Can the chain get wet without having to re-lube it?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Can the chain get wet without having to re-lube it?

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Sam James 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #268624

    So after researching I have yet to come across the answer to this question. I apologize if it is more common sense than I realize or if I missed the answer floating around online.

    I intend on lightly hosing down my bike more or less after every trail ride (which as things stand is once a week) and wiping it down or air drying to help keep crud build up from occurring. I of course also intend to be mindful of where bearings and grease are located when I spray, but I’m not worried about it either way. I will resort to more thorough cleaning as the bike needs it. However, in spraying the bike the chain will also get wet. Can the chain get wet without having to re-lube it? Is chain lube made to be water resistant? If wetting the bike down good to keep light dust/dirt from accumulating means re-lubing the chain every time, that is probably enough for me to not want to do it and just wait until it all gets filthy. I know the proper procedure to generally take to really, really wash the bike. I just do not know this one minor detail about the chain.

    Anyways, thank you for the help!

  • #268626

    I think the following can be used as a general guide:

    http://yourmountainbikeguide.com/how-often-should-i-oil-a-mountain-bike-chain/

    If you are just lightly rinsing off your bike you should be fine just drying your chain afterward for most lubes.

  • #268635

    It depends on the type of lube. For an oil-based “wet” lube, I’ve found I can go much longer between re-lubing including when it gets wet. For that reason I use “wet” on my road bike and only need to clean it a few times per season. But I don’t use it on my two mountain bikes because of course it picks up more dirt and therefore takes more effort to clean. So on my mountain bikes I use a wax-based “dry” lube because it cleans much easier. The downside, to your question, is that I re-apply every 4-6 rides and after every ride it gets wet. If I don’t, I can definitely notice more noise and slower shifting.

    If someone else has a better routine, I’m all ears;-)

    • #268636

      I didn’t think about this incredibly obvious work-around, but I could just skip the hose entirely when it comes to wetting down the bike to get the dust off and just use an already wet rag and wipe it down… that way I spare the chain while also getting the small layers of dust etc. off the frame. D’oh. I do tend to overthink things so much that I can make simple things more complicated. I still need to figure out a good routine for how frequently I should clean the chain still (aside from obvious wet and filthy trail rides), but I have read thanks to the link shared in this thread to generally do it every 200 or so miles… or when my bike just gets really dirty, whichever comes first. I’ll experiment a little to see what works for me though. Thanks for the responses, guys.

  • #268648

    Like TK said, “wet lubes” are meant to be used in wet conditions, so a light spray isn’t going to have an adverse affect. Just think about creek crossings…

    I don’t wash my bike a lot, so whenever I do it’s usually time to reapply lube anyway.

  • #268711

    Why would you wash your bike after every ride.   Water is not a friend to moving bike parts, especially bearings.  I only wash my bike when it is very dirty.   If I’ve manage to get into some serious mud, then I pull out the hose.  However, if my bike is just dusty, I just leave it alone.  Sometimes if I manage to avoid mud for a long time, I don’t wash my bike for weeks or even months and I ride 3-5 times weekly.   However, I wipe off and then relube my chain every 3-4 rides.  If I’ve been riding in wet or mud, I always relube my chain.  If I wash my bike, I relube my chain.

    • #268713

      Thanks for all the input. I originally got the idea of hosing the bike after every ride regardless of how dirty it is from Seth’s Bike Hacks. I am starting to get an idea of a routine that will work for me though and am realizing I do not need to be so thorough unless the bike really needs it. I just like the idea of maintaining bikes in general as it gives me something to do which is probably what influenced me into the idea of hosing it off or wiping it down after every ride. That gives me a sense I am caring for the very thing that gives me a sense of freedom out on the trails. However I am coming to see that my original plans may be overkill.

  • #268714

    You can probably get away with it, but why bother? How much does lubing your chain cost you in time and money? Maybe two minutes and about $0.20? Given that there’s literally no harm from doing so (so long as you clean the excess off properly) I don’t see why you would actively avoid lubing your chain every single ride.

    Just my $0.02

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