Recommended chain lubricants

For the chains on HP Velotechnik bikes:
– T9 Boeshield.  This is a good all weather dry lube.  HP Velotechnik chain tubes have teflon particles in the tubes, so they are very low friction.  Our concern is not to introduce gunk into the chain tubes.  T9 is the product for that.Cruzbikes.
Since CB’s have a traditional chain, with no tube, you can choose whatever lube you prefer.  These are my favorites:
– T9 Boeshield (for a dry lube)
– No. 5 Chain-L, Huile de Chaine (for a tenacious wet lube)

There are a few other products I sometimes use. They’re the usual suspects: Finish Line, White Lightning, Phil’s Tenacious, etc.  And I have a few other “secret” lubes that I experiment with, but, sorry, they’re secret.

One not-so-secret lube is graphite dust applied liberally to the outside of the chain.  Very old school, dirty as heck, and highly effective.

What you DON’T want to use on your chain:
– WD40
– Fluids that penetrate and remove grease from the chain (grease is good).

To clean dirt off your chain, simply use a clean dry dust-free rag to wipe off the dirt.

Before all else, I should probably say, you need to start with a clean high quality chain.  You can’t turn a dirty old chain into a good and efficient chain.  Chains are cheap.  So are cassettes and chain rings.  Start fresh.

High quality chains, such as those from Shimano, KMC and SRAM, have been assembled in the factory with industrial grade lubricants.  So, that job has been done for you, better than most people could ever do it themselves.  Generally, you just want to protect that industrial grade lubricant and keep dirt particles from getting inside the chain (inside the chain’s bushings).  Dirt on the inside of the chain’s bushings causes the greatest amount of friction and wear.

Corrosion on the outside (and inside) of the chain is something you want to avoid, by keeping your chain lubed.  If you have chain tubes on your bike, you’ll want to dry off your chain between rain storms because moisture inside the chain tubes will cause corrosion on the outside of the chain.

Dirt on the outside isn’t a huge concern in terms of performance and wear.  For one thing, you can’t do much about it, so there’s little point in worrying about it.  There may need to be asterisks and foot notes here (you need a clean chain before applying lube; dirt on the outside may be desirable, it actually may prevent dirt from getting inside the bushings; dirt on the outside will wear your chain rings and cassette, but you can’t stop parts wearing out, same as you can’t stop entropy; dirt on the outside of a chain may mask corrosion on the outside which you definitely do not want; the best thing of all for long term chain and “cog” life is to have a bike with an enclosed drive train, e.g., Flevobike’s Green Machine).

Are you keeping all this straight?  The main thing to remember is this: start fresh, apply T9.

Your mechanic may have a few chain maintenance secrets too.  There’s no reason not to go with whatever they suggest.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

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