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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How/why does shifting performance decrease when a chain needs to be lubed? I'm not at all doubting the effect just trying to understand it... If the point of lube is keep the links lubed and free of rust then the rest of its application is really spurious? And by link I just mean the two little moving barrels in the link. How do lubed, rust free links effect shifting performance? Pardon the noobness of the question, I can see how a dry chain could be a problem in other ways, but shifting? And both front and rear shifting? Thanks.
 

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the lube from the chain migrates thru kinetic energy over to the derailleur pivot points and in some cases has traveled as far as the shift levers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the lube from the chain migrates thru kinetic energy over to the derailleur pivot points and in some cases has traveled as far as the shift levers.
Thanks! Really though? Lube kind of magically travels through the drivetrain system to make it all work properly? That just doesn't sound probable? Not to doubt you, what do I know, it just sounds weird...
 

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The lube doesn't transfer to the gears. It's that the chain has a lot less friction. Therefore, the chain allows the cables to move the gears easier.

No different than the oil in your car. Without it, metal on metal had a lot of friction and won't last very long.

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Dirt and grime might prevent the links from flexing. An interesting test would be to degrease a chain and ride it dry just to see how it shifts. If it shifts just as well clean and dry as it does clean and lubed then poor shifting is a dirty chain problem.
 

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Dirt and grime might prevent the links from flexing. An interesting test would be to degrease a chain and ride it dry just to see how it shifts. If it shifts just as well clean and dry as it does clean and lubed then poor shifting is a dirty chain problem.
Again, lube is all about reducing friction, regardless of the situation.

Just think of why you put oil in your car engine. Exactly the same.

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Again, lube is all about reducing friction, regardless of the situation.

Just think of why you put oil in your car engine. Exactly the same.

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I said it would be an interesting test.....

I agree less friction is better in this case; especially for longevity. I'm not entirely sold on it alone causing poor shifting. Maybe poor shifting on a worn dry chain but on a decent chain the links should flex easily even without lube. A simple experiment would yield some results. Since I don't degrease my chains I'll leave it up to someone else.
 

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How/why does shifting performance decrease when a chain needs to be lubed?
The only situation where external lubrication of the chain might help shifting is classic examples of "chain suck" when shifting from larger to smaller chainring. Additional lubrication may help dirty chain to slide off large ring's teeth (instead of getting stuck there). Or it may not...

Other than that I see no reason why lubricated chain would have better shifting performance. It doesn't really. There's generally no need and no point in performing external lubrication of bicycle chain.

I think you are dealing with illusory correlation here. The illusion of better shifting of lubricated chain is produced by the fact that cleaner chain shifts better. When people lubricate their chains, they usually clean them one way or another - by simply wiping the chain, or by doing some sort of more thorough/deeper cleaning. Later they erroneously attribute the improved shifting to lubrication, while in reality the lube has nothing to do with it at all.
 

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The only situation where external lubrication of the chain might help shifting is classic examples of "chain suck" when shifting from larger to smaller chainring. Additional lubrication may help dirty chain to slide off large ring's teeth (instead of getting stuck there). Or it may not...

Other than that I see no reason why lubricated chain would have better shifting performance. It doesn't really. There's generally no need and no point in performing external lubrication of bicycle chain.

I think you are dealing with illusory correlation here. The illusion of better shifting of lubricated chain is produced by the fact that cleaner chain shifts better. When people lubricate their chains, they usually clean them one way or another - by simply wiping the chain, or by doing some sort of more thorough/deeper cleaning. Later they erroneously attribute the improved shifting to lubrication, while in reality the lube has nothing to do with it at all.
Seriously? Please go out and drain all the oil out of your car. Now de-grease the internals so it's nice and shiny. Then report back in a few weeks and let us all know that lube had no effects what's so ever. Hey, might as well do your automatic transmission while your at it.

Sure, it's an extreme example but the principle is exactly the same.

I'm sure one could get away with not lubing their chain ever and it might even shift ok for a long time.

However, it will shift better when lubed which is the point of this thread and the original question.

Lube on any metal to metal contact = less friction in the chain = less effort your thumbs need to force the cables to shift gears = better shifting and less wear.

(All assuming your adjusted properly to begin with. If not, lube alone won't fix.)

/thread.

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Seriously? Please go out and drain all the oil out of your car. Now de-grease the internals so it's nice and shiny.
Don't make me laugh. There's no analogy between bicycle chain and car engine when it comes to external lubrication. The very idea of such analogy looks like a poor attempt at trolling.

There's even no analogy between bicycle chain and motorcycle chain in terms of external lubrication. Motorcycle chain benefits from external lubrication. Bicycle chain doesn't.

Bicycle chain needs no external lubrication, period. Whatever friction-reducing effects external lube might have, they are negligible, absolutely unnecessary and do more harm than good.

Bicycle chain needs internal lubrication, it needs lubricant inside the rollers and between the plates. That's where you can indeed use your engine analogy, but that's where its applicability ends.

I'm sure one could get away with not lubing their chain ever and it might even shift ok for a long time.
Nobody here is advocating "not lubing the chain". My point is that lubricating the external chain surfaces (in an attempt to reduce friction between the chain and the chainrings/cogs) is not going to meaningfully improve shifting performance.
 

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Don't make me laugh. There's no analogy between bicycle chain and car engine when it comes to external lubrication. The very idea of such analogy looks like a poor attempt at trolling.

There's even no analogy between bicycle chain and motorcycle chain in terms of external lubrication. Motorcycle chain benefits from external lubrication. Bicycle chain doesn't.

