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Just like any other kind of automobile, most bikes need routine maintenance. So, can you use silicone lubricant on bike chains? We have the answers.
Is it efficient to use silicone lubricant on bike chains? Is it efficient as the other types of lubricants? What characteristics does it have that make it an ideal chain lubricant? What are the pros and cons of using silicone as a bike chain lubricant?
While you can apply silicone lubricant on your bike chain, it is not recommended over the long haul. This is because it quickly washes away, exposing your bike chain. Nonetheless, purchasing other lubricants might not be necessary if you are not using the bike frequently.
This article explores whether it is ideal to use silicone lubricant on bike chains and the characteristics that make it a suitable lubricant. It will also outline its efficiency as a lubricant and the pros and cons of silicone lubricant on bike chains. Therefore, if you have a bike chain and doubt whether you can use silicone lubricant for the chain, this article will guide you on this.
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The word silicone lubricant can be used to describe a variety of substances. The efficacy of the whole lubrication task depends on one’s ability to know when to apply a silicone lubricant and when to use a dry lubricant. For instance, one can use silicone lubricant as oil, which is generally non-reactive, maintains its greasiness in extremely hot or cold temperatures, and acts as an antioxidant, or a silicone spray that enables one to lubricate those difficult-to-reach areas such as bearings.
Apart from bike chains, there are several other applications for silicone lubricant spray. For example, if one utilizes tools in day-to-day life, one can see how crucial it is to maintain the functionality of the tools and equipment. A silicone lube spray is a great product to apply to equipment since it not only lubricates but also helps to drive moisture and reduce friction.
Can you Use Silicone Lubricant on Bike Chain?
Even though silicone lubricants are not as effective as other lubricants, they play an ideal function in maintaining the bike chain. Silicone lubricants such as sprays help lubricate some parts around the bike chain. However, silicone sprays are not suitable for wet places because they are known to get easily washed away, thereby exposing the bike chain. Therefore, silicone lubricants are suitable for individuals who don't use their bikes often and those who store their bikes for long without using them to prevent the chains from rusting.
Characteristics that Make Silicone an Ideal Lubricant
Protection against Shear Stress
Due to its extreme shear resistance and ability to withstand shear degradation under high loads and speeds, silicone fluid has a long operational life as a lubricant. Shear stress, which may occur on the bike chain due to speeding, can cause the bike chain to wear out faster. It can also damage the oil available on the chain reducing its viscosity. Typically, silicone liquids have more than 20 times higher shear resistance than other fluids, such as water.
One of the most significant characteristics of silicone lubricant is its capacity to resist degradation due to temperature differences. Thermal stability impacts lubrication because, under certain circumstances, some lubricants may begin to congeal at low temperatures, which might change the characteristics of the pour point and the flow rate. This could deprive machinery of essential lubrication and increase resistance and friction in the worst-case scenario. Silicone has good thermal stability that can withstand high or low temperatures.
Silicone spray gets quickly washed away with water when one travels on a wet surface for a long time, and it will require regular spraying of the bike. In contrast, silicone oil creates barrier protection between the chains, which can severely be hampered by water when the chains are not properly lubricated. One will deal with problems such as rusting of the chain and excessive energy due to increased résistance and overheating.
The flash point is one of the most important characteristics to consider when evaluating a lubricant's quality and suitability for a particular application. The silicone lube has a low flammability rate even when exposed to an igniting flame. It is an ideal characteristic because bikes and other machines are prone to ignite easily, so one should choose the correct lubricant to avoid fire on the bike.
Pour Point and Corrosiveness
The pour point represents the lowest temperature at which a lubricating substance hardens and does not flow anymore. This can lead to more pedaling effort since the chain is congested with a solid lubricant. Silicone lubricants have an ideal temperature that will not affect their state while being used in the bike chain. When it comes to corrosiveness, a lubricant should not react or corrode with the component it is applied on. Silicone lubricants are non-corrosive to any plastic and metal surfaces; thus, they are ideal for lubricating bike chain.
Pros of Silicone Lubricant
Due to its high resistance to harsh conditions, silicone lubricant is excellent for long-term use. This is because it allows for more extended usage than other alternatives. Furthermore, its excellent thermal stability guarantees that these efficacy qualities will endure even in conditions of extremely high temperature. When silicone materials are employed as lubricants, the internal pressure that can develop within them is constrained by excellent spreading and high compressibility. Silicone lubricants offer adequate load-carrying ability for all metal and plastic lubrication applications.
Additionally, compared to organic chemicals, silicone lubricants permeate much more readily throughout the bike chain. Since silicone lubricant may significantly speed up this process, it is helpful for finely made items that often need to be disassembled while maintenance and cleaning are carried out. Silicone is an inert substance, which means that it does not interact with other substances, and as a result, does not create any unintended by-products when applied.
The use of the lubricant also contributes to extending the life of the bike chain and other machinery by minimizing damage. This is due to its strong oxidation resistance. The lubricant is perfect for various industrial and personal applications for lubrication, preservation, and optimization of mechanical parts.
Cons of Silicone Lubricant
Using silicone lubricants also has certain drawbacks depending on their function and place conditions. For instance, if one rides their bike on wet terrain, water can easily wash away silicone sprays as lubricants, and it can be expensive if one is a regular bike user. Additionally, other silicone lubricants, such as silicone oil, can attract dust and other contaminants on the bike chain if excessively applied.
Alternatives of Bike Chain Lubricants
Occasionally, it is necessary to lubricate bike chains to prevent rust and lessen friction. To maintain the bike's performance at its peak and lower the chain's likelihood of breaking, one needs to take care of the chains. The following are alternatives to use when one cannot access a silicone lubricant:
Whenever gear cable and chains need to be maintained, household grease is frequently used in small amounts. Despite offering the lubrication needed, it does not have the essential components of a high-performing bike lubricant. Several kinds of grease are also available, and not one can use every type in bike chains. Therefore, checking if the grease is suitable for chain lubrication is recommended.
Although the use of bike oil is uncommon, bike oil outperforms grease as a chain lubricant. Typically, bike oil will aid in lowering friction and preventing damage, but the defense won’t last very long. The only disadvantage of using bike oils is that excessive use of the oil may attract dust and other contaminants. Therefore, one should use it in the right amount.
Wrapping it Up
Even though silicone lubricants are not at the top of the list as effective lubricants, they are suitable for minimal maintenance. Silicone sprays are effective on bikes that drive in dry places or during the summer season because of their low water resistance. Additionally, silicone lubricants are ideal for individuals who use their bikes once in a while or store them for an extended period.