PLEASE......No more spray-on chain lubricant!
We frequently see the mess and poor lubrication on bikes from use of spray-on chain lubricant. Stay clear of bike maintenance brand aerosol spray-on chain lubes--one of the worst ideas out there in the bike industry and one we should put an end to once and for all. Also stay away from solvents (WD 40) which strip away any existing lubricant, leaving your chain and drivetrain even drier than before.
Aerosol sprays no longer contain chlorofluorocarbons that once threatened to punch a hole in the ozone layer and are handy for certain uses, like making sure you evenly coat your skin with sunscreen or mosquito repellent. On the bike, however, a spray blast can blow the grease off of something that needs to be greased or put lubricant on something that should never be lubricated, rendering it ineffective and completely unnecessary.
It is a maintenance point that can be regularly overlooked, but lubricating your chain using the best bike chain lube you can get your hands on (like Pedro's ChainJ) will save you effort and money. It really is as simple as that. A clean and correctly lubricated chain will prevent drivetrain component wear and also run more efficiently, helping you go faster for the same effort. It is the final and vital step in how to clean your bike.
If a chain is dirty, contamination gets inside each link in the form of road dirt, trail dust or sand. Those contaminants adhere to chain lubricant forming a grinding paste which wears your chain out from the inside. Even the best/most expensive set of bike components will be ruined in just a few thousand miles if chain wear is terminal. Ensuring you correctly degrease your chain to get it as clean as possible is essential before applying the best chain lubricant. This allows the chain to run as efficiently as possible. The difference could be a huge increase in ease of pedaling effort versus the bike with a dirty drivetrain whose rider comes to the shop stating the bike is “sluggish, not shifting properly, or too hard to pedal”. Proper cleaning will prevent excess wear of the chain, and subsequent wear of the chainrings, another commonly seen issue in bikes we service.
Disc Brakes: When it comes to spray-on chain lube, the risk is especially higher to bikes with disc brakes. Extra work made by contaminating brake pads or coating the rotors with chain lube is significant. Even the oil from your hands can affect braking performance, so you can imagine what an oily blast from a spray-can will do as well.
Bottom Line: If spray-on lube is used, be prepared to have spare brake pads, plenty of brake cleaner, sandpaper and lots of clean rags handy. A much easier solution to avoid heavy maintenance altogether is using non-aerosol (drip) versions of the same lube along with a little patience.
If you have any questions about the proper way to clean and lubricate your bike drivetrain components, ask LiNiTo Cycle. We are happy to share the knowledge and get you moving on the trails clean and smoothly!