Don’t you hate it when you take your bike out for a ride and there’s that squeaking sound coming from the chain? It gets even worse when your chain is so ingrained in rust and dirt that you have to pedal twice as hard just to cover the same distance.
This simply takes the fun out of a nice afternoon cruise in the neighborhood!
If you’ve ever had a rusty bike chain, it could be because you slept on lubricating the bike as required. Just like any other vehicle, your bike needs to be cleaned regularly and the moving parts appropriately oiled to keep them working as the manufacturer intended.
In this post, we are going to delve into the best bike chains and lubes you can find in the market. Read on to know how you can prolong the life of new or used bicycle.
In a hurry? The test winner after 34 hours of research:
Last Updated: March 05, 2021
By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding bike chain lubes available for those who are interested in providing the best lubrication for their bike chains. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best bike chain lubes currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
|BIKE MEDICINE PURPLE LUBRICANT||Rating:||View Latest Deal →Read Full Review|
|FINISH LINE CERAMIC WAX BIKE CHAIN LUBE||Rating:||View Latest Deal →Read Full Review|
|WEND BIKE CHAIN WAX KIT||Rating:||View Latest Deal →Read Full Review|
|FINISH LINE DRY TEFLON BICYCLE CHAIN LUBE||Rating:||View Latest Deal →Read Full Review|
ROCRIDE NEW ECO-X BIO
|Rating:||View Latest Deal →Read Full Review|
What are the Different Types of Lube?
Normally, there are three kinds of bike lube available when you want to oil your bicycle chain. Each one of them has unique characteristics that will best be suited for certain conditions.
Dry Chain Lube
Just as the name suggests, dry lube works best in dry conditions; the kind you get during spring or summer. The ideal time to lubricate your bike would be the night before your planned ride to let it penetrate the chain links and coat them thoroughly.
Dry lube is available as either Wax (Paraffin) or Teflon (PTFE). Teflon is what you find in most dry lubes today. Although it collects more dust and dirt compared to wax lube, it has a low friction coefficient that results in a very smooth drivetrain.
The benefit of using dry lube is that it is light and less sticky, hence picks up less dirt. This serves to keeping your drivetrain chain dirt-free and spares you the trouble of constant cleaning.
However, due to its lightness, dry lube tends to wash off easily in wet conditions. Sometimes, you may need to keep on reapplying the lube every 80 or so miles to avoid a squeaky drivetrain.
Wet Chain Lube
Wet lube is designed to be used in wet conditions. For those who live in damp and humid regions where the weather is defined by regular storms or snowfall, this would be the lube for you!
Wet lube is normally oil-based, with properties of being thick, sticky, and water-repellent. The thicker the lube, the more water-resistant it is, but it will also attract more dust.
The good thing about wet chain lube is that it lasts longer in terms of how often you apply per mileage. The downside is that as a result of it being sticky, it easily attracts dirt and dust when your ride, leaving you with a grime-filled drivetrain.
Finally, ceramic lube sits between dry and wet lube and is considered the next generation of bicycle chain lube. This should also be applied and left to penetrate overnight so that the small bits in the chain such as rollers and pins are well-oiled. These are the pieces that require cleansing and protection the most!
Ceramic lube does the most effective job thanks to the microscopic pieces of boron nitride it uses to keep your drivetrain frictionless and clean as possible. It may cost you slightly more than the wet and dry lubes, but if your bike is powered by an expensive drivetrain, you shouldn't worry about the extra cost.
If you really want to stay ahead of the pack, using ceramic wax lube is a great way to do that. It offers you the best of both bike chain lube worlds by leaving you with a neat and smooth drivetrain.
Lubricating your Bike Chain
If you are keen on maintaining your bike, you might be wondering how often your bicycle will need to be lubricated. The thing is, it will all depend on the conditions you are riding in and the lube you are using.
