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Lube, cleaning chain
Last Post 06/22/2016 09:54 AM by 79 pmooney. 19 Replies.
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06/14/2016 11:33 AM
I've been using Squirt Dry Lube for the past year and have been pretty pleased but it doesn't keep things quiet for more than 3-4 days.  I typically drip it on top of the chain on both sides but the side plates don't get it directly.  Mostly focused on the rollers.  I'll wipe it as best I can with the shop rag and try to get it worked in but I'm thinking that a lot of the noise I get is coming from the plates and not the pins.

What would you all suggest?  Should I use a hard brush to scrub it down and if so, with what cleaner?  I sometimes use Simple Green for that.

Squirt is definitely a lot cleaner than using something like Tri-Flow (although I do kinda like the smell.)  I don't get the black specks all over my white chainstays but the chain sure does purr when it has a fresh coat of the stuff.


06/14/2016 12:22 PM
I'm currently using Rock N Roll Gold Lube. It probably depends on your riding conditions, I apply the lube about every 3-4 days as well. I like Rock N Roll as my chain and cassette stays squeaky clean. It appears to dry more like a wax lube as when it drips on my garage floor that's what it looks like. I was using Finish Line Ceramic, but I spent a lot of time cleaning my chain and cassette. I also discovered that my steel bike driveline with a alloy crank has a lot less noise than my carbon bike with a carbon crank. I would not use Simple Green to clean my chain. I read that long term use of Simple Green can weaken a bicycle chain "hydrogen embrittlement". Probably better off just using mineral spirits. I just use a rag, elbow grease and an old toothbrush. Maybe you could use one of those little gadgets that attach to your chain with a cleaning solution (?).


06/14/2016 01:11 PM
"hydrogen embrittlement". I hear that and my skin crawls. Two years ago, Jessica J's fork blades started to fail from that during a 40 mile, 2000' of climbing and descending ride. By chance, I had chain issues and crept down the two big descents just of I could not stress the chain and use it in three weeks for Cycle Oregon. Late miles of that ride the front end of the bike developed a massive shudder every time I touched the front brake. Didn't use it the last 5 miles. Got home and bent the fork blade 30 degrees with less than a pound of force. Cracked 3/4s around. Left blade cracked about a 1/4.

I learned that day that the Miche lockring has too big a diameter for the chain to sit down on the tetth of the 13 tooth cog; that the 12t lockring must be used. I learned this at 1600' elevation. Thank you. Gods above! I crawled around the most fun, tight banked turn around that I love to blast into and slam the brakes.

That fork, 2 1/2 years old with 7000 miles was nickle plated Columbus SP in a minimal investment cast crown with no scalloping. The cracks ran horizontally right next to the crown edge, Took it back to TiCycles and Dave snapped the blade off like it was a toothpick, then started studying why it broke. (His brazing, now fully visible on the inside; that brazing human eyes never see, was impeccable. A perfect machined radius except the matte finish of raw braze.) Dave learned that the nickle plating process drives hydrogen atoms into the steel,. a huge issue for high strength steels. A several hour low temp heat treat is required to drive out the molecules out, something the plater never did and never said was required for that steel. (It would have been a $30 additional charge, no big deal at all, but neither of us knew it was needed. Finishes aren't Dave's profession. He trusts his sub-contractors to get it right.)

I rode that CO on 531 fork blades in a very conservative highly scalloped crown and paint from a model shop. (Nowhere near enough time remaining for a professional paint job.)

Chains are a lot less of an issue. But I stand as witness that hydrogen embrittlement is real. (I think of it as like mixing golf ball sized stones into the mortar of your brick house and shudder to think how it would fair in even a very small earthquake.) What I have heard is that Simple Green is OK, as long as you do not let the chain sit in it long and rinse it very thoroughly. Still, I don't.

Nick A


06/14/2016 01:56 PM
I use orange, citrus based degreaser. No problems.



06/14/2016 03:15 PM
Interested in hearing other opinions on this topic. Dry lube: I also use Rock N Roll Gold for the bikes I use in dirt. No complaints other than the buildup of sludge on the jockey wheels.

Wet Lube: For the road bike I have always stuck with ProLink Gold. I like it, but it's messy and I tire of cleaning it all the time.

Is there something better out there?


06/14/2016 03:17 PM
+1 for ProLink Gold.


06/14/2016 03:20 PM
ProLink Gold


06/14/2016 03:44 PM
I've been using Triflow for years. No issues.


06/14/2016 03:48 PM
I used to work for US Steel in the Tech Center. One of their divisions was American Bridge. They built the New River Gorge Bridge in W. Virginia, the one that once a year people jump off of with parachutes. One of the techs who worked on the bridge told me that they used the wrong lube on the cables -- something hydrocarbon based. They built the bridge out from each end. Just as they connected the two, a cable snapped. Luckily the bridge did not collapse. Hydrogen embrittlement to the extreme.


06/14/2016 03:50 PM
wrt to lube: I use CRC-56. It's light, penetrating, and protects from rusting.
Orange Crush


06/14/2016 05:33 PM

Regular price, $4.99 CDN.


06/15/2016 07:23 PM
Royal Purple is my go to for dry bike.
Start with a clean chain fully degreased. Add RP till the chain is fully wet. Let sit overnight to allow the carrier to evaporate. repeat every 300 miles or 500 KM. reapply if the chain gets wet. Very quiet, very long lasting, great chain life, cleaner than wet lubes, lets gunk on the Drive train and compatible with citrus cleaners.
I have been using on my and my wife road bikes for about 4 years now and really like it. Best dry condition chain lube I have used.
Nick A


06/16/2016 09:29 AM
Yeah Prolink for me too. Road, commuter, family's "round town" bikes. PS: The degreaser, I get at Home Depot by the gallon, cheap. Use it for car stuff too.

Gonzo Cyclist


06/21/2016 09:59 AM
been using Tri-flow forever, since my BMX days, and we will not talk about how long ago that was!!
The key for me has been that I wipe down the chain after every ride, get rid of the grit and grime, apply another coat of Tri-Flow, let it soak in, wipe off the excess.
Best example is, I got 12K miles out of a cheap Shimano Sora drivtrain on a cross bike, just by cleaning and lubing the chain after every ride, still worked fine when I replaced the drivetrain, but I was getting worried about breaking the chain.
Cosmic Kid


06/21/2016 10:08 AM
SO I am gonna whole-hog on this issue leading up to IMWI in September. Gonna order an ultrasonic cleaner (~$100) to get my chains and cassettes completely clean and wax my chains just prior to my prime races (IM Racine 70.3 and IMWI).

For those interested, see below....

The other option will be to get an ICE chain, which can be sent back to them and retreated as needed.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
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