wonderful activity if we could keep to the original question and start a new thread when that isn't possible. That said, questions such as - which lube? are helmets really a good idea? shimano vs campy vs sram? and many others - will never be answered beyond personal preferences as there is rarely any evidence beyond our personal anecdotes.

There is no ONE way to do any of this. If there was, we would all be following that path and not discussing it. Enjoy the ride in whatever way you care to and ride as much as you can.

Jay
Happy New Year to all!
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: John Nelson on January 01, 2015, 03:26:11 pm
In the interest of science, I think you should mark off your chain in sections and use a different lube in each section, with no lube in one section. Of course, this isn't a perfect experiment because the rings and cogs will spread some of the lube from one section to the others, but it would be an interesting experiment anyway.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on January 01, 2015, 08:48:04 pm
Here is a site with various manufactures recommendations on how to care for their chains: http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/archive/index.php/t-69736.html  Note to the use of the word oiling and not waxing a chain.

Each manufacture even have their differences.  And you continue to echo back to the old school method that has long been out of date since bushingless chains came about.  And since you like Sheldon Brown did you not read what he said about waxing a chain?  He doesn't recommend it because it's not a lubricant thereby shortening the life of your chain, and his experience, much more vast than mine, echos my experience.


I stated to begin with I did not want to get into pros and cons of waxing; that's been done; as I said, if interested in that, see archives. I made clear I was simply stating what I use and how long it lasts. You couldn't resist, however, and had to give a dig. Into what Berto called the most definitive test of chain lubricants waxing caused the least wear to drive train components. Sorry if that does not agree with your experience. I don't always agree with Sheldon; example, his embrace of biopace chainwheels.

BioPace chainrings, funny you mention that because they're coming back in vogue again in the pro ranks, except now they're called Osymetric and Rotor chainrings, same idea, a bit more exaggerated, and a different name, but the Osymetric and Rotor all take their roots from BioPace to get you past the dead spot faster.   And BioPace wasn't a bad idea because it proved to be gentler on the knees.  Osymetric folks beat their chest that they won the TDF last year with those and past ellipticals never won races, not really true because Pete Penseyres and Lon Halderman set a world record on a Biopace equipped tandem doing a transcontinental race in 1987.  Biopace seemed to work better for mashers than spinners, due to the RPM differences where a slower rpm stays in the dead zone longer than a faster rpm.  BioPace also found some success in mountain biking again due to the lower RPM's.  I have a bike with BioPace and I don't mind it at all, I'm not a masher nor a spinner, but in between, does it work?  to a small degree in my opinion.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: PeteJack on January 07, 2015, 11:57:47 am

Is there a special lube that stays clean that I'm not aware of?  Wax lubes stay clean but a person would have to reply it every day, is that what touring people do?  My experience with drip on wax lubes is that my chains get about 2/3rds LESS mileage on them before they are worn out, so replacing a chain once or twice going across country would be ridiculas too.
when I did the NT I replaced my chain twice. I look on chains as disposable and not worth the effort and mess of trying to make them last by cleaning etc. It's a 5 minute job replacing a chain like a SRAM that has a Quicklink if you know the trick for opening gummed up Quicklinks. And they aren't that expensive. I carry a Park CC-1 chain checker and replace them sooner rather than later to preserve the teeth on the cassette (generally I get 3 chains to a cassette another consumable)
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on January 07, 2015, 12:46:19 pm
Is there a special lube that stays clean that I'm not aware of?  Wax lubes stay clean but a person would have to reply it every day, is that what touring people do?  My experience with drip on wax lubes is that my chains get about 2/3rds LESS mileage on them before they are worn out, so replacing a chain once or twice going across country would be ridiculas too.

That has not been my experience.  I have not seen issues with shortened chain life and wax based lubes.  I generally get 10,000 miles or so with something like Boesheild T9 applied every few days and with pretty much no cleaning.

when I did the NT I replaced my chain twice. I look on chains as disposable and not worth the effort and mess of trying to make them last by cleaning etc. It's a 5 minute job replacing a chain like a SRAM that has a Quicklink if you know the trick for opening gummed up Quicklinks. And they aren't that expensive. I carry a Park CC-1 chain checker and replace them sooner rather than later to preserve the teeth on the cassette (generally I get 3 chains to a cassette another consumable)

That surprises me.  It sounds like you change chains every 1500 miles or so and that cassettes only last you maybe 4,000 or 5,000 miles.  Is that correct or am I reading that wrong?  Is that with a steel cog cassette?  Aluminum? Something else?

