How To Chainlube NSMB AndrewM.JPG
EDITORIAL | HOW TO

Two Ways To Lube A Chain

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jun 14, 2021
Reading time

Sedulous v. Squidulous

When it comes to bikes, my compeer Toucan and I agree on quite a few things, though often from different slants. For an easy example, we both feel strongly that mullet bike sales will increase dramatically over the next couple of years. But, where I'm totally down with the hybrid mix of big and small wheels on full suspension bikes, Toucan is whinging so hard about the move away from dual 29'ers that I'm getting flashbacks to the #26ForLifers.

Another thing we absolutely agree on is the proper way to lube a chain. But, where I diligently follow it by putting a solitary drop of oil on each roller, one at a time, the night before a ride, my colourful Ramphastidae friend is, shall I say, slightly less sedulous. In fact, when it comes to lubing his chain, Toucan chiefly ignores the right way of doing things and squids all over it as he's rolling out of the door for four-hour loops trying to beat Stephen Matthew's time down Boogeyman.

Where I love Dumonde Tech's Pro-X Regular or the new Wolf Tooth WT-1 lubes for my persnickety chain maintenance routine, Toucan and I strongly agree that the average applicator is probably following his regular methodology. That means they're going to be happiest with Boeshield's T-9. That has him preening himself joyously and me wondering if a little bit of enlightenment wouldn't bring at least some of the masses over to my side.

So, here I'm presenting a completely equal and totally unbiased look at our two chain lube methods for your honest assessment (do try this at home). First up the method that Toucan uses, and the second the method we both agree is better.

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You can't go wrong with any of these top-end lubrication options, but your process will dictate the best option - and best value - for your drivetrain.

Method #1: Squidulous Toucan

From TriFlow to 3-In-One, to whatever junk is in the bottle on these lube-Luddites' benches, this method of chain lubrication is practiced globally by cyclists of all stripes. It's well-loved for its maximum application of oil in a minimal amount of time and requires zero pre-planning to take a chain from squeaky to sloshed.

As noted, the two-step Squidulous Toucan does have its advantages in terms of speed and simplicity.

Step 1. Spin cranks backward while ejecting a steady stream of solution onto your chain.

Step 2. Ride Mountain Bicycle

My best advice for the absolute adherents to this abhorrence is to use Boeshield T-9, and Boeshield T-9 only. I've tried a lot of different lubrication options, wet and dry, and this stuff stays stuck, attracts substantially less detritus, and generally protects better in an easier-to-clean format than anything else you can coat your drivetrain with. It's an all-around, all-year-round, base from which I compare all other chain lubes.

I love it for use on other peoples' bikes and also it's great for coating the inside of steel frames as a rust prohibitor. It's also relatively inexpensive and available everywhere.

Best Lube NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

If you're a lubrication nerd like me, please feel encouraged to check out my more general effort at enlightening the greasy masses: The Best Of Lubes vs The Rest Of Lubes.

Method #2: Sedulous Drew-Bob

In contrast, my method does require a couple of extra steps and the addition of a clean, dry, rag. I've been using the new Wolf Tooth WT-1 lube for a little while now with great results, and my long-time go-to has been Dumonde Tech's Pro-X Regular so those are the two options I'm recommending here.

The WT-1 is 24 CAD for a 2oz bottle vs 18 CAD for 2oz of the Pro-X. Either way, I'm using it so sparingly, and it works so well, I think I can still make a good argument for value.

They're both fantastic products that thoroughly bond to the chain so they last multiple rides and run very quietly. If I was forced to split hairs I'd say that, after a couple of rides, the WT-1 does run a bit cleaner and is easier to wipe down and it's also quieter on the first application. The Pro-X absolutely outlasts anything else I've used and it also dampens noise nicely, especially after a couple of applications. As mentioned, both products adhere very well to metal so they last multiple rides and don't wash off easily. In my mind using less, and not having to hit my drivetrain with a degreaser regularly, is a win for the products and the method.

Now, my recommendations aside, if you're taking the time to lube your drivetrain using something similar to this more persnickety method and using a different chain lube I'd be interested to know the what and why!

How To Chainlube NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Step #1 - Wipe down that dirty chain with a clean-enough, dry cloth. (I actually recommend doing this after every ride but then I'm also not a hoser).

Since Toucan makes this sound like some kind of herculean labour, I decided to wind him up a bit by having my six-year-old demonstrate the entire process while I drink a beer.

The good news, for those that don't have tiny mechanics, is that this process can always involve a beer, or coffee, or some downtime reading, or whatever you'd like since it's best–practice to pause between the application of the chain lube and the final wipe. I mean, you can certainly also fold some laundry or put away the dishes if you're feeling very efficient, but I think lubing a chain is a great excuse for some you-time.

Anyways, this process isn't all that more complicated than a messy squidifying but I do recommend doing it the night before a ride, rather than as you're rushing out the door, so there is some pre-planning involved.

Step 1. Wipe chain thoroughly with a clean, dry, cloth.

Step 2. Oil the chain one drop, on one roller, at a time.

Step 2a. Yep, still doing it.

Step 2b. This step is for all you high-pivot bike buyers with the extra chainlinks. Keep going.

Step 3. Backpedal. Backpedal for days. Or, at least 20 complete rotations.

Step 4. Chill the heck out. Give it a good 10, maybe 20 minutes. Whatever you need.

Step 5. Wipe down the chain again.

These top-end chain lubes are going to draw crap out of the chain pivots, and replace it with lubricant, which is part of how they make the chain so much quieter. Wolf Tooth talks about the detergent in their lube and in the case of the Dumonde Tech, it just does. It also means that my chain always looks extra dirty the first ride after an application. I just wipe it down.

I also try to wipe it down quickly after every ride. Then I cycle the chain and listen.

Wolf Tooth says to re-lube at minimum every 643.75 kilometers of riding but firstly I don't keep track and secondly, Shore kilometers are hard kilometers all year round. As such, I use Dumonde Tech's methodology for knowing when to lube the chain: "Sound. Not distance, weather condition or time." It's always obvious when I'm due for some fresh oil and in the meantime, it keeps my drivetrain much cleaner and my wallet fatter not superfluously coating my bike in liquid gold.

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Step #4 - sit and drink a beer. Seriously, chill the heck out for 10-20minutes. Then, Step #5 - wipe down the chain again.

In addition to my quest for beautiful chain lines, taking my time when I lubricate my drivetrain keeps everything running much cleaner and for much longer. I doubt it really takes me any more time per hour riding than the Squidulous Toucan method, but even if it does, if you invest the time, a couple of times, I know that you - gentle mountain bicycle connoisseur that you are - are going to thrilled with the results.

Give that Sedulous Drew-Bob lube-job a shot! These days it may be the thing that saves the only chain you've got.

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Comments

cooperquinn
+2 Sanesh Iyer Andy Eunson bingobus Konrad
Cooper Quinn  - June 13, 2021, 10:47 p.m.

Oh you're going riding? Since you cleaned your bike when you got back last time...

Wipe. 

Lube*.

Spin/shift. 

Let sit. 

Wipe. 

*obviously with Dumonde, and obviously with a non-faff method. Spin cranks slowly, get a bit on each link. Or spin faster if you're in a hurry? More than a teeny bit per link is just wasting lube. A bottle should last years. Are you secretly employed by Big Chain Lube?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 MuscogeeMasher Konrad bingobus
Andrew Major  - June 13, 2021, 11:10 p.m.

First, it's a tiny amount per link/roller per application. The reason the cranks aren't spinning while the lube is being applied is to ensure that every roller/link gets lubricated.

.

Second, from the article:

"Wolf Tooth says to re-lube at minimum every 643.75 kilometers of riding but firstly I don't keep track and secondly, Shore kilometers are hard kilometers all year round. As such, I use Dumonde Tech's methodology for knowing when to lube the chain: "Sound. Not distance, weather condition or time." It's always obvious when I'm due for some fresh oil and in the meantime, it keeps my drivetrain much cleaner and my wallet fatter not superfluously coating my bike in liquid gold."

