Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Organic chain lube

Having environmentalist inclinations I often wonder whether non-petroleum-based lubricants could perform adequately on the bike. Apparently commercially available olive oil might as well go on your chain rather than down your throat. I even recall some letters to bike magazines regarding the use of vegetable oils for eco-friendly chain lube.

I'm not quite ready to begin trials yet, but I have started considering the lubricating capabilities of dog slobber. The cellist and I recently adopted a geriatric terrier, so I am once again dealing with dog bowls. Washing Scruffy's bowl I have been reminded once again how persistently dog drool retains its slipperiness even after vigorous scrubbing with dish soap and water. Since wet-weather performance is a critical characteristic of chain lube, this durability may be a key advantage to dog saliva.

Dog drool may function as a true dry lube. It does seem to dry, but reactivates to full sliminess as soon as water hits it. So: does it reduce friction between link plates and rollers and does it act as an effective corrosion barrier? You've never seen a rusty dog tongue, have you?

The next step will be to treat sections of chain in my drawer full of leftover links and expose them to various environmental conditions. I might get to that some day. For now this remains a "thought experiment," which is the high-falutin' science term for daydreaming.


RANTWICK said...

Dog drool! Awesome! I dare you to actually try those test links. DARE you!

made me laugh. Thanks, man.

Grego said...

Pedro's GO! lube is biodegradable, made in part from canola oil. (Smells like it, too.) They also make biodegradable Bio Grease, which I haven't tried.

Or you could use bacon grease and get Shep to come lick it off your bike... your call.

Steve A said...

Daily EVOO?