Chains typically last me 10,000 miles or so (with very minimal care) and truth be told I have only rarely ever worn out a cassette, but some of them have certainly lasted me 20,000 miles or more, some of them probably a lot more.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: PeteJack on January 07, 2015, 01:14:56 pm
That surprises me.  It sounds like you change chains every 1500 miles or so and that cassettes only last you maybe 4,000 or 5,000 miles.  Is that correct or am I reading that wrong?  Is that with a steel cog cassette?  Aluminum? Something else?

Chains typically last me 10,000 miles or so (with very minimal care) and truth be told I have only rarely ever worn out a cassette, but some of them have certainly lasted me 20,000 miles or more, some of them probably a lot more.
No you're not reading it wrong. Good for you with the chain life thing. Can't be bothered myself. I use vanilla SRAM or Shimano cassettes whatever the LBS has in stock. Different strokes, different folks
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on January 07, 2015, 01:19:40 pm
That surprises me.  It sounds like you change chains every 1500 miles or so and that cassettes only last you maybe 4,000 or 5,000 miles.  Is that correct or am I reading that wrong?  Is that with a steel cog cassette?  Aluminum? Something else?

Chains typically last me 10,000 miles or so (with very minimal care) and truth be told I have only rarely ever worn out a cassette, but some of them have certainly lasted me 20,000 miles or more, some of them probably a lot more.
No you're not reading it wrong. Good for you with the chain life thing. Can't be bothered myself. I use vanilla SRAM or Shimano cassettes whatever the LBS has in stock. Different strokes, different folks
Thanks for the clarification.  Whatever works I guess.

FWIW, the care my chains get is mostly sloshing on some lube and wiping it off with a napkin.  They very rarely get any cleaning beyond that.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: PeteJack on January 07, 2015, 01:35:57 pm
In Bellevue WA there is a bike mechanic who seems to know his stuff (claims to have been a wrench on the TdF and have worked for Shimano. Very nice guy) he reckons you should use the cheapest chains you can get and change them every 500 miles! I kid you not.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: PeteJack on January 07, 2015, 05:56:39 pm
FWIW, the care my chains get is mostly sloshing on some lube and wiping it off with a napkin.  They very rarely get any cleaning beyond that.
Hmm. It could be I'm not oiling my chain often enough. I took the Dumond label at its word when it says not to relube until you can hear the chain. I'll try more frequent oiling and see if that makes a difference. I can live with oiling more but the cleaning razmtaz is insufferable.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on January 07, 2015, 06:24:45 pm
I'll try more frequent oiling and see if that makes a difference. I can live with oiling more but the cleaning razmtaz is insufferable.

It might be worth a try...  I get pretty good results with fairly frequent lubing and pretty much no cleaning.

I don't follow the directions on leaving the lube on for a few hours or overnight.  I apply fairly liberally spin the pedals for a minute, and wipe it off.

The only time I clean the chain more than that is in the rare case that I get it loaded up with sand and then I do as little as I can and still get the sand off.  Usually a low pressure water rinse or sometimes a WD40 rinse.  I try to let it dry before relubing.  Either way it is a rare event.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: PeteJack on January 07, 2015, 06:43:53 pm
Off to lube my chain.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: DaveB on January 07, 2015, 09:15:57 pm
In Bellevue WA there is a bike mechanic who seems to know his stuff (claims to have been a wrench on the TdF and have worked for Shimano. Very nice guy) he reckons you should use the cheapest chains you can get and change them every 500 miles! I kid you not.
Pro mechanics treat chains like they are free because, for them, they are.  The sponsors provide them by the case.  Team mechanics scrub the rider's bikes every day and change chains every couple of days.  It doesn't mean the rest of us can or should do that.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: driftlessregion on January 26, 2015, 10:51:24 pm
Discussions about chain and cassette longevity are interesting if only because the variation is so great. I don't want to doubt those who get 10,000 miles but that hasn't been my experience. What is missing from these discussions is what our personal tolerance is for the manifestations of chain and cassette wear. I swap out a chain when the shifting begins to be anything but perfect. I love the exact crispness of a good quick shift. That is just my preference. Others may be more tolerant of shifting that isn't as precise.   If I was riding downtube or barend shifters, maybe I  could also get 10,000 miles because I would have more direct control over the shifting with those systems than with any indexing system.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on January 27, 2015, 05:53:40 am
What is missing from these discussions is what our personal tolerance is for the manifestations of chain and cassette wear. I swap out a chain when the shifting begins to be anything but perfect. I love the exact crispness of a good quick shift. That is just my preference. Others may be more tolerant of shifting that isn't as precise.   If I was riding downtube or barend shifters, maybe I  could also get 10,000 miles because I would have more direct control over the shifting with those systems than with any indexing system.

