Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: froze on June 11, 2020, 09:54:41 pm

 
Title: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: froze on June 11, 2020, 09:54:41 pm
I was wondering when you are touring long distance, is there a lube you use that you don't ever have to clean the chain except for a wipe down?

If not what lube do guys take?

How do you clean the chain on the road without carry chain cleaning fluid?

thanks
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: John Nelson on June 12, 2020, 01:28:38 am
I use the same lube I use at home. Most chain lubes also clean the chain, so no special cleaning is required.

I’m hesitant to name the product as chain lube debates are almost religious.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on June 12, 2020, 05:57:55 am
Many different opinions on what is best.  I like Boesheild T-9.  Progold Prolink and others seem similar.  I apply, spin the crank for a minute, and wipe clean.  Additional cleaning is generally not required or even desirable IMO.

My theory is that cleaning with solvents or detergents just allows more grit to penetrate deeper into the chain, so I try to avoid them where possible.  If a chain gets super muddy a quick rinse with low pressure water may be needed, but on a road tour that hasn't happened much.  Rarely I have gotten a chain loaded up with sand that clung and didn't easily rinse off.  In those rare cases I bought a can of WD40 and rinsed off the drive train with that, let it dry and reapplied lube.

I will stress that any cleaning beyond applying lube and wiping it off is pretty rare at home or on the road.  My mountain bike is an exception in that it's drive train comes home caked in mud and gets a plain water rinse pretty often.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: Pat Lamb on June 12, 2020, 08:38:15 am
If you're going to be riding longer than a week, or if you get rained on, you'll need to be prepared to re-lube.

Paper napkins (grab a few extra from the diner at lunch) do well for wiping the chain down.  I've learned that T-9 creates a nasty build-up if you don't wipe the chain thoroughly after application, but it will persist through a light shower.  If you're touring in arid areas, you might use a lighter lube. 
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on June 12, 2020, 09:10:08 am
I've learned that T-9 creates a nasty build-up if you don't wipe the chain thoroughly after application, but it will persist through a light shower.
True.  That has been my experience with most if not all lubes I have used.  Failure to wipe off most of the applied lube will lead to a messy chain with T-9 and probably most other lubes.  Some advise applying heavily and leaving on for a longish amount of time before wiping off, sometimes overnight.  I highly recommend ignoring that advice and applying sparingly followed by spinning the cranks for a bit and a through wiping down for most if not all liquid lubes.

Side note...
The one exception that comes to mind is the old method of dipping the chain in melted paraffin which I stopped using decades ago and never used on a tour.  It works, but I find it more trouble than it is worth especially for on a tour.  When I did use it I alternated between two chains, treating both at the same time and only needing to treat again after both had been used and were ready to be dunked again.  Carrying a can pf paraffin and dunking in the melted wax seems like a lot of trouble for not much benefit when other paraffin based liquid lubes have many of the same benefits if used properly.  I think there a (very) few still doing this method though.  I think there may even be the rare touring rider doing it.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: GrnMtns on June 12, 2020, 05:23:48 pm
I've tried half a dozen lubes over the years, starting with paraffin, and have been happiest so far with Dumonde Tech Lite.  Last spring I just reapplied sparingly when it sounded dry, usually the day after rain, the chain stayed cleaner than with other lubes. I never did more than give it a quick occasional wipe, and it looked better at the end than I expected.   If you're wondering if something better has come along it might be worth checking out. 
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: hikerjer on June 12, 2020, 06:29:06 pm
What's T-9 ???
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on June 12, 2020, 06:38:30 pm
What's T-9 ???
A Boesheild product.  It is sold and used for stuff other than bike chains.  The aircraft industry use it as do gunsmiths and enthusiasts to name a few other uses.  It comes in aerosol cans, squeeze bottles, and in larger (gallon etc) cans.  Bike shops tend to have the small squeeze bottles or sometimes the aerosol cans.  I think it is paraffin based.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: froze on June 12, 2020, 09:46:30 pm
I use to do the hot wax thing too, but I got tired doing it, but at the time that's what everyone did, until TriFlow came out, so I tried it and liked it better than the hot wax method.

