Lubing A Mountain Bike Chain Correctly | GMBN Tech MTB Essentials Ep. 8

Lubing A Mountain Bike Chain Correctly | GMBN Tech MTB Essentials Ep. 8


– This is a GMBN Tech essentials series, our easy to follow guide to setting up and maintaining your bike yourself. In this video, we’re looking
at lubricating the chain, which although does sound
like a very simple thing, it’s something often
approached totally wrong. So, we’re gonna dispel a few myths here today in the video. We’re also gonna explain to
you about all the components of a chain, how they work,
and why it’s relevant when you lubricate the chain. And also we’re gonna take a look at the types of lube that you need to use to make sure your transmission runs nice and smoothly. Now mountain bikes have a
lot of technology on them, a lot of very advanced things going on. Yet they still use the age
old chain to propel them. Something in fact that’s
been around since 1869 on bicycles, but of
course it has developed over the years. It’s got thinner, it’s go lighter, it’s got arguably stronger, and it’s more efficient. Now many people still wonder why mountain bikes continue to use the chain, and in fact bicycles full stop, especially considering this
transmission is out in the open. We ride in muddy, gritty, sandy conditions that typically wears these parts down and makes them consumable items, which means it costs you money when you’re just using the bike. Which is why it’s so important that we take good care of them. But the simple fact is
we’re still using them because it’s still currently
the best way to do this. Now there are bikes
with gear boxes on them, and the gear boxes are definitely gonna be a technology of the
future in mountain biking. But for the moment this is still the most cost effective way of
making a mountain bike work and with the least amount of friction. Now friction of course is
something you wanna reduce as much as possible on a bike because it revolves around
your peddling power. As soon as you got friction, and you’ve gotta peddle around, you’re wasting energy. Ergo, the chain is still
the best tool for the job. Now understanding how a chain works and it’s components are
key in order to lubricating a chain correctly because you quite often see people just pouring, like literally, saturating their chains with
unnecessary amounts of oil, which sometimes can make things worse. Just take a little look at the chain. So first up you can see
these outer plates here. These are the wider stance plates. And then you’ve got the inner plates that are sandwiched by them. And hold the sandwiches
together over a roller that rotates around an inner bush. And a pin punches it all together. Now the roller is really the only part of a chain that needs lubrication. This is the part that rotates. It rotates around the bush on the inside, which of course will wear out and does wear out in time
if it is not lubricated, or if it’s over-lubricated
and there’s loads of muck and grime in there. Just, basically you’re gonna
be turning that around. It’s like sanding it away. Now the name of the game is
to keep everything clean. And to use the correct amount of lube and the correct lube for the
type of riding you’re doing, the duration of riding you’re doing, and the conditions that you ride in. Now when it comes to lubrication, there are a lot of confusing options available on the market. Especially when it comes to road cycling, because they have wax lubes,
they have ceramic lubes, you got spray lubes, you’ve got wet lubes, and you’ve got dry lubes. But really when it comes
to mountain biking, in my honest opinion, there’s only two that actually matter. A good wet lube and a good dry lube. Every mountain biker will
need two options for that, and they vary depending on the conditions that you ride in and the
time of year you go riding. Now a wet lube, as you might think, is a wet lubricant. It’s generally quite thick and viscous and it’s job is to hold the
lubricating particles in place. So there will be lubricating particles floating within the lube, and the idea is that you lube
those rollers on the chain, you allow it to penetrate, but also, you leave a coating of that lubricant on the chain. And as well as keeping
the chain lubricated, it also protects the chain. Some lubricants have corrosion inhibitors built into them and
basically it protects it from the environment. Now whilst wet lubes are
very, very good at their job, if you were to use them
in drier conditions or sandy conditions they can actually make things worse for you because they can attract
all of the worst stuff that you do not want
near your transmission. And this effectively makes up sort of a horrible grinding paste
and as you’re peddling you are literally spending
money on your bike. You are wearing things out. So it’s really important
to only use wet lube in the conditions that you need it in. So the other option you need, perhaps if you’re gonna
have two lubricants, change of season, is the way
I would suggest using them, is a dry lubricant. Now as misleading as the name sounds, a dry lubricant is still actually wet. It’s a solvent lube and
inside that solvent carrier, let’s call that, there
are lubricating particles. It’s a liquid form when
you apply it to the chain. And the liquid solvent
helps those particles get into those rollers
and the pins of the chain where it needs to be. Then typically the solvent will evaporate or dry up filming a, like a
film over the top of the chain. Now the idea of this is the chain then feels dry to the touch but the lubricant is where it needs to be. Now like wet lube, dry lube does have a couple
of downsides as well. Now the first one is if you’re
riding in wet conditions it’s gonna get washed off quite easily. Because it’s not thick and
viscous and water resistant in the same way that wet lube is. So don’t use dry lube in wet conditions. Or if you do have to
use it in wet conditions you’re gonna be applying
it a lot more frequently. And another thing with dry lube is it does wear out faster than wet lube. But the advantages of dry lube of course, you’re not gonna get all that stuff sticking all over your drive train which means your drive train
will run smoother for longer. So, being cyclists of the world, we’re gonna be riding in
various different conditions whether you’re just on your home trails, whether that’s in autumn or fall, summer, spring, trails change. So what I recommend is
having a good quality wet lube and a good quality dry lube. Now general spray lube is very useful and when applied correctly works well. It’s somewhere in the
