A Wallingford company is hoping to change the way you keep your bike chain in tip-top shape. Runaway Bike Industries, a company lead by brothers Bob and Doug Montclair, has launched a Kickstarter for a paraffin-based bicycle chain lube that requires a little more work (and, they say, reaps more benefits) than simply drizzling some Tri-Flow.
They know that not everyone is going to completely remove their chain and heat it up on the stove in a tub of their new Hot Tub lube. But they’re betting a lot of you will (you know who you are).
The Hot Tubs will be manufactured in Seattle, assuming they make their modest Kickstarter goal of $2,000. Details:
Runaway Bike Industries has completed development of our Bike Chain Hot Tub… a unique hot paraffin-based chain lubricant for serious cyclists, and we are looking for members of a lube-army to get it to market!
We are very excited about this! The Chain Hot tub is the end-result of our research and development for the best available bike chain treatment. No other product lubricates and repels dirt better… not to mention much cleaner than traditional oil and grease products. The durability and dirt resistance of the Hot Tub treatment also makes this a long-lasting solution.
Don’t just take our word for it. Do yourself a favor and do a quick web-search for “paraffin bike lubricant” and open your eyes to the wonders of a great chain lube. Oily sprays and greasy drops don’t live up the standards of a full Paraffin treatment… and our Hot Tub is the most convenient way to experience it yourself.
You should be aware that the Hot Tub is intended for those who are comfortable with a bit of their own bike maintenance since it will require removal of the chain from your bike… But there’s no better way to start tinkering with your bike than giving it a full professional-grade lube!
15 responses to “Wallingford company launches heavy-duty chain lube on Kickstarter”
Hey, Tom. Thanks for the post!
I used to melt canning parafin on the stove (double boiler to prevent fires) and dip my chain in it, then hang it to dry. But that involves taking the chain off the bike and ever since I switched to a 10 speed chain and realized that they are all fragile pieces of junk foisted on us by the bicycle parts manufacturer I’ve stopped caring so much and just buy new ones every 1,500 miles. (KMC cheapest for the “reasonable quality”)
Now inbetween chain changes I picked up this stuff called “Chain-L” http://www.amazon.com/Chain-L-High-Mileage-Bicycle-Chain-Lube/dp/B008TXAT4C then I realized that it appears to be just repackage gear oil. Which is available for $5 a qt at any auto parts store. http://www.zorotools.com/g/00063250/k-G2773093
I did try “White Lightening” which is a liquid parafin but it left chunks of wax on the jockey wheels of my derailer which I had to spend time scraping off with a small screwdriver.
Thing is none of these lubes managed to make my chains last any longer. Expensive chains, cheap chains etc, they all stretched by 1,500 miles of commuting. I can ride them longer but if I do, I end up having to replace the cogs as well. This way I get 4,500 miles on the cogs before they are so cut out that a new chain skips.
So I sincerly hope this product does a better job than these other lubricants but I have my doubts.
(BTW canning parafin is great in that it keeps your chain clean, but you really want to leave that first manufacturers coat of oil on for as long as it will last. So to get the parafin to do it’s job you have to really really clean the chain, and a boil in hot wax does the trick but then you are replacing the master link every time you do this.) And toward the end of the wax treatment you get dry spots on the chain which will rust, so you just add some regular gear oil, and now you are back to something that picks up the grime…
I’d use a fiber chain but I’d need a new frame to support it, and they only work on internal gear bikes and my local bike shop says I have to rebuild those every 7K miles, which is far too frequently for my budget.
If I sound bitter, it is because I want a bike that just “works” the way my car does and that I don’t have to spend my evenings cleaning it just to get it to do that. (And is light enough to cover my commuting distance….) As for paying a mechanic to do regular cleanings… at several hundred every time forget it….
PS (Parafin canning wax is found in your local grocery store. If you do decide to go this route you MUST melt it in a double boiler. Do this in an old coffee can so you can reuse it until your wife makes you throw it out…. The dirt on the chain will remain in the can…. mostly.)
Lift the can and chain off the stove… take it outside, then pull the chain out. Hang it to cool for a few minutes and if you want, take a paper towel and strip the excess wax off it.
It works “pretty well” but again if you commute you’ll probably want to lube your chain more freqently than your wife leaves you alone in the kitchen…. and when she finds out you’ve been using that pot she uses to cook with… well a trip to goodwill for a cheap pot may save you…. you’ve been warned…
How do you get any riding in with all the hand wringing? I would hate to go on a ride with someone like this.
I wring my hands, err gloves after every wet ride. As a matter of fact I’m a near daily commuter with able 5k a year miles depending on life’s interruptions.
