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Thorough testing of chainlubes
 

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Rickk
Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 526
Location: Montreal

1/18/18 2:26 PM

Thorough testing of chainlubes

This guy's approach in evaluating various types of chain lubes to help extract those extra precious few watts - is more structured/interesting than others'.
Plus he seems to know his chain & lube siht !
2 thumbs up: https://youtu.be/4OkjvguSvlE

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Wheels
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 1147
Location: Needham, MA

1/20/18 7:10 PM

Test is Bunk......

Didn't test the lube products from Slick Willy. ; ) interesting approach that he is doing. Also, a few lubes I have never heard of.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3239
Location: NorCal

1/20/18 7:30 PM

Seems like several of the solvent-diluted "wax" lubes should be among those tested here, but this seems to be a test conducted by someone with a dog in the chainlube fight.

I'm still most interested in the sort of lube and ritual which allows for an extremely fast re-application and cleaning. I'm confident that I could easily service my chain that way [I]before every ride[I/] and still be spending less time and money over time than the sort of regimen involved with any melting of wax.

I'm currently using a squeeze bottle with thin applicator tube for application with a continuous stream to the moving chain. In the bottle I mix about 20% motor oil with the extremely fast-drying liquid that I empty from an aerosol can of either [u]Blaster Advanced Dry Lube[u/] OR [u]WD40 Dry Lube Spray[u/], which are basically just hexane and PTFE.
Terrycloth rag in hand, I lube and clean my chain and pulleys in under two minutes, and the chain does deliver a very smooth sound while riding and shifting.

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Wheels
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 1147
Location: Needham, MA

1/20/18 7:56 PM

Faster Evaporating Solvent

Use Acetone. Hexanes BP 10 deg C higher. It's also cheaper and easier to obtain than draining an aerosol can into bottle and adding in the 20% by weight oil.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3239
Location: NorCal

1/20/18 9:25 PM

Thanks for the advice.
And which raises the question of how much value that the PTFE in the aerosol offers.
PTFE isn't quite an E.P. additive in the context of the most highly-stressed steel pin surfaces, but at the sideplates may be a bigger friction-reducer in terms of watts.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4189
Location: Nashua, NH

1/21/18 10:43 AM

Be careful with acetone...

...as it eats most types of paint and will attack the resins used in composites. Unless your frame is bare Ti, Al or stainless, I'd stay away from solvents as aggressive as acetone in a chain lube.

The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that the lubricant needs to fully penetrate into the chain. A super-fast drying solvent may prevent that from happening, in which case you've only lubed the least important part of the chain.

The tests depicted at the link above are interesting, but the fact that Molten Speed Wax appears to be so superior leads me to question whether something is amiss in the testing protocol. The difference just seems to be too much to be realistic.

I also wonder if he'll test lubes if you send him a sample (plus some cash, I assume)? I'd love to see how the stuff I've been brewing compares to other drip lubes. Maybe Wheels and I can share the shipping cost on a "Care package" to him. ;-)

I'm not that concerned how it compares to wax, as I'm never going to go through the BS required to wax chains, no matter how good it is.

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Wheels
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 1147
Location: Needham, MA

1/21/18 12:16 PM

C'mon Brian...

your smarter than that!

Acetone, MEK may/can attack some composites/paints but you have to expose them for extended time in large volumes before they break it down. You have to fully douse stickers and paints with acetone before they start to slide off. Epoxy and vinyl-ester composites are not affected once cured.

Also, the acetone in the lube won'y flash off that quickly before the drop gets into the innards of the chain. The nice thing about acetone is it is a clean solvent and breaks down somewhat in the enviro.

dddd, if you're worried about Brian's statements of acetone causing potential break down of your paint or not getting into your chain innards, use OMS instead of Hexanes with your oil. Hexanes is smelly and basically a significant portion of gasoline. OMS won't flash as quickly as Hexanes or Acetone, but won't "stink" as much as Hexanes.

Brian, I agree w/ you on your Molten Speed Wax observation......something doesn't add up here/there.

On a similar subject, how's that your product idea coming along? Any scale-up or traction yet or are you still "Mad Sciencing" in the basement lab? Best of luck if you're still working on this.

Wheels

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daddy-o
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 3235
Location: Springfield

1/21/18 1:21 PM

How about naptha / Ronson lighter fluid? It comes in quart cans at the Home Depot and it dissolves paraffin.

Acetone MSDS (php scripts that open PDFs)
Naptha MSDS
Hexane MSDS
Heptane MSDS Bestine rubber cement solvent
Water MSDS Yeah, water. (Melting point not available?!?)

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16861
Location: Portland, OR

1/21/18 1:47 PM

I'd rater put new chains on seasonally than 'stretch' out the life of them, possibly non stretching my own life playing with solvents the more I think about it. ;)

This coming from the guy who still paints with nitro lacquer. With the correct filters for the material.

