|1. Finish Line Dry||2. DuPont Teflon||3. WD-40 Bike|
Being able to ride a bike is one thing, owning a bike is another, and maintaining the bike is the most important if you want the bike to serve you as long as possible. A significant part of the bike that is responsible for its movement are the chain and sprockets, which make up the gearing system.
You probably have experienced a case where the chain of your bike gets removed or breaks while in motion. As common as this incidence might be, if it occurs while riding at high speed, it might cause a fatal accident.
The chain and sprockets of a bike are metallic parts that move against each other to bring about movement. When metallic parts move against each other, there’s always a need to lubricate to reduce friction and to avoid wearing and failure of such components.
Taking, for instance, our metal doors at home, we notice that it begins to give creaky sounds once the hinges start to have restrictions on movement. In this situation, the door becomes hard to open and close, and any effort to force it to open or seal can cause damage to the door.
So, as with doors, the same thing applies when it comes to bike’s metal parts.
Compared to the other metal parts, the chain and sprocket are the ones always at work for the period the bike is in motion. If there are no lubricants between the two, there is stiffness in riding and much pedal-power is required. If you try to force the bike further in this condition, the chain might not only break, but you are at the risk of being severely injured.
Having said much about what causes bike chain breakage and the possible outcome for both the bike and the biker, we’d like to emphasize the significant prevention of such incidence particularly.
The only thing that can get rid of, when it comes to avoiding the wearing and breakage of bike chain, is the application of lubricants on all parts that come in contact with the sprocket. It’s easy to point out the primary solution to a problem, but specifically, providing the best solution to the problem is where the primary task lies. This brings us to the purpose of this buyer’s guide on important gear.
In this buyer’s guide, we’d be discussing in particular, the best bike chain lube. Added to this, we’d explain why you need a bike chain lube, and also tips on maintaining your bike’s chain. We’d also discuss how to apply lube oil to your bike chain.
Knowing what to buy is never enough, but knowing whom to buy from is the primary task when it comes to shopping. So, sit back, relax, and follow us as we take you through our recommended list of the best bike chain lube you should pick up for your bike.
Why You Need A Bike Chain Lube
The bicycle is just another artifact without the chain and sprocket. As kids, a lot of us must have tried to ride a bike with its chain already out of place. In doing this, we might have noticed it is not only too easy to pedal, but also the bike refuses to move. From this little illustration, we’d know that without the chain and sprockets being in contact, there is no going anywhere on that bike.
Be it a regular bike or an electric bike; the chain is what transmits pedal power from the pedal to the wheels. It does this while in contact and constant motion with a set of the rotating sprocket. Both parts are made from metals and as such, it is prone to wear.
Listed below are some reasons why you should lubricate your bike chain:
To Extend The Chain’s Life
If you try rubbing your dry palms against each other, you’d realize that it begins to get warm, and if you continue, the temperature starts to increase gradually. But, if you put a little lotion on your palm, not only is there a lesser restriction to rubbing, but your palm temperature remains the same until the lotion dries off.
In the same manner, if you ride your bicycle without lubricating the chains, the chain gets hot and hotter and at some point, it begins to wear. Wearing is a deficiency that is caused by metal to metal friction, and if not guarded against such friction, it reduces the lifespan of the metal parts involved.
The chain is not only in contact with the sprocket, but also with the cassette, crank rings, and jockey wheels, and as such, its lubrication should not be taken lightly. In this case, you’d need the best bike chain lube in order to have a perfect preventive measure.
To Prevent Against Harsh Environmental Conditions
Speaking of tough riding environments such as muddy, sandy, and swampy or waterlogged roads, there are a lot of disadvantages to your bike chain. Not only should these road conditions be considered in this matter, but also cases of riding in the rain and snow likewise.
Wet rides always have an aftermath rust effect on your bike chain. Although they might not be affected immediately or in a matter of weeks, the effect becomes visible and eventually wears your bike down. Fortunately, the best road bike chain lube always protects against rust.
To Reduce Chain Noise While Riding
Have you ever tried to sneak in or out of a room, but then the door with its very dry hinges begins to give creaky sounds as you try to escape, and in no time, you’re busted?
