Author Topic: Bicycle lubrication question When, What and (more important What NOT! ) to oil  (Read 14482 times)

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Offline sstocking

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Never one for being afraid  too show my ignorance,  here I go again! 

Looking for advice on what to lubricate on an bike ( maybe more important what NOT to lubricate ;D) ,  how often, and with what.    I am NOT a gear head but I do want to keep my beast as well cared for as I can. 

Thanks!
Scott

Offline whittierider

The main thing of course is the chain, since it is unprotected from the elements and from the constant, light roostertail of fine sand that the front tire kicks up.  Bearings are pretty well sealed up and their grease may last tens of thousands of miles.  Don't use oil on those.  Grease and oil are two different things.  In fact, you won't find any oil at all on any of this family's bikes.  (We use an unorthodox chain-lube method that keeps chains clean and makes them last 20,000 miles or more.)

Other things to grease during assembly (and not regularly afterward) to prevent freezing up so you can't get things apart are the pedal threads, some of the bolts, and the seat post.  Stuck seat posts are too common of a problem, but it is important to use the right stuff.  Grease if fine for metal seat posts and frames, but there are better things for carbon.

But again if you're new at maintaining the bike, the only lube you should be concerning yourself with is the chain.

Offline John Nelson

I agree. If you are not dismantling anything, then you should confine yourself to lubing the chain with a commercially available lube designed specifically for a bicycle chain. Ask at your local bike shop for recommendations, and, most importantly, for the proper way to apply it (or search on the web for instructions). You can also apply a drop of chain lubricant occasionally to your jockey wheel bearings. Remember, a little goes a long way and you should always thoroughly wipe off anything you can get off.

Some people lube their cables, but it's probably better to just replace them whenever shifting becomes less precise.

Offline rvklassen

Add to the list the pivot points in your front and rear derailleurs (nothing like the frequency with which you oil the chain, though).

And avoid getting any oil on the tires, as it degrades the rubber.


Offline Westinghouse

White lightning on chain, chain rings, and rear cluster, in brake and deraileur cables. Grease your bottom bracket bearings and races well and it should be good for crossing the US E-W, W-E with no preoblem. New lubricants on the market are qhite good. Grease bearings and races well in the front and rear hubs. That should do it. Lubricate all moving and rubbing points.

Offline Pat Lamb

Never had much luck with White Lightning, but we crossed the country with Boeshield.  Two points; first, something like either of these two reduces the greasy chain-ring tatoos.  Second, make sure you apply in the evening, and wipe down in the morning.  Otherwise, you'll get some pretty awesome dried paraffin gunk buildup.  (Don't ask how I know!)

I'd suggest you drop a few bucks before you start, and get a bike shop to lube everything.  (If you knew what to lube, you wouldn't be asking here!)  Then the only thing you'll need to worry about is the chain, and perhaps brake pivots around Kansas.

Offline staehpj1

I too had poor luck with White Lightning and like Boeshield T-9.

We used White Lightning for a small portion of the Trans America and found the build up pretty bad.  I followed the application instructions on the bottle and the result was the worst waxy build up I have ever seen.  I am not sure exactly which of the White Lightning products we used.  Maybe one of the others is better.  What we used was so bad that I am not inclined to try them though.

Applying T-9 fairly often and wiping off thoroughly resulted in a nice clean shiny chain and long chain life (10,000+ miles).

Offline paddleboy17

I also have a good history with T-9 and a bad history with White Lightning.  In defense of White Lightning, my experience was 10 years ago, and I am sure that they twiddle with the formulation all the time.  At that time, White Lighning had a Trimble score of 4 which meant that it was barely a lubricant.  The two seasons that I used White Lightning on my mountain bike, I had to annually replace a middle front chain ring, a chain, and a rear cluster.  Since I was running XTR, it just got too expensive to use WhiteLightning.  Since switching back to T-9, the mountain bike has only had to have the chain replaced.  Other than changing lubes, my maintenance practice are unchanged, although it did take me several years to accept the citrus based degreasers (but that is another argument).
Danno

Offline whittierider

Quote
We used White Lightning for a small portion of the Trans America and found the build up pretty bad.
Try the "Shedding Formula" which I think is relatively new, probably developed for that very reason.

Offline staehpj1

Quote
We used White Lightning for a small portion of the Trans America and found the build up pretty bad.
Try the "Shedding Formula" which I think is relatively new, probably developed for that very reason.
We were told what we had was supposed to flake off but it didn't.  That was 2007 though so maybe it is better now.

Offline sstocking

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Thanks for all the feedback and education.  I m just a dumb ole sparky, not too good with mechanical.  Thanks Again! :)
Scott

Offline DaveB

Thanks for all the feedback and education.  I m just a dumb ole sparky, not too good with mechanical.  Thanks Again! :)
I recommend you get and read a good basic book on bike maintenance and repair.  It will help you to know how the bike works and what should be done and, if nothing else, you will understand what the bike shop is recommending. It will also give you the knowledge to handle roadside emergencies if one should occur.

I too have had poor luck with White Lightening.  I have settled on ProLink Chain Lube but there are a lot of other good ones too.

Offline John Nelson

I too have had poor luck with White Lightning.  I have settled on ProLink.
+1

Offline rvklassen

All these recommendations in favour and against White lightning probably bear some explanation.

First, White Lightning makes three grades, with the "wet" grade intended for, well, wet riding.  They *claim* you can take your bike through a stream with this and not have to re-apply.   There tends to be a strong correlation between people's satisfaction with different lubricants and where they ride.

In dry climates the best option is something that sheds dirt.  In wet climes you want something that sheds water.  At this point these seem to be different.  ProLink does not get dirty as fast as White Lightning (wet), but you pretty much need to re-apply if you get any rain.  In really dry climates some folks have reported great success with dipping the chain in hot paraffin wax once a year, and then not applying any further lubricant or other maintenance.  In wet climates that doesn't work so well.   For a cross country trip you will get a mix of wet and dry.

Offline bogiesan

Oil and grease and lubricants need a bit of clarification when you're talking about bicycle mechanisms.

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