Bike Milk

Bike Milk

Bike Milk is recommended by elite racers, weekend warriors, mechanics and the best bike shops as their preferred dry film chain lube.

The advanced formulation has a triple action CLEAN-LUBE-PROTECT which means the drivetrain runs very clean and quiet in both wet and dry conditions.  

Bike Milk is better than other dry film chain lubes because:

  • Has excellent penetrating-cleaning-degreasing properties to remove grime buildup and assist lube flow thoroughout moving chain parts.
  • After film formation the chain stays exceptionally clean without greasy, sticky, wet residue to attract dust onto the drivetrain surfaces. 
  • Dry film coating means no wet residue buildup which can rub off to leave dark "grease" stains.
  • Leaves a protective film on the crucially important internal contact surfaces of the chain between rollers, bushings, pins and plates.
  • Employs a "RESERVOIR EFFECT" to deliver lube into moving parts as you ride.
  • Perfect drivetrain lubricant for hot dusty rides (e.g. MTB) or in beach/sand conditions lasting under 4 hours.
  • Mix in any ratio with BIKE CREAM (durable-wet-fluid) to make customised lubricant BIKE MIX e.g. 1:4 Bike Cream:Bike Milk for endurance MTB events.
  • Great value for money (175ml pack) which lasts longer.
  • Also available in economical 900ml workshop pack.
  • Proudly created and made in Australia.

 DIRECTIONS FOR USE

Stage 1: cleaning chain

1)      Degrease chain thoroughly before initial application.

2)      Adjust chain onto smallest rear sprocket.

3)      Shake BIKE MILK vigorously to re-suspend and disperse the active components.

4)      Rotate chain backwards and direct soaking stream of BIKE MILK onto moving chain at cassette. The chain should be visibly coated with BIKE MILK and look wet.

5)      Continue reverse chain rotation to allow BIKE MILK to penetrate, clean and flush contaminants from deep inside the chain

6)      After 20 seconds thoroughly wipe the residue off the chain using dry cloth. This is important because the BIKE MILK will dissolve and flush the grease and dirt from the chain and carry it to the outer surfaces, and this needs to be removed from the chain.

For a very dirty or wet chain which has been gummed up with other lubricants or washed with water then this cleaning process may need to be repeated several times. 

A full degrease is best on a routine basis or the first time Bike Milk is used on the chain.  

Stage 2: Lubricate and protect

7)      Rotate chain backwards and direct soaking stream of BIKE MILK onto moving chain at cassette. The chain should be visibly coated with BIKE MILK and look wet.

8)      Continue reverse chain rotation to allow BIKE MILK to penetrate, flush and coat moving surfaces of the chain

9)      Allow the BIKE MILK to dry on all of the metal surfaces of the chain to form a protective lubricating film. Leaving overnight is recommended. In very cold (freezing) conditions Bike Milk does not evaporate as fast and needs longer time to bond to the chain.

10)      Repeat this apply/dry lube process several times if chain has been fully degreased or a thicker film is required for endurance rides.

 
For dry riding conditions it is best to wipe residue from the surface of the chain with a clean rag prior to riding.  The chain will look clean on the outside and is less attractive to dust.  The lube remains active on the internal surfaces.  

The BIKE MILK should be left to dry on the chain to provide a protective water-repellant lube coating on inner surfaces of the drivetrain.  If the gaps inside the chain (between rollers, pins and plates) are packed with the tenacious film lubricant it will help prevent dirt and water from wicking into the gaps and increasing friction and wear. There is only minimal external surface coating left with Bike Milk, and most of the lubricant bound inside the moving parts of the chain. 

LIMITATIONS: Failure to effectively degrease, clean and dry the chain prior to applying Bike Milk will compromise the bonding of the dry film lubricant onto the metal surface.  The lubricant will not last as long in this situation.  When riding in warm dry dusty conditions for longer than 4hr or when re-applying lubricant immediately before or during an endurance event the best lubricant option is Bike Mix (1:4 mixture of Bike Cream and Bike Milk).  In some conditions Ride Mechanic Bike Cream (durable-wet-fluid) is the best lubricant i.e. endurance road riding for high power output riders; road commuters wanting 400km+ between lube applications; road riders who want the convenience of applying immediately pre-ride; riding in very cold conditions where dust levels are low e.g. snow conditions.