Also, you might have at a point seen a vendor or a postman or a delivery guy whose bike announces his arrival in your neighborhood due to the noise it makes. Truth be told, you don’t want to be that guy.
Dry bike chains produce squeaking sounds that are not at all friendly to the ears. The drier it is, the squeakier sounds it makes, and the more embarrassed you’re likely to get riding, no matter how much you love your bike.
With the best lubricant for the bicycle chain, this condition will not be a problem for long. Bike chain lubes are designed to keep the chain moist. This, in turn, prevents irritating sounds that might be produced from metal parts in direct contact moving against each other.
Power Saving (In Electric Bikes)
In electric bikes, the electric motors are designed to provide more pedal-power, and this power is relative to power put in, to conquer resistance to motion. The chain consumes up to 20 watts when completely dry and an additional 5 to 10 watts when it is dry and dirty at the same time.
Clean and well-lubricated chains, on the other hand, roll faster with little or no restriction and as a result, help save power. The best lubrication for the bicycle chain would ensure your chain is in good condition, saving you energy and money.
Factors To Consider When Buying the Best Bike Chain Lube
In purchasing a bike chain lube, just like any other commodity, you’d have to find several factors to get the best product. The best bike chain lube is not necessarily the best that suits your bike, but is mostly the one that suits your specific needs.
Getting the best mountain bike chain lube will undoubtedly keep your chain from wearing out and breaking prematurely, most notably in such rough and tough riding conditions.
There are some factors to consider when selecting the best lubricant for bicycle chains, including the possible weather conditions, as well as the terrain in which you’d be cycling.
Listed and discussed below are the other features of a suitable lubricant:
1) Boiling Point and Freezing Point
As stated above, heat is always generated when metal parts move in contact with one another. when you ride in places where you tend to apply that much pedal-power, the chain does more work in transmitting this power. As work increases, so does the heat generated in motion. And you’d need the best mountain bike chain lube to minimize the friction.
For this reason, the best oil for the bicycle chain would be one that has a high boiling point and low freezing temperature. In essence, a quite thick oil.
Viscosity is the resistance of oil to flow. It is in simple terms, how thick or thin an oil is. If you’d be riding in drylands or lands with a lot of sand dust and dirt, you should be looking out for light oil that can keep your chain lubricated but not moist.
On the other hand, if you’d be riding in wet and muddy terrain, you should ideally be buying a lube of high viscosity. This is simply because thick oil can prevent water from coming in contact with your chain and in turn, prevent corrosion.
3) Thermal Stability
Low and high temperatures are capable of damaging the temperature stability of lubricants. Low temperature can increase the viscosity of the oil, and high temperature can reduce it.
If the lube applied to the chain violates the oil viscosity limit, the chain might get stiff with accumulated dirt or wear prematurely due to dryness. Whatever the case, you should look out and buy the best oil for bicycle chains with thermal stability.
4) Hydraulic Stability
When a lubricant becomes contaminated with water, what should be considered is how stable the fluid remains in relation to the water. Hydraulic stability is the ability of lubricants to and all of its additives to resist any form of chemical decomposition in the presence of water.
Demulsibility is simply, the ability of a substance to release water. Oil can absorb water, it is easy for water to get soaked into the oil. When demulsibility is impossible, the oil will begin to foam once in constant contact with water, and the chain will wear rapidly.
6) Corrosion Prevention
When selecting the best lubrication for bicycle chain, you should look out for corrosion resistance as one of the oil’s properties. This is mainly for those who ride in moist or wet terrain.
All this being said, these two factors are particularly relevant also in selecting the best lubricants for bicycle chains:
Wet lubes are simply all lubricants that keep your hands moist after you touch it until it is washed off. These lubricants are very oily.
Have you ever eaten those very oily, delicious finger food, and washing the oil off seemed a difficult task to accomplish? Even for professional foodies. What you can take note from here is that ordinary water will not be able to wash off this oil, well not until you apply soap, though.
Likewise, this wet lube due to its oiliness is relatively waterproof and ideal for use in rainy weather conditions. As much as these lubes are suitable for wet conditions, some can be so thick that they shouldn’t be used on a drive train.