"As mentioned, both products adhere very well to metal so they last multiple rides and don't wash off easily. In my mind using less, and not having to hit my drivetrain with a degreaser regularly, is a win for the products and the method."

Where in the article is it suggested that a bottle of lube isn't lasting years in my home shop? We're a family of three, year-round, cyclists and I'm specifically noting the value in a tiny bottle of quality chain lube.

.

Cheers,

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - June 14, 2021, 8:55 a.m.

:)

Reply

cornedbeef
+1 Andrew Major
cornedbeef  - June 14, 2021, 12:50 a.m.

As a mechanic, I've seen my methods evolve. I used to do the Sedulous method, but then gravitated toward the Squidulous method (which I've gotten better at) within the inner-facing rollers. The latter method is not easily done with thinner chain lube and rim brakes; as I've found myself with a secondary rag soaked in degreaser cleaning the drive side brake track to ensure the rear brake doesn't get contaminated. (that sentence is a run on disaster jfc)

Perhaps this roots from the constant pursuit of "productivity", as I'd go with the Sedulous method for all the bikes I work on.

I personally like the Muc-Off C3 Lube, mostly for the rather ergonomic, large size of the container and pointy nozzle. Absolutely perfect for that method. I agree that sound as an indicator is the best indicator of when a chain needs lube.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 1 a.m.

For sure.

I use the sedulous method at home on my own bike. Wrenching on other folks’ bikes, with rare exceptions, it’s Boeshield for the win.

Reply

ackshunW
+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - June 14, 2021, 7:09 a.m.

Hahaha I’ve definitely used squidulous application of WD-40 (shhhh!) to get family member’s crusty bikes up and running (non-serious neighborhood-type rides). But in that context it works better than I would have expected, having consumed a lifetime of Big Chain Oil propaganda. 

Dumond is exceptional, but indeed hard to find. Will look out for the WolfTooth stuff as well. 

It takes being in the right mindset, but watching those single drops of the perfect-viscosity oil drop into and envelop each chain roller can be very... satisfying? Therapeutic? Don’t know. But I’m with you.

What about those squidulous pedals?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 7:36 a.m.

I certainly enjoy the process for process sake!

The Squidworks pedals are good from a grip perspective - not OneUp-level hungry pins, but good - with the longer pins installed fore and aft.  

The bearing assembly is awesome. Proprietary tool, but included. I’m expecting to outlast any other flat pedal I’ve tried between bearing services.

The hybrid construction is interesting. It takes a good amount of time to swap the plastic parts but they’re a very affordable way to refresh your pedals.

It doesn’t bother me, but I predict some folks won’t like how the centre section gets scratched but the ends don’t. It starts to look like the middles are worn but the ends aren’t. 

Anyways, I’ll do a proper review once I have enough hours on the bearings.

Reply

ackshunW
+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - June 16, 2021, 6:51 a.m.

Thanks for that. And congratulations on 100 comments Re: an article about the (from an outside perspective) infinitesimal difference between two ways to put oil on something! Your articles are always interesting and a good read.  :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:12 a.m.

Ha! Cheers, and thanks for the props. I’m glad folks enjoy them.

King Toucan might argue that it’s an article intended to take the piss out of him more than anything to do with chainlube mind you.

He and I had a great laugh last night that (almost) no one was admitting to using his method.

The additional irony is that I ride a single speed and he rides XX1!

Heinous
0
Heinous  - June 20, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

I was once working with a pro team at a Tour high in the French Alps. We had a stage start at the bottom of the hill one day and riders decided to ride down. Bikes always get lubed the night before, because while 10-20mins is good, a whole night in a warm dry room is better. 

I came in from breakfast to inflate tyres, do a bolt check and hand bikes out, and find our Russian assistant mechanic spraying lube / using the Squidulous badly all over a chain which had dripped all over the carbon brake track (his team contract was a weird arrangement that became clearer a couple years later when the russian champion he was minding on the team went positive). He became very aggressive when I intervened. 

This remains the only time I have come to blows with a colleague.

I hesitate to attribute this to chain lube technique.

Reply

papa44
+12 mrbrett Cr4w AndrewR Cooper Quinn hotlapz Andrew Major Dogl0rd jaydubmah Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman bingobus DadStillRides
papa44  - June 14, 2021, 12:54 a.m.

Wait, I’m not supposed to drench my dirty chain in whatever vaguely slipper shit I have to hand as I’m stepping out the door? This hobby is turning into a job

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 papa44
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 12:56 a.m.

Hahahahahahaha :-)

Reply

YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - June 14, 2021, 3:26 a.m.

Just use that pretty bottle of WD-40 staring back at you ;)

After all, it's oily so it has to be a chain lube right??

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Mammal Poz
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 6:49 a.m.

When WD40 started selling chain lube and suddenly you couldn’t  just say “WD40 isn’t lube” was a dark, dark day for cycling.

Not that we don’t keep some around the house!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 6:52 a.m.

Alt. Response:

WD40?! Isn’t that the stuff for making your anodized frame look fresh to get even more cash selling it used?

(A poor man’s SC-1 as it were).

Reply

bingobus
+1 AlanB
bingobus  - June 15, 2021, 10:11 a.m.

For an alternate use WD-40 is the best solvent I have found for getting sticker/decal residue off your frame and other bits.

Reply

denomerdano
+1 Poz
Deniz Merdano  - June 14, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

It is also the nicest smelling liquid in the industry...damn you WD..

Reply

DadStillRides
0
DadStillRides  - June 18, 2021, 5:16 a.m.

But triflow

Reply

DadStillRides
0
DadStillRides  - June 18, 2021, 5:16 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

PKMzeta
0
PKMzeta  - June 14, 2021, 12:26 p.m.

Any comparison between WD-40 lubes and your recommended ones? I've been using their wet and dry lubes for the past couple of seasons for the simple reason that they're sold by Canadian Tire for $10/120mL.

But I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for less frequent lubing or cleaner running if there are real benefits.

Reply

papa44
0
papa44  - June 15, 2021, 4:04 a.m.

To be fair I know people that use wd40 on their chain and it works for them, clean and spray after every ride. I think there’s either a wd40 cult that puts out fake YouTube videos, or I’m  being tricked into dismissing wd40 by Big Lube.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:18 a.m.

WD40 does make a whole line of chain lubes - they really are big lube - but if folks are putting solvent on their chains as lube and going riding they deserve the rapid drivetrain wear and crappy performance they get.

papa44
0
papa44  - June 15, 2021, 4:04 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - June 14, 2021, 3:37 a.m.

Sometimes I'll use shift performance as an indicator. It seems to work pretty good for me.

Would highly recommend Dumonde Tech for anyone who's currently using dirt magnets like Finish Line Wet... some lubes just ain't it.

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - June 14, 2021, 8:57 a.m.

Its the only chain lube, as far as I'm concerned.

Reply

goose8
+2 Andrew Major bingobus
goose8  - June 14, 2021, 4:47 a.m.

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle? I clean the chain, cog, and chainring with a rag before I apply any lubricant, but I generally apply a thin stream to the inside of the links as I rotate the chain (similar to @cornedbeef, I think). Then rotate, followed by more wiping until a clean rag doesn't show much coloration when run over the chain. 

One departure I've made in recent years is to try a different lube. I like this biodegradable lubricant: https://www.green-oil.net/ Might not last quite as long as some others- chain gets noisy after 2-3 rides-but it seems to work fine and makes me feel slightly better about the world. Baby steps, but still...

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 6:55 a.m.

I’d the Green Oil really messy? That’s been my issues with the bio-lubes I’ve tried. Disgusting messes to clean up regularly.

In the case of Dumonde or WT-1 you’re using so little less frequently that I think you could make an environmentally more-friendly claim v. other lubes but that’s certainly not something I’m educated enough to claim.

Reply

DanLees1978
+1 Andrew Major
Dan Lees  - June 14, 2021, 5:14 a.m.

