Ebike Chain Lubes

Johnny

Active Member
Ok I searched for it but couldn't find a general thread on the subject. We have a couple of threads on specific products or bikes.

I think this is an important topic. I will be very happy to see your experiences with different lubes, especially their longevity.


About 2.5 months ago I changed my lube to Rock n Roll extreme after seeing the great reviews and the article on how efficient it is I wanted to give it a try. It is a wax based lube, You apply it to the chain until it is dripping wet, wait a couple of minutes then wipe with a dry cloth. It does a very good job of cleaning and keeping the chain clean during the rides. At first I thought this was it.

The problem is when I started this lube I had around 1000-1100 miles and when I measured the chain with a ruler it was almost like new. After 3-4 applications and 300 miles later I measured again and it was significantly extended. To make sure I got a park tool measuring gauge and wow, around the missing link it is 0.5 (one measurement may even be 0.75!!!) and the other half is less than but close to 0.5.

Given that I rode the bike in snow twice and 3-4 times when it was raining I didn't expect this kind of wear so quickly.

Now I don't want to bash the products , I actually want to like it since it stays much much cleaner than oil based lubes and chain is silent in the first couple of days but today I gave it a light wipe and the cloth was again covered with a dark grey dust. I cleaned and lubed the chain 6 days / 40 miles ago.

Before moving onto another lube I wanted to see what others are using. I like to get more than 1500miles out of a $50 chain if possible.

Some additional information:
-It is a KMC e10 Silver chain.
-The support level I use on my Bosch is almost never over ECO, lately I actually am using custom modes and decreased the assist level to %20 percent (feels like a nice road bike, getting great mileage of course).

I may switch to Smoove since I really liked the wax based lubes but this wear issue is a deal breaker.

Your experiences will be appreciated.
 
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Ebiker01

Active Member
In order to comply with e bikes very specific gadgets( e bike helmets, chains, tires..) the industry should launch Mid drive / IGH /DD specific chain lubes . So when Bosch will make diff. chain lubes for their mid drives( 1 for a 250watts motor, a 2nd one for the performance cx motor) then this problem should be resolved. I ride easy motion so i am waiting for a BH chain lube addressed for motors with 500watts, max. 90nm torque . In the meantime i use a 5$ lube bought from amazon and i don’t grind the gears or Pedal below 70rpm.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I wear crank sockets out before I wear out chains. Fought a worn out crank this weekend on a very used bike I wanted to cable up outside the symphony hall. I wear tips of rear sprockets off, too without stretching the chain. At about 5-8 years and 10000-16000 miles. I'm using sus 32 hydraulic fluid, sae 5, also known in the US consumer market as type A auto transmission fluid. NOT DEXRON or motor oil, those contain detergent that sucks water out of the air. NOT hydraulic fluid meeting specs of John Deere, Catapiller, New Holland. The generic grade at the farm supply. Caveat, I have a hub drive which doesn't stress the chain as much as a mid-drive motor. I do pedal 300 lb up 15% grades, before electricity. Your wax lubes make the outside pretty but don't penetrate and lube the rollers & pins inside. Factories with a lot of chain use the same product, called "rock oil" at the last one I worked at because it was used in the air drills that miners use for explosive holes. Factory chains transmit up to 5 hp where I worked. I don't worry about dirt on the outside of the chain. I wear a clip on my long pants to keep the fabric off the chain. I oil with a pump oiler monthly or more often, letting it drip off. Also derailleur wheels, cables, pivots of brakes & shifters, levers, stem bearing, crank bearing. My bike sits in the rain & snow when I work or shop.
 
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Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
Hmm. I have been using Rock 'n' Roll Gold, which is supposed to be not quite as good as Extreme (if you go strictly by the Friction Facts tests). Before I stopped riding due to injury, I had 2400 miles on the chain with not much wear at all. My bike uses the same KMC e10 chain, and I ride in all modes, including a lot of de-restricted riding at over 25 mph. I cannot explain why my results are different than yours, other than that I have not ridden in the snow. After you applied the lube, did you turn the cranks at high speed? The instructions specify to spin the chain quickly to move all the contaminants to the surface so you can wipe it off.
 