So, in shopping for the best bicycle chain lube for wet riding conditions, always go for the one that is fluid enough to allow your function effectively.
Dry lubes are lubricants that go on your chain wet and are then left to dry before taking the bike for a ride. These kinds of lubes are made with Teflon, and they soak into the bike chain to lubricate it without moisture.
This lube, unlike the wet lubes, is dry and so is most suitable for the arid environment in which your bike chain will come in contact with a lot of dirt, dust, and sand.
In purchasing any commodity, one of the important questions that cross the mind of the buyer is “Whom to buy from?”. Since a vast range of market exists for bike chain lube, we took it upon ourselves to narrow it down to the specific few mentioned and described below.
Top 10 Best Bike Chain Lubes 2021
1. Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube
Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube is a lubricant that can be applied wet and functions as a dry lube. If your regular travel route with your bike is one that is dirty, dusty or sandy, this would be a perfect oil for that condition.
Though a dry lube, it also holds moderately in wet conditions, making it rank as one of our best bike chain lubes. These lubricants are especially recommended for all off-road bikers and not exempted for road bikers.
Considering the fact that this lube is one that absorbs dust, you’d want to consider the possibility of dust accumulation in your chain. Just lose that thought already. This lube does not absorb this dust into the small gap in the chain train, but it helps trap the dust on the surface.
This oil is made synthetically with Teflon to ensure super-smooth performance and long-lasting effects. In applying this lube, the mess is produced is minimized. Due to low viscosity, the oil flows into all parts of the chain, not leaving any out.
Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube has excellent thermal stability. Regardless of the increase or decrease in temperature, it never wears off quickly on the chain. This product feature makes it one of the best mountain bike lube.
If you ride in arid regions where dust is mostly generated, this is one of the best oil for bicycle chains.
- It helps reduce wear on sliding and rolling surfaces
- It is less messy to apply
- It quickly penetrates chain parts such as the bushings
- It allows for smooth and effective shifting during rides
- It lowers friction and enhances durability
- Can perform moderately in wet conditions; meaning in days of unexpected rainfall, your chain is covered
- Comes in a squeeze bottle
- Very affordable
- Works efficiently, especially in dry conditions.
- A right prescription for mountain bikers
- Easy to apply
- The nozzle might get worse before the bottle gets empty
- The oil might clog in the bottle unexpectedly
- Requires that you clean the chain with a cleaner
2. DuPont Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube
DuPont Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube is a wax-based chain lube with Teflon in the side. As stated earlier, Teflon is a grease component in dry lubes that helps their performance in dry and dusty conditions. When the oil is wax-based, it merely means that it is pretty much oily and as such, can be called a wet lube.
Having these two properties in one lubricant means it can be used in a multitude of applications — this lubricant one of the best bike chain lubes you can purchase. The lube is thermally stable and as such, can be used in off-road bikes.
DuPont Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube is particularly formulated for cables and chains that are used in wet or high contamination environments. The lube goes on wet and penetrates frictional surfaces effectively due to the Teflon wax film, making it one of the best oil for bicycle chains. This film will not dirt, grit, grass, and other contaminants.
This lube is not only practical but also self-cleaning. It has, among others, multiple applications such as in motorcycles, sliding tracks, chain-driven lawn, etc. it is formulated to meet your every need.
- Self-cleaning; doesn’t require another chain cleaning agent
- It provides thermally stable allowance between moving parts
- It protects against rust and corrosion of the chain
- Stays on and on the chain and would not fling off when riding in very high speed
- It is safe for O-Rings
- No silicon contents
- Can be used even in dry and sandy road conditions
- Comes in a squeeze bottle
- Better chain’s life span, about five times longer
- Has a very high boiling point
- Has resistance to water
- It is multifunctional
- Very easy to apply
- The tube might keep falling off
3. WD-40 Bike Wet Lube
WD-40 BIKE Wet Lube is a product designed and formulated to provide essential bike maintenance. It is specially developed for all bike riders to optimize safety, as well as elevate performance. This wet lube is formulated for extreme conditions, to ensure that you do not, at any point during the ride, stop enjoying yourself.
