Chain Lube

So, with lots of home time, I have started to wonder if there is a better chain lube than the prolink that I have been using. I have read that wax based lubes are good and maybe don’t leave the chain with the black gunk that ends up on legs. Anyone have any recommendations? Rock and Roll Gold? SILCA Super Secret? Finish Line Dry? Parafin? Have been cleaning my chain about every hundred miles and relubing. Anyone have some lube that is really special?

12 Replies

Jboz, June 29, 2020 at 8:30 pm

This is a hotly debated topic on most cycling forums. Personally I use a parafin wax…switched over about a year ago and love it. I rewax about every 300 miles, but obviously would need to stretch that out a bit on RAGBRAI. I like to keep my bikes super clean, and a waxed chain really helps with that. But lots of people use regular chain lube (lots of varieties) and have no issues. I just love the clean factor.

#1320687

LawnchairMan, June 30, 2020 at 3:36 pm

https://www.ceramicspeed.com/media/3505/velonews-friction-facts-chain-lube-tests-combined.pdf

Olddownhiller,
I use Rock-n-Roll Gold. I was using Prolink for years until I read the Ceramic Speed article at the link above. It says that paraffin gives the least drag, but I don’t want to have to take my chain off every week to bathe it in melted paraffin. I’ve heard that rain washes it off too. Perhaps Jboz could verify this. Rock-n-Roll Gold is almost as efficient as paraffin but gives me the convenience of dripping it on from a bottle. Like you, I try to lube every hundred miles. That usually equates to every other ride. It’s probably psychological, but I feel slower on the days without fresh lube. At Ragbrai I lube every day.
I still use the instructions from Prolink to ride a few miles after application and then wipe off as much as I can. I can’t get it all, but it does lighten the chain tattoos. I plan to use Rock-n-Roll Gold for a long time.

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Jboz, June 30, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Lawnchairman, I have not experienced any washing away of wax during rainy rides. The concern over rain and wax is related to the potential for some surface rust to develop on a waxed chain after wet riding conditions. This is easily mitigated by simply wiping the drivetrain down (which is a much cleaner operation than a traditionally lubed chain) to dry it off. Then I apply a quick application of a wax based lube like Squirt Lube. Good to go. To me, the fact that the drivetrain stays so clean to the touch is the biggest advantage. YMMV of course. As far as a performance advantage, I ride at a touring pace…can’t say that I have noticed any difference, but supposedly wax has some very minimal advantage. Hope this helps.

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LawnchairMan, June 30, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Jboz,
Thank you for your input about paraffin. Sounds like it works well in all weather.
I assume that my 11-foot chain would be awkward to get into a crock-pot and then get the loops out as I re-install it. According to the Ceramic Speed article, wax gets about two-tenths of a watt advantage over Rock-n-Roll Gold. For that small of a difference, I will stick with the convenience of lube in a bottle.
Stay safe!

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mootsman, July 1, 2020 at 7:20 am

Check out the videos on youtube on proper chain lube application. The goal is to lube the roller cams and not the outside of the chain or the cogs, chainrings. I use prolink and wipe all the lube off the outside of the chain and drive train. Stays quit and dirt free. Like the video says.

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SFC JKL 2, July 5, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Squirt chain lube is awesome. I got a sample and it said it was long lasting, so I thought I would give it a try. I went 500 miles without a squeak. I’ve used it for three years now.

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jeffreydennis, July 15, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Rock and roll for me

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olddownhiller, July 16, 2020 at 9:52 am

With thanks to Lawnchairman for the link to the lube tests, I bought a bottle of Squirt. Today I plan an extensive cleaning of my drivetrain and application of Squirt. Not taking the chain off the bike, I will use the Park chain cleaner with two rounds of simple green, a round of orange solvent, a round of rubbing alcohol, and finally a water rinse. Will wipe off chain rings and scrub the cassette. Hope this works.

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olddownhiller, July 24, 2020 at 11:55 am

So far, dismal failure.

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Gypsy Rose, August 2, 2020 at 7:58 am

For the past 40 years, I have used paraffin on my chains. In the past 10 years or so, I have started mixing in some beeswax which is intended to help it adhere better. At home, I have a small crockpot that is dedicated to wax. While on the road on tour, I plan a tuna meal once a week so I can use the can for melting the wax and running the chain through it. On RAGBRAI, I’ve taken to using the cans that are most easily accessible – beer! (I wax mid-week.)

The combination of cleanliness and effectiveness of the wax was what sold me decades ago and I haven’t considered anything else since.

Cheers,
~ Kevin

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olddownhiller, August 3, 2020 at 9:38 am

I’m wondering how you clean a new chain. I’m still using Squirt which is a bit like wax but even after trying hard to start with a clean drivetrain I have pretty black wax on my chain. I have not found any increased chain wear and my chain is quiet but would like a cleaner look to the whole thing. Not switching my wife’s bike to Squirt.

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mootsman, August 4, 2020 at 2:42 am

I’m wondering how you clean a new chain. I’m still using Squirt which is a bit like wax but even after trying hard to start with a clean drivetrain I have pretty black wax on my chain. I have not found any increased chain wear and my chain is quiet but would like a cleaner look to the whole thing. Not switching my wife’s bike to Squirt.

You might try starting your own topic on the subject to get more replies to your question. I take the chain, put it in a jar with some cleaner (I use a citric cleaner), put the cap on and give it a good shaking. Doesn’t need a lot of cleaner. Then dry it off well before putting on the lube of my choice.

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