The 2 lubes mentioned here aren't really freely available in the UK in bikeshops or online bikestuff sellers. Though google says  a couple of places sell dumonde tech, so I might give that a try at some point.  

What seems to work for me is White Lightning Epic using a slightly more generous application than the Sedulous method but with all the associated wiping.

Seems to work well enough for the UK Slop & Grime (TM).

Finish line Green, I maintain, is only good for dribbling down full length cable outers.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - June 14, 2021, 6:58 a.m.

I've been using ProGold by Pro Link - recommended by my LBS and fairly readily available.  Tried T9 which was good and similar consistency to ProGold.  I tend to use ProGold year round and clean chain etc with rag between rides and re-lube - Sedu-squidulously. 

Shorelines do Drumonde if you're after it.

If you're after a good cable lube try some EXT seal oil (also sold by my LBS along with EXT shocks) - lovely stuff for moving parts but spendy at £20 for a lube bottle sized bottle.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 YDiv
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 7:05 a.m.

Dumonde Freehub lube is my favourite luxury housing lube, although for most folks’ purposes it’s the one place TriFlow is acceptable (and cost/performance is okay or even good).

Reply

YDiv
+1 MuscogeeMasher
YDiv  - June 14, 2021, 5:32 p.m.

Weird combination, but Shimano's SP-41 housing with Slickoleum rubbed into a stainless steel cable has made my dropper housing unbelievably smooth.

Tried the Dumonde Freehub oil, didn't really notice a big difference though. Maybe I'm doing it wrong?? Curious to hear what your procedure is for mid-season housing lubing. I'm assuming you don't have to take the cable out? Or do you...

Damnit Andrew, might as well write a whole article on lubing up cables/housing too.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 9:09 p.m.

Yes, you have to take the cables out. I usually replace them at the same time.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

There’s a certain beautiful irony to Dumonde lube being unavailable anywhere in the world… heh.

The WT-1 is a brand new product but I know Wolf Tooth does have overseas (I almost said European!) distribution. 

White Lightning used to be very popular here. 

I Boeshield T-9 has proven to be a much more popular / longer lasting take on a similar performing lubricant but either way I don’t really see it any more. 

I suspect you’d like the Dumonde Tech!

Reply

blackhat
+7 Konrad Andrew Major Matt__C JVP meepmoop24 Pete Roggeman Alex Durant
blackhat  - June 14, 2021, 5:38 a.m.

Have you tried any of the wax based lubes?  Not sure how their longevity would work out on the shore given the rain, but I’ve been incredibly happy since switching to waxing.  Epic drive train life, no contamination to speak of, and never worry about my drivetrain greasing up furniture or clothes.  Focused drivetrain maintenance went to zero, with just a chain rotation and crockpot dunking to replace it.  And because I’m not spending time cleaning the drivetrain, everything else gets a little better TLC, which adds up fast for a better experience.

Of course it’s not for everyone, but it seems like you would be a prime candidate.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 blackhat Alex Durant
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 7:03 a.m.

I’ve seen road chains being waxed - and heard the benefits bandied about like mythology incarnated - but haven’t tried it.

I’ve read claims it holds up much better for road miles than mountain biking comparing wet conditions?

It’s certainly a bike nerd thing, like gluing a tubular, I should probably try at some point so I can say I have!

Reply

Matt__C
+2 Pete Roggeman Burgess Langshaw Power
Matt__C  - June 14, 2021, 9:31 a.m.

I have now been using molten speed wax on my XC and Trail bikes a while and its amazing.

There is quite alot of work to clean the chain (including a brand new one) and getting your cassette, chainring and derailleur pulleys spotless at first.  Once you do that its quite straightforward.  Its a simple 18 step process outlined on the mspeedwax site.

In reality its pretty easy.

The finished product is clean, silent, shifts great, and low maintenance.  You can rub a finger on the chain after a ride and it comes off clean.  After 300 miles off-road its still going strong without reapplying.

I am in dry, dusty conditions and its working great.  Everything else seems prehistoric now.

Reply

DanL
+6 Andrew Major blackhat JVP Pete Roggeman Alex Durant Nologo
DanL  - June 14, 2021, 10:57 a.m.

I went to test out chain wax after a thread on here. It was fairly easy process - remove all leftover crap using auto brake cleaner and slosh the chain around it in a can for a day. Then clean up and let the cleaner evaporate. That's the flammable, dangerous stuff done....
Then I laid the chain out and dripped 'Squirt' wax chain lube on each roller, let it dry, flipped the chain over again and repeated. Wiped off, linky linky clicky clicky and off I rode. Removing and waxing is a fairly easy setup and I have accumulated zero gunk on pulley wheels, drivechain etc so far. Nice sounds too.

Reply

blackhat
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Burgess Langshaw Power
blackhat  - June 14, 2021, 11:59 a.m.

Not sure what they’re comparing on road vs mountain longevity, but my experience is that a chain lasts a similar number of hours for both.  Roadies are the majority of users but where wax really shines is in high contamination environments like MTB.  It doesn’t grab the dirt like oil and then doesn’t transport whatever gets on the chain into the interior.

The two big problems are related to water.  It doesn’t form a great barrier for the metal, so chains rust if they get wet and don’t dry promptly.  And if there’s a high volume of water running over the chain it washes the wax out and leaves it feeling gritty in a few hours of riding.  But generally getting splashed by a puddle or riding through a creek doesn’t cause a problem.  

It’s as nerdy as gluing tubulars, but instead of being an expensive high skill task that can kill you it’s a dirt easy way to save money on drivetrain wear.  And there’s actual controlled testing to support that claim:

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/lubetesting/

Reply

MuscogeeMasher
0
MuscogeeMasher  - June 14, 2021, 1:53 p.m.

A chain waxing article that didn’t contain the term “watts” or phrases like “coefficient of friction” would be pretty interesting.

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adurant
0
Alex Durant  - June 15, 2021, 2:28 p.m.

Man switched from Dumonde tech to waxing and then topping off between rewaxes with a wax drip lube. I'm using silca hot melt wax, and the Silca SS drip lube to top off between. Absolutely love it. Chain stays so much cleaner, and the wax flakes off any gunk on the cassette idlers etc. I usually top off using the drop per roller method once a week. Then once a month take chain off drop in boiling water which melts out the wax and actually flushes out contaminates. Let chain dry and pop it into the crock pot of wax. Pull it out put it on bike, done. No more scrubbing or cleaners/degreasers etc. Also tons of data showing it actually saves money due to lower component wear.  Zero friction cycling has done tons of controlled wear testing. https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/lubetesting/

At the bottom right of page are individual reviews of the lubes and their performance in different conditions (including wet and dirty conditions).

Reply

blangshaw
+2 blackhat Alex Durant
Burgess Langshaw Power  - June 14, 2021, 12:03 p.m.

I've just started the chain waxing thing. I'm using Molten Speed Wax for my road bike and mountain bike.
I live on the other side of the rockies, so less exposure to wet but much more dust. Waxed chains are SLIGHTLY louder, but literally zero gunk gets attracted onto the chain even after some absolutely marathon rides (180+ km road for example). If it does somehow attract anything, pouring hot water over it instantly cleans the chain. I will note however that my Sram x01 drivetrain doesn't shift quite as smoothly (though that may be user error) while my shimano 105 shifts perfectly, if not better.
Past lubes used were the above dumonde tech for mtb and Silca NFS for road. Another plus is that when working on my chain, i literally never get any gunk on my hands or elsewhere.

Reply

Losifer
+8 Andrew Major Konrad meepmoop24 blackhat Pete Roggeman DanL Nologo Chad K
Carlos Matutes  - June 14, 2021, 6:28 a.m.

I’ve had good success with Squirt wax-based lube. 

Fully degreasing a brand new chain and soaking in denatured alcohol seems fastidious, but has worked pretty well. Of course, I do live and tide in a dry, dusty climate...

Reply

Mojo16rider
+3 Andrew Major blackhat Pete Roggeman
Jakub Gábriš  - June 14, 2021, 7:25 a.m.