In muddy environmental conditions, water is not the only thing that bothers you, but also mud itself. If you happen to be riding in such a situation, you would need a lubricant designed to keep water and dirt away from your bike.
This is because water causes rusting and corrosion, and if mud is left to dry off in the chain, it can bring about some level of stiffness in riding.
Designed for muddy, wet, and other extreme conditions, this lube provides an efficient coating that helps protect the chain from water and mud infiltration, thereby extending the life of the string.
This wet lube is a no-wax oil; thus, the oil will not build up inside the chain drivetrain, making it the best oil for bicycle chains.
- It is a no-wax oil
- Repels water and mud
- Gives you a quiet ride all through
- Prevents against stiffness in chains
- Is multifunctional
- Prevents against friction damage
- Helps extend chain life
- Very affordable
- This product listing is for multiple products, so you have to be very careful and specific in shopping, so you do not end up buying what you do not need
- Bottle sprayer design might not be convenient to use
- Requires cleaning of the chain
4. ProGold Link Chain Lube
ProGold Link chain lube is a lubricant that is very useful for rides in wet and muddy terrain. When riding in this kind of terrain, your primary concern will be whether or not the lubricant you used is capable of protecting your bike chain.
The ability to repel moisture and reduce oxidation is a particular feature of this bike chain lube. These lubricants not only shed dirt and mud, but also clean and lubricate your bike chain as you ride.
Wet lubes are always thick, compared to their dry lube counterparts. For this reason, it’s always easy for them to build up and get all tacky on the chain, due to their thickness. This lube disperses water and also resists wash off, making it one of the best bike chain lubes for use in wet conditions.
A lot of us most likely still have refill containers that are always either being used for the same product or other purposes entirely. Excitingly, this chain lube comes in a convenient and refillable applicator.
The application of this lube is not limited to being a bike chain lube, but can be used in other places where lubrication is needed as well as slides and rolls. The lube is also available in various sizes and is thus convenient for purchase according to your needs and financial capability per time.
- Prevents against abrasion
- Reduces oxidation and corrosion
- Does not build up on the chain and is not tacky
- It cleans and lubricates as you ride
- It sheds mud and dirt
- It disperses water
- It is resistant to wash-off
- Available in various sizes
- Comes in a convenient refillable applicator
- Has multiple uses
- Efficient only in wet conditions
5. Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner & Lubricant
Before lubricants can be applied to a bike chain, there is always a need for cleaning. This is a task that still seems like work for most people. Not to worry anymore, this Finish Line product is a piece of good news.
Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner & Lubricant is formulated for all cyclists looking for a quick, one-step clean and lube product. On application, as the lube flushes out contaminants and old lube, it also deposits a clean new lube. It is especially appreciated by a cyclist on the go and also for a cyclist who can’t afford so much time in chain cleaning.
Not only is it a low friction lubricant, but also fast and easy in penetrating and flushing out of old lube. This lube is engineered for productive use in all weather conditions, making one of our recommended best bike chain lubes. With rust and corrosion inhibitors, this lube protects in extreme conditions such as coastal salt air.
When you have gummed-up shifters and stiff cables, this one step lube can be applied to free them. This product is pretty much useful for loosening and lubrication. It is available, both in drip and aerosol. You can always get it in various sizes with respect to your needs and pocket at the moment.
Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner & Lubricant is versatile and also is an all in one lube, making it rank among our best bicycle chain lube.
- Flushes out old lube and contaminants as it lubricates
- Can be used in all weather conditions
- Provides for maximum protection
- Easy to apply
- A one-step cleaner and lubricant
- More quantity and often application would be required in mountain bikes compared to road bikes
- Greasy and might need you to wipe as much as you can once the chain is cleaned.
6. Tri-Flow TF21010
Tri-Flow TF21010 is a bike chain lubricant that can be trusted for efficiency. It has the ability to decrease friction, as well as the wear of the component. This lube is fast in penetrating the drive chain or pivots, making it one of our recommended best bike chain lubes.
It also protects in extreme conditions, with the aid of its rust and corrosion inhibitors; it finds use not only in a bicycle but also in other rolling and gliding mechanical metal parts. Its effect usually lasts longer and allows for a longer ride – rid of worries.