Johnny

Active Member
Hmm. I have been using Rock 'n' Roll Gold, which is supposed to be not quite as good as Extreme (if you go strictly by the Friction Facts tests). Before I stopped riding due to injury, I had 2400 miles on the chain with not much wear at all. My bike uses the same KMC e10 chain, and I ride in all modes, including a lot of de-restricted riding at over 25 mph. I cannot explain why my results are different than yours, other than that I have not ridden in the snow. After you applied the lube, did you turn the cranks at high speed? The instructions specify to spin the chain quickly to move all the contaminants to the surface so you can wipe it off.
I was also thinking "extreme" should be better, more durable so I got it. Although winter is quite cold here I rarely ride in snow or rain. Usually I choose a very dry path, avoid mud, puddles etc.

I am planning to give a dry lube a go this time maybe this extreme lube is not good for anything other than wet conditions.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I've used this Park chain cleaner every 300 miles or so on my MTB's:

71LMYdHsEtL._SL1181_.jpg
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Q4NCZI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's amazing what crap comes out of a chain after such a short distance.

I like Finish Line dry lube:

81-pDGY5z8L._SL1500_.jpg
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z779GMO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I'm still using the original chain on my MTB with almost 6K miles. I'm using the same chain maintenance on my e-bike with 1K on it so far. Too early to tell if I'll get the same results.
 

Johnny

Active Member
This is really interesting. I am hearing people having relube/cleaning intervals of 200+ yet I was doing only maybe 100miles between maintenance intervals.

I had that parktool chain scrubber and I don't like it much, I feel like if you are keeping your chain clean regularly a brush is less messy. So I decided to clean with a brush and once a year just take off the chain and put it in dilluted citrus degreaser.

With prolink it was gunky , only kept crisp shifting for maybe 50 miles but even after 100miles I didn't have this chain wear.

The interesting thing is the chain flexed the most close to the missing link, almost 0.75 on one measurement and on the opposing side it is not even 0.5.

I will buy a spare chain just in case but I am kinda disappointed.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
My bike tech says not to use any kind of degreaser on the bike, because it can work it's way into the "sealed" bearings in the wheels. So with degreaser, he says to remove the chain and put it in a jar with the degreaser, if that level of cleaning is needed.
 

batmick1

Active Member
I've been working on bikes for many years and ride several thousand miles every year. Hands down the best stuff I found is Chain-L http://www.chain-l.com/
It's thick as honey and a little harder to put on (no quick job) but I consistently get 500-1000 miles between applications.
 

Johnny

Active Member
I've been working on bikes for many years and ride several thousand miles every year. Hands down the best stuff I found is Chain-L http://www.chain-l.com/
It's thick as honey and a little harder to put on (no quick job) but I consistently get 500-1000 miles between applications.
500-1000 miles! that is a lot, does it shift smoothly until your next lube ? I have heard good things about ChainL but there are so many choices so can not try them in person.

The problem with the lubes like Rock n Roll it is hard to know whether it penetrated properly or not. The chain looks and feels clean to the touch but for example the first time I rode it it felt very smooth yet that feeling subsided maybe after 15 miles. It didn't squeak though. Maybe when switching to these lubes one has to apply 2 times the first time. Btw I always applied it as instructed moreover I waited one night before taking it to a ride(of course one needs to apply it in a warm place).
 

batmick1

Active Member
500-1000 miles! that is a lot, does it shift smoothly until your next lube ? I have heard good things about ChainL but there are so many choices so can not try them in person.

The problem with the lubes like Rock n Roll it is hard to know whether it penetrated properly or not. The chain looks and feels clean to the touch but for example the first time I rode it it felt very smooth yet that feeling subsided maybe after 15 miles. It didn't squeak though. Maybe when switching to these lubes one has to apply 2 times the first time. Btw I always applied it as instructed moreover I waited one night before taking it to a ride(of course one needs to apply it in a warm place).

Yes, very smooth shifting and it runs very quiet too. In fact, before I started using it I used the sound of the chain as an indicator that it was time for checking wear and replacing. After I started using chain-l I missed the stretch because it was so silent.

