Author Topic: Lube when long distance touring  (Read 1621 times)

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Offline froze

Lube when long distance touring
« 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

Offline John Nelson

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #1 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.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #2 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.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #3 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. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #4 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.

Offline GrnMtns

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #5 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. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 05:28:12 pm by GrnMtns »

Offline hikerjer

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2020, 06:29:06 pm »
What's T-9 ???

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #7 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.

Offline froze

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #8 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?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #9 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.").

Offline GrnMtns

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #10 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. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #11 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.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #12 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!

Offline RonK

Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #13 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
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 06:21:29 pm by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Lube when long distance touring
« Reply #14 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
ACA Life Member 368