So putting roughly 400 miles on my bike on a monthly basis through some pretty dusty stretches is making drivetrain maintenance more demanding than I expected. Here’s a list of chain lubes I’ve tried and my experience with how often the chain needs servicing with them. In this post I’ll detail my experience with these products and my journey to make drivetrain maintenance as easy and efficient as possible.
|FinishLine Dry Lube||35 miles||Not a fan, got very noisy very fast|
|FinishLine Wet Lube||35 miles||Had an old bottle laying around, not much better than dry lube|
|FinishLine eBike Lube||50 miles||Better than the above 2 but still doesn’t last very long, attracts a LOT of dirt|
|Wolf Tooth WT-1||150+ miles (so far)||Amazing so far! Does require a few wipe downs but lasts a very long time compared to the others|
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I started lubing my chain by putting a milk crate under the crank, using the kickstand to hold it sturdy and being careful not to place the bike down on the wire bundle underneath. I mean this worked but it wasn’t super sturdy and I couldn’t do a full rotation of the crank.
Given how much I foresee needing to maintain the bike I think purchasing a bike stand was worthwhile investment. I purchased this $80 stand on Amazon and so far so good. No issues at all. It will hold the bike with the battery and both panniers full with no issue. I usually remove the panniers and sometimes remove the battery just to make it easier to lift up onto the stand.
Deep Cleaning (as needed)
When I first got the bike the chain was filthy. It was super gunked up, chunks of old oil and dirt all over the rear sprocket, crank and in the derailleur. The chain was black and completely gunked up. I started by removing the “missing link” and taking the chain completely off the bike. I then soaked it in bucket with some random Home Depot Zepp Purple degreaser I had laying around. It helped remove most of the really thick chunks of oil dirt but didn’t do a great job removing the blobs and smeared in oil/dirt in between the chain links. After spending WAY to much time on the chain with a brush and a toothbrush I was able to get most of the gunk off the chain.
Enter Pedro’s chain pig using Pedros Pig Juice. I already had the chain pig and always just used the old Home Depot Purple Zep degreaser but after trying the chain pig with Pedro’s Pig Juice, the juice is way more effective at cleaning the chain. It super cleans the chain, between the linkages where the Zepp didn’t work, Pedro’s juice cleans it all off.
Experience with different lubes, detailed.
- I started using Finish Line dry lube but didn’t really like it TBH. I thought because I was riding through some super dusty areas dry lube was the way to go but it only lasted maybe 2 commutes (30-40) miles before needing a reapplication and got just as dirty as the wet lube. I used the dry lube for about 2-3 weeks before trying a wet lube. After a wet ride, this lube was virtually non existent, it got super noisy after some rain.
- I then tried both Finish Line’s Wet Lube and Finish Lines eBike wet lube. I thought the eBike specific lube was a winner as it’s a little thicker than other wet lubes I’ve used in the past. It sticks nice to the chain but it definitely attracts A LOT of grime. I could about 3-4 days (45-55 miles) using this before the chain starting getting a little chattery. Same here on the wet ride side, after a good soaking, it was SUPER noisy.
- I called an ebike shop in SoCal asking about a chain ring and picked the guys brain a little bit. He was a super nice dude and I bugged him about chain maintenance. He suggested I try Wolf Tooth WT-1 chain lube. So, I ordered some on Amazon and gave it a try and so far, this stuff is amazing. The application is the same as any other lube, but the longevity and water resistance is off the charts (so far.) I’ve been using it for around 1.5 weeks (150+ miles) now and haven’t had to re-apply, even after a VERY heavy rain storm. I did have to wipe it down a couple times (as the instructions state) because it has a detergent in it that forces dirt and grime to float off the lube on onto the chain. I’m super impressed with this so far and this might be my go-to lube for a long time.
Just some other tidbits, I put some of the eBike wet lube into one of these needle point applicator bottles and put a drip into the jockey wheels and pivot points on the rear derailleur.