I might try the Dumonde Tech Lite or Original Bicycle Chain Lubrication.  According to Dumonde the Original and the Lite is the same thing but Lite is diluted version of the Original so why use the Lite? why not use the Original but less of it vs the Lite?
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on June 13, 2020, 05:43:25 am
I might try the Dumonde Tech Lite or Original Bicycle Chain Lubrication.  According to Dumonde the Original and the Lite is the same thing but Lite is diluted version of the Original so why use the Lite? why not use the Original but less of it vs the Lite?
I have not used that product, but my best guess is that maybe the process of application and wiping off cleans the chain better with the diluted product.  That wouldn't be a plus for those who clean the chain first with other solvents or detergents.

Also using less may not be easy since they specify very light application. They say, "One ounce of Dumonde Tech  should give you at least 10 applications."  How would you use less than 1/10 of an ounce?  According to Google there are 591.5 drops per ounce so roughly 60 per 1/10 ounce.  So if you were to put one drop per roller it would seem you would already be well over (almost double) the recommended 1/10 ounce.

Am I missing something here?  Are you supposed to put a drop on every other link?  Otherwise I don't see how you would get a chain lubed with 1/10 ounce.

I am a believer in avoiding over applying and in thoroughly wiping off all excess thinking the chain should look and feel dry, but 1/10 ounce isn't much, so a more dilute solution would allow better wiping off of excess.  Dumonde also recommend that ("Apply sparingly and wipe off excess lubricant with a clean cloth to the point where the chain’s outer surface appears dry.").
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: GrnMtns on June 13, 2020, 07:30:43 am
Yes, a drop of lube is a lot, you can apply less by bumping the bottle tip on each link before a full drop forms.  If you're on the road and bugs are an issue, just spray a thin stream on the chain while spinning it backwards through several revolutions, that uses less lube and time. 
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on June 13, 2020, 09:47:44 am
Yes, a drop of lube is a lot, you can apply less by bumping the bottle tip on each link before a full drop forms.  If you're on the road and bugs are an issue, just spray a thin stream on the chain while spinning it backwards through several revolutions, that uses less lube and time.
Yes agreed, but it does take a good bit of care to use as little as 1/10 of an ounce to lube a chain.  I doubt that I ever manage that.  It is a more meticulous process than I usually have the patience for when lubing a chain.  I just try to make up for it by doing a thorough job of wiping off the excess.  I think a thinner less viscous lube helps in that and just maybe I wind up wiping off any grit and crud better.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: Pat Lamb on June 13, 2020, 04:49:13 pm
That DuMonde sounds really great.  After reading about it on their site I was about to go get my billfold so I could order some.  Then I noticed the three bottles of chain lube I already have in the back room, and remembered the bottles I'm actively using in the garage...  At this rate I'll need more chain lube sometime after 2025.  Maybe '28.

Hey, the stuff is usually cheaper when I've been browsing a new bike shop than a pair of gloves!
Title: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: RonK on June 13, 2020, 06:16:11 pm
After an initial wipe to remove any accumulated crud I use Rock n Roll Holy Cow, applied liberally as per directions, then a final wipe after a few minutes when the solvent base has cleaned the chain which then dries to leave a lubricating film.

http://www.rocklube.com/products.html
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: jrswenberger on June 13, 2020, 11:22:39 pm
I use to do the hot wax thing too, but I got tired doing it, but at the time that's what everyone did, until TriFlow came out, so I tried it and liked it better than the hot wax method.

I might try the Dumonde Tech Lite or Original Bicycle Chain Lubrication.  According to Dumonde the Original and the Lite is the same thing but Lite is diluted version of the Original so why use the Lite? why not use the Original but less of it vs the Lite?

A number of years ago, I settled on the Dumonde lubes for all of our bikes. I don't believe the Lite is diluted, just uses a less viscous carrier. Here in western Oregon, I use the Original (more viscous) throughout the winter and spring and then switch to the Lite when things are drier. Predictably, the Original formula is stickier and messier, but stays in place for quite a long time in daily rainy weather. The Lite formula is much cleaner to apply and attracts much less dirt but isn't as long lasting. This is true of just about any combination of wet/dry lubes from any manufacturer. I have found Dumonde to be a bit pricier than many lubes but I really appreciate how well they work.

On tour, I'll just carry the Original bottle that I have open. If I have to fly, I'll usually pick up whatever is cheap during the first week of a trip.

