How To Choose Bike Chain Lube And When To Use It

How To Choose Bike Chain Lube And When To Use It

– Lube. A trusty friend. And more specifically, a
triathlete’s trusty friend because without it, all those bike miles that we ride on our bikes can play havoc with our drive chain. Now believe it or not there are a number of different options available to us for lubricating our chains. Whether we’re in search
of better gear shifting or we’re looking to increase
the lifespan of our chain and bike components or indeed just to get more
efficiency out of our bike ride. Then by properly lubing our chains we can see some significant gains. So today I’m gonna talk through what bike lube we should use and when. (dramatic music) (easy listening music) Most manufacturers tend
to bracket their lubes into one of two categories, those being wet and dry lubes. Now as a basic rule of thumb, you’d be forgiven for thinking that those would be
for the particular type of conditions you’re talking about. Ie dry in the nice summer weather, and wet for the miserable winter weather. And for the most part
you would be correct. However, there is a differential between these two categories of lube. Now the dry element refers
to the lubricating substance of the lube. And that works effectively
the magic on your chain when you’re riding and
is for the most part a waxy type of deposit. Now these dry lubes are applied
as a liquid onto your chain before taking well up
to a few hours to dry. So do bear this in mind before
heading out on your ride. The positive of dry lube
is that it won’t attract too much dirt or dust and debris when you’re out riding. So it’s perfect for those dry summer days. The downside however is that it will need reapplied fairly regularly, especially if you’ve
been riding on a wet day or if you’ve been out there on the saddle for a really long ride and
it just gets dry and squeaky. And nobody really likes to
have that dry squeaky chain on a bike ride. Wet lube was the original
lubricant of choice. In fact way back when,
most brands used something that effectively resembled
more like a car engine oil. It’s consistency was way better
than basic spray lubricants that largely were designed
to displace water. It simply put was more
durable and long lasting. And that quality remains with
modern wet lubes to this day in that they’re still applied
as a wet lube onto the chain. But unlike dry lubes
that we’ve talked about they remain in that form on the chain. And the consistency is a bit thicker meaning that it sticks to the chain. Which actually means that
they’re rather perfect for wet conditions because
they have an increased resistance to rain and
they’re just that much harder to wash away when
they are on the chain. Now the associated
downside of these wet lubes is that they do attract
that much more grime and dirt onto the chain. So we do need to clean the chain a little bit more often than we would with dry lube counterparts. Now if performance is
what perhaps interests you a little more then you
might want to consider using a ceramic or wax based
lubricant for your chain. Now these sit somewhere between the dry and wet versions of lubes. But as with both of those versions, they are applied to the
chain in a liquid form, but they do tend to dry
a little more tacky. These performance lubes will
help to reduce the friction and resistance between your chain and the other moving
components in your drive chain. And therefore they’re just gonna help give you that little bit
of improved performance that you’re seeking. However, it is worth pointing out that they are a little bit more expensive. But as a trade off to that, they don’t need to be
applied quite as often. Using something like a Teflon or a silicone based spray like this one is a really good idea
just to keep things moving nice and smoothly and also quietly too. I’m talking specifically about parts where the chain might meet
the chain rings at the front or the cassette at the rear. And it’s also a really good
idea to scan over the bike and find any other areas
where you could drop a little bit of this too. Like say the springs in the derailleurs. The jockey wheels as well
on our derailleurs too. And also stuff like brake and gear cables, if of course you’re not using electronics. Now regardless of whatever
lube you decide to use, it’s always gonna work
better when it’s applied onto a nice and clean chain. So it’s really worthwhile
thinking about giving the whole drive chain a nice rub down with a rag or a towel
or something like that to just clean it all after each ride. And definitely think about trying to do a really deep good clean
with soap and hot water after say a long Sunday ride that you do with your friends or the club. Well hopefully this video has helped you with any future decisions
you’re maybe gonna make about a lube choice or the ride conditions that you’re maybe expecting
to experience on that ride. Also if you’ve got any other suggestions on how to lube your bike appropriately, then please let us know
in the comments below. We’d love to get those. Also, hopefully you’ve enjoyed the video. So please hit the like button. Also click on the globe and subscribe to get all our other videos. Now if you want to see a video that I did about what is a triathlon bike, you can find that here. And another video that Mark and I did about how to pack your
bike can be found here.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Could you do a video where you explain the differences between Simano Di2 and Sram red eTap, please? 🙂

  2. Don't use grease based lubricant, use a wax based lubricant. It has been shown over and over to be the fastest and longest lasting!

  3. A few comments. Different kind of bike lubes don't mix well, worth pointing out.. Remove chain and sprockets for a deep clean, soak in a solvent and wash out with a degreaser, say every 1500km or so helps with longevity & efficeincy.. Also if applied correctly I would argue that most dry lube works better in wet conditions (often the marketing blurb states the same). Lastly, my prefered option is a hot parafine waxed chain which is also available cheaply as none sented ready made candles or from a arts&crafts store as small pellets, as mentioned below one could add teflon and graphite or buy Speedwax which also a very affordable option. Plenty of Youtube video's explain how to do it & GCN did an episode on it as well.

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