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My Two Favorite Bicycle Chain Lubricants

White Lightning Clean Ride Self-Cleaning Wax Lube

White Lightning Clean Ride

At this time of year many folks will be getting back on their bikes for the first time in months. First, welcome back—we’ve missed you out on the road all winter. Second, you probably need to lube your bike chain before you hit the road again. There are a lot of great chain lubricants on the market and today I’d like to tell you about the two I use.

Several years ago a local bike shop recommended White Lightning Clean Ride Self-Cleaning Bicycle Lubricant to me and this amazing product keeps my chains looking brand new even after 2,000 miles of use. White Lightning Clean Ride is a liquid wax that goes on wet and dries rather quickly. This lube is “self-cleaning” which means that once the chain dries the wax lube “sheds” off your chain as it gets dirty.

Before applying Clean Ride for the first time you need to start with a very clean chain since the wax will not mix well with the oil that might already be on your chain. I have found that White Lightning Clean Streak Degreaser works extremely well for this purpose. Once your chain is clean, just pour Clean Ride on the chain as you turn it, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess. I use a small air compressor to blow the dirt off of my chain after every ride and I re-apply the Clean Ride about every 100 miles. If you don’t have an air compressor just use a small cotton cloth (an old T-shirt) to wipe off the dirt after each ride. You will find that dirt, sand and road grime does not stick to your chain once you start using Clean Ride. This means you are not going to have globs of oil flying off of your chain if you get caught out in the rain. Clean Ride retails for around $10.00 for a 4 ounce bottle. I think I have seen White Lightning Clean Ride at every bike shop I’ve ever been in, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.

Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubricant

Boeshield T-9

While White Lightning Clean Ride is fantastic for most purposes, I prefer to use Boeshield T-9 on my winter bikes and the ones I use for riding in the rain. The first time I saw a can of Boeshield T-9 in a bike shop I was a bit surprised because I already had several cans of it in my garage but had never even thought of using it on my bikes. I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and all of my woodworking tools are stored in an unheated garage, so to keep them from rusting I spray them with Boeshield T-9. I also use it on my snow-blower. My favorite use for it had always been on my table saw—not only did it keep the table from rusting, but it provided an extremely slick surface for the wood to slide over.

Boeshield T-9 was developed by The Boeing Company (the folks who make those pretty planes). This product has a solvent and paraffin wax base and uses neither Silicone or Teflon. The solvent penetrates deep through other lubricants, but I would recommend you clean the surface first before you use Boeshield T-9 if for no other reason than it looks better that way. Boeshield T-9 dries quickly, but it is best to let it dry for a couple of hours before wiping off the excess. This will leave you with an incredible barrier against rain, mud, snow, ice, salt and road grime. The bike I reserve for riding in the rain is coated with this stuff! My winter bike is fed a steady diet of ice and road salt, but it still looks great because of the protection Boeshield T-9 provides. Boeshield T-9 is suitable for use on derailleurs, brake cables, pivot points and the chain.

Boeshield T-9 is available in different sizes, from one ounce bottles up to gallon containers, and in aerosol cans. Regardless of what form you buy it in, Boeshield T-9 has exactly the same formula. The 12-ounce aerosol can retails for $18.

 

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White Lightning Clean Streak Dry-Degreaser

White Lightning Clean Streak Dry-Degreaser for bicycles

White Lightning Clean Streak

If you want to keep your bicycle clean and in good working condition you need to get acquainted with White Lightning cycling products. A can of White Lightning Clean Streak Dry-Degreaser is the easiest way possible to clean you entire drivetrain (chain, crankset and derailleurs). I don’t care how dirty, greasy and grimy your drivetrain is, Clean Streak White Lightning can make it look like new in under a minute.

Why do you need Clean Streak White Lightning? First, if you buy a new chain you need White Lighting to remove the packing grease. The grease that comes on new chains is only there to keep the chain from rusting while in storage—it is very sticky and worthless as a lubricant. Second, if you ever want to switch brands of chain lube you usually need to remove the old lube first, and there is nothing better to use than White Lightning. Third, if your chain has picked up a lot of sand or grit it is easier to use White Lightning to strip the chain than to spend 15 minutes trying to clean it.

Once the chain is stripped down to bare metal it is going to be thirsty for a fresh coat of oil, and my favorite lube is Clean Ride (also made by White Lightning). Clean Ride is a liquid wax that goes on wet and dries quickly. This lube is self-cleaning which means that once the chain dries the wax lube sheds off as your chain gets dirty. Clean Ride is good for both road and mountain bikes. I get about 2,000 miles of use out of a new chain on my road bike, and with Clean Ride I usually never have to clean it—I just apply a new (thin) coat to the chain every 100 miles or so. I sometimes have to strip and clean the chains on my mountain bikes because I live in an area with a lot of sand and while it would eventually fall off the chain I like to remove it before it does too much damage to my rear cassette and front chainring. This product dries in just a few minutes and leaves no residue—you don’t even have to rinse it off with water!