As earlier mentioned, dry chain lube will require regular application compared to wet lube. The rule of thumb is to clean and lubricate your chain after every 80-100 miles if possible. The longer you ride, the more cleaning and lubing.
Another thing that should tell you it’s time to re-lubricate is when you start hearing squeaks. Don’t wait for them to get louder; be sure to watch out for this, especially if your ride in the rain quite often.
Top 5 Bike Chain Lubes for 2021
1. Bike Medicine Purple Lubricant - Best Road Bike Chain Lube
- #1 HIGHEST MILEAGE BIKE LUBRICANT - Award Winning premium grade industrial bicycle chain lubricant. The Highest mileage, cleanest running, best...
- BIKE CHAIN LUBRICANT LIKE NO OTHER - Experience 400+ miles of road riding between applications, even in the most extreme biking conditions....
- STOP DESTROYING YOUR BIKE WITH CHEAP LUBRICANTS - Purple Extreme has extremely high film strength, way beyond most conventional chain lubrication...
Purple Extreme is a high-performance bike chain lubricant that provides total protection to gears, chains, and other open metal surfaces that are subjected to heavy load. It is an all-weather chain lube that performs impressively in wet, cold, dry, as well as acidic conditions.
This remarkable chain lubricant was originally designed to protect driving chains used for mining and offshore oil rigs; it doesn't get harsher than this! So, you can imagine the amount of quality this lube brings to the table.
Purple Extreme uses additive technology, which forms a slippery and very tough synthetic film on metallic surfaces, protecting the drivetrain components from wear and corrosion. This results in them lasting longer than they do when conventional oil and wax-based lubes are used.
According to the manufacturer, this lube can last up to 400 plus miles once it has been applied, which should be a dream for any road biker. This distance is much longer than most lubes you'll find mentioned in this review, which makes it even more impressive.
It is also quite versatile and can be used in all kinds of conditions, protecting your chain against wear from as high as 400 degrees F to -100 degrees F. It won't harden when the conditions are cold, ensuring that application remains an easy process. This lube will even protect your chain when exposed to salty water!
Purple Extreme chain lube stays in place once applied. It penetrates easily to all drivetrain parts and doesn't shed off like other ordinary lubricants. It runs clean and smooth, ensuring that no dirt or grime is picked up and the pedaling remains smooth.
It has very high film strength- this refers to the ability of lube to keep two surfaces separated. The film strength cannot be matched by any other lube in the industry and proves to be crucial in protecting bearings and metallic parts subjected to mechanical stress from wear.
The bike will last longer and run smoother and cleaner while requiring less frequent lube application. Purple Extreme is the ideal chain lube for those who want to extend the life of their bike components. You won't have to worry about constant repairs and replacements.
2. Finish Line Ceramic Wax Bike Chain Lube - best lube for bike chain
- Greatly reduces drivetrain friction with super slick ceramic boron nitride particles
- Apply regularly to fully "condition" the chain
- A wax-style lube that goes on wet, but dries to a wax so it won't attract or absorb dirt
Finish Line Ceramic Wax is a wax-based lube that contains nano-sized portions of boron nitride, as well as micron particles fluoropolymer. It comes in 2, 4, and 32Oz bottles, and combines the properties of dry and wet lube to offer you an effective lubricator.
Applying the ceramic lube results in extremely low friction in the drivetrain. The coating is also enhanced, providing you with more durability than you find in many oil-based lubricants. The lube facilitates cleanliness and protection of the drivetrain without compromising the "distance" like other wax lubricants.
This Ceramic Wax dries out without leaving any signs of stickiness or wetness on your chain parts. This means no dust, dirt, or sand will be attracted to the drivetrain, resulting in smooth pedaling. The drivetrain is also kept from abrasive wear, which allows it to last longer.
When you apply this lube, you might notice a darkish wax film forming over the coating. This is a result of the ceramic particles coming into contact with the chain and it usually disappears over time. So don't you worry; it won't affect your bike's performance!
Usