Home grown chain lube.....no, not the religious way ;-)

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MrMagura
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:38 pm

by MrMagura

As this topic seems to be of interest, let's get the info and debate collected in one thread.

by Weenie


mag
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by mag

Ok, I'll ask a couple of questions regarding the preparation of the funky mix. :-D

1. So you mix paraffin wax with paraffin oil - in roughly 1:1 volume ratio?

2. EP additives: How much of that stuff do you add into the mix? Like 5%

3. EP additives: Which product do you actually use (some examples, or key compounds)? Based on what I know I'd say that mostly the Molybdenum based ones (Molybdenum disulfide or dithiocarbamates) could be worth something. Majority of such (EP) additives are toxic, environmentally unfriendly, some are suspected carcinogens - not really stuff you want to come by on a daily basis. They may be ok inside a closed circuit, but using them in the open environment is another matter. And some aren't even suitable for the intended purpose as they work only in certain (and narrow) high pressure and also temperature ranges and don't go well with other substances.

4. Application: Do you always remove the chain, put it in the pot and "cook" it in the mix? How about not that easy to remove Campy chains? Some people add a non-polar solvent (xylene works the best here but it's very nasty toxic stuff, toluene works too, white spirit or naphtha too (but both not so well), but none of them are really friends of your health) to the mix in order to make the stuff temporarily (until the solvent evaporates) liquid at lower temperatures and cold-applicable from the bottle right on the chain. Do you also use this approach, or not at all?

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Calnago
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by Calnago

I only have one question... Why?
Ok, I’ll leave now.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

mag
Posts: 340
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by mag

Because you can make like a whole canister for a few bucks and it will work fine.

On skis I use just a paraffin wax (basically melted candles) and it's fine. Advanced fluorcarbon/hydrocarbon waxes can be better tuned for various temperature ranges and to last longer, but good old candle works well enough in most cases, is chemically cleaner and costs fraction... :-D Only when staying longer away from the home I resort to something portable and easy to apply such as Holmenkol Natural Wax Fluid just to have something on the runing surface, but I think even for that purpose a very thin home-made paraffin liquid (applied with the use of a sponge, felt or cork) could be used.

MrMagura
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by MrMagura

1) The ratio between oil and wax, depends on the temperature and the conditions you ride under.
1:1 is a starting point. If your riding conditions are cold, it's benefitial to add more oil, in order to keep the lube from flaking, and enhance adhesion.
The same gois if you're riding in very warm conditions, you need to add more wax, to keep the phase change temperature high enough to have a dry lube.

2-3) EP additives are sorted the easiest way, by mixing 10% STP oil treatment in the oil part, so the end result is around 5% of the total, give or take.
The big deal about EP additives, is to get it dispersed, which STP has sorted out for us, at some $3 and change, per half a liter.

http://www.stp.com/products/oil-additiv ... treatment/

It's probably worth mentioning, that compared to the solvents used by most commercial chain oil manufacturers, in order to dissolve the wax, xylene comes to mind, just about any other chemicals seem like vitamins.
It's really quite simple though, as just about any lubricant I know of, calls for rubber gloves when handled.
Most chains calls for rubber gloves as well, just because they're dirty, so no real difference.

4) I wouldn't touch any of the products that contains xylene, and that is one of the main reasons I began looking into this, as you can't really buy dry lube that doesn't contain that stuff, and still works. White spirits and naphta, does not really work, as it gets lumpy, and both destroys anything it gets near to.
Last edited by MrMagura on Mon May 20, 2019 7:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MrMagura
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:38 pm

by MrMagura

Calnago wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 5:30 pm
I only have one question... Why?
Ok, I’ll leave now. Image
There's a long list of reasons:

1) Not having to deal with xylene

2) Spending a fraction of the time cleaning the drive train compared to any other methods

3) Lower loss in the drive train

4) Convenience

5) Cost

6) Ease of application

7) Less mess

8) Longer life span of the drive train, as the chain to a large degree dictates the wear rate


Would that answer your question? :mrgreen:

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pdlpsher1
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Location: CO

by pdlpsher1

I'd be happy to make my own if I know the formulation of my favorite lube, which is R&R Gold. Of course there are many home-brew recipes out there but the million dollar question is whether the home-brew ones will be as fast as R&R Gold?

MrMagura
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:38 pm

by MrMagura

I doubt you can find any evidence, that a wax based lube is not lower friction, than any wet lube.
As to differences between wax lubes, once you've thrown in a bit of EP additives, there's really nothing more to do.
So, the boring answer, a paraffin wax/oil dry lube, with EP additives, is at worst, on par with anything out there.

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Calnago
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by Calnago

Hmmm...
- Cost?... I really don’t have to skip any meals to afford a bottle of good chain lube every few months.
- Convenience? Removing the chain, hovering over it like a witches brew etc etc. no thanks. A new quick link just negated any cost savings you might be achieving. But convenience, hardly.
- ease of application and less mess? Compared to what. I wash my chain when I clean my bike. Get all the dirt and grit out. Relube. Pretty easy.
- takes a fraction of the time compared to any other method? You’re kidding right? I know you’re not, but I don’t think my method is any slower, and quite sure it’s faster when all is said and done.
- as for friction etc, just don’t even go there. I’m pretty sure it’s immaterial.