I´m gonna throw a curve ball and say that hot waxing a chain is pain in the ass but as long as you do 2-3 chains at the time and swap them after 3-4 weeks, it isn´t too bad. Nothing comes close to how long it lasts and how smooth it feels for first couple of rides, and the chain is clean, and I really mean clean like you can touch it wothout your hand getting dirty. Price wise, it isn´t bad at all either. I bought absolute black wax for less than 30 euro and it could very well last me for 10 years(if I stay healthy enough keep riding my bike for that long, hopefully I will). Prepping the new chains is the hardest bit really. But I like to complicate things so I like it so far lol.

Reply

blackhat
+2 Andrew Major JVP
blackhat  - June 14, 2021, 12:06 p.m.

And if you're really cheap or just hate the idea of buying an overhyped product, food grade paraffin get's 95% of the benefits for ~$7 per lb.

Reply

Joey_C
+1 Andrew Major
Joey_C  - June 14, 2021, 8:10 a.m.

I adhere to the sedulous method, but for the past 2-3 years I’ve sworn by Squirt chain lube. I live in the Tahoe area, which means very little wet weather riding, but lots of dust and decomposed granite that likes to grind stuff to bits.

Because I’m using Squirt, there is a slight change to the sedulous method, however: there is no final wipe of the chain. According to Squirt’s own directions, after applying one drop per roller and cycling the chain you just leave the lube as is. 

I’ve used Squirt with excellent results in dry conditions and also in the wet. The only caveat with using it in the wet is that you need to leave enough time for the lube to dry before riding. 

Only downside of Squirt so far is that I’ve found it performs best applied every 50-60 miles. Not a big deal for me as an application takes a couple minutes.

Reply

BkrAdam
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
BkrAdam  - June 14, 2021, 8:10 a.m.

I have a cap for my Dumonde tech lube with a luer lock needle.  It allows me to dispense smaller amounts of lube more precisely.  I usually only do step 2 of the sedulous lubing method.  For the most part my chain stays dry enough to avoid chain ring marks on my calf.

My lube bottle last longer too.  I am not over-lubing and wiping away 50%+ of the applied lube.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Grif
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 8:47 a.m.

That’s a great idea actually. I have a very steady hand but child labour is a bit over generous with the lube sometimes.

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MuscogeeMasher
+3 Andrew Major Mammal Pete Roggeman
MuscogeeMasher  - June 14, 2021, 10:59 a.m.

Any chance you’d be willing to share how you sourced that and put it together?

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BkrAdam
+1 Paul Stuart
BkrAdam  - June 14, 2021, 6:05 p.m.

A couple shops in town have had these for sale.

Luer lock bottles

If you search on “dispensing cap with luer lock” that seems to bring up enough options.

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Gbergevin
+1 Andrew Major
Gbergevin  - June 14, 2021, 8:16 a.m.

I am  regular wipe down, one roller at a time, Dumonde Tech guy - love that stuff.

But, I'm also struggling with rust on my XT 12S chain - mostly on the outer link plates. I'm in the midwest, I'm almost exclusively riding in the dry. 95% of the moisture my chain sees is my sweat, disgustingly enough. 

Anyone else have this issue? Not sure if it's the chain, or the nature of the Dumonde Tech stuff in that it's not quite the same dousing/percolating effect that a thinner lube like T9 might have. I was a T9 guy for like 15 years, but I really like the quieting effect of Dumonde Tech and found it generally much lower maintenance - less applications, less cleaning. I did find the old squirt and squirt and squirt some more approach with T9  better on my fatbike this winter- riding in legit snow all the time its just impossible to avoid a huge amount of moisture sticking to your drivetrain, and after 1000 calories burned at -3F, I just don't want to hang out in the garage and wipe everything down while the sweat starts to freeze to my body.

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AndrewMajor
+1 MuscogeeMasher
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 9:41 a.m.

You aren't the first person I've heard mention the outer plate rust on specifically Shimano 12s chains and specifically the surfaces that are never in contact with the ring cog, and notably having never had the issue with a chain before (Shimano, SRAM, etc). 

I haven't seen it in the shop here probably just because of how much precipitation we get. Would be interesting to know if being a bit Toucan Squidulous with the T-9 resolved the issue for you.

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Gbergevin
0
Gbergevin  - June 15, 2021, 7:20 a.m.

Lots of T9 helped, but that chain is currently off the bike because it's a single speed - and in storage in a plastic bag after a good spray with tri flow, and it's a rusty mess. Very disappointing.

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taprider
+1 Andrew Major
taprider  - June 14, 2021, 8:33 a.m.

What is that line on your right seat stay at the weld?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 9:26 a.m.

Just a bit of dirt, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't run down and check as soon as I saw that photo blown up on my computer.

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taprider
0
taprider  - June 15, 2021, 6:18 p.m.

happy to know everything is still good

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taprider
0
taprider  - June 14, 2021, 8:37 a.m.

How similar is the Wolf Tooth to Rock n Roll Extreme?  In your photo they look similar, a bunch of waxy particles in a blue solvent and cleaner.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 9:30 a.m.

I haven't tried a RockNRoll lube product in years. I remember it being a hot mess, and I'm generally very wary of anything that's billed as a 'wet conditions' lube (that conjures up the hours I've spent scraping off derailleur pulley wheels working in the shop) but I'd have to try it to give you a proper assessment. 

I mean, Float Fluid is a similar colour as well, but I'm not putting that on my chain. Heh.

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Konrad
+1 Andrew Major
Konrad  - June 14, 2021, 8:40 a.m.

I've been using Swipe degreaser diluted 2:1 water:swipe, using a paint brush to clean cassette and chainring to a mirror finish, then using the Park Tool CM-5.3. Squirt lube liberally on the chain, wait 10min, reapply, wait overnight. This is for the initial application, afterwards just a good cleaning with a clean rag and reapply liberally the night before riding. Keeps drivetrain immaculate and very long lasting.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 9:38 a.m.

Absolutely to each their own, but that sounds like a lot of labour and a lot of lube? And this is coming from the guy who applies lube one tiny driplet at a time.

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Konrad
+1 Andrew Major
Konrad  - June 14, 2021, 11:06 a.m.

That's only for the initial application. Anything wax based requires a pristine drivetrain before lubing. Afterwards it's just wiping down and then reapplying. With wax based lubes you want coverage so as to minimize dirt sticking to the chain. Wet rides, usually reapply after 2-3 rides, depending on how wet it was and the amount of pedalling. Dry rides it can be 5+. For road I've been getting around 300km.

It is a little more lube than your technique but the chain and drivetrain lasts much longer making up for the difference in cost. I'm expecting to essentially double the life of everything this way since no-to-little dirt sticks to the drivetrain.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 1:23 p.m.

Cool! Really appreciate the reply.

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Konrad
+1 Andrew Major
Konrad  - June 14, 2021, 2:57 p.m.

You're welcome. Basing most of my decisions on these tests: https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/lubetesting/

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mhaager2
+1 Andrew Major
Moritz Haager  - June 14, 2021, 9:20 a.m.

Here in AB conditions are usually dry to very dry. I agree with your assessment of biodegrade lubes -- tried the whistler based stuff and found it really gums up your drivetrain unfortunately.  I've had good results with Muc Off Dry lube on both road and MTB. I do find you need to apply it more often than wet lubes but it does make for a cleaner drivetrain in dusty conditions. I used to ride costal BC more often before kids and when my friend lived on the island.  At that time in those condition wet lube was hands down the way to go.  I haven't seen any of the lubes you mentioned around here anywhere but you have made me curious.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Burgess Langshaw Power
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 9:36 a.m.

I think you'd be very happy with the Pro-X or WT-1, or even the Boeshield, in AB. Anywhere really. The T-9 you can get all over the place. The WT-1 is just on the market, but certainly for the Dumonde Tech any shop could just tack on to an order for you. If they aren't using Dumonde's freehub grease/oil for high-end hub services they need to get some for themselves anyways (hahaha). 