Bicycle chain needs no external lubrication, period. Whatever friction-reducing effects external lube might have, they are negligible, absolutely unnecessary and do more harm than good.

Bicycle chain needs internal lubrication, it needs lubricant inside the rollers and between the plates. That's where you can indeed use your engine analogy, but that's where its applicability ends.



Nobody here is advocating "not lubing the chain". My point is that lubricating the external chain surfaces (in an attempt to reduce friction between the chain and the chainrings/cogs) is not going to meaningfully improve shifting performance.
Dude, I didn't say to de-grease the outside of your engine did I?

Lube needs to be in the links, not on the outside plates.

That's just common sense, no?

Metal on metal (links) needs lube, no matter what the application.

Im sorry I wasn't reading exactly your "external" vs "internal" comment because lubing ones chain is a pretty basic concept and process and I didn't think needed further explaining?

How about you explain the physics behind internal vs external?! lol

OP, it's called a Google search and this is what comes up.

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/how-to-clean-and-lube-your-bikes-drivechain-video-18259/

This thread made me so much smarter...

I'm going to go lube the internal links in my chain now.

Troll is out.

Peace

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Dude, I didn't say to de-grease the outside of your engine did I?
Save your engine analogy. It's totally meaningless in the discussion of lubrication affecting chain shifting.

OP, it's called a Google search and this is what comes up.

How to clean and lube your bike's drivechain – video - BikeRadar
And that video demonstrates what was previously mentioned. Cleaning the ENTIRE drivetrain (and cables). If your drivetrain is gunked up, your shifting will suffer.

On a maintained drivetrain, a freshly lubed chain doesn't shift any better than a chain that's in need of lube.

If the point of lube is keep the links lubed and free of rust then the rest of its application is really spurious?
The point of lube is more so to reduce friction and wear. If you had a stainless steel chain, you wouldn't need lube to prevent rust. But you would want it to reduce friction and wear.
 

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On a maintained drivetrain, a freshly lubed chain doesn't shift any better than a chain that's in need of lube.
Key point is "a maintained drivetrain." It's more than possible that the OP (and others who have experienced this) are riding with a gunked up chain that indeed is less flexible and shifting poorly.
 

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So what's the best chain lube?

I have a disk break bike I don't want to brake. It's a Trek and I was also wondering if it was any good?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The point of lube is more so to reduce friction and wear. If you had a stainless steel chain, you wouldn't need lube to prevent rust. But you would want it to reduce friction and wear.
Makes perfect sense... Friction and wear in contact between the chain and teeth, or in the motion of the rollers or all of everything? And "illusory correlation" as Andre called it is a truly great description from what I can tell. Shifting performance is effected by gunk. There is a correlation between a dirty drive train and gunk. Cleaning/lubing a chain is correlated with, but not causing, the effect on shifting performance (as Kerry also mentions).
 

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Makes perfect sense... Friction and wear in contact between the chain and teeth, or in the motion of the rollers or all of everything? And "illusory correlation" as Andre called it is a truly great description from what I can tell. Shifting performance is effected by gunk. There is a correlation between a dirty drive train and gunk. Cleaning/lubing a chain is correlated with, but not causing, the effect on shifting performance (as Kerry also mentions).
Can someone explain how changing cables can affect shifting performance?

I'm more confused about that side of the shifting equation.

I'm pretty sure it again boils down to used cables have more friction than new ones allowing new cables smoother shifting because of less friction.

Is that it or is there other elements/factors with cables??

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Can someone explain how changing cables can affect shifting performance?

I'm more confused about that side of the shifting equation.

I'm pretty sure it again boils down to used cables have more friction than new ones allowing new cables smoother shifting because of less friction.
Cable wear is one factor. Wear of the liner. Fraying of cables. All creates drag on the cable.

Also gunk gets inside the cables, particularly around the ferrules. Rain, sweat, dirt, road spray/grime. This can create drag on the cable as well.

Shifting performance is affected when shifting to smaller cogs. The cable drag creates too much resistance for the rear derailleur spring to overcome. So the shift becomes sluggish. It gets worse in the smallest cogs because the spring is mostly retracted and has the least force.
Cable drag doesn't affect shifting into the larger cogs because your hands have enough force to overcome the drag.
 

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Seriously? Please go out and drain all the oil out of your car. Now de-grease the internals so it's nice and shiny. Then report back in a few weeks and let us all know that lube had no effects what's so ever. Hey, might as well do your automatic transmission while your at it.

Sure, it's an extreme example but the principle is exactly the same.

I'm sure one could get away with not lubing their chain ever and it might even shift ok for a long time.

However, it will shift better when lubed which is the point of this thread and the original question.

Lube on any metal to metal contact = less friction in the chain = less effort your thumbs need to force the cables to shift gears = better shifting and less wear.

(All assuming your adjusted properly to begin with. If not, lube alone won't fix.)

/thread.

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Sorry, that is a very poor analogy. A derailleur places a sideways force on the chain. Lubing the chain has no significant impact on how the derailleur deflects the chain. In fact, if you lube the outside plates of the chain (where the derailleur contacts, you are doing it wrong. A drop of oil on each roller is all that should be used.
 

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Key point is "a maintained drivetrain." It's more than possible that the OP (and others who have experienced this) are riding with a gunked up chain that indeed is less flexible and shifting poorly.
Yes, in that case it is the gunk the reduces flexibility, not the presence or lack of oil.
 
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