Every professional cyclist knows how much and what kind of lubricant is needed for the various assemblies of his cycle-bike, especially for the chain through which the transmission of torque occurs. But lovers and novice cyclists will be interested to know what needs to be used to lubricate the chain and how to properly care for it, so that it lasts for many years and does not lead to premature failure of the cassette sprocket.
What contributes to increased wear of the chain and cassette? What is not recommended
You should not think that, having anointed several times with a solid oil along the chain, you will keep it working, and it will serve a very long time. Before lubricating the chain of a bicycle, you must know all the nuances that arise during its operation. To begin with, dirt stuck to the surface of the links and the inside of them is one of the main factors that leads to very fast wear and deterioration of parts. Damaged surfaces quickly begin to rust and collapse, so you need to know how to lubricate the bike chain and how to apply a lubricant.
Rapid wear can be caused by using the wrong type of lubricant, heavy loads on the chain and cassette mechanism, as well as improper gear changes. The fact is that when the links on a tooth hit the side, there is an increased friction of the parts, which leads to their destruction. Therefore, the gearshift mechanism needs to be periodically checked.
The lubricant should be applied in the required amount and in a strictly defined place (between the link plates and rollers). In addition, it is recommended to avoid excess lubricant, especially using oils, as they can get into some places where their presence is highly undesirable (for example, brake pads). In addition, a large amount of dirt adheres to the oil lubricant, including sand grains and small particles of stones, which enhance the destructive process.
Is it possible to use detergents and soap solutions for cleaning? How to clean the chain before lubrication?
Before lubricating the bike chain, it must be thoroughly cleaned. For this purpose, you can use expensive detergents that can clean the chain to almost perfect condition, as well as various solvents (white spirit, kerosene and others). However, it should be remembered that they are flammable substances, in addition, the cleaning will need to be carried out on the street because of their strong smell and high toxicity.
As for washing the bicycle chain with the use of soap solutions, it is necessary to immediately dry the chain mechanism after cleaning, because otherwise it can become rusty.
To facilitate the cleaning process, you can use special machines designed for these purposes. They will appeal to those who are interested in how to lubricate the bicycle chain at home. The principle of their work is quite simple: detergents are poured into the device, then by rotating the lever or pressing the pedal, we move the brushes, which clean the links from dirt. The machine is convenient to use in that it allows you to direct cleanliness without having to remove the chain. Such a device costs about 400-600 rubles. Cars are good to use for cleaning after driving off-road and strong sticking of dirt.
You can also purchase brushes with stiff bristles and accessories, thanks to which dirt inside the links will be easily removed. In addition, unlike cars, they can be used to restore order on the asterisks.
The easiest and cheapest way to clean a bike chain is to use a stiff toothbrush, thinner, and a regular rag. First, all the links (inside and outside) are cleaned with the help of bristles and solvent, and then everything is wiped clean with a cloth. Can be used to improve the effect of microfiber cloth.
Getting to the lubrication circuit. How to do it right? Chain cleaning after winter inactivity
So, the chain parts of our bike sparkle clean, and now you can proceed to the lubrication itself. What is the need to lubricate the chain on a bicycle and how to do it right? Immediately, we note that if the bike-bike is used in difficult road conditions, it is necessary to lubricate it more often than pleasure models.
You do not know how to lubricate the bike chain and how it is done correctly? Grease must be applied under the chain rollers. It is not recommended to coat steel surfaces with lubricant from the outside, as this may lead to accumulation of dirt and hard small specks, which, penetrating inside the parts and under the rollers, contribute to their rapid wear. In this regard, it is necessary to leave the outer part of the chain mechanism dry.
The question of how to lubricate the bicycle chain after the winter can be answered unequivocally: with lubricant for moving parts Nano Protech. The tool has an excellent water-repellent effect and lubricates rotating and friction-resistant parts, and also prevents creaking. This grease protects metal surfaces from the appearance of rust, besides for it there are practically no inaccessible places.
Moreover, using it, you can ride at least every day in heavy rain, because it provides an adequate level of protection for the bicycle chain for a long period of time. After applying the lubricant to the chain rollers and its links, it is necessary to remove residues using a cloth. The tool is produced in Russia. Its cost is about 250 rubles.
Polytetrafluoroethylene-containing lubricants (universal lubricant)
How to determine correctly how to lubricate the bicycle chain at home, so that the lubricant is affordable, easily applied to friction surfaces and protect parts well? One of the most effective lubricants for bicycle chains are lubricants containing polytetrafluoroethylene.
This chemical compound is more commonly known as Teflon, its friction coefficient is very low. Therefore, rubbing surfaces treated with Teflon-based products are perfectly preserved for a long time. One of these lubricants is the tool CL1 Park Tool, the cost of which ranges from 400 rubles. You do not know how to lubricate the bike chain in the winter or after a long stay in a damp place? Use Teflon greases that can significantly extend the life of bicycle chains and other parts.
Can grease, lubricating oil and lithol be used as a lubricant?
Many inexperienced cyclists naively believe that the more lubricant present on the links of the drive chain, the better, they say, abundant lubricant is the best means of preserving metal friction parts. So how can you lubricate a bicycle chain with motor oil, lithol or grease? It would be possible to give a positive characteristic to all these materials, if it were not for one essential, but ─ this is dirt that instantly adheres to lubricated parts.