I do the chain waxing stuff (I keep bees, so I have plenty of wax). It’s a bit of extra work, but it’s completely worth it to not have to deal with grease stripes on my clothes, and all over my hands any time I need to touch the drivetrain. It needs to be done at least every few weeks during the rainy months, or you will get rust. I would welcome something that lasted longer but provided the same benefits.
Thanks for the feedback on chain waxing; my brother and I are behind the Runaway Bike product launch. We were compelled by the chain waxing approach because of an article published last March in Velo magazine where melted paraffin outperformed all other lubricants as a ‘race day’ lubricant (meaning not all conditions were tested). We are working with Velo magazine and Friction Facts (great website) to be able to participate in the next round of tests to be run this fall. Our product (named ‘Hot Tub’) is a paraffin base lube used to suspend a high percentage of dry lubricants which continues to lubricate once the paraffin has worn off. We understand this is not a product for the wider cycling public; rather it is for the cycling community that does their own mechanical work. If this kickstarter is successful we have a wet lubricant formulated that is far more convenient than ‘Hot Tub’, but will not save the rider as many watts. So many gear heads :), thank for your discussion and support!
All-right-then, a chain fetishist thread…
So, here is what I do:
• Avoid the cheapest chains, e.g. the Sram 850 or lesser. However, the Sram 870 class is only a few dollars more but a much greater value. Of course, you will have to find the best value for your particular configuration.
• Invest in a pair of chain link pliers; they make removing the chain, i.e. the missing link, a quick, relatively clean, and damage & injury free procedure. Do not lose the missing link and/or have spares.
• Use a small container, with a lid, that can accommodate the chain so that it can be easily submerged in your solvent of choice. I use straight Simple Green. If left overnight, it will clean a chain with a little brush scrubbing the next day. As a note, Phil Wood Bio-Lube just melts away with SG.
• For disposal, I usually capture the residue left in the smaller container and what is rinsed off the chain, with a strainer, into a larger bucket and dilute and poor into an outdoor potted plant…NOT DOWN THE SINK OR STORM DRAIN…I have done this for years to the same plants to no noticeable ill effect.
• After the chain is rinsed free of SG, wipe off all the excess water and immediately submerge in isopropyl alcohol, remove and re-wipe. This helps prevent any rust from forming on the denuded chain.
• Recycle/re-use the isopropyl alcohol for other bicycle maintenance uses, e.g. cleaning the missing link with a small nylon-bristle brush.
• Replace the chain and missing link.
• Lube of choice. I like Phil Wood Bio-Lube as mentioned above.
Chain maintenance between chain removal cleanings:
• Wipe chain with rag
• Repeat as necessary…sometimes daily depending on the weather.
Depending on the weather, I usually remove and clean the chain, at most, once a month or about every 500 +/- miles. I always do this when replacing the rear brake pads or when taking the slack out of my single-speed set up.
While seemingly involved, it really does not take that long (maybe 20 minutes total, excluding soak time) and does extend the life of the chain. And always remember, nasty chains are just nasty.
Single speed chains are wider and more durable than 10, 11 speed chains. The rivets have more tolerance built in.
I use 8 speed for my single set up, so still 3/32″. But, I concur, even 6/7/8 speed chains are that much more durable than 10/11 speed chains. And, yah, if you can run an 1/8″, then longevity is in the cards.
Well as of this weekend I am now in the market for my next replacement chain. (I keep one at home in anticpation of needing it.) And both the Sram 850 and 870 are 8 speed chains..
I’ve been running KMC because I heard they made Shimanno’s chains and why pay for the mark up. I’ve been hurt running cheap chains so I try for mid level quality as the expensive chains seem to just have cut outs in the links for weight loss and that’s the least of my worries on my commuter bike.
I fixed the grease on my hands problem by carrying some latex gloves. Buy a box of 100 for fifty uses. Great for road side repairs. Bring 4 for tearing etc.
I concoct my own homebrew. Odorless Mineral Spirits and chainsaw bar oil or synthetic motor oil.
Mix about 3:1 in wet winter, 5:1 for dry summer riding. OMS dilutes the oil and acts as a carrier to wick into the links then flashes off quickly, leaving oil behind. I tend to mix a big batch in the fall, then dilute it out a little further in the late spring.
Light coat, spin the chain a few times. Let sit for a couple of minutes and wipe clean.
Depending on the ratio you’ll get something between Dumonde Tech Lube and Progold Prolink. At a fraction of the cost of either.
Or, all could just visit the oracle…
Hey, everybody! We met our financing goals in large part thanks to this blog, so thank you!
You can still get a Hot Tub directly through our web-site if you’re still interested… come on by! This is the first of a full line of made-in-Seattle bike products.
thanks again. really.