Since you brought that up...  As one of the folks who tends to get very long wear out of chains and has indexed shifting on all of my bikes, I have not found that within the normal range of chain wear that shifting is affected much as the chain wears.  I find that once I set limit screws on the derailleurs they never need to be adjusted again, but cable tension does need a tweak once in a while on indexed systems.  That probably means tweaking it a few times on a coast to coast length tour and usually amounts to twisting a barrel adjuster 1/4-1/2 turn or so, which I typically do while riding.

I typically check my chains by measuring 12 complete links.  When they are 12-1/16" it is time to start thinking about a new chain and I make sure to get one before it is 12-1/8".  As I said, within that range, it has never seemed to me that chain wear had anything to do with any shifting issues.

I find that cassettes and chain rings typically last me a very long time.  So long that I have no idea how long.  I have found that cassette wear and derailleur wear have a lot more impact on crisp accurate shifting than chain wear.  A gunked up drive train also has a negative impact, but with my current routine that doesn't usually happen on tour.  Gunk build up does seem to be more likely for commuting for some reason I don't understand.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: John Nelson on January 27, 2015, 12:33:56 pm
Pete, you are the only person I have ever heard report getting 10,000 miles out of a chain (or even anything close to that). I have read how you care for your chains, but try as I might, I cannot duplicate your experiences. I lube once a week with a quality lube, never deep clean it off the bike, and yet I cannot get more than 4000 miles out of a chain. When doing loaded touring, I cannot even get that much.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on January 27, 2015, 01:19:11 pm
Pete, you are the only person I have ever heard report getting 10,000 miles out of a chain (or even anything close to that). I have read how you care for your chains, but try as I might, I cannot duplicate your experiences. I lube once a week with a quality lube, never deep clean it off the bike, and yet I cannot get more than 4000 miles out of a chain. When doing loaded touring, I cannot even get that much.

I started the TA in 2007 with a few hundred miles on the chain of my then new Windsor Touring bike.   Subsequently I did at least 3000 miles of other tours on that chain.  I know I did a few centuries and a bunch of around town riding, in between all of that.  So truth be told the 10k is an estimate, but I don't think it is off by all that much.  I can definitely document 8k miles.

I have no good explanation for why my chains last as long as they do.  I sometimes joke that it is my silky smooth spin, but I really don't do anything all that special.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: Old Guy New Hobby on January 27, 2015, 01:56:23 pm
Quote
I sometimes joke that it is my silky smooth spin

That might be a big part of it. "spin" implies high cadence, low force. "Smooth" implies a smooth force without a bunch of jerks as the pedals go round. I think smooth might even be more important than spin. I know another rider who claims his long chain life is due to his very specialized lube ceremonies. But he is also a smooth spinner.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: PeteJack on January 27, 2015, 03:12:34 pm
Quote
lube ceremonies.
I like it.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on June 18, 2019, 09:08:25 am
Well it's been a good discussion. Since I started this thread I decided to try Rock N Roll Absolute Dry to see how it would perform, and I've found it to work really good, though the chain wear issue hasn't been answered yet, but so far so good.  What I've found out about this lube so far is that it keeps my chain cleaner longer than other lubes I've tried, the chain is quiet. Even though it's a dry oil, which is typically bad if it rains because it washes off faster then wet lubes, but I've gone through rain with it and the darn stuff didn't wash off, I did relube once I got home because I wasn't sure about it, but the chain made no noise after a 30 minute rain; so I applied it my touring bike and the results have been very favorable so far.

