Chain Lubes – A One Stop Guide For You

Let me ask you a question – How often do you check your bike chain? I’m guessing the answer is only a few times. 

Here is another: Do you systematically clean and oil your chain after each ride? Or do you only notice it when it squeaks when it’s dried out?

Don’t worry; you are not the only one in the same situation, but as an expert, I would say a well-cared-for chain makes for a happy bike and a comfortable ride. 

Everyone should understand how the chain works and the process of cleaning and lubricating them properly. Thus, we have created this article to know what you need to know. Let’s get started.

Anatomy of a Bike Chain

A bicycle chain is made up of four fundamental parts:


  1. Links on the outside
  2. Inner hyperlinks
  3. Pins
  4. Rollers

There are two link plates on each chain link. Rollers are placed between these link plates where the inner and outer links connect. All of this is kept together by a pin. The rollers are the significant component of the chain that contacts the chain ring’s teeth or cassette.

They allow the chain to articulate as you pedal, together with the pins. When you properly lubricate your chain, the oil penetrates the rollers, allowing them to move quickly.

Cheap chains vs. expensive chains

  • A high-end chain brand like Shimano provides you with SIL-TEC and Chromizing surface treatments that create a durable surface and reduce friction for your bike. 
  • Shimano Dura-Ace/XTR and SRAM Red/XX1, some of the Top-of-the-line chains, use hollow pins, which reduces weight. These hollow pins can also increase strength due to extra peening.
  • KMC’s range-topping chains come with a gold “Ti-Nitride” coating, stating that the more advanced the layer the chain is equipped with, the more expensive it is.

From the above points, we can conclude that you can acquire a manufactured and coated chain to run faster, quieter, and last longer, which will also be worth every penny you spend on it. Or, you can still go for a cheap/ affordable chain and properly maintain it to receive outstanding performance.

Why should you lubricate your chain?

One of the most general questions that we come across is, why are we doing whatsoever?  If we talk in a common language, lubrication is used to ride your bike smoothly.  Well, that’s true, but there are more advantages that lubrication provides to your bike chain. Let’s take a look at them:

  1. Extended chain life from wearAs the chain is made of metal, due to friction, dry change wears much faster. Lubrication helps prevent the rubbing of roller plates between each other, reduces the friction between the chain and cassette, crack rings and Jockey wheel.
  2. Added protection from environmental conditionsThe riding environment works against your chain. Sand, mud and dirt will increase the friction and wear.  Also, Rain, Snow, road or climate salt can cause your bike chain to rust out.  Applying lubrication to the chain can reduce the influence of environmental factors and keep the chain like new.
  3. Reduces chain noiseThis occurs when the lubricant dries out completely. You can check your bike chain by using a finger if dry. To prevent it, clean and lubricate your chain properly to make it sound quiet.
  4. Better gear shiftingGear shifting is one of the key factors of bike performance. Bad gear shifting can make you slower and reduce your efficiency; hence it is essential to lubricate your chain and check how much is required.
  5. Watts savingWhen chain lubrication becomes dry, it consumes about 20 Watts at a speed of 35 km per hour. In contrast, an adequately lubricated chain consumes about 5 to 10 Watts (depending on the brand). Thus,  by properly lubricating your bike chain, you can save a lot of energy and increase your pedaling efficiency.

So the question arises – Can you use any kind of lube on your chain?

The answer to the question varies from person to person. Why? Because we heard/learned or saw at some point in our lives, most people use just any lubricant available in the garage to lube their chain as the purpose is full-filled and very few use the appropriate one.

“What…? Was I using the wrong lubricant this whole time? Oh man, please tell me, how can I know which one to use?”

To answer this question, let’s look at the types of lubricants and their properties.

Lubes – Types and Properties

Several lubes are available for varied reasons and need to fulfill different scenarios. But before we can go through the types of lubes, let’s look at the properties of chain oil.

