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Essential Facts


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHAIN LUBES

There are two groups of lubes on the market: wet, which are oil based; and dry which are wax, graphite, teflon, etc based. Wet lubes are so called because they stay wet on the chain, and dry because their carrier liquids evaporate to leave a dry lubricant on the chain.

It is a misconception that wet lubes are for wet conditions, and dry lubes for dry conditions - a good dry lube will, taking component wear and cleaning into consideration, 'out lube' a wet lube in all conditions. While a wet lube will perhaps obtain more distance its major disadvantages are that it attracts dirt like honey to a blanket, forms a grinding paste which leads to significant chain and sprocket wear, and is a pain in the neck to clean. In every instance, chains lubed with wet lubes require regular degreasing for optimal performance.

Every other dry lube on the market that we know of is formulated with the lubricant component dissolved in a carrier liquid, which is almost always some form of combination of solvents such as benzine, heptane, propane, alcohol, acetone, etc. The net effect of this is that such solutions are saturated with a very low content of the lubricant. Therefore, once it is applied to the chain, the chain is left with too little lube.

Furthermore, the carrier liquid usually always evaporates too quickly before the lubricant can be carried into the openings in the chain between the plates, and pins and rollers leaving the chain under lubed. 

In most instances (even those rated among the best lubes on the market) aerosol chain lubes have only 10-20% lube in the can, while the rest is solvent. If you want to check this out for yourselves, find the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the product you use - it will reveal all!

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