But that test on the touring bike came to a sad ending when a car sideswiped me sending me crashing into a concrete barrier that I flipped over the top of the barrier and onto a concrete sidewalk, the accident bent my fork about an inch back and the frame has about a 1mm bow on the top tube and a 2mm bow on the seat tube, so the bike is toast, somehow I survived the crash with nothing but bloody scraped up knees and shoulder, while the helmet was destroyed the head inside of it was not, fortunately I had enough sense to let go of the handlebars when hit the barrier so I could flip over it and that worked like a charm enabling me to roll on impact with the sidewalk.  The person in the car took off of course, and there were no witnesses that saw the plate number.  So my once almost new condition 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe is gone, I'm going to strip the components off of it and put them on a 87 Dawes I have just a frame and fork for, then sell it because the frame is a bit large for me; along with selling a 84 Schwinn Voyageur which is also a tad too large, so that little bit of money will go toward a new touring bike plus I get to thin out the herd a bit.  Those two bikes were dumpster finds, both were in decent shape, the Voyageur was covered in some sort of grayish goo that took 4 cleanings to get off, but underneath the goo the paint was pretty good, I just have to replace the cables on it and it's good to be sold.

Anyway back to chains, typically on my non touring bikes I get also average 10,000 to 13,000 miles on my chains, and I don't buy expensive ones; the gear cluster will last 3 times longer than my chains do.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: Pat Lamb on June 18, 2019, 09:27:25 am
On an '85 Schwinn, did you have 5 or 6 cogs on the rear?
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: froze on June 19, 2019, 12:00:55 am
There was 6 gears on the rear, I removed that cluster and put a Sunrace 7 on with a 34 tooth bail out gear, I did this thinking future when I would be touring across the US loaded and may need a really low gear to climb a steep grade.  I have the original gears, they only had about 800 miles on it, the new gears had about 100 miles on it.  The factory original chain is being used with the new gears and worked fine.  The Mountech derailleur also had no issue going up into the 34 gear from 24, in fact it was as seamless as the original going from 23 to 28!  that actually surprised me, I thought the derailleur would have to work at it make the jump but nope, no problem.

Note; the specs from the 1985 Schwinn catalog said it came with a 5 speed cluster, mine is was all original when i bought it, I knew the guy, he bought in 86 on sale, he rode it about 200 miles when he fell at his house off a roof and severely injured his back, he kept it covered under blankets in his garage all those years until 7 or 8 years ago when a conversation he and I was having revealed we had the same goal, to travel the US, he could no longer do that so he sold me the bike so i could do it.  It had the original seat and tires even, it was in showroom condition when I got it.  Another odd thing about the bike was the catalog said it had 36 spokes wheel on the front and 40 on the rear, mine had 40 front and rear; I think that 40 spoke wheel screwed me when I hit the barrier because the darn wheel didn't even come out of true even the slightest, had it been a 36 or a 32 it would have maybe collapsed saving the fork?  I did remove the original pedals and put on a set of Shimano 530's, but the seat I left on because the Avocet was comfortable to ride on. 

The other change I made was after trying to adjust the brakes myself but with zero experience with cantis and getting nowhere I took it into a shop, they put on a set of new Jagwire cables (even matched the original goldish colored housing) because the old brake cables didn't have the slicker internal technology of modern wires which made the cantis work stiff; cleaned and lubed the all the pivots; and put a new saddle wire of different length, can't recall if they went longer or shorter, just one size different; and they replaced the brake blocks with Kool Stop Salmons; the brakes worked a day and night difference afterwards. 

That's the only changes I did to the bike, I even used the original rack for the first tour but later switched to Tubus stainless because I didn't trust the original Blackburn aluminium one to hold up forever.

The only thing I didn't like about the bike, and this fault all touring bikes had back in the 
 day, was that it didn't have water bottle mounts on the fork, so my touring bike will have those; also it did not have a third water bottle mount on the bottom of the down tube, but again this was typical of all touring bikes back then, so I added a third one via a clamp system specifically made to do that.

Of course I didn't use the original tires because flat protection is so much better today so i went with Schwalbe Marathon Greengard tires, but I have the original Passage tires, they're not cracked so they can still be ridden.




Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: misterflask on September 07, 2019, 08:47:41 am
Hey, dkoloko,
What are the nut and bolts of rewaxing a chain on the road?  I'm a paraffin fan and at home I just keep my paraffin/moly/teflon concoction in a junk-store mini crockpot.  But I haven't figured out exactly what I would do on a long tour.     