A chain oil must,

  • Protect your chain from corrosion or rust.
  • Stick to your chain in extreme weather conditions.
  • Penetrate the spaces between your chain links and minimize friction.
  • Maximize the drive train’s durability and usability. 
  • Prevent the dirt from sticking.

What are the different types of lubes?

Though chain lubricants are broadly divided into Dry and Wet, we have further classified them depending on their use in particular weather or trail conditions. Take a look at them: 

<h3 “=”” dir=” ltr”Chain oil for extremely dry conditions: Dry lube/h3/divdiv style=”–tcb-col-el-width:718;”div style=””div style=””divdiv style=””spana href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”Dry – Chain Lube” data-id=”1026737″ width=”179″ data-init-width=”234″ height=”306″ data-init-height=”400″ title=”Dry – Chain Lube” loading=”lazy” src=”//” data-width=”179″ data-height=”306″ style=”” data-link-wrap=”true”/a/spanpFinish Line Dry  Chain Lube/p/div/div/divdiv style=””divdivp dir=”ltr”This lube is ideally designed for riding in dry conditions like their name. They are usually made of around 10 percent lubricant that involves synthetic oils and additives, and the other 90 percent includes carrier fluid./pp dir=”ltr” style=””While they provide greater efficiency by attracting fewer contaminants and lower friction, they also become a a href=”” target=”_blank” style=”outline: none;”lower viscosity lubricant/a./p/div/div/div/div/divdivp dir=”ltr”Looking at its assembly, we can say that you are spending your money mostly on carrier fluid which is supposed to and designed to disappear into thin air./pp dir=”ltr”The only downside here is that dry lubes are often easily washed off by rain or puddles./ph3 ltr””=””Chain oil for extremely wet conditions: Wet lube/h3/divdiv style=”–tcb-col-el-width:718;”div style=””div style=””divdiv style=””spana href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”Wet – Chain Lube” data-id=”1026738″ width=”148″ data-init-width=”258″ height=”337″ data-init-height=”588″ title=”Wet – Chain Lube” loading=”lazy” src=”//” data-width=”148″ data-height=”337″ style=”” data-link-wrap=”true”/a/spanpWPL Wet Chain Lube/p/div/div/divdiv style=””divdivp dir=”ltr”Unlike the dry lube, wet lube generally contains greater quantities of synthetic oils with higher viscosity and additives such as a href=”” target=”_blank”PTFE/a./pp dir=”ltr”They are designed for riding in wet or all-year-round conditions to get more lubricant per millilitre. Due to its increased viscosity lasts longer and is unlikely to get washed off your chain if you encounter water. /pp dir=”ltr” style=””emstrongIsn’t that great?!/strong/em/p/div/div/div/div/divdivp dir=”ltr”However, you should wipe off any excess lube before riding to use it efficiently. Consider cleaning the drive train after every ride if you want to maximize your chain’s performance, the lube’s benefit and optimize the drive train’s life. /pp dir=”ltr”It’s the irony that the only downside to this lube comes from its strength. Its properties make it a magnet for dirt and grime, and the higher viscosity results in lower outright efficiency when compared to thinner lubes./p/divdiv style=””div style=”background-color: #f1f1f1; padding-left: 14px; border-left: 4px solid #24A7BA;” p style=”padding-top: 8px; padding-bottom: 8px;”bFind – /bia href=””Best PTFE Lubricant/a/i/p/div/divdivh3 ltr””=””Chain oil for extreme weather conditions: Rainy day lube/h3p dir=”ltr”This type of lube is best for extreme wet conditions. While the high performance makes it last longer during rainy days, its unique, attractive, and excellent water repellent formula keeps the ride smooth on wet and muddy trails. /pp dir=”ltr”The lube makes its way through each chain link to offer good lubrication and protection, providing the ultimate protection against corrosion./ph3 ltr””=””Chain oil for every cause: All round lube/h3/divdiv style=”–tcb-col-el-width:718;”div style=””div style=””divdiv style=””spana href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”All_condition – Chain Lube” data-id=”1026741″ width=”277″ data-init-width=”350″ height=”277″ data-init-height=”350″ title=”All_condition – Chain Lube” loading=”lazy” src=”//” data-width=”277″ data-height=”277″ style=”” data-link-wrap=”true”/a/spanpWolf Tooth All Condition Chain Lube/p/div/div/divdiv style=””divdivp dir=”ltr”When you choose a chain oil, you might wonder if any lube can be ideal for any extreme conditions and is prepared for any circumstances.  /pp dir=”ltr”Well, there is. There are lubes of this kind available in the market, which eases your job of constantly changing the chain oil and providing universal characteristics and properties./p/div/div/div/div/divdivh3Chain oils for e-bikes/h3/divdivdivdiv style=””divdiv style=””spana href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”E-Bike – Chain Lube” data-id=”1026742″ width=”128″ data-init-width=”350″ height=”301″ data-init-height=”823″ title=”E-Bike – Chain Lube” loading=”lazy” src=”//” data-width=”128″ data-height=”301″ style=”” data-link-wrap=”true”/a/spanpFL E-Bike Chain Lube/p/div/div/divdiv style=””divdivp dir=”ltr”One might also ask if electric bicycles and e-bikes need a special chain oil?/pp dir=”ltr” style=””The answer is yes. When it comes to a motorized bike, it puts higher tensile forces on the bicycle chain than a standard bike. An a href=”” target=”_blank” style=”outline: none;”e-bike lube/a is designed to absorb these tensile forces safely and minimize friction while protecting your chain from rusting./p/div/div/div/div/divdivh3Wax lube/h3p dir=”ltr”It’s beyond imagination that lubricants can be based on paraffin wax – the stuff used to make candles. But, it’s true. /pp dir=”ltr”They have become quite popular among bike enthusiasts due to their efficiency, longevity and resistance to contaminants./ph3 ltr””=””Ceramic lube/h3p dir=”ltr”While they have been popping up over the last few years, they claim a smoother, quieter ride while increasing the chain’s performance. /pp dir=”ltr”But, with excellent attributes comes higher prices. They are somewhat pricey, making it challenging for a few riders./p/divdivh2 dir=”ltr” style=”” id=”t-1641459143999″Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bicycle Lubricant/h2h3strongThe type of ride/strong/h3p dir=”ltr”You need to consider the time of the year you ride your bike the most. You might not like to go out bike riding during wet weather conditions. Or, you are one of those fitness freaks who rides their bike irrespective of the extreme weather conditions. /pp/pp dir=”ltr”This way, you can be sure which type of bicycle lubricant will suit your lifestyle – be it the dry lube for dry conditions or a lube that can be used all year round. /ph3 ltr””=””strongThe type of bike/strong /h3p ltr””=””The deciding factor can also depend on the kind of bike you ride. For example, if it is a road bike, you would need a wet lube even if you are riding on clean terrains and the environment is dry./pp dir=”ltr”As for the a href=”” target=”_blank”mountain bikes/a, or if you wish to go mountain biking in dry weather, you can opt for a dry or wax lube to withstand the dirt, grime, and a lot of debris from sticking./p/divdivh2 dir=”ltr” style=”” id=”t-1641459144000″What’s the best chain lube – Dry Vs. Wet?/h2ulli style=””span style=”font-weight: normal; font-size: 20px;”While dry lube is ideal for dry conditions, they also feature not holding the dirt. But, at the same time, wet lubes are not attracting any dirt, but they do hold the dirt. /span/lili “=”” dir=”ltr” style=””>The dry lube falls out with the dirt, which means your bike would lose the lube, but it successfully keeps the grit from entering the drive train. On the other hand, wet lubes always hold the dirt and suspend the grit particles, but the dirt does not contact the drive train.

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