Clean Streak White Lightning is also good for cleaning disc brake rotors and other metal parts. A few weeks ago I accidentally got some spray wax on the front disc brake rotor of one of my mountain bikes—the brakes still worked but they squealed so loud when I applied the brakes I was actually embarrassed when other cyclists where nearby. Fortunately, one quick shot of Clean Streak cleared the problem right up!

Clean Streak White Lightning comes in an ozone safe aerosol can and is available in either 12-ounce or 23-ounce sizes. The 12-ounce can retails for around $10 and is available at nearly every bike shop in America. The folks at White Lightning suggest that Clean Streak be used either outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, and that you put down a layer of old rags or newspapers to catch the crud and grease that falls off your chain. A 4-ounce bottle of White Lightning Clean Ride self-cleaning lube retails for $8.

 

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Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubricant

Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubricant

Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubricant

The first time I saw a can of Boeshield T-9 in a bike shop I was a bit surprised because I had several cans of it in my garage but had never even thought of using it on my bikes. I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and all of my woodworking tools are stored in an unheated garage, so to keep them from rusting I spray them with Boeshield T-9. I also use it on my snow-blower (and it got a tremendous workout this past winter). My favorite use for it had always been on my table saw—not only did it keep the surface from rusting, but it provided an extremely slick surface for the wood to slide over.

Boeshield T-9 was developed by The Boeing Company (you know, the folks who make those pretty planes). This product has a solvent and paraffin wax base and uses neither Silicone or Teflon. The solvent penetrates deep through other lubricants, but I would recommend you clean the surface first before you use Boeshield T-9 if for no other reason than it looks better that way. Boeshield T-9 dries quickly, but it is best to let it dry for a couple of hours before wiping off the excess. This will leave you with an incredible barrier against rain, mud, snow, ice, salt and road grime. The bike I reserve for riding in the rain is coated with this stuff! My winter bike is fed a steady diet of ice and road salt, but it still looks great because of the protection Boeshield T-9 provides.

Boeshield T-9 is suitable for use on derailleurs, brake cables, pivot points and the chain. If you have a metal bike frame and ride in either snow or rain I would suggest you spray Boeshield T-9 on the entire frame (inside and out). This product will not harm paints, plastics, or rubber.

Boeshield T-9 is available in a variety of sizes, from one ounce bottles up to gallon containers, and in aerosol cans. I prefer the aerosol because it is so easy to use (on the bike and everywhere else). Regardless of what form you buy it in, Boeshield T-9 has exactly the same formula. The 12-ounce aerosol can retails for $18, but you can get it for around $14 from Amazon.com. You can also find it in a lot of retail stores, such as Sears, R.E.I., Trek, Camping World and Woodcraft.

 

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White Lightning “Clean Ride” Self-Cleaning Bike Lubricant

White Lightning Clean Ride Self-Cleaning Wax Lube

I have a confession to make: I never clean the chains on my road bikes. Several years ago a local bike shop recommended White Lightning Clean Ride Self-Cleaning Bicycle Lubricant to me and this amazing product keeps my chains looking brand new even after 2,000 miles of use.

White Lightning Clean Ride is a liquid wax that goes on wet and dries rather quickly. This lube is “self-cleaning” which means that once the chain dries the wax lube “sheds” off your chain as it gets dirty.

Before applying Clean Ride for the first time you need to start with a very clean chain since the wax will not mix well with the oil that might already be on your chain. I have found that White Lightning Clean Streak Degreaser works extremely well for this purpose. Once your chain is clean, just pour Clean Ride on the chain as you turn it and then wipe off the excess. I use a small air compressor to blow the dirt off of my chain after every ride and I re-apply the Clean Ride about every 100 miles. If you don’t have an air compressor just use a small cotton cloth (old T-shirt) to wipe off the dirt after each ride.

You will find that dirt, sand and road grime does not stick to your chain once you start using Clean Ride. This means you are not going to have globs of oil flying off of your chain if you get caught out in the rain.

During the winter I use White Lightning Wet Ride for the bikes I ride in the snow. This is a waterproof lube that is fairly heavy and seals the chain to keep out sand and road salt. It also has anti-corrosion additives that prevent rusting.

Clean Ride retails for around $10.00 for a 4 ounce bottle. I think I have seen White Lightning Clean Ride at every bike shop I’ve ever been in, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.

 

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