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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I apologize in advance for poking a stick into this hornets' nest, but here goes:

In all my fettling and farting around, I've tried all kindsa chain lubes, from 3-in-1 oil to paraffin waxing, and I've noticed a pattern, I think. It seems that heavier, oilyer lubes silence the drivetrain incredbly well but make a ginormous black drippy mess on everything. And waxier lubes are much cleaner and not splattery at all but don't silence near as well.

So my question, then, is "Is this pattern actually a thing?" Imagine, in other words, a spectrum with 90w gear oil at one end and bare dry metal at the other. The 90w is so thick and sticky that all noise is padded or damped while creating a cleanliness atrocity, whereas the bare metal can't by definition drip or splatter anything while creating a squeaky, clattery cacophony. (Nevermind watts and wear at this point; I'm just trying to address this perceived pattern.)

Your opinions?
 

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Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico
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I think there's a happy medium. I use NFS and Chain-L, on different bikes, applied as directed, wipe the chain, then let to sit overnight. Both are relatively heavy, keep the chain quiet and don't splatter crap all around and last reasonably well for a period of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think there's a happy medium. I use NFS and Chain-L, on different bikes, applied as directed, wipe the chain, then let to sit overnight. Both are relatively heavy, keep the chain quiet and don't splatter crap all around and last reasonably well for a period of time.
So you agree that the pattern holds, that there is a quieter/messier--->louder/cleaner continuum and that the trick is finding one's preferred spot along that continuum?

Kinda like the speed-durability continuum in tires; the fastEST tires aren't the toughEST, and finding the desired trade-off between the two is individual preference?
 

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Your opinions?
My opinion is that "silence" is not a criterion that I use in evaluating a lube. Longevity, low friction and cleanliness matter. Noise does not, to me, except for actual squeaking, which indicates a need for re-application.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My opinion is that "silence" is not a criterion that I use in evaluating a lube. Longevity, low friction and cleanliness matter. Noise does not, to me, except for actual squeaking, which indicates a need for re-application.
Valuable answer there. Yes, the noise I'm talking about is not the squeak, squeak of a dry chain (or the rubbing of a chain on a front mech cage or the clatter of a poorly indexed rear mech).

My ideal drivetrain would consist of a Jedi hiding in my bottom bracket, transmitting my watts to the cassette via the Force. But alas, I am not Luke's father.

But back to your reply, I'm glad that you shared your opinion because it shows that maybe I expect too much silence from my drivetrain and that my speculated continuum is partially superfluous.
 

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is riding in MOPP4
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There is always a compromise. If there weren't, then we'd all be using the same lube and riding the same tires.

Machines make noise. Similar to what JCavilia said, I'm all for lowering friction and increasing longevity of the drive train. Noise reduction is a distant third.
 

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Banned Sock Puppet
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While I would never recommend 3 in 1 oil on a chain for the reasons you have found out, keep in mind that the key to keeping your chain from being a dirt magnet is to wipe it thoroughly after lubing it. Remember, you want to keep the chain rollers lubricated. Lube on the outside of the chain serves absolutely no purpose other than attracting dirt and gunking up your drivetrain. Wiping the chain thoroughly gets rid of the lube on the outside of the chain, but the lube is still on the inside where it matters.

FYI, Mike T. has a method for cleaning and lubing his chains and they often last over 10K miles:

Chains
 

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While I would never recommend 3 in 1 oil on a chain for the reasons you have found out, keep in mind that the key to keeping your chain from being a dirt magnet is to wipe it thoroughly after lubing it. Remember, you want to keep the chain rollers lubricated. Lube on the outside of the chain serves absolutely no purpose other than attracting dirt and gunking up your drivetrain. Wiping the chain thoroughly gets rid of the lube on the outside of the chain, but the lube is still on the inside where it matters.
Bingo. This is the reason for the popularity of solvent based lubes. For example, you can use 90w gear lube in odorless mineral spirits to lube your chain. It will penetrate every nook and cranny with lube and if you wipe off all the external lube, the evaporating solvent will leave lube on the inside and minimize dirt pickup. That said, there is no such thing as a chain lube that works well and is perfectly clean. It's the holy grail but to date it remains in the same category as transparent stainless steel.
 

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You also need to clean chain ring (besides jockey wheels and cassette) as those teeth accumulate dirt and grime. Otherwise when the clean chain comes in contact, the dirty stuff transfers over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the info, everybody. Mike T's page was new to me; I'd never heard of the oil-and-mineral-spirits recipe, and I'll have to try it.

I recently tried Oz Cycle's (I think that's the name of the YouTube channel) paraffin recipe, and it is indeed spotless, but it sounds different. That's what got me to asking. And yes, I do like a clean, shiny drivetrain, cassette, rings, jockey wheels, and all, and I always wipe the outside of the links, whatever lube I use.

Maybe I should just pedal harder so my wheezing and the wind in my ears will drown out the whizzing of the drivetrain. :thumbsup:
 
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