This morning wasn't the best of mornings for commuting by bike, but I did. I had no choice, my licence has expired and it's payday tomorrow. So I rolled out of my street during a dry spell on my old touring bike, the Sierra, which despite its age runs pretty quietly. Some of you would have read my post about it here. One thing I have not done yet is got it a new chain for it. The current one must be at least 10 years old and I haven't checked the stretch.
As I pedalled down the street and onto the Linear Park I realised things were very quiet this morning. I felt good despite the weather, my pedal stroke was easy and the bike was quite. It was then I put a couple of things together in my mind and realised my weekend bike clean up after my Sunday ride on my Focus that also included a quick going over the Sierra's chain with White Lightning 'Clean Ride' chain lube had made an unbelievable world of difference to effort required to pedal and a near silencing of the bikes drive-chain.
When I got my new bike, Noel at The Bike Station told me the best maintenance practice is to clean the chain after every ride with a rag and use White Lightning on it every couple of weeks so I bought some. I suffer badly from chain ring tattoos. It must be the way I stand by the bike when taking a break. Big fat black clean chain-ring stamps right on my ankle so with a new bike and chain I have been determined to keep it clean and avoid this so I was happy to take Noel's advice.
Clean Lube is just one of the suite of products from White Lighting. "Clean Ride is Cycling's Only Self-Cleaning Lubricant, Clean Ride literally sheds dirt & grime while you ride, keeping your bike running smoothly". I am not sure about it being the only cleaning lube, with similar products from Pedro's, but it is excellent.
Take a rag, apply it liberally over your chain, I hold a rag under the chain to catch any spill. Then free-wheel the chain to really work it in. I like to leave it a few minutes then use the rag to remove excess. If you are using it for the first time on a used chain and the chain is particularly dirty it will really mess up your rag and you'll probably need to do it a few times. Once you've used it for a few goes or on a newish chain you'll be amazed how your rag will only be a little bit soiled. Why? Clean Lube works as a wax based lubricant that dries to the touch, great for winter and wet riding, that I can't fault. It also cleans as you ride with dirt clumping together and sheds away. The manufacturers say particles of the wax structure fall away taking dirt with it keeping a new chain new, benefiting your cogs and the rest of your drive-chain, "virtually eliminating wear" and prolonging life. Extending the life of a chain, which can be quite expensive to replace when you consider you need to usually replace the chain and cassette, can only be a good thing.
I know some people are not fans of wax lubes. I have always used products like Tri-Flow and Finish Line Dry and reckon they do the job of lubrication just fine but I am a bit of a clean freak and no matter how much I degrease my chain using a 'washing machine' device or tooth brush I can never really get it clean and the next ride the ankle tatts are back. So a clean and lube is a win-win!
White Lighting claims to be the best selling bike lube in the US. It was first formulated in 1994 by a retired chemist, Paul Mapels, who wanted to end the messy frustration from the buildup of dirt and grease on bike chains by coming up with a self-cleaning product. First sold as Easy Lube, Clean Ride is the newest version of what was considered a classic.
Maybe this seems like a load of dirt-balls but White Lightning say their product is the only one and it does it by a patented process. If you want to take it up a notch for your MTB or CX rides look at their Epic Ride and Wet Ride cleaning lubes. Now I am so impressed I want to try out all of their stuff. The only downside is you do use a fair bit of it per clean but you don't need to use if you wipe your chain off after each ride.
Now I don't want to hear any more squeaky chains out there!
Watch a promo video here.
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Good write up Angus. Sorry for the thread mine. But I was wondering what you used to clean your chain prior to applying the 'clean ride' wax?
For instance, did you wash the chain, cassette and cranks down with a bucket of warm water and some form of degreaser or dish washing liquid and wait till it all dried before applying the 'clean ride'?
Im just trying to use the most effective, non damaging method of cleaning my chain so that I can apply this stuff with confidence.
Since my last comments on this matter last July, a cycling buddy (AC member) has suggested using laundry Preen spray to clean chains. So have been giving this a go for my last 2 chain cleans. Works for me! I wonder whether it could be even better for oil-based lubricants than the dry-types, but it does work with 'clean ride' too.
thanks Ray, interesting suggestion. Has anyone used that Orange Power laundry spray?
Certainly some of those commercial chain cleaning products are based on those orange solutions. I have in the past added this to my chain scrubber thingo with those brushing wheels that clips over the chain and dips into whatever solution is added. Again, this MAY work better with oil-based lubricants, I am only guessing (??), and was only "OK" with Clean Ride type dry-lubes. My experience was that Preen was better than using Orange Power in the chain scrubber. But certainly worth a try! I would be interested in others' experiences too.
I use a cheap aerosol degreaser, a dishwashing brush, rinse with soapy water and then lubricate. I mentioned this on a ride a couple of weeks ago and was surprised to discover that several people use the same method, 2 of them do all their own servicing and one is a bike mechanic with many years experience.
Avoid chain tattoos - wear long black socks (ala Lance).
I wear my chain tattoos with pride. Im just wondering why Ive got them on both legs
I didn't know that they've named a chain lube after me .. 8~)"
I don't think we've met Michael, but, how much bland do you want.