- It reduces oxidation and corrosion
- Does not build up on the chain
- It protects the component from dust and dirt
- It disperses water
- Gives you a quieter ride
- Prevents against stiffness in chains
- It is multifunctional
- Comes in a drip bottle
- It has corrosion inhibitors
- No weather condition specified
7. WD-40 Multi-Use Product
Just as the product name implies, this lube finds uses in multiple ways. Beyond the lubrication of your bike chain, this lube can also be used to lubricate other moving parts, not just on your bike only. It can be used to lubricate moving parts such as hinges, pulleys, wheels, gears, and rollers.
It can be applied to electrical systems as it quickly dries out and eliminates moisture. It does not only dry out soon on application, but also drives out moisture. This product is listed amongst our best oil for bicycle chain as it functions as a dry lube, and as a result,and doesn’t attract dust and dirt.
This lube helps in freeing its sticky mechanism, releases stuck, rusted, or frozen metal parts and also loosen the bond of rust on metals, ranking it on our list of best bike chain lube.
- Comes with smart straw and sprays two ways
- Equipped with corrosion inhibitors
- Applicable in electrical systems
- Removes sticky stuff from many surfaces
- Very affordable
- Sprays slowly
- The tips sometimes leak or jams
8. ProGold Prolink Chain Lube
ProGold Prolink Chain Lube is a lubricant that, whether in wet or dry conditions, prevents dirt and grit from sticking to your drive train. It sheds dirt and mud off your chain when you ride through muddy terrains. It is therefore included on our list of best bike chain lube.
ProGold Prolink dramatically reduces friction and in turn, the chances of wear. It allows for a smoother operation of your chain and will keep it clean and drag-free. As one of the best oil for bicycle chains, it also can find use in cables.
- Easy to apply
- Repulsive to moisture
- Resistant to wash-off
- Cleans and lubricates during rides
- Sheds mud and dirt
- Repels corrosion
- Doesn’t stay on too well in wet conditions
9. Dumonde Tech Lite Bicycle Chain Lubricant
Dumonde Tech Lite Bicycle Chain Lubricant is a less viscous lube, making it soak into the pivot quicker and leaves a thin residue. It is exclusively one of the best road bike chain lubes. It can as well be used on mountain bikes but requires more frequent application.
Friction is significantly reduced with this lubricant. It is less greasy and as such, doesn’t allow for dirt and mud to stick on the drive train. During rides, this bike chain lubricant forms a plastic bond of low friction on the chain.
For getting the best result in using this bicycle lube, you have to de-grease your bike chain and dry it thoroughly first. This process sufficiently primes the surface of the drive-train for the plating effect of the lube that makes it performance efficient.
Whenever your chain begins to get noisy, you surely need a lubricant, effective enough to quiet it down completely.
Dumonde Tech Lite Bicycle Chain Lubricant doesn’t wash off easily, and so requires that you use soap and water to clean the chain after reuse. Product is applicable in other sliding and gliding surfaces other than on bicycles.
- Product is less greasy
- Less concentrated for better and easier application
- Helps the chain stay cleaner
- It helps the chain last longer and stay quieter
- Functions very well in road bikes
- Is extremely durable and remains active for longer
- Is to be applied sparingly
- Has a smell that is not at all friendly to the nose
- Not recommended for mountain bikes
10. Dumonde Tech Original Bicycle Chain Lubricant
It is helpful in standard road bikes and of course, passes to be one of the best road bike chain lubes. It is most especially useful to be used on mountain bikes and is thus one of the best mountain bike chain lubricant.
Dumonde Tech Original bicycle chain reduces friction as well as the chances of wear. Allowing for a smoother operation of your chain, it ranks among the best bike chain lube you can buy.
With the ability to repel moisture, Dumonde Tech Original bicycle chain Lubricant reduces oxidation. This lubricant sheds dirt and mud.
- Holds longer in bad weather
- Suitable for use in mountain bikes
- Product is repulsive to moisture
- Resistant to wash-off
- Quiets down noisy chain
- Doesn’t require excess application
- Quite expensive to purchase
How To Apply Lube Oil On Bike Chains
Step 1: Do a quick cleaning using a rag and some degreasing solvent.