Regarding variations in chain life,  I think one factor could be the type of aggregate used regionally in the pavement, as worn-away aggregate is likely a good part of our chain gunk.  I expect the granite aggregate here is more abrasive than, say, the limestone aggregate used in Florida. 
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on September 07, 2019, 09:20:19 am
Hey, dkoloko,
What are the nut and bolts of rewaxing a chain on the road?  I'm a paraffin fan and at home I just keep my paraffin/moly/teflon concoction in a junk-store mini crockpot.  But I haven't figured out exactly what I would do on a long tour.
I can't imagine dealing with doing the paraffin thing on the road.  I used to do it at home, but long ago switched to wax based liquid lubes like T9 or Pro Link.

Quote
Regarding variations in chain life,  I think one factor could be the type of aggregate used regionally in the pavement, as worn-away aggregate is likely a good part of our chain gunk.  I expect the granite aggregate here is more abrasive than, say, the limestone aggregate used in Florida.
FWIW, my chain life reported in this thread would be a pretty good cross section of conditions across the US.  I lived in Maryland at the time of most of the reported mileage, but rode coast to coast on the Trans America, did the Pacific Coast, the Southern Tier, and generally distributed the mileage all over the US.  I have since been living in Tallahassee.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on September 07, 2019, 10:33:02 am
Hey, dkoloko,
What are the nut and bolts of rewaxing a chain on the road?  I'm a paraffin fan and at home I just keep my paraffin/moly/teflon concoction in a junk-store mini crockpot.  But I haven't figured out exactly what I would do on a long tour.     

Regarding variations in chain life,  I think one factor could be the type of aggregate used regionally in the pavement, as worn-away aggregate is likely a good part of our chain gunk.  I expect the granite aggregate here is more abrasive than, say, the limestone aggregate used in Florida.

Wax I take on trips is in a can with lid. I put the can in a pot that has a bit of water. I carry a stove, so this is no trouble. I do not play chemist and add ingredients to "improve" the wax, although I start with a new chain and throw it with the lube it comes with into the pot. I cannot see all the bother waxing a chain is supposed to be. I do not clean the chain when rewaxing, beyond giving it a wipe. For mitigating chaindrive wear, numerous studies over the years have wax coming out on top. I tried liquid bicycle wax and found it very unsatisfactory; messy and not long lasting. I get about 500 miles between waxing. This means for a 1000 mile trip, I wax once on road.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: staehpj1 on September 07, 2019, 11:13:14 am
Wax I take on trips is in a can with lid. I put the can in a pot that has a bit of water. I carry a stove, so this is no trouble. I do not play chemist and add ingredients to "improve" the wax, although I start with a new chain and throw it with the lube it comes with into the pot. I cannot see all the bother waxing a chain is supposed to be. I do not clean the chain when rewaxing, beyond giving it a wipe. For mitigating chaindrive wear, numerous studies over the years have wax coming out on top. I tried liquid bicycle wax and found it very unsatisfactory; messy and not long lasting. I get about 500 miles between waxing. This means for a 1000 mile trip, I wax once on road.
For a 1000 mile trip wouldn't it be easier to just carry a second prewaxed chain and swap at 500 miles?  When I waxed chains I usually rotated between two chains any way.

FWIW, I prefer to apply T9 every few days with no cleaning, just apply, spin the cranks for a minute or so, and wipe off with a napkin or rag.  The chain stays shiny and lasts very well.  I don't find it to be much trouble or all that messy.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: dkoloko on September 07, 2019, 05:20:24 pm
Wax I take on trips is in a can with lid. I put the can in a pot that has a bit of water. I carry a stove, so this is no trouble. I do not play chemist and add ingredients to "improve" the wax, although I start with a new chain and throw it with the lube it comes with into the pot. I cannot see all the bother waxing a chain is supposed to be. I do not clean the chain when rewaxing, beyond giving it a wipe. For mitigating chaindrive wear, numerous studies over the years have wax coming out on top. I tried liquid bicycle wax and found it very unsatisfactory; messy and not long lasting. I get about 500 miles between waxing. This means for a 1000 mile trip, I wax once on road.
For a 1000 mile trip wouldn't it be easier to just carry a second prewaxed chain and swap at 500 miles?  When I waxed chains I usually rotated between two chains any way.

Easier, maybe, but better, no. With the wax can I am prepared to rewax more often if needed.
Title: Re: What lube to use for touring.
Post by: driftlessregion on October 01, 2019, 01:44:44 pm
Back to the OP, though I use ProLink religiously at home, on tour I use whatever comes in the smallest container. Using something is more important than what to use.