I gave a few different WPL products, including the chain lube, an honest shot as I really like their story/environmental goals, I like that it's a ~ local company, and actually, the guys running the company are really, really nice. But sadly there's not a product in their lineup that I've tried that you could pay me to run on my bicycle again.

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Bushpilot
+2 Ryan Walters Burgess Langshaw Power
Bushpilot  - June 14, 2021, 12:29 p.m.

The WPL dry lube is absolutely awful IME. It left and awful and difficult to remove gunky residue all over my jockey wheels and chainring. And it didn’t seem to do much “lubricating”. However, I found the wet stuff much better. I found I had to reapply the WPL wet much more frequently than the Dumonde Tech stuff but the WPL stuff stayed super duper clean for a wet lube and the chain cleaned up really nicely after nasty winter rides. The WPL wet bottle didn’t last me very long though.

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rwalters
0
Ryan Walters  - June 14, 2021, 12:55 p.m.

I second this. I love the WPL wet lube - it's my go to these days. My rides are generally so dirty and/or muddy, I'm re-applying nearly every ride anyway. I used to use Tri-Flow, but find the WPL wet is quieter running, stays cleaner, and doesn't gunk up as bad. The WPL dry lube is definitely not nearly as good.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 1:21 p.m.

I'm happy to agree to disagree on the WPL Lube but I do have to say that I get an eye twitch when the frame of reference for comparison is Tri-Flow. The stuff is absolute shit as chain lube. 

BP, given the relative value of Dumonde Tech lube ($/use) and how clean and quiet it runs (after the first wipe down at least) I'm genuinely surprised by your comparison to WPL. I've talked to, I think, a solid sample size of folks who've tried it and had the same result I did. Stoked it's working for you though! Just surprised re. it running cleaner than the DT.

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Bushpilot
+1 Andrew Major
Bushpilot  - June 14, 2021, 2:17 p.m.

I'm probably guilty of not applying the Dumonde Tech stuff as sparingly as I should have (although I definitely didn't apply as much as the WPL wet in each application) so it wasn't meant to be a straight apples to apples comparison I guess. Maybe I'd have noticed a bigger difference if I'd gone hard-core one small drop per roller on the Dumonde Tech stuff. I didn't have any real problem with the Dumonde stuff either...but I did find it particularly easy to clean up my chain post-ride with the WPL wet.

I'm trying the T-9 spray on one MTB now and Squirt on another...it will be interesting to do a direct comparison in the same conditions.

rwalters
0
Ryan Walters  - June 14, 2021, 8:37 p.m.

Weird. A mechanic at a very well known LBS was shocked when I told him how long my drivetrain had been going (and still operable) - using nothing but TriFlow and the occasional full de-greasing. I stopped using it because I'm not big on PTFE additives. That, and the smell really started to bug me.

khai
0
khai  - June 14, 2021, 3:53 p.m.

>> I gave a few different WPL products, including the chain lube, an honest shot as I really like their story/environmental goals, I like that it's a ~ local company, and actually, the guys running the company are really, really nice. But sadly there's not a product in their lineup that I've tried that you could pay me to run on my bicycle again.

Are you including ForkBoost in that statement?  I've been told by a few suspension folk that it's worth using...

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YDiv
+1 khai
YDiv  - June 14, 2021, 5:25 p.m.

ForkBoost is fine, and very popular in BC.

Their grease is okay if you just want a grease, but I find it doesn't match the performance that you might get from Chris King greases (or Lucas Oil's Red N Tacky, that stuff is insane).

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AndrewMajor
+2 khai Andy Eunson
Andrew Major  - June 15, 2021, 7:05 a.m.

I don’t externally lube fork seals with anything, so this is a WPL product I haven’t tried.

I store my bikes vertically (front wheel up) to keep the seals lubed. When they do get stictiony I know it’s time to do a basic lower service.

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khai
0
khai  - June 16, 2021, 7:52 a.m.

Arthur taught me to store my bikes that way, and was also one of the first people to recommend ForkBoost (when I asked about it).  I've also had some very in depth discussions with him re: chain lube, various types of grease, and other oils.  Super interesting guy.

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jaydubmah
0
jaydubmah  - June 14, 2021, 9:39 p.m.

Andrew - have you tried any of WPL's suspension oils? 

I know it's not the same topic as chain lube, but the idea of a more environmentally friendly fork oil appeals to me - especially if it costs significantly less than Rock Shox and Fox.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 15, 2021, 7:03 a.m.

Yes.

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jaydubmah
0
jaydubmah  - June 15, 2021, 3:45 p.m.

Thanks Andrew. Could you elaborate on your experience with WPL's fork oil?  I have a  1L jug of the stuff, but haven't opened it yet, but could exchange it for something else that you'd recommend. 

Honestly, this would make for a great article too - a comparison of suspension oils. Even the oil weight's from brand to brand vary enormously.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Andy Eunson
Andrew Major  - June 15, 2021, 4:25 p.m.

If in doubt use the factory recommended oils. At a consumer level there isn’t enough of a cost savings to warrant crappy performance, longevity, or in the case of Ohlins forks to void your warranty. 

I make an exception for Slickoleum as it’s a do no harm product (awesome lubrication/excess purges) but I think you’ll find as a general rule there’s nothing you’re buying off the shelf that will improve performance over the excellent factory stuff (Fox, RockShox) / factory recommended product (Cane Creek / etc).

blangshaw
+1 Andrew Major
Burgess Langshaw Power  - June 14, 2021, 2:02 p.m.

As a current AB rider and past Dumonde user, I think Dumonde is great for AB conditions.
I also concur with WPL comments regarding how it is an absolute magnet for alberta dust, and should not be used in this province under any circumstances.

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blangshaw
0
Burgess Langshaw Power  - June 14, 2021, 2:02 p.m.

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JVP
+2 Andrew Major Konrad
JVP  - June 14, 2021, 9:57 a.m.

Agree with your method and using Dumonde. But... but!

It's wax or nothing for me these days, I use Squirt brand. So clean and tidy, so much less cleaning greasy goo off of parts, calves, hands and clothes. Nontoxic. Works great. A little more planning required (best to apply the night before), but a LOT less cleaning required.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 10:02 a.m.

Do you just use it on your mountain bike or for winter commuting as well? I've heard good things re. cleaning but that it's basically a reapply after every ride situation? 

Cheers!

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JVP
+3 Konrad Andrew Major Nologo
JVP  - June 14, 2021, 10:33 a.m.

I use Squirt drop-on wax on my MTB, hot wax for road. For MTB it's a simple wipe down and reapply prior to every wet ride. Works OK day-of-riding, but better to let it dry first. Drip it on more liberally than you would with Dumonde, run through the gears, let it dry without wiping off. Most people could get 2 rides per application if it's dry out.

I swear (though it's anecdotal) that my chainrings and chains last way longer with the grit-resistant properties of wax. Either way, working on my bike is much more pleasant.

Throw the MTB in the back of the minivan for security? Oh hell yeah, wax is a lifesaver for that, doesn't matter if bags or gear touch the chain. 

I do a lot of urban and road. Hot wax for that, I can literally go months without even looking at my chain, and it's so clean I can wear whatever I want without worrying. I run fenders in wet months, and it seemed to have good staying power with that setup, though I don't usually ride road in downpours.

Tried hot wax on the MTB, not even close to worth it. Two hard, wet rides and it's squeaking. Weird how long hot wax lasts on the road and how fast it washes away on the trail if it's wet.

Biggest downside to any wax is that you really need to degrease your new chain. That's a royal PITA, but it's only once so I tolerate it.

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blackhat
0 Andrew Major Burgess Langshaw Power
blackhat  - June 14, 2021, 12:25 p.m.

Not had the same experience with road longevity.  After about 10 hours the noise is bad enough that I can't stand it, no matter how good the conditions.  And it washes out in a few hours in majorly wet conditions, no matter what surface it's on.  No big deal, I just have 3 chains that rotate through, and rewax whenever convenient.  

Have you considered hot waxing the MTB and then using squirt when it needs a top up?  If you're already set up to hot melt anyway it seems like a no brainer since they're cross compatible.