This is the first thing to do, and it is to remove a chunk of dirt off the chain and drive train. You do this by putting your bike in a work-stand, or you lean it up against a wall or any object that can hold it and allow you to rotate the pedals backward freely.
Pick a clean, dry rag, fold it over, and you then pour or spray a sufficient quantity of degreaser on it.
You then wrap the rag around the lower part of the chain, holding it in place with one of your hands, and you pedal the bike backward using the other side. You have to make sure that you hold the rag firmly enough to wipe the gunk of dirt off, but also loosely enough to allow for free movement of the chain.
You then apply pressure to the chain on the sides, top, and bottom. Remove and replace the rag to reposition the chain to a clean surface area of the rag. You repeat this process several times until the chain appears to be very clean.
No matter how meticulous you are in this cleaning process, there would always be some gunk left inside the rollers and between the plates that you would not be able to get to. This is not a problem at all if the process is well followed; you are good to go to the next stage.
Step 2: Scrubbing for complete cleaning
A chain scrubbing device is always recommended for getting your bike chain to the point of absolute cleanliness. You fill the chain with a liquid degreaser of your choice and then place the chain inside the scrubbing device (note: you do not need to remove the chain from the bike), you then spin the pedals around.
As the bike chain moves through the scrubbing device, the sets of brushes in the device get inside all parts of the chain thoroughly enough to clean out all the gunk.
Another method of thoroughly cleaning your bike chain is to remove the chain from the bike. You then allow it to soak for several hours in a bowl of degreaser. Afterward, you re-install the chain – there is no need to disconnect the chain links. Wipe the chain with a clean, dry rag and let it dry before applying chain lube.
Step 3: Apply lubricant to the bike chain
Firstly, you move your bike gear to the middle gear or freewheel. With one hand, you hold the tip of the chain lubricant bottle over the chain close to the gear. You then begin to pedal backward with the other hand. You squeeze the lube bottle to allow for a slow and steady flow of the lube onto the chain.
Remember that it’s only the chain you want to lube. It is, therefore, not necessary to put lube on the gears. You keep spinning the pedals until you’re sure that the lube has been evenly spread across the entire length of the chain.
Spin the pedals a few more times after this, and let it stay for a few minutes to ensure that the lube works its way into the nooks and craning of the chain. You then take a clean rag to wipe away excess oil from the chain.
Step 4: Repeat steps one to three as often as required
Step 5: Check your chain per time to detect any symptoms of wear.
How Often To Apply Chain Lube?
The frequency at which you should re-apply chain lube is fundamental, like in any other mechanical components. The interval at which lubrication should be done depends on the following:
- How often you ride the bike
- What conditions you ride in
- The type of lubricant used
- The attention and care are given to the chain between reapplication.
Over-lubing can be detrimental, as excess lubrication attracts dirt and can result in chain stiffness and breakage.
In getting the best bike chain lube for your bike chain, you do not just pick up any product your gut tells you to. It goes way beyond just greasing up your bike chain. You have to carefully consider some factors relative to your bike, relative to your road and relative to the terrain in which you ride.
When in search of the best lubricant for bicycle chain for your bike, you need to consider the first hand, the amount of money you are willing to spend. Though sometimes, you might need to shake a few bucks off to get the best product that suits your needs.
You would also need to look into the kind of terrain you’d be riding in. If you are riding your bike in terrain with lots of water and mud, you should be looking forward to getting a wet lube. On the other hand, if the ground is sandy and dusty, you should be looking forward to getting a dry lube.
Also, depending on the likely weather condition or the dominating weather condition, you might want to consider oil properties such as viscosity, thermal stability, boiling and freezing point, hydraulic stability, and the likes.
Conclusively, the benefits of lubrication in all moving components can never be overemphasized, and they are seen in every mechanical part we come across daily.
However, if you have chosen any of these bike chain lubricants, you still have to put to do a crosscheck to be sure you picked among the list, one that is most suitable for your bike chain.
Thank you for reading this article, and do have a swift and smooth ride!