Excessive drivetrain noise can be caused by several things e.g. noisy jockey wheels, misaligned derailleur, poor meshing of chain and sprocket, grit adhesion on outside of chain during wet rides etc and cannot always "blame" noise on the lubricant. To test if lubricant coating is in place, pinch chain between finger/thumb and run along top/bottom of links to see if residual lube is present and rubs off.
 
Because there is no "wet" residue left on the outside of chain Bike Milk runs exceptionally clean and smooth with minimal residual present on outer surfaces.  This means reduced surface protection in wet conditions.

After a wet ride it is very important to ensure the whole bike and in particular the drivetrain is thoroughly dried and re-lubricated soon after being wet.
 

WET vs DRY CHAIN LUBRICANTS

Simple demonstration comparing wet and dry chain lubricants.  Wet lubricant remains a fluid which can flow around inside & outside the chain to give long-lasting lubrication on inside and outside surfaces.  It does attract and retain more dirt.

 MECHANICS OF CHAIN LUBRICATION & THE "RESERVOIR EFFECT"

A detailed investigation of Bike Milk performance has been carried out using a penetrating fluorescent dye. 

Full report is available here

seperated links

In summary, when a clean, degreased and dry 10sp bushingless chain is well conditioned with Bike Milk it is lubricated and protected in the key areas it is required, 1) between the outside of pins and the inside of the spigots, 2) between the outside of the spigots and the rollers, 3) between the outer plates and the inner plates. The outside of a Bike Milk conditioned drivetrain appears very clean and dry. The lubricant stays inside the chain where it is needed, even in wet conditions, and fills the cavities preventing the ingress of further contaminants. The surprising longevity of Bike Milk performance in a variety of riding conditions may be explained by the RESERVOIR EFFECT where a film of Bike Milk is retained between the rollers and the spigots then delivered to the pin while riding.

Regular cleaning and lubrication of a chain with Bike Milk will assist with drivetrain performance and protection. With no lubricant dirt particles and corrosive contaminants in these areas can cause damage and excess chain and drivetrain noise.

Highly penetrating BIKE MILK lubricant and cleaner works most effectively when applied to a moving bicycle chain.    The movement of the links, pins and rollers during application directs the fluid onto the hidden moving surfaces of the pins, rollers and plates.    When BIKE MILK targets these areas it dissolves grease and flushes out dirt and other residues as the moving chain rotates on the bike.  These contaminants become mobile and can be removed from the bicycle chain by wiping with a dry, lint-free cloth.  After penetrating, flushing and cleaning each chain link the the BIKE MILK dries to form a lubricating and protective waterproof film on all contact points of the cycle chain. By coating the pins and rollers BIKE MILK is effectively sealing access points to the inner surfaces preventing further ingress of water, dirt and other contaminants.

REGULAR BIKE CHAIN CLEANING & LUBRICATION GIVES SMOOTH AND SILENT PERFORMANCE AND PROTECTION.

chain components

The most common complaints about BIKE MILK are for a new user moving across over from another lube and says BIKE MILK doesn't provide silent running for long enough.  Not good news!!  The reason is that BIKE MILK works best when it forms a tough film on the metal right inside the chain where the pins and rollers are working.  When these hidden surfaces are still coated with another lubricant, especially a mobile wet lube, BIKE MILK doesn't want to bond.  If there is a problem noticed after initial use then much better to fully degrease and start with a clean dry chain.  It is also best to fully degrease and clean after a few thousand km when there is obvious build-up on chain plates. The preferred degreasing option is a light hydrocarbon (use gloves) and a toothbrush or a sonicator.
 
Another common complaint about BIKE MILK is that it does not last much beyond 4h.  This is because the dry film squeezes out of the pins and rollers over time, and in particular when the rider has high power output or is using a narrower 11-sp chain.  On the road bike (not as dusty) then the best option is to move across to using BIKE CREAM which is a durable wet fluid.  If riding endurance events on the MTB then a recommended option is to increase the durability and add BIKE CREAM to the BIKE MILK and make your own customised ratio BIKE MIX.  A preferred Bike Mix ratio for endurance MTB is 1:4 Bike Cream:Bike Milk.  This assists the Bike Milk to remain in place for longer and remain a dry film.  This BIKE MIX is not as dirty in dust as the Bike Cream wet lube so it offers a very good compromise for many longer ride conditions. BIKE MIX has been used routinely by 24h specialist Brett Bellchambers in endurance events and with good pre-loading has done a 12h event (225km) without needing to reapply lube.  BIKE MIX was also used in the 4400km Tour Divide event with nightly application before resting and average of 220km riding per day in various riding conditions.
 