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JVP
0
JVP  - June 14, 2021, 6:11 p.m.

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andyf
+1 Andrew Major
andyf  - June 14, 2021, 11:25 a.m.

I'm a one drop per link person. Currently using SCC Tech. Very clean for a wet lube and lasts a long time between applications.  https://www.scctech.bike/

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kos
0
Kos  - June 16, 2021, 6:08 a.m.

I believe WT-1 and SCC Tech are nearly (completely?) identical?

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mammal
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson
Mammal  - June 14, 2021, 12:24 p.m.

Get out the pitch forks everyone, because I decided to give the diy route a try, using a 4-1 mixture of mineral spirits and motor oil. Liberally apply the mixture using the ham-fisted #2 move, back-spin the crap out of the drive train and then use a cloth to remove all the desolved crap. Everything has to be done outside due to fumes, and you just let the mixture dissolve to leave a thin film of motor oil. I used to use Tri-flow, being really careful not to leave much on the chain before riding. I've noticed my diy lube process collects slightly less stuff than my careful Tri-flow results, and it's definitely cheap. That said, it still collects a little bit of stuff, and it stinks until it evaporates. Probably not something I'll do for ever, but at least I'm pretty sure I haven't increased chain wear over my prior habits. I'm going to switch to 5:1 mixture soon, as I think 4:1 is overkill on the lubricant. I look forward to the verbal eye-roll comments...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 1:16 p.m.

I'm a big fan of the DIY attitude. I do always get a bit of an eye twitch when Tri-Flow is being used as the frame of reference though. The stuff is absolute shit as chain lube.

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mammal
0
Mammal  - June 14, 2021, 2:22 p.m.

I know your feelings about Tri-flow well, Andrew. In my experience it isn't horrible if you wipe most of it away after clean/lubing, and unfortunately I can't delete just my limited frame of reference. It's either that, or the previous 15 years of "whatever wet lube is within reach"... So Tri-flow it is.

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xy9ine
0
Perry Schebel  - June 14, 2021, 8:42 p.m.

now i'm curious as to what, specifically, is shitty about tri-flow, as that's all i've used for years. doesn't last that long, i guess? i like that it it's light enough that it doesn't accumulate goo (so i never have to clean / degrease, as i'm lazy). plus, the aromatics, of course. 

i'm almost out of oil, so weighing alternative options...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 8:54 p.m.

It’s bizarre to me how thoroughly uninterested some of the biggest bicycle nerds I know of are in trying different chainlubes.

TriFlow washes off completely half way through a ride if there’s moisture in the air. It also is shit at penetrating into the rollers and actually forcing grit out. 

I mean, seriously, you do you but at least try some Boeshield T-9 at $14 a bottle or whatever and experience how much better your stuff runs. Please don’t take my word for it, AJ is a fan.

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xy9ine
+1 Andrew Major
Perry Schebel  - June 14, 2021, 10:13 p.m.

oddly enough, my nerding doesn't really carry over that much into the realm of maintenance; i keep shit working, but i'm not terribly refined. that said, your argument, it is compelling. i am open to improvement! will try to track down some t-9.

martn
+1 Andrew Major
Martn  - June 14, 2021, 1:22 p.m.

One drop per link the night before a ride. However I do it just a little different:

1: Wipe

2: Align master link as a marker where to start and finish

3: One drop on each roller of the upper chain strand

4: Do something else for a minute before turning the crank (looking for clean riding gear or water bottles or whatever)

5: Repeat 3 and 4 until the master link comes up again

6: Next morning / just before the ride: wipe chain (and I recently started wiping the derailleur pulleys as well as they tend to collect grime at an annoying rate)

I used Oil of Rohloff for years and then switched to Danico Biotech (no, not the stuff that everyone wants in their arm right now) Chain Lube since it seems to be certified to rather high sustainability standards as far as I can tell. It is rated as being not hazardous to water by the German government. It's not the cleanest and not the longest lasting in terms of lubrication, but it gives me some peace of mind when the rain rinses my chain or I fall into a river.

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khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - June 14, 2021, 3:50 p.m.

More often than not (after 80-90% of rides) I'll clean my chain with a rag that's been sprayed down with a hearty amount of WD-40. Run that chain through the rag until it's shiny and then again through a clean/dry part of the rag. Then depending on the weather/how wet & muddy things were/whether I had to hose off the bike I may call it "good enough" or apply either method new lube distribution - but always well before the next ride and never without sitting/wiping off the excess.

As far as lubes I've tried I've used a bunch with a few that failed miserably (Rock n Roll & Silca NFS, I'm looking at you!), some that seemed to work fairly well (Royal Purple seems better in the wet than when it's dry/dusty), and the "easy standard" of Boeshield/ ProGold (somehow that bottle of PG never seems to run out). I haven't found Dumonde to try it, and the WolfTooth is new to me. Wotth a shot if I can get my hands on it through...

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awesterner
+1 Andrew Major
awesterner  - June 14, 2021, 5:26 p.m.

T9 is a harsh chemical so make sure to wear gloves:) It’s also very toxic to our groundwater, so don’t dump out out people! 

That being said, it’s a really durable lube. I’ve gone back and forth between T9 and SQUIRT for a few years and settled on the later as it’s water emulsified.  It’s somewhat messier (gums up a bit), but I’m getting mad distance out of my drivetrains akin to the performance I had with T9. 

Fun fact, Triflow, like T9, is aviation approved. No idea what it’s used for, presumably for lubing cables or something:) there are a few bottles in our Chem cabinet. 

Great read as usual Andrew, love it. 

Oh, if you SQUIRT your chain, method #2 8-)

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 14, 2021, 8:54 p.m.

Cheers Steve!

SQUIRT is on my list of things to try.

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awesterner
0
awesterner  - June 15, 2021, 8:17 a.m.

Worth a try! It’s decent in the winter as well, as long as it’s applied several hours prior to a dry chain. I usually reapply every couple MTB rides. On my e-commuter I apply every trip or two (58km round trip). Probably don’t have too, but I can hear it in the shifting. It calls to be to re apply haha. Gravel/road-every ride, due to the occasional dust and longer distances. Of course everyone is different :)

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awesterner
0
awesterner  - June 15, 2021, 8:17 a.m.

Worth a try! It’s decent in the winter as well, as long as it’s applied several hours prior to a dry chain. I usually reapply every couple MTB rides. On my e-commuter I apply every trip or two (58km round trip). Probably don’t have too, but I can hear it in the shifting. It calls to be to re apply haha. Gravel/road-every ride, due to the occasional dust and longer distances. Of course everyone is different :)

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andy-eunson
+4 Andrew Major taprider dmclemens Andrew Collins
Andy Eunson  - June 14, 2021, 7:32 p.m.

Cut and paste from Rock n Roll:

“Put the chain on the big ring in the front, and the small cog on the back.

Apply the lube on the chain, over the top of the cog. Let a nice flow of lube go onto the chain (don’t be cheap). Remember you’re going to clean and lube the chain in one step.

Freewheel the chain backwards, and wipe off all of the dirt and grit that comes up to the surface of the chain. Keep in mind, you can’t wipe off the chain too much, so make that chain shine!

Shift the chain off the big ring, so you can wipe off the chain ring, to clean up the little bit of residue left behind.

For best results, allow your chain to sit a few hours or lube the night before. However, if right after lubing, you have to ride, you have to ride, so go for it. Giving the lube a chance to set gives the lube a bit more life by allowing the protective membrane to fully set-up. Remember, to wipe off you chain after riding regardless if you’re going to re-lube or not. This keeps the chain clean and looking great!”

This is pretty much how I’ve been doing it for years. I think is was Rock n Roll that recommended that you only lubricate the chain when it was getting noisy. They said if there is rust or the chain squeaks it needs lubricant. Otherwise you don’t need to. I know some folks like to oil their chain after or before every ride. Probably overkill. Probably washing dirt down into the interstices of the chain. People that wax chains seem to remove the chain every month or two to perform a deep clean and dunk in melted wax. I don’t remove chains unless it’s getting retired. You can reuse quick links but it’s not recommended by SRAM or Shimano. KMC might be different. Some of these guys punch out a rivet and refuse to use quick links. I suppose that’s OK for a 6 speed chain but not on a modern chain.

