Jan asked in SportsCycling · 3 months ago

Will a lubricant specifically designed for chains also help to extend the life of my bike's drivetrain?

I've left my bike exposed to the elements for 2 years and just recently loosened the chains with WD-40 cleaner and WD-40 chain lubricant. I'm now intending on purchasing a chain cleaner and some solvent to help clean the chain further before brushing the cassette and lubricating the chain with Rock N Roll Gold chain lube. But will a chain lube itself also help extend the life of my cassette and its other drivetrain components? 

This is so it can last a little bit more before I have the bike brought in for a chain replacement (I'm embarrassed because of the golden brown appearance my chain has) . My rear derailleur shift cable has also rusted.   Bike is also making this creaking or knocking sound each time the pedals make a full revolution.  

7 Answers

  • 3 months ago

    Any lubricant will protect better than none. But if that chain was rusted significantly, it's toast. Once you oil it up and the rust in the rollers is dispersed, it will cause a change in the tolerances - in short, that layer of rust means steel lost off the pins and rollers, which will cause the chain to 'stretch.' (It's not really stretch, it's worn parts causing an increase in overall length.) Once the chain is no longer exactly 12 inches over 12 links (24 pins) then the chain is worn out and continuing to use it will cause excessive wear on the other components in your drive train. In short, it's cheaper to replace the chain now than to replace your drive train later.

  • pmt853
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    Almost any lubrication is better than none but if your chain or anything else is shot then bin it , get a replacement from a reputable bike shop and look after it.

  • D50
    Lv 6
    3 months ago

    Stop wasting your time. You will never turn your chain into a "good" one because it is shot. You might be able to ride the bike with it, but it will never work well.

    Either have a bike shop replace it or do it yourself. I suggest you use a chain with a master link the next time so it is easy to remove for cleaning and lubrication. There are endless discussions of which lube is "best".

  • David
    Lv 6
    3 months ago

    Stop polishing a turd.

    When a chain is badly rusted at the outside, it’ll be rusted on the inside too. It’ll wear faster and wear the cassette and crankset out faster.

    Cassettes don’t have any moving parts, so rust there is less of an issue.

    If you need the bike to get to the bike shop, by all means resurrect the chain enough for the ride there and back. But there’s probably no realistic way of getting the chain back into being good enough for extended use. Buy a new one and take better care of it this time.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 3 months ago

    Ever heard a song years ago by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams called "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late"?  That's what this reminds me of.  Too much time has gone by with the bike exposed to the elements.  Too little routine maintenance on your part.  And it's too late to fix it, at least inexpensively or on the cheap.  

    You can try doing it yourself if you have all the tools, skills & know-how.  Consult the Park Tool repair help website.  https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help  Brake & shift cables don't cost a lot.  Neither do most chains, unless it's a 10 or 11 speed rear cog.  A rear cog, depending if it's a freewheel or cassette, can run anywhere from around $20 to over $100.  

    If you don't have all the needed tools, that price tag can quickly add up too.  A Home Mechanic starter kit alone is $159.95.  https://www.parktool.com/product/home-mechanic-sta...

    Personally, I wouldn't mess with the bottom bracket, which is most likely that creaking sound.  I'd let a bike shop handle that.  In short, no amount of cleaning plus a good, quality chain oil will restore the bike to its previous condition.    

  • 3 months ago

    As mentioned in the first response from Anonymous, WD-40 is NOT a lubricant.  The WD stands for "water displacement" - 40th attempt.  https://www.pedalchile.com/blog/wd40-chain-lube

    In a nutshell...depending on the age of the bike & how much it initially cost, it might now be less expensive to replace it!  In other words, if you bought a discount store bike, it's NOT worth fixing up.  That creaking / knocking sound each pedal revolution is in my guesstimate a bad bottom bracket - the crank bearings.  

    Now it's time to start adding up all the repair costs.  1) New chain.  2) New rear cog (cassette or freewheel).  3) New brake and shift cables.  4) New or at least a serviced bottom bracket.  An "Advanced Tune-up" at a local bike shop near me is $100, NOT including any parts needed.  https://www.mikesbikesstl.com/services  A "Complete Overhaul" is $180 - which I would highly recommend after sitting outside for 2 years.  

    To answer the question about Rock N Roll Gold chain lube...it's one of the best on the market.  And yes...it will help extend the life of the chain IF that chain is CLEANED and relubricated every 150 to 200 miles.  More often if riding through mud, muck, snow, or on filthy streets.  The problem now is...IT'S TOO LATE FOR THAT!  The damage has been done.  Sigh...roll eyes.  🙄  When not in use, bicycles should be stored INSIDE.  

    Attachment image
  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    Error: WD-40 is a Water Displacement (WD) it is not safe to use as a lubricant.

    [WD-40 was used on an aeroplane door as a lube, it trapped moisture in the hinge, leading to rust, rot and failure, that in turn was a cause of a French fatal crash.]

    Chain Lube is designed to keep the Rubber Gaskets of a Bike's Chain pliable. As well as lubricate the metal parts.

    Warning: WD-40 uses propane as the propellant, keep it away from hot exhaust pipes, or it *might* explode or burst into flame. WD-40 says it doesn't feel obligated to tell investors and consumers about the product's problems.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.