Bike Mix logo web

Experienced riders intuitively know that a clean and well lubricated chain gives better performance.  Can this be quantified?  Friction Facts in the US have setup a lab to test friction in the drivetrain using the piece of equipment shown below.  Basically a torque load is applied to the rear axle to simulate the load at the rear wheel. The chain is setup just like a bike drivetrain. Friction losses due to the drivetrain are measured with one transducer on the front drive shaft and one on the rear load shaft. When the equipment is being used both sensors measure the torque on their respective shafts.  It is assumed that the difference between the power measured at the rear axle and the power measured at the front axle is the friction loss due to the drivetrain.  If the rear sensor is measuring 250 watts and the front sensor is measuring 265 watts, then the drivetrain loss is 15 watts, i.e. the chain is “94% efficient.”

FLT LA

Picture obtained from Friction-Facts.com

In one paper the boffins at Friction-Facts.com tested the friction loss of several chains after a cyclocross event (red column).  They tested the same chains again after they had cleaned and lubed them (blue column).  This comparison in power loss gives an indication of the efficiency improvements which can be generated by cleaning and lubing the chain.  In one chain the power loss was reduced by 45% (12.91W to 7.07W) after the chain was cleaned.  This is obviously an extreme case as CX events can be very dirty but it does prove that a clean chain provides better performance and efficiency. 

Chain Clean Friction

Picture obtained from Friction-Facts.com.

 

Quite a lot of maintenance work is done in outdoor conditions and the lube bottle can get cold.  In low temperature conditions the solid lubricant component in some chain lubes can solidify and no longer flows to penetrate the links and effectively coat the inside contact surfaces of the chain where the lubricant is most required.  In the shots below BIKE MILK and another popular wax based "dry" lubricant are compared in pleasant daytime conditions (top) and after cooling at 4oC (bottom).  It is clear that the amount of solid lubricant in BIKE MILK does not change at different temperatures.  However, the other wax lube product shows much higher levels of undissolved solid lubricant in cold conditions.  Some dry lubricants (not BIKE MILK) contain a wax dissolved in a hydrocarbon carrier/cleaner solvent.  When the temperature drops, the solubility of the wax decreases.  The viscosity increases and the wax component is not applied to the chain and does not perform on the chain as it does in normal conditions. 

IMPORTANT: the evaporation rate of the Bike Milk carrier/cleaner solvent reduces in cold conditions and it becomes more important to dry surfaces and apply then leave for longer than normal after application to evaporate and form the protective coating.  In very cold conditions where there is ice/snow and no liquid water then BIKE CREAM is a good lubrication option and has been proven in winter conditions in Alaska (Iditarod Trail Invitational).

crop markup ambientCrop markup lowtemp

 

BUSHINGLESS CHAIN

The chain on almost every bike now is "bushingless".  The original invention by Guy Dupoyet was patented in 1978 by Compagnie des Transmissions Mecaniques Sedis and the original patent is here.  A good quality bushingless chain can last a very long time with good lubrication.  They shift well and can be made light and narrow.  This development is arguably the biggest technical improvement which has happened to a bike over the last 30 years.  Some riders (especially single speed) prefer to use bushing-type chains but the inner plates on these are rigid pairs, so the sideplates can't float to relieve contact force between the inner and outer plates as the chain is shifted slightly off a perfect chainline. The result is that bushing chains will have more friction and are much noisier without heavier lubrication and they often have poor service life.

chain diagram sedis

Bike Milk can be used on padlocks, bike locks and other pin key locks to effectively get things moving smoothly & leave a protective residue.

OTHER USES FOR BIKE MILK

LOCK & KEY: Apply the Bike Milk with key inserted in the lock and wait a few seconds for it to penetrate before trying to turn lock. Once things start to move then keep flushing out with a more Bike Milk. When all starts moving nicely wipe down and leave to evaporate/dry. The dry lube film of Bike Milk doesn't clog up (graphite powder sometimes does if it gets moist) and it doesn't leave a grimy fluid residue on the key and attract dust like some other wet lubes..