To me, Thee most important aspect of lubricating a chain is to wipe the chain before and after. Then wipe it again. Then wipe it one more time. 

And never never ever use Phil’s Tenacious oil unless you’re using it for a chainsaw. That stuff is the worst.

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andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - June 14, 2021, 10:46 p.m.

Of course if you water down Phil’s with mineral spirits, would that give you home made Prolink Gold. I believe that Prolink is heavy oil mixed with mineral spirits. The two parts are miscible and the mineral spirits evaporate leaving the heavy lube where it’s needed.

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mammal
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson
Mammal  - June 16, 2021, 5:53 a.m.

Ahhh, my DYI (above) method somewhat justified...

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mammal
0
Mammal  - June 16, 2021, 5:53 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

dmclemens
+1 Andy Eunson
dmclemens  - June 15, 2021, 12:15 a.m.

This is the way. Signed up just to upvote. I have a slight modification to RnR’s method. I “floss” every cog space, wipe the chain well, and wipe the chainring (~3 min total). Then I drench the inside of the chain with RnR Gold as I backpedal (I put a rag over the chainstay to catch overspray). Then backpedal for 10 or so seconds. Then wipe everything down again, until it’s dry and shiny. I do this after most rides (I’ll just wipe everything down after a short or clean ride). I’m in the Bay Area so dust is the main thing, with lots of abrasive mica in the soil at UC. This process cleans out crap and gets lube into the chain bushings. My drivetrains last for > 3k mi without any problems or measurable chain stretch. I have friends who do T9 “right” and don’t get the drivetrain life I do. 

I’m totally with you on the wiping.  No need for lube on the outside, the magic is all in the rollers. Anything outside just eats gears (by grabbing dirt) and makes gunk.

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YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - June 15, 2021, 12:56 a.m.

lol. If I actually replaced the quick links every time I took apart my Eagle chain, I'd be spending more money on that than buying the chain itself.

Haven't had any problems with exploding links, but at the same time I'm not exactly a WC racer...

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AndrewMajor
+2 khai YDiv
Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 6:56 a.m.

That’s an interesting one. In the shop,  I have seen quick links fail and I have felt some where the interface is very sloppy BUT none of the people I know who regularly removes their chain via quick link has had an issue with reusing them.

As long as they snap together tight so wouldn’t be concerned about reuse personally.

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andy-eunson
+1 khai
Andy Eunson  - June 16, 2021, 8:50 a.m.

I did a test on a chain I was retiring. I installed the new chain, XO1 eagle, and noted the force it took to connect the new link. Then I reconnected and removed the used link in the old chain a number of times. It took less force to reinstall the used link than the new one but it did t seem to change much after a several repeats. So my take is that there is a change but the question is, does that matter? I don’t know. I have reused SRAM links in the past because I messed up the chain length and didn’t die. But I won’t make it a habit. For me, chains go on when new and come off when worn. I may remove a chain mid life span if I need to for some maintenance reason but that’s rare.

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mammal
+1 Andy Eunson
Mammal  - June 17, 2021, 8:59 a.m.

I usually keep the connector links as spares when I retire a chain. I only stop using them (or taking them with me as spares) if they don't click together nicely, as Andrew mentioned. I think they'd need to be properly buggered to actually fail during a ride.

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andy-eunson
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Andy Eunson  - June 16, 2021, 8:50 a.m.

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danielshiels
+1 Andrew Major
danielshiels  - June 14, 2021, 11:53 p.m.

I commute on my Nicolai so keep the chain pretty clean.

1 chain off bike

2 totally degrease and dry all drivetrain and chain

3 really dry the chain

4 lay the chain out and pop muc-off hydrodynamic lube onto each roller (great all weather lube, super quiet, clean and long lasting).

5 flip chain and leave for half an hour then wipe it and put it back on

Had really great results all year round

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danielshiels
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danielshiels  - June 14, 2021, 11:53 p.m.

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Ceecee
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Ceecee  - June 15, 2021, 7:33 a.m.

Not applicable to dedicated singlespeed setups, but if you bend the links while wiping, it squeezes more dirt out. Degreaser not necessary. & half a drop of Pro X seems plenty. Dry/dusty means you're wiping after every ride anyway, and relubing every two and a half. Insert gearbox lament.

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Vikb
+3 AndrewR Andy Eunson Mammal
Vik Banerjee  - June 15, 2021, 8:15 a.m.

I used to be really anal about cleaning/lubing my drivetrains. Then I got lazy, but I made the choice to buy cheap/mid-priced chains and change them early vs. buying expensive chains and trying to get every last KM out of them. My drivetrains last so long and the cost to keep them running is so low with the lazy method I've never bothered to try and optimize my chain maintenance.

My shitck is:

1. Before a ride I'll wipe down the chain.

2. Summer I'll lube every 2-3 rides - squirting mediocre lube all over and wiping clean.

3. Winter I'll lube every ride - squirting mediocre lube all over and wiping clean.

4. Replace my cheap/mid-priced chain early at the first sign of wear or any other excuse that comes up.

My riding experience isn't worse now [noise/shifting] than when I really paid attention to my drivetrain and kept it clean. My drivetrain longevity isn't worse, but it's not a fair comparison as tech now is different. However, I get enough use out of each chain, cassette, chainring that I never feel like it's worth doing more.

Every time I read something Andrew posts about putting one drop of expensive amazing lube on each roller and keeping his drivetrain clean I feel some guilt. I start to think about leveling up my chain maintenance game. And then I get lazy and don't bother.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 6:58 a.m.

Hahahaha. I love this Vic!

I was talking to King Toucan yesterday and we were laughing that ‘no one’ was admitting to using his method.

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khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - June 15, 2021, 8:59 a.m.

Does anyone have experience with an ultrasonic cleaner?  I've had moto parts cleaned in them (nothing cleans a carburetor quite like it) and have often wondered if cleaning something like a bike chain, and then lubing it in the cleaner as well (submerged in a sealed bath of lube) would have a material benefit.  I've heard it argued that "over cleaning" a chain is bad because it drives the lube out of the roller pins and pivots, but if thoroughly cleaned and then the same ultrasonic tech was used to drive fresh lube back into all those tiny crevices, it strikes me as pretty awesome...  At least that's my theory.  I haven't ponied up for one but imagine that it's the sort of thing that once owned, one would find all manner of uses for it.  Given that I dropped $100 for an XTR chain a little while back because that's all the shop had in stock, suddenly the cost of one seems a lot more reasonable...

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andrewbikeguide
+2 Andrew Major khai
AndrewR  - June 15, 2021, 3:11 p.m.

I have an ultrasonic cleaner and it really does strip every last bit of dirt and grease off parts (and the ano coatings if you use the wrong kind of Simple Green for too long - use the version designed for aluminium aircraft parts!!).

Ceramic Speed and Absolute Black recommend a total degrease of a new chain before using their products.

I haven't used the ultrasonic cleaner to vibrate oil into the chain but I used to leave a clean (& dry) chain in a chain box (the plastic one that an XO1 or XX1 chain arrives in) covered in chain lube for 48 hrs to let it soak in.

I haven't been using ultrasonic to clean chains for about three years as I switched to Muc-off C3 Ceramic ('dry' for most of the year, 'wet' for December to March) and it seems to stay on the chain, saponify and help lift grease and dirt when scrubbed (but remain as lube in normal wet conditions - not sure how this clever lube science happens) when cleaning the bike and lasts really quite well.

I use noise and my maintenance app to tell me when it is time to lube the chain again and also any time I have used detergent on the bike/ chain to clean it.

