True Facts About Chain Lube

Wunderloob 3.2

Zungenwurst Speed Lab, in collaboration with Handkase Aero Propulsion Institute, is pleased to announce a chain lube that makes all other lubes inferior. When you put a traditional lube on your bike chain, your bike is secretly crying out, help me, save me from this watt-robbing, cod liver juice! Your cogs are repelled, on a molecular level, and their agitated state wears down the teeth prematurely. Shifting suffers, as ‘normal’ chain lubes make a chain shift like a ‘86 Yugo on it’s 400,000th mile. Your peers mock you, with your dirty ‘lubricated’ chain. It is as if you yourself are tainted, unclean–a bike pariah. They will relegate you to Starbucks for post ride beverages while they find a nice pour-over bar. Your spouse will surely leave you, as you drip stinking oil on the carpet. Lastly, most importantly, your bike mechanic will hate you. All good bike mechanics work wearing white cotton gloves. When they have to adjust your disgusting derailleur, the pulleys are flinging black oil hither and yon. Their immaculate gloves become soiled. It is at this point that they will break out the angle grinder and turn your bike into a travel bike.

But friends, you can rejoice! Your spouse will continue to put up with you, your friends will let your enjoy a 4 dollar cup of Huehuetenango, your bike mechanic will only slightly revile you… but only when you take your chain, chainrings, derailleurs and cassette off, clean them in a ultra sonic parts cleaner that cost more than your first bike, and then reinstall. You may then apply our patented chain lube. 3 drops only. The lubricant penetrates the very soul of your chain, and your chain rejoices. Never before has it felt such a surge in usable wattage. It is now 23% more watt’sy then it was before, 48% more shifty, 51% more susceptible to a light rain shower that will then cover the chain in surface rust. However, the rain will never actually touch your bike, because the only place you should ride is on your Zwift, in your living room. You only have to reapply (and reclean) the drivetrain every 25 km, unless you are racing on an indoor track in the Intel clean room. Then it’s every 35km. All of this can be had for 65 euros for ¼ of an oz. Pro peloton technology is finally within your reach!

Okay, okay. Now for some real talk.

There are lots of new chain lubes on the market. Velo News, Friction Facts, and others have validated a rush to develop chain lubes that have no practical use. Many of these claim a degree of practicality, but there is no practicality in a system where you have to take the drivetrain off to clean it completely before relubing. Yet this is exactly what these lube companies recommend. Wattage lost to lubrication is a real thing. It’s not a myth. However, if you are hunting for bike efficiency while riding in Raybans, a flappy shirt and Chacos, I might suggest that you hunt somewhere other than your chains’ lubrication source. The wattage lost between the most efficient lubes out there and the least is less than 3 watts. It’s actually closer to two watts. In the grand scheme of all the things that are slowing you down, having hairy legs has more of an impact on how fast you are riding than your chain lube. So why use a chain lube that costs a fortune and is a pain in the butt to apply?

Prolink makes a good really thin chain lube. It’s like WD-40, but for bikes. WD-40 has a whole bunch of solvents in it. These help break down rust and flush out thicker lubes. When the solvents dry, there is a bit of lube in the WD-40. Not enough to actually do a good job lubing a chain, but enough to keep a door hinge swinging freely. Prolink is similar, but it has a higher lube content. Still a ton of solvents, but more lube. That means Prolink is a great lube to clean your chain with. What??!

Cleaning your chain with degreaser is bonkers. If the degreaser is strong enough to break down the old chain lube, guess what, it’s strong enough to keep the fresh stuff from getting in. Sure, you can flush the chain with water, after degreasing it, then use a combo of time and an air compressor to blow the water out of the chain. Me, I don’t like to use an air compressor on a chain. Not only is it hard on our generator, but it also flings black water all over, including but not limited such places as: your rims, tan sidewalls and disc rotors. Just air drying a chain could take over a day. I don’t have time for that. I have firewood to process. If you clean your chain with Prolink, you flush two things outta the chain: grit (composed of crunched up stuff off the road and bits of your chain) and old lube.

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The process is super simple: Shift into the big ring up front and the hardest gear in the back. Apply Prolink generously, so that when you stop pedaling, it’s dripping on the floor. Do something else for a few minutes. For instance, buy a water bottle from us. Then mosey back over. The solvent has done it’s thing. Take a dry T shirt, preferably your roommates, and drag the chain through it, holding the chain very loosely in a bundle of shirt. You can do this on the upper run of chain or the lower. I don’t care, just don’t get your fingers caught in the chainrings. Pedal backward. Keep flipping the shirt to a fresh spot of cotton and keep wiping. Do this routine until the chain is coated and wet looking but not black with oil. If you are riding in nice dry weather, boom, that’s it, you are done. If you are riding in the rain, or mud, or snow, etc, you are not done. Leave the chain alone and go buy a hat from us. When you come back in five minutes, most of the solvents will have evaporated out.

Now, grab your other bottle of lube, Finish Line’s wet chain lube (Phil’s oil also works fine but it’s double the cost with no noticeable benefit) and apply a thin stream of that to the chain. Get it fully coated, but you don’t need a gallon of the stuff. Just make sure the rollers and side plates are covered with a thin layer. Wipe off the excess, good to go.

Prolink is the only lube I have used that pulls bits of metal out of the chain’s rollers. The chain gets grit in the rollers, and that grit acts like sand paper and wears the chain down. The little bits of metal that flake off further wear the chain down. Removing those is muy bueno. Prolink does that.

Finish line wet lube is just a cheap, goopy lube that keeps the chain running quietly and does stays on even in wet weather. It’s sticky and dark green and gross, which are all good traits in a heavy duty bad-conditions lube. It comes off easily with Prolink. Reapply when the chain is either noisy, has some surface rust, or you are about to go on a big bike trip. Clean it with Prolink a few times a year, or when it’s really mucked up and gross.

Now go throw out that silly chain cleaner, and use that Simple Green on what it was intended for: pizza stains on your favorite concert Tee. Actually, use Miracle Red for that, it’s better.

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