One the of the most simple yet neglected forms of bike maintenance is chain lubrication. Coating your chain occasionally with a lubricant has to be the easiest of all bike tasks yet I am amazed at the number of squeaky bikes I pass on a daily basis.
Even though it is easy to lube your chain, there are a plethora of both choices and consequences. I can imagine a newbie walking into a bike store and being overwhelmed when viewing a shelf full of products with names such as Epic Ride, Bio Green, 1-Step, Teflon Plus, Cross Country Wet Lube, Dry Lube, Ceramic Lube, Aerosol Lube, and Wax Lube.
This is probably enough to make any novice leave the store without buying anything and return home to coat their chain with the can of WD-40 they have on the shelf back in the garage - exactly what you should not do as described by the Bicycle Tutor.
As far as the consequences, well no matter what you slather your chain with, if you are not careful you can coat your clothing with a substance that is not likely to come out. And if you get a rear flat or your chain comes off the necessary maintenance can result in hands covered in grime - which is why I tie a sock to my bike, insert hand and problem solved.
But what if you did not have to worry about lubing your chain because you had no chain at all? We recently were contacted by the folks over at Belt Drive Bike. The goal is to achieve a smooth, quiet, and grease free ride with the use of a belt and internal hub.
iPhone-ophiles will surely be interested because the belt drive has its very own iPhone app. The following accompanied the email we received:
Tuning your belt drive bike just became a lot more fun, thanks to the new Carbon Drive Bicycle Calculator from Gates. Just pluck your belt like a guitar string, and then use the microphone of your iPhone to adjust the frequency / tension.
The app is designed to help you tune your belt drive bike for key parameters, such as tension, speed ratio, center distance, belt length, sprocket size, and mounting options. With the addition of the catalog, which is included with the app, you are also able to compare one bike with another. You can find bikes to compare on beltdrivebike.com as well as additional information about the app. (www.beltdrivebike.com/iphone-app)
Having ridden with a chain my entire life I would be curious to hear from mechanics who have thoughts on the concept of a belt as well as those that might have personal experience. Those with opinions or experience please feel free comment or email us. And if you have a favorite lube for your chain feel free to chime in on that topic as well.