What I do agree with is a clean chain free of grit and grime will extend the drive trains life over one that is constantly dirty.
Anyway, we all do what we want to do. More power to ya. I know I do some pretty anal stuff when it comes to making my bikes work perfectly. But this just isn’t one of them.

Have fun....
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

[Insert sinister witches laugh here]
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

MrMagura
Posts: 86
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by MrMagura

Or.....Cost is simply just another positive side effect ;)

Replace chain with clean chain, as hould be done anyway, to get some kilometers out of a drive train, using reusable quick link (yes, they've been around for ages).
Collect 3 dirty chains, dump them into the hot wax for 15 minutes, while doing something else, pick up 3 clean and well lubed chains, wipe off excess wax.
...the end.

Just getting the dirt out of a chain, genrally takes longer. If you're under the impression, that you can wash your chain like you wash your bike, try taking a link apart, and see how much grit and what not is left inside.

As for friction, any research made has shown that it's significant, but you seem to just know better, so this reply is not really for you, but rather for others who reads the thread, to weed out plain misinformation.

So TL-DR:

Yes, friction in a chain is significant, as loads of studies has shown.
Yes, you can get reuasble quick links, they're in fact rather common.
No, you can't clean a chain by washing it
Yes, xylene is super toxic
Yes, we recognize that to you money doesn't matter, so the difference between a few cents and $10 a month, is simply not worth mentioning.

If you disagree, feel free to do so, but don't clutter a thread others spend time and effort to convey information through, that's simply retarded.

For those who cares to know why I have spent some time on this topic, I'm a retired team mechanic, currently keeping some 30+ race bikes running, so I've had to spend a little time on this topic, as dealing with that many bikes, and having to deal with old fashioned lube, and the consequences of such, simply wasn't an option.
Some years I decided to dig into hot wax chain lube, as xylene is not on my list of favorites, and dry lube without doesn't work well.
I've been over testing solids like PTFE and graphite, different EP additives in pure form, and so forth.
I had the luxury of being able to compare different compositions of lube, under identical conditions, and what I have explained here, is the result thereof.

MrMagura
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:38 pm

by MrMagura

Here's some data. What it really shows, is that hot wax lubrication is by far superior, to any other method.

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

I have been testing different types of hot wax lube, some with different solids added, like PTFE, etc.

What I found was, that solids did nothing positive, probably due to lack of porosity of the bearing surface.
EP additives gives clearly better performance, but does not increase the service intervals of the lube.
Plain wax/fluid paraffin gets you like 95% of the way, which is like 200-300% the service life of a chain lubed with anything else.

For extreme conditions, one can make a semi wet lube, by adding less wax.
This works at -15 celcius, and also for commuters that may see road salt.
In muddy conditions, keeping the lube dry, is working just fine for a race, and training as well, it just has shorter service intervals.
This I have not found to be a big deal, as muddy conditions takes even more time to clean up after, if wet lube is used, and swapping a chain takes less than a minute.

mag
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:23 pm

by mag

Have you tried/considered any other xylene alternatives for dissolving the paraffin? Like turpentine (wood turpentine) or toluene? Toluene is still a mess but if turpentine would work it might be an acceptable option even though it's the most expensive of them.

MrMagura
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:38 pm

by MrMagura

Nothing else than xylene really works. Been there, done that. Turpentine evaporates very slow, and attacks some types of paint.
Toluene is not much nicer to be around than xylene, and is also not dissolving proper.
When applying lube, you also need to clean the chain somehow, and that takes about as long as just hot dipping the chain, and let the lube clean the chain.
If you just aplly lube without making sure the dirt gets out of the chain somehow, you in fact bring the dirt into the bearings.

Having said that, neither brings much adhesion, where hot dipping the chain is far superior.
If you want to have some kind of emergency lube, just use plain paraffin oil.
I have not run into that issue for years though, as I simply make sure to have a few lubed chains ready at any time.
If a chain runs out of lubrication, it's mostly dirty as well, so pouring lube on is not a good idea, as that creates a grinding compound, rather than lubing the chain.
All you gain is that the chain stops screaming, but in fact the net result is not really better.

jlok
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by jlok

Thanks MrMagura for bring up this topic. I am going to switch to parafin waxing. Hate clearing the gunk on pulleys that normal lube would leave behind.

I think I have missed the part of how to prep a new chain with factory lube or used chain with some other lube (currently on Smoove). Do you just dip it in hot wax bath and leave it there? or degrease it before dipping?
Litespeed T1sl Disc / BMC TM02 < Giant Propel Advanced SL Disc 1 < Propel Adv < TCR Adv SL Disc < KTM Revelator Sky < CAAD 12 Disc < Domane S Disc < Alize < CAAD 10

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

Also interested. TIA!


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by Weenie


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