They have a free sample offer and that sample is good enough for a couple of applications. Give it a try. They also have pretty good instructions on how to clean/prep the chain before using it.

Correction: Looks like they no longer send a sample bottle but you have to go to a dealer for a free application.
 
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Randroid

Member
Anybody tried paraffin wax ? I live in a dry climate (Arizona), and that is all I use on my Trek road and hybrid bikes. Looking to buy an E- bike soon.
 

elliot friedman

Active Member
Yes, I've been using a Paraffin wax and paraffin oil combination for the last year without any issues.
I enjoy the whole procedure.
As far as cleaning, I use a mineral spirits bath in the jar instead of the gasoline he uses in the video. Sometimes once, and if extra dirty twice. Then one or two soaks and shakes in a jar filled with denatured alcohol. You can let it sit indefinitely in the mineral spirits but not the alcohol do to the small content of water in it.


 
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Johnny

Active Member
Yes, I've been using a Paraffin wax and paraffin oil combination for the last year without any issues.
I enjoy the whole procedure.
As far as cleaning, I use a mineral spirits bath in the jar instead of the gasoline he uses in the video. Sometimes once, and if extra dirty twice. Then one or two soaks and shakes in a jar filled with denatured alcohol. You can let it sit indefinitely in the mineral spirits but not the alcohol do to the small content of water in it.


Although I will use muc off dry with current chain (The factory lube began making noise after 80-90 miles or so I degreased with a mild degreaser and started muc off dry) to test for chain life I am planning to give this a try with my next chain.

So how is the wear on your chain with paraffin wax? Can you compare it with the drip lubes you have used ? I am curious how it holds up with the additional power of a mid drive. Also how does it hold under wet conditions ?


There seem to be different opinions on this , zfc says it is best to use wax alone without any additional oil, in the videos you have posted it is advised to mix it with paraffin oil. I also read blogs claiming that crossing the chain simply strips the paraffin wax and decreases its effectiveness.
 

Johnny

Active Member
As my search for finding the right chain lube continues I was wondering if anyone used the following?

Finish Line Ebike specific lube


and

Royal Extreme

I am searching for a lube with very high film strength so that when pushing 400W+ (rider + motor) the chain does not wear much.


On a side note, my experience so far is I can never get over 150miles on a single lube application. 150 miles was with Dumonde original, the prox light was like 120 and was worse in dusty conditions. The wax based lubes I used usually dried out before 50 mile mark. On a friend's new emtb with Bosch CX we will be using only prolink gold so that will be a good experiment in parallel.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've used Finish Line Dry Teflon lube for years on my conventional bikes.

I tried Finish Line ebike lube when I started riding ebikes but switched back to the dry teflon. I do mostly trail riding and wet lubes attract too much grit. I apply the Red Line Teflon every 200 miles or so and am still using the original chain after just under 2000 miles. My bike has a rear hub motor though so I can't speak for mid drive bikes which put more stress on a chain.
 

Johnny

Active Member
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've used Finish Line Dry Teflon lube for years on my conventional bikes.

I tried Finish Line ebike lube when I started riding ebikes but switched back to the dry teflon. I do mostly trail riding and wet lubes attract too much grit. I apply the Red Line Teflon every 200 miles or so and am still using the original chain after just under 2000 miles. My bike has a rear hub motor though so I can't speak for mid drive bikes which put more stress on a chain.
Thank you, right now my objective is to prolong chainlife while having decent lube intervals (100miles+).

Both regular bikes and rear hub ebikes are very similar in the amount of stress on the chain (only rider input is transferred through chain). Unfortunately with a mid drive it is motor plus rider input which can go very high. In my case according to Nyon I am usually over 200-250 and if I want to go fast the motor adds a similar amount(even in eco reaching 350+),

Btw with your parktool which degreaser do you use. I was using finish line citrus degreaser and it is strong even when dilluted , the parktool one which is supposed to be soy based (I think finish like has a similar product) seems somewhat weaker and needs to be used full strength.
 
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