Enjoy the ride,
Jay
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: David W Pratt on June 14, 2020, 05:32:25 pm
Currently using chainsaw bar lube.  Nice and sticky, and cheap.  I have a gallon for the saw, so a few oz in a little squeeze bottle comes along in the tool kit.
The religion analogy is apt.  One should really read the gospel according to St. Sheldon (Brown) before diving down that rabbit hole.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: froze on June 16, 2020, 10:48:26 pm
Thanks for the responses.  I ordered the Lite, no bike shops locally sell the lube so Amazon to the rescue.  So I'll be testing the product and see how it holds up. 
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: driftlessregion on June 21, 2020, 08:29:12 pm
Perhaps only saddle choice brings out more personal opinions than lubes.
Prolink at home, anything I can find on the road, and only once it starts squeaking or looks really dry or lots of rain. I try not to over think it.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: froze on June 21, 2020, 11:28:48 pm
It's worth a try, it will be worth it if I don't have to clean the chain and it last a long time...I got the stuff today so tomorrow I'll put it on and should find out in about 3 months if it's any good. It's a cheaper to try a different oil than trying a saddle, after saddle, after saddle...
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: EmilyG on July 13, 2020, 02:21:44 pm
We just kept the lube and a rag in a ziplock baggie.   Every few days, we start the morning with cleaning/lubing our chains.   Drip it on, turn the crank, scrub and rub.   When the rag became thoroughly black, we'd toss it and put in a new one. We would keep our eyes out on the road, and when we saw a potential new rag, I'd stop and hang it off my bag until we could wash it if needed. Will never forget the brand new white towel on the side of the road in the Adirondacks!  . 
Can't recommend a particular lube because we used whatever we could find in whatever bike store we came across...
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: froze on July 13, 2020, 04:36:07 pm
you said lube and a rag, were you cleaning with just the rag and no solvents?
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: Pat Lamb on July 13, 2020, 04:43:31 pm
Fairly standard practice with many (most?) chain lubes.  Apply lube to chain, use rag to wipe excess off.

I usually stopped at a local eatery a couple times a week, so it was not a big deal to take 2-3 paper napkins from one of them once a week.  I hadn't considered using real cloth rags; it's a nice idea, especially with Emily's "acquisition plan."
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: EmilyG on July 13, 2020, 04:53:01 pm
Yes, just the lube and rag.    If you do it regularly, things don't build up to the point where you need solvent.   

We went all the way across country using rags. We started with a few, and then just found them along the way.  In the town of Glendive, MT, a youth thrift store owner gave us a towel that we cut up.  Light enough that we just stuffed it down at the bottom of a pannier until needed.  The towels, with the texture, allow you to scrub the road grime away easier, I think. 
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: froze on July 13, 2020, 08:01:53 pm
Great, thanks.  There were some people that would actually use a spray solvent and clean the chain every month, but I really don't want to be doing that or carrying a bottle around.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: jrswenberger on July 13, 2020, 08:35:18 pm
On a tour around Wales a few years ago, my wife and I rode with her cousin and a friend of hers. They both rode quite a bit and maintained many bikes. Upon arriving at camp each night, they would both break out the spray cleaner and lube and clean everything as if they were at home. Their bikes were silent and worked perfectly but it was a lot of work...us watching them!!!

The key is to enjoy your ride and do it the way you want to...

Jay
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on July 14, 2020, 08:25:47 am
NFS for the win!:

http://nixfrixshun.com/nixfrixshun-ultimate-bicycle-chainlube/

I actually think their instructions are a bit over the top with 8-10 drops. I generally don't use more than 6.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: John Nelson on July 14, 2020, 09:39:58 am
If you apply lube at random intervals, does rotating the chain really spread the lube to the rest of the links?
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: EmilyG on July 14, 2020, 11:08:21 am
I've never counted the drops. I just run a thin stream, try to get the whole chain, and then rub and scrub to distribute and clean as I turn the crank.  I always figured it didn't pay to be stingy on the lube because the drivechain is so important.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on July 14, 2020, 11:50:13 am
I've never counted the drops. I just run a thin stream, try to get the whole chain, and then rub and scrub to distribute and clean as I turn the crank.  I always figured it didn't pay to be stingy on the lube because the drivechain is so important.
Too much lube attracts crudy build up.  Also with wax based lubes too much lube leaves a lot of waxy buildup of the lube itself when the solvent evaporates if you don't get it really well wiped off.

