I ran out of fancy commercial dry lube for my bicycle chain on my road bike and decided to make my own from what I had on hand around the house. A quick search on Google revealed that many people use paraffin wax (which attracts too much dirt) or ordinary motor oil diluted with mineral spirits in a 1:3 or 1:5 ratio.
I had some two stroke 50:1 motor oil in the garden shed along with a couple of large containers of camp fuel (naphtha). I know from previous experience that naphtha (similar to mineral spirits), although highly volatile (flammable), makes an excellent degreaser and evaporates very quickly. The motor oil is a dark blue colour and when diluted to a 1:3 or 1:2 ratio with naphtha, it becomes a very light thin oil and degreaser.
My wife happened to have a few small 4 fluid ounce (118 mL) clear pump-spray bottles that I mixed in the aforementioned ratios with a plastic 1 tablespoon (15mL) measuring spoon. The final mixes turned out a deep-sea blue colour, similar in consistency to window washer, only with oil as an additive. I sprayed on the mixture on my chain and it quickly dissolved any gummed up oil and dirt. In about a minute or so, I wiped off any excess oil. What surprised me was that the naphtha had already evaporated leaving a very fine film of oil on a clean chain.
Wow, a degreaser and light lubricant all-in-one similar to commercial chain lubricant products like White Lightening. Perhaps, I will not have to degrease the chain, chainrings, and cassette very often anymore with commercial heavy duty citrus cleaner.
I will test the different ratios of lube over the next few weeks to determine which would serve well as a dry lube (dusty dry conditions) and a wet lube (rainy and wet conditions). The actual cost of making my own bike chain degreaser and lube is negligible and a mere fraction of something similar commerically for at least ten dollars for a 4 oz. (118mL) bottle of dry lube. Time to make my own degreaser and lube? Less than five minutes!
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