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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 this video helpful, give us a thumbs up And if you love GMBN Tech and the essential series, please don't forget to hit that subscribe button and share it around

Source: Youtube

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