Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"L" is for Lubricant

Some of you may have noticed the Daily Fix being a little quiet over the last couple weeks. I guess that's what happens when you have to do a real job, too. It likely comes as a surprise to you that I'm not at home in my underwear with a cup of coffee pondering bicycle frame geometry all day long. No, that's what I do at work...with the addition of pants...usually.

Today's topic is brought to you by Dumonde Tech and by the letter "L". L is for lubrication and that, specifically of bicycle components including the chain. Chain lubrication is by far one of the most beneficial preventative steps to holistic health for your bicycle. A well-lubricated chain will drastically improve the lifespan of your entire drive-train. There are a lot of different chain lubricants on the market. I have used several of them, but currently I'm using Dumonde Tech Lite chain lubricant. "Liquid plastic through polymerization forms long lasting coat on all chain surfaces." That's the description on the bottle. Dumonde Tech specializes in lubricants for motorcycles and bicycles and claims to be the longest lasting lube on the market. They specifically instruct the rider to not reapply chain lube until the chain begins to make a sound. I've never heard my chain make this fabled sound, but I decided to take them up on the challenge.

I ride my bike everyday through rain, snow and crushed basalt and I figure, if anyone's going to need to keep their chain lubed it's the year-round bike commuters. Two weeks later, after lubing my chain with Dumonde Tech Lite, I started to hear a squeaking sound coming from down there. I was a little confused at first, because I haven't actually gone two whole weeks without lubing my chain. The new sound escalated to an unbearable point yesterday and I finally determined that the squeaking down there was, in fact, my parched chain crying out and not a squirrel in my shorts. Today I will be reapplying the Dumonde Tech lube. The chain sound was very obvious and a good "time-to-lube-your-chain" alarm. In the winter I usually go a week before I reapply. Doubling that time is not such a bad thing. It saves lube and it means less bad stuff is seeping into the dirt.

Dumonde Tech also makes a lubricant called Bio-Green which is a plant-based lubricant. I have used it in the past, but I'll have to pull it out again and see how long I can go between lubes with the all-natural stuff. Whether you use Dumonde Tech's product or not. It is imperative that you lube your chain...for your sanity and that of your friends.

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