Chain oil for bikes - cheaper alternative?

drummerbod

Senior Member
Location
South Derbyshire
Chain oil for bikes seems very expensive as it tends to come in small quantities.

I see chain oil for chainsaws is much cheaper - typically £8 a litre.

Both are chains right? Anyone tried it?
 

mynydd

Über Member
Yes, I use it all the time. Just a tiny drop on each link, and then rub down with a rag afterwards.
Purists might object, but does the job for me
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Its also very difficult to get oil into the links of a cold chain, so ideally bring the bike indoors before lubing the chain and stand it near a heatsourch for as long as is possible.
 

youngoldbloke

The older I get, the faster I used to be ...
I use Progold Prolink exclusively. Recently bought 16oz for £15 or so. I apply it using a hypodermic - you don't need any more - chain and other general lubrication - brake and mech pivot points. 4oz lasts me about a year for 4 bikes (not all in use at the same time) = 1oz/year = less than £1/year per bike. Is this expensive?
 

deptfordmarmoset

Full time tea drinker
Location
Armonmy Way
Its also very difficult to get oil into the links of a cold chain, so ideally bring the bike indoors before lubing the chain and stand it near a heatsourch for as long as is possible.
I never knew that. I wonder whether warming the oil would have a similar effect or whether it would lose its heat too quickly on a cold chain.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
I think chainsaw oil is vegetable oil; it's supposed to be biodegradeable and it doesn't need to do its job for more than a brief moment before being flung off, which is why it is constantly fed to the chain by a very low geared pump and galleries in the chain bar. As such it's quite a viscous sticky oil and I would expect it to collect dirt - it certainly holds sawdust around the working parts of the chainsaw, building it up into a horrible sawdust slush. Bike chain lube on the other hand is AFAIK a wax dissolved in a volatile solvent, which carries the wax into the links then evaporates leaving a dryish chain.
 
Location
Loch side.
Chain oil is like religion and people take it very seriously and swear by this or that oil. However, bicycle chains have a very unsophisticated lubrication requirement and any oil that is not too thin to be flung off as the chain moves around the cassette or, pull long honey-treacle strands as it rotates, is fine. Car engine oil fits perfectly into that category. If the oil is too thin it will splatter drops onto your back rim as you ride. If it is too thick, it will throw strands of oil onto the back rim. If it does neither, you've hit the sweet spot.
Finally, wax is a very, very poor chain lubricant.
 
Last edited:
Location
Loch side.
Its also very difficult to get oil into the links of a cold chain, so ideally bring the bike indoors before lubing the chain and stand it near a heatsourch for as long as is possible.
I think if you examine a cold or warm chain that's just been oiled and rotated a few times, you'll find that the oil has penetrated perfectly throughout. A bicycle chain is an assembly of close-fitting components that suck the oil in via capillary action. It is actually impossible to keep the oil out, it will go inside. Test it for yourself. Lube a freezing chain, rotate it a few times and remove the quick-link. It will be oiled inside. No need to heat it up.
 
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