Sand, fine solid particles and other debris are transformed into a durable abrasive when interacting with such lubricant, which inevitably leads to the erasure of knots of various mechanisms, primarily rotating and rubbing parts. Before lubricating the bicycle chain with lithologic, it should be remembered that the dirt accumulated in it also makes the pedals difficult to rotate, therefore it is not recommended to use such lubricants.
On the use of graphite grease and aerosols
Considering the question of how to lubricate a bicycle chain (grease and other fatty greases are not suitable, as we have said), one should pay attention to graphite grease, as well as various tools that are made in the form of aerosols.
Graphite lubricant has a good protective effect on metal parts, eliminates rust and penetrates deep into the most inaccessible places. A graphite-based lubricant permanently creates a film that prevents metal damage and reduces friction. Usually it is enough to run about 400 km, provided that there is no rain and deep pools. Otherwise, the lubrication is not enough for 50 kilometers.
For aerosols, there are no inaccessible places at all. This lubricant is sold in special cartridges in which the medium is under pressure, and its spraying is carried out by pressing the appropriate button. As active agents, various types of oils or substances can be used that are capable of cleaning the metal from rust, weaken the stuck fastener, and also force out moisture.
There is nothing at hand, and do not know how to lubricate the chain of a bicycle? “VD 40” will help to solve this problem (many auto and bike enthusiasts will have this aerosol). However, it should be remembered that, nevertheless, “VD” is not a lubricant and is quickly washed off with water, therefore the pretreatment of the chain with this tool would be an ideal option, followed by lubrication.
Liquid lubricants for bicycle chains
Today, bicycle technicians have a large arsenal of various chemicals and various protective equipment, including special liquid lubricants for bicycle chains. There are universal tools that can be used in any weather. In addition, there are lubricants for chains that are used when driving in rain and severe drought. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what type of lubricant to choose.
With regard to the use of liquid funds, they are sold in plastic bottles, equipped with a special spout-watering, so you can carry out a point lubrication. Therefore, if you do not know what to lubricate the chain on a bicycle, or doubt the choice of means, stop your choice on liquid lubricants.
The problem of hard-to-reach places is solved with the help of a conventional syringe, which is easily drawn lubricating fluid. This lubricant should be applied at the joints of the chain links, after which its excess should be removed. Before you buy this type of lubricant, you need to find out from the seller how the tool behaves in the cold (it does not thicken too quickly), since most of them become unusable at sub-zero temperatures (however, they warm up quickly in heat).
Considering the answer to the question of how better to lubricate the bicycle chain, you should also pay attention to the lubricant, which consists of two main components: a liquid solvent and a thick lubricating mass. This material has a fairly effective effect on friction parts. Bicomponent lubricant is sold in special lubricators, which allows you to pour fluid under the chain rollers.
The essence of the use of such tools is as follows: after the main component of the lubricant is delivered to the required place, the solvent evaporates, and a thick lubricating layer remains on the surface of the part for a long time. It is recommended that, after treating the parts with this agent, before cycling, give time to completely evaporate the solvent, for which it will take at least 1 hour.
When and how is it recommended to lubricate the bike chain?
Many novice cyclists often have a question about when and how to lubricate a bicycle chain. How to determine that it already needs lubrication? Many years of experience in the use of cycle equipment show that the first occurrence of squeak in the chain mechanism requires lubrication of its components. Usually this can be observed every 100-130 km of run (Nano Protech-type tools can protect the circuit up to 900 km of run). To facilitate the mileage calculation, you can install an odometer that will accurately measure the kilometers traveled.
As we already said, before lubrication, the chain and sprockets need thorough cleaning and drying of their surfaces. In the case of using a bi-component or liquid lubricant, the composition is applied from special lubricators into the chain gap, which is made up of rollers and side plates connecting the links between them.
All rollers are subjected to lubrication, for which it is necessary to drip each gap, while moving the chain by pedaling. In order not to get confused in counting the number of lubricated links, the side plates of one of them are made of a different color or subjected to branding (usually with them and begin to lubricate).
What lubricate the chain of the bike, to decide, of course, you. After applying the lubricant (regardless of the type of agent used), it is recommended to remove excess lubricant with a dry cloth. After that, the pedals should be rotated for several minutes so that the lubricant is evenly distributed on the rollers and the axes of the plates. After that, the excess must again be removed with a cloth.
Practical advice for cyclists
It should be remembered that not only sand and other debris can increase the wear of the chain and sprockets. Incorrectly selected gear also contributes to the rapid wear of parts. For this reason, it is not allowed to position the chain with a maximum skew. This will be its position if it is located on the front and rear of small or large stars. These options impede the switching process itself, contribute to a poor transition of the chain tape to the teeth of sprockets and its quick failure. It is also extremely not recommended to subject the chain to overloads (for example, when driving uphill in high gear).
We should not forget about applying lubricant to the bicycle's hinge mechanisms, as well as bearings and bushings. In addition, it is necessary to lubricate the chain tensioner mechanism, the pedals, the carriage and the steering column. It is mandatory to prohibit bike cables that carry out a mechanical brake and participate in gear shifting.