You can probably get by with over applying if you wipe it off very throughly before it evaporates.  The worst case is to apply heavily and leave it on overnight or longer.  We did that for a number of weeks on one long tour (following the directions on the bottle of a popular wax based lube at the time).  The amount of waxy buildup was unbelievable!  The chain was gunked up, the cassette was completely filled with waxy stuff between the cogs, and the derailleurs were loaded up.  We spent and hour cleaning the cassettes and derailleurs while a LBS ran the chains through a commercial degreasing machine for us.   We then switched lubes and methods.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: EmilyG on July 14, 2020, 11:55:36 am
You are absolutely correct.    Can't let it sit on there. I think some of the directions just assume you are home with your tools and resources!  I was told if you wipe and scrub it off so you can't see any residue, you've done a good job. The lube needs to be in the tiny link, not on the outer edges.   I rub the chain as I turn the crank backwards, until very little came off on the rag.    At any rate, it seemed to work, our chains lasted over 4,000 miles before they needed to be replaced, and rest of drive train still going strong. 
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on July 14, 2020, 01:47:44 pm
If you apply lube at random intervals, does rotating the chain really spread the lube to the rest of the links?
Absolutely. Recently lubed my LHT's chain during a three-day tour the week before July 4th after a storm the first evening. Maybe 6 random drops. Spun the chain then wiped down the sides. Still quiet as a mouse.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: TCS on July 15, 2020, 01:28:24 pm
The one exception that comes to mind is the old method of dipping the chain in melted paraffin which I stopped using decades ago and never used on a tour.  ...  I think there a (very) few still doing this method though.

Commercially available & 'winner' of a chain lube test:

https://moltenspeedwax.com/

and a competitor:

https://silca.cc/products/secret-chain-wax-blend

 ;)
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: TCS on July 15, 2020, 01:55:30 pm
Somewhere there's a Gates (or Veer) belt user silently laughing.

Quote
I’m hesitant to name the product as chain lube debates are almost religious.

Quote
Perhaps only saddle choice brings out more personal opinions than lubes.

 ;D ;D ;D

Fun fact: 3inOne oil (these days marketed as 'Multipurpose Oil', with a black label) was put on the market in 1894.  The name came from the product's promise to 'clean, lubricate and rustproof' - i.e. three benefits in one treatment.  And what was it supposed to perform these feats on?  Bicycle chains!  You can do better in 2020, but amazingly enough after 126 years, there are other chain lubrication products available at your LBS that don't perform as well in tests.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: TCS on July 15, 2020, 02:18:51 pm
Some 40 years ago the automatic Scottoiler system was developed for chain-driven motorcycles.  It's remained a viable but nitche product.

A few years back Scottoiler spun off an automatic chain re-oiler system for bicycles:

http://flaer.com/revo-via/

While I've wondered if it would have some application to long distance cycletouring, I don't know anyone who has used one nor have I ever seen the (bicycle) system given a long term test in the electronic or forest-products media.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: PNWRider92 on July 17, 2020, 11:54:48 pm
I personally don’t bring chain lube on tour. I’m more than happy to swing into a bike shop and give them a few bucks to use whatever they have in the shop.

Personal preference but I’m picky about weight and it’s worth it for me.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: John Nelson on July 18, 2020, 04:43:21 pm
I personally don’t bring chain lube on tour. I’m more than happy to swing into a bike shop and give them a few bucks to use whatever they have in the shop.

Personal preference but I’m picky about weight and it’s worth it for me.
I do take lube, but I certainly don't take any more than necessary. I know how many drops of lube it takes to lube my chain, I can compute how many times I'll need to lube based on the length of the tour, and I take a container that only holds that many drops. One issue that lube is smelly, so you want to wrap it very well so that your clothes don't all smell like lube.
Title: Re: Lube when long distance touring
Post by: staehpj1 on July 18, 2020, 05:09:05 pm
Great, thanks.  There were some people that would actually use a spray solvent and clean the chain every month, but I really don't want to be doing that or carrying a bottle around.
I am a little late to the party on this, but some of us, myself included, believe that solvent or detergents do more harm than good by allowing more grit to get deeper into the chain.  I can't prove it, but I read it way back when on Sheldon Brown's site and it made sense to me.  I made it a practice and have had really good results wrt chain life by using solvents and detergents almost never.  The rare exception has been when a chain got gunked up with something that couldn't be gotten off without harsher treatment.  In those very rare cases I have bought a can of WD40 cleaned the chain with it and given the remainder away if on tour.  I think I have done that twice over the years.