The abrasive qualities of Chilcotin lava ash led me to seriously evaluate all lubes (and quite a bit of equipment) as it is one of the most oleoscopic substances I have ever encountered in 27 years of mountain biking. I moved from Shimano pedals to Crankbrothers as the dust pulls the oil from the pedal springs so that by day three it is almost impossible to get a cleat out of the pedal.

Back to chains.

My new (last three years) lube routine is similar to Sedulous Drew-Bob:

1. Wipe chain clean and ensure it is completely dry of water.

2. One drop of C3 Ceramic on each roller (inside) starting at the power link.

3. 10-20 rotations back pedalling.

4. One drop of C3 Ceramic on each inner plate (from the top of the chain), starting at the power link.

5. 10 ish rotations of chain back pedlaling.

6. Wipe excess lube off pulley wheels and chain ring teeth.

7. Let chain sit over night.

8. Before ride, wipe excess including expelled grime, from chain. 2-3 rotations of chain through some shop cloth or a clean rag.

9. Ride.

I use ProBikeGarage as my maintenance app and I have a 200 km clean and lube interval set (about every two weeks for me) where I play some tunes on my wee Marshall speaker, sip a coffee (Hammer Coffee), sit on a shop stool and hand clean each link (and chain ring teeth and pulley wheels) with clean shop cloth until the shop cloth is almost coming away clean. Labour intensive but I am hitting 3000 km of noise free precise shifting with my current chain and there appears to be no reason it will not make it to 4500 km.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:03 a.m.

Interesting about the maintenance app, I haven’t gone there… yet.

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khai
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khai  - June 16, 2021, 7:41 a.m.

I started using the app after my last fork service, mostly to track hours so I can stay on top of the 50hr intervals.  That also necessitated recording all my rides on Strava, but that data is kind of neat to see at the end of the month as well.  While I don't care about KOMs or share it publicly, it is neat to see how much time was spent on the bike in a given month.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

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Wile_E.
+1 Andrew Major
Wile_E.  - June 15, 2021, 4:31 p.m.

Andrew, 

Any idea where I can get either of these magic elixirs?   Both DT and Wolf Tooth seem to need to come from the US with a landed cost of about $40... and Wolf Tooth shows as sold out on their website.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - June 15, 2021, 4:39 p.m.

I’m surprised more shops in Canada don’t stock (and use) the Dumonde Tech products. Any shop you deal with can order it for you with their next Orange Sport Supply order (mid-sized Canadian distributor that services ~ every shop in Canada). 

The WT-1 lube is a new product but presumably HLC (Wolf Tooth distributor) will be carrying it, so again any shop will be able to order it for you with their regular order.

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Wile_E.
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Wile_E.  - June 15, 2021, 4:31 p.m.

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kos
+1 Andrew Major
Kos  - June 16, 2021, 6:35 a.m.

Squirt is good, Smoove is GREAT (though maybe not quite as surgically clean as Squirt)l

That said, I'm a self-confessed lube addict and have just started in on the WT-1.

First application, good results, but what I'll call a "hard endpoint" at 5 hours. Very noisy chain. Painfull.

Thoughts, Andrew?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Kos
Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:06 a.m.

That’s interesting. What were conditions like?

My first couple WT-1 rides were wet but relatively short. I applied a second lube coat then as I also find with Dumonde Tech that it takes a couple (2-3) applications before I get to optimum performance (which they note). 

Did you find it in a shop or get it direct from Wolf Tooth?

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kos
+1 Andrew Major
Kos  - June 16, 2021, 7:11 a.m.

Dry conditions. Spirited pace. I'm guessing that this was related to the switch from wax-based Smoove to oil-based WT-1, and will disappear down the road.

Note that -- per WT advice -- I did not do a deep clean when switching lubes. Maybe should have done so, regardless.

Purchased directly from the fantastic Minnesota guys at Wolf Tooth.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Kos
Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:32 a.m.

Yeah, I’d guess it was a situation where normally the WT-1 would displace the other lube through use but in this case the detergent disintegrated the wax lube instead? In that event it shouldn’t happen again.

Cool, without knowing where folks are from, I was asking because I’ve had a bunch of messages about finding it in Canada but the WT distributor doesn’t have stock yet.

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kos
+1 Andrew Major
Kos  - June 16, 2021, 7:36 a.m.

Thanks. About what I was thinking. I'll report back.

FWIW, if it's hard to find up there, I believe that SCC Tech lube is similar?

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - June 16, 2021, 7:44 a.m.

Cheers! 

I haven’t come across SCC lube in person to compare but they are making the WT-1 and it’s similar claims so I think it’s a solid deduction.

Matixsnow
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Matixsnow  - June 16, 2021, 7:07 a.m.

Every time Ive use T-9 my chain gets super dirty. What am I doing wrong?

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Ceecee
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Ceecee  - June 17, 2021, 6:17 p.m.

Using too much and not letting it dry for two hours before riding?

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RAHrider
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Reed Holden  - June 16, 2021, 11:43 a.m.

As a bigger rider (220lbs without gear) I wear drivetrains. My road drivetrain is at 0.5 wear by 1400k. My chainrings get deformed quickly and I find I need more lube to keep things running in the wet months. In the summer I can get away with cleaner lubes and am experimenting with squirt this summer, but in the winter I need a sloppy mess of a chain to keep from having chain suck and worse. As a result I just use your squidulous method year round and just clean extra off the outside of the chain after lubing. I'm super impressed with everyone being so anal with their chain lubing. After 20 links I get bored and just run through the chain and wipe off. 🙃

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khai
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khai  - June 16, 2021, 12:24 p.m.

You sound like the perfect audience for a gearbox bike!  Why that hasn't caught more on I can't quite understand...  Gates belt or just a big-ass chain to a fatty cog in the back with all the gears protected in a nice sealed oil bath, and the bonus of reduced unsprung weight.  SWEET!

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syncro
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Mark  - June 16, 2021, 6:15 p.m.

$24/2oz.

It never amazes me the methods the bike industry creates to separate people from their money.

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TheCrimp
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OscarN  - June 17, 2021, 7:48 a.m.

I noticed that only the squidulous method involves "Ride mountain bicycle" ;)

I run an all-steel drivetrain with a good quality chain and lube squidulously + wipe off with T9 or mucoff dry.  A bit of a weight penalty, but I'll take it to save maintainance time.  Parts are cheaper when they (eventually) wear out as well.

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TheCrimp
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OscarN  - June 17, 2021, 7:48 a.m.

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kos
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Kos  - June 18, 2021, 6:14 a.m.

I have to jump in with a quick mea culpa here on my initial use of WT-1.

The noisy endpoint at 5 hours that I thought might be attributable to switching from wax to petroleum lube actually turned out to be a BROKEN REAR AXLE.

I guess there IS such a thing as coincidence!

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sanesh-iyer
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Sanesh Iyer  - June 24, 2021, 1:33 p.m.

I recently got bored and went down this rabbit hole.... I'm now the proud owner of 6 kinds of lube including the 3 mentioned here. The other 3 I already owned. I usually buy the cheapest wet lube available... My drive train certainly looks better with WT1 so... I guess we'll see. Im generally of the belief that a dry-vetrain is better than a dirt laden one. But with the 10 minutes to properly apply lube when Im doing monthly teardowns seems like good value to use the fancy stuff anyways.

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Ripbro
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Ripbro  - July 4, 2021, 6:57 p.m.

Bought the Dumond reg chain lube… very impressed so far. Lasts much longer than my old lube, runs clean and silent. Converted and telling my riding buddies about it.

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Ripbro
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Ripbro  - July 4, 2021, 6:58 p.m.

Bought the Dumond reg chain lube… very impressed so far. Lasts much longer than my old lube, runs clean and silent. Converted and telling my riding buddies about it.

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StacheTower16
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StacheTower16  - July 7, 2021, 9:41 a.m.

Mr. Major, Please stop with these types of articles.  I bought the Wolftooth lube and it's awesome! You review Suntour forks and I end up buying that.  You review Manitou forks and now I have 2 of those. I am lucky that I don't need a new bike or I would have to avoid your reviews of those on the site!

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