March 5, 2012

Lubricating a chain - When is it too much?

Back when I first started commuting by bike to work I used to oil my bike's chain about once a week. I used Triflow which I had heard also cleans your chain. I didn't know it at the time but I had gotten into a vicious chain cleaning and dirtying cycle. I lubed and wiped down my chain because it was dirty, but my chain was getting dirty because I had too much lube on it. During a regular tuneup a mechanic, trying hard -- and failing -- to hide his disgust of the caked on oil, gave me the best advice ever about chain lubrication. The oil is supposed to be in the chain not on the chain. Oil outside of the bearings of a chain is wasted and does little more than act as a dirt magnet. From that day on instead of oiling my chain by running it and squirting a continuous flow of oil, I put one small dab of oil on each bearing. It takes longer, but I have to do it far less frequently now. The chain stays clean much longer now.

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