I don't even like breathing in several new car interiors gassing out. Over these past few years with our accident history and having to replace way soon, etc.

Or adding the smell of my lube in my car if I lube before going to a riding spot/start. Better to do it ahead of time I guess. ;)

Probably little correlation between smell and bad for you factor anyway.

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daddy-o
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 3235
Location: Springfield

1/21/18 2:00 PM

I wear charcoal filters cleaning the bathroom and waxing the car. Every little bit helps.

Most of us rode before catalytic converters came to dominate. How many times in the last 30 years have you suddenly smelled gasoline and seen a '70 Charger (etc.) just passed? We used to ride thousands of miles a year in crap hundreds of times worse. So yeah, charcoal filters. -link to asthma thread-

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Rickk
Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 526
Location: Montreal

1/22/18 7:51 AM

What about effectiveness and/or "relative" safety of methyl alcohol - used as a final "rinse" to remove any film left behind on the chain after having cleaned, degreased and/or ultrasounded it (and before relubing it with your fav chain lube brew, so that it (chainlube) has access to the bare chain metal)?

He suggests using methylized spirits as a final rinse instead of soapy water or just more degreaser / mineral spirits etc.

Is this overkill? Seems like a lot of hard-to-find maintenance time devoted to do it "right".

I didn't know this stuff years ago. Ignorance was bliss back then!
;)

Ps. Re. Charcoal filters and potential dangers to lungs and sinus tissues - Pethaps that's why it serms like he's doing his chain lube testing outdoors?

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Rickk
Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 526
Location: Montreal

1/22/18 9:00 AM

I switched to a simple home-brew lube variation after reading comments here years ago.

I'm not a fan of wax-based lubes, after using Pedros Ice Wax also many years ago, progressively gunking up my whole drivetrain with wax.

If I was a diy paraffin user, I'd be wondering how much longevity and friction decreasing difference there was between a cheap, basic block of plain wax bought at Walmart, vs the teflon/mbds infused wax brand the testor above found to be "best" (and is pedelling).

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2940
Location: Midland, MI

1/22/18 4:28 PM

OMS vs. the world

Methinks there's way to much thinking going on here. OMS is, on balance, a pretty good solvent for chain lube. Cheap, low odor, readily available, and reasonably fast evaporation. A lube made with OMS should not be used just before a ride because it will tend to fly off the chain and make a mess, but if you lube the day before most of it will have evaporated as required.

"Cleaning" the chain after cleaning the chain (with methanol) makes little sense. If the chain was going to be used in a clean room environment, then maybe all these extra steps would be appropriate, but out in the real world, the environmental dirt and dust puts paid instantly to all that cleaning. If you are worried about cleaning, sluice the chain with OMS, spin the cranks for a minute, wipe it clean, then apply the OMS-based lube. My own technique is to skip the OMS cleaning step and just sluice the chain with OMS based lube, spin the cranks to slurry up all the junk on the chain and then wipe the excess off. I get 350 miles per application and my chains last around 10K miles before reaching the 0.5% elongation standard.

Stronger riders' chains will not last as long, nor will chains that have to operate in bad weather on a regular basis. Really dusty environments are also a challenge and perhaps the only place where wax lubes (or other truly dry lubes) are possibly appropriate.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4189
Location: Nashua, NH

1/22/18 5:19 PM

Wheels, I've seen acetone damage a paint finish with a single swipe of a rag, so I think I'm right to advise caution. You're correct that it will take some time to damage a composite part.

I'm getting great results with the lube and the feedback from people who've tried it has been overwhelmingly positive, but that's a very small sample size. I would like to see it tested against commercial lubes, if for no other reason that to see how it stacks up.

OMS works great, but it does evaporate slowly and it's best to let lube dry overnight. Perhaps if you have the option of letting the bike sit in the sun, that might speed it up somewhat.

If I read the test info correctly "methylated spirits" is what we call "denatured alcohol". It's a mild, zero-residue, relatively safe solvent that I use a lot for light cleaning, but it doesn't cut grease, oil or wax well.

I am pretty lazy when it comes to chain maintenance these days. Typically, I just wipe the chain down with a rag moistened with OMS to remove lube and dirt from the outside of the chain. I apply a drop of lube to each chain link, then spin the chain for a minute or two to work it in. After wiping it down with a dry rag, I repeat the application and working it in. A final wipedown and the bike is ready to go, though I usually lube it when I can let it sit overnight before riding.

That said, the next time I replace a chain, I'll completely strip and clean it before applying my lube, then try cleaning it when I re-lube, just to see how much difference it makes. One of the things I do like about the tests referenced above is that they test contamination clearing performance and longevity.

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Rickk
Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 526
Location: Montreal

1/22/18 6:28 PM

Thanks for your engineeing-based perspective Kerry. Your routine's similar to mine with the homebrew.

Brian, I think they were using the alcohol to "clean" the previously cleaned (with ons or other degreaser) chain, so as to apparently strip any lingering oms/degreaser residue off the chain, and allow a better penetration of the new lube into the microscopic chain pores.

Obsessive? You bet. In the grand scheme of things most of us here likely have better things to do with their free time. I know I do. Nonetheless it was an interesting video.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16861
Location: Portland, OR

1/22/18 6:44 PM

"I've seen acetone damage a paint finish with a single swipe of a rag, so I think I'm right to advise caution."

Oh shit, I though this frame was powder coated and not wet painted.... Acetone eats most paint post haste.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4189
Location: Nashua, NH

1/23/18 6:21 AM

Rickk, I use denatured alcohol in the same way at times, though not with bike chains. OMS leaves a slightly oily residue and the alcohol removes it. Getting rid of the residue is important before gluing, bluing, painting, soldering, etc.

Last edited by Brian Nystrom on 1/23/18 12:48 PM; edited 1 time in total

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2940
Location: Midland, MI

1/23/18 10:06 AM

penetration


quote:
allow a better penetration of the new lube into the microscopic chain pores.



Nope. Any residual oils will not prevent microscopic penetration. At the interface between the lube and any residual cleaning solvent, the hugely excess concentration of the lube will drive it into every portion of the chain. The only time this would not happen would be if the cleaning solvent was somehow immiscible with the lube solvent and had a very strong affinity for the metal surfaces of the chain.

I have a hard time imagining how that could occur but it does argue AGAINST using a water-soluble cleaning agent like methanol.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4189
Location: Nashua, NH

1/23/18 12:52 PM

That's interesting

Before I got lazy, I used to clean my drivetrain with citrus cleaner, rinse it with water, then apply Pro-Link. It always seemed to drive out the residual water in the chain immediately. I can't imagine that alcohol of any type could be more of a potential problem than that, especially since it evaporates quickly.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3239
Location: NorCal

1/24/18 11:01 AM

It does seem to be the case that any kind of oil or petro solvent displaces water, i.i. had a much greater capillary-driven penetration than water or alcohol.
And yeah, alcohol doesn't seem to dissolve/mix with oil very well at all.

I choose my aerosol hexane/ptfe because in the 12oz can it is only $7, pretty cheap, because it dries at just the right rate, not very smelly at all and because it is the chosen diluent of so many consumer products so must at least pass some tests for safety.

And I can't emphasize enough using a restricted squeeze bottle that allows the lube to be applied with a continuous stream, cuts out at least half the time of lubing and wiping the chain right there!

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4189
Location: Nashua, NH

1/25/18 6:28 AM

Considering that I'm generally going to let the lube dry overnight, an extra few minutes to apply the lube precisely where it's needed is no big deal. It also reduces waste.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3239
Location: NorCal

1/26/18 4:36 PM

Choosing a faster, easier (and still highly uniform) way to apply the lube shouldn't imply wasting any, since modern (i.e. "bushingless") chains are completely "open" to the lube's saturating every nook and cranny.
So I can apply the lube to the side plates or the rollers, and the chain reaches saturation (short of the point of lube dripping off) either way.
Getting the lube to clean the chain does require some degree of over-lubing, since the solvent+lube is the vehicle for moving detritus from the chain to the rag.
The question can still be raised as to which lube and method results in the lowest monetized cost in terms of total time, parts and lube, and add to that environmental impact for one head-scratcher of a calculation!

I can envision a bike shop apparatus with rotating brush wheels that gets attached to the chain and has two tubes, one supplying lube and the other (bigger one) scavenging air, dirt and lube into a vacuum-evacuated pair (storage and settling) of drums.
A rider's bike could thus have the chain completely cleaned, lubed and evacuated of excess lube in under a minute, easily.
It would be simply the "shop" version of a traditional clip-on chain cleaner "box".
Seems they could charge at least a few dollars for this, especially with some performance data having perhaps been established for dirty versus thus-cleaned chains.
It wouldn't be too much harder to incorporate a force readout to the chain-driving motor, allowing the rider to see pre- vs. post-cleaning friction force numbers, which however wouldn't necessarily reflect the level of power loss under the full force of pedaling.
There would have to be a periodic pickup and replacement of the lube that has been recycled through the machine to some established limit of it's service life, so could overall be quite environmentally friendly with the liquid being re-synthesized into new product or into a different product altogether.

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greglepore
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1634
Location: SE Pa, USA

1/29/18 10:38 AM

Ptfe is available in powder form from Amazon. I use powdered ptfe in my wax.
I'm a year into the wax experiment. While it does take some time, I do it when I'm doing other things in the shop as well. Have several chains in rotation, makes it easy. The only glitch is keeping straight which are 10 and which are 11.
I've ditched the whole US cleaning thing unless I'm stripping a new chain; otherwise they go straight into the wax. You do go through more wax that way, but the time savings is worth it.

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