middle of wet and dry lube. And that’s expected. It’s got some of the traits of both. But it is on the thinner
side of a wet lube so you’re gonna need to
apply it more frequently. However it has got other
uses around a bike. Acts quite well as a water displacer. If you were to spray it and
polish bits of your bike with it afterwards, let’s just say around
pivot points and things, it works quite well as a
little additional barrier. However, if you’re just
using stuff for transmission, I recommend the old fashioned way, just go for a simple wet
and a simple dry lube in a dropper bottle. The reason for that is you can apply vary accurately the
specific amount of lube that you need to teach
roller on the chain. And use it vary sparingly. It’s gonna last you longer. And there’s no chance you’re gonna get it anywhere near those braking surfaces that are so easy to ruin. Now when it comes to
lubricating your chain there’s no point just adding more oil to what’s already there
because you can actually make things worse. You might feel that you’re
just adding more lubricant and it’s gonna run nice and smooth. But if you’ve been out riding and there are particles of grid and sand or anything like that in your drive train you’re just gonna keep
it there by doing that. And that is not what you wanna do. So the best advise when you lube the chain is to clean your transmission. Now my transmission here at a glance does look quite clean. But actually when you go a bit closer and you actually look at those rollers you can see quite a lot of muck on there. Now it would be all too
easy just to run it around with a fresh coat of lube
on there and hit the trails. But that’s not the best practice to do. Now having some kind of
degreaser is really useful because it makes this
next process a lot easier, but it’s not essential because
when you wash your bike a lot of that natural lubricant, provided you look after your
bike on a regular basis, will come out. However, if your chain
is all black and gunky and got loads of stuff on it, you’re gonna need a
degreaser to break that down. Now degreaser is quite nasty stuff. Most bike degreasers you get these days are bio friendly so they’re
good for the environment, or they’re not harmful
for the environment. However, they’re very harmful
for your braking surfaces so the same rules apply as would apply with any spray, any sort
of spray around your bike. Any aerosol in fact. Just avoid getting them anywhere
near your braking surfaces. Now the best form of
practice would be to spray some on a rag and then pass
the chain through there just by cycling your
transmission backwards. Of course, make sure the
rag doesn’t get tangled up in any of the sprockets
because it’ll get pulled in and you can also get your
fingers pulled in there as well. Common sense really, just take note of what’s going on. Now another option and a
lot of houses have this is classic WD-40. Now WD-40 is in fact a lubricant, but it also has solvent base to it, which means it can break down lubricant. Now, on a transmission like this, I don’t think I actually need to use degreaser at this stage. I know where I’ve been riding, I know the conditions, and I know it’s still
running pretty smooth. It’s just picked up some muck on the way. So some WD-40 on a rag. And again run the chain through that will actually remove quite
a lot of that nasty stuff. Then I’m free to lubricate the chain and go about my business. Now when it comes to actually
applying the lubricant just have a little think about this first. So we know that dry lubricant needs to get into the rollers, and then effectively it will
dry up around the chain. So technically it doesn’t matter where you lubricate your chain
on your transmission. Now sometimes you see people lubing the chain on the top here. If you’re using wet lube
that’s not good practice. I’ll tell you why in a minute. But for a dry lube, it’s quite acceptable because it’s gonna go into
the chain itself and soak in. But what I recommend
doing is actually the same for wet and dry lube is applying it on the inside of the links. Now the reason for that
is you can cycle the chain backwards through the
transmission as you’re doing this, you can monitor the
chain as it’s going past, it’s very easy to be nice and accurate. For a dry lube it doesn’t
make quite as much difference because it’s still gonna
go into those links and rollers and do its job. But for wet lube, if
you’re applying it here, you need part of the residue of wet lube to remain on the chain. This is the part of the
chain that contacts, like the inside part of the chain, contacts the sprockets all the way around. If you’re lubricating the
outside part of the chain all you’re doing is giving yourself a reason to absorb stuff onto the chain, which is gonna wear it out. Now depending on the
conditions that you ride in a dry lube doesn’t need
anything once it’s been applied because it will naturally,
the solvent will evaporate and dry up. That is job done, ready to ride. But with a wet lube, you’re stuck with a
couple of options here. Now if you’re riding on
a slightly drier day, but you still need wet
lube over a dry lube, sometimes it’s a good
idea to let it soak in and then just wipe off
some of that residue that’s on the outside links, because that also helps
stop grit and mud and muck and all the stuff that
wears it out sticking to it. However, if it’s a really,
really wet horrible day, leave it. You need all the help you can get. You need that lubricant to stay in place. So let it do its job. Just be cautious of the fact
that when you are riding in foul conditions you will need to clean and degrease everything when you get back to make sure it lasts. So there we go, that is
everything you really need to know about lubricating your chain. And like I emphasized from
the beginning of the video all you need is a simple
wet and dry lubricant and some rags. That is the fundamentals. Anything else will improve your experience with the bike. But that is all you really need to make sure your transmission
runs nice and smoothly. Now if you want to find
out how to deep clean your transmission, that
is quite a few steps up, but it’s quite an informative video, click down there. And if you wanna know a bit more about all the different types of greases, lubricants, compounds, et cetera, that are available for bikes, click up there. It’s a bit of a minefield. As always, if you found
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