The topic seems banal and not worth attention. I thhought so until one of my colleagues showed me how he lubricates the chain.
Pours grease on the cassette with the assumption that it will simply “spread” over the chain. At a given moment, I felt as if I witnessed a cat being abused, then I calmly decided that it might be worth facing and describing it.
Then let’s go back to the basic question: Why do we lubricate the chain?
Answer: To facilitate the work of elements that rub against each other during operation of the drive.
But what exactly are these elements?
It is clearly shown in the picture. The chain consists of plates. During operation, the plates move and rub against each other. So this is the first point. Without good lubrication, the chain will resist bending, which you will definitely feel when pedaling.
In addition, there is a roller at the link connection, which pushes the inner plates apart, and in its hole a pin connecting the outer plates and holding it all together. And here is the second critical place. The roller and pin together form a plain bearing that carries the highest loads. Its lubrication affects not only the resistance while driving, but also the rate of wear and, consequently, the stretching of the chain.
All right. But is there anything we shouldn’t lubricate?
It turns out there is. First, it doesn’t make sense to lubricate the cassette and the front chain ring. In operation, when the chain link meets the chain ring, the roller rests on the recess between the teeth and remains motionless there. Since there is no movement, there is no friction, so there is no need to lubricate either. The second such place is the outer part of the chain. Since it does not rub on anything, grease is also unnecessary there.
And these are the places that we should not lubricate. This is an unnecessary loss of grease and additionally it is “sticky” for the dirt.
And how does this translate into the operation of the VisionVelo applicator?
In fact, we don’t have to worry about anything, because almost everything will be done for us.
The applicator is equipped with four nozzles arranged two at the top and two at the bottom of the chain. They are designed to inject lubricant directly into the space between the plates at the links’ joints. From there, the lubricant already easily penetrates all working surfaces. The nozzles are very narrow, so we only use as much grease as needed. During lubrication, the chain moves in a special channel that guides it exactly between the nozzles.
Thanks to magnetic locks, I avoided the use of latches that could wear or break over time.
It remains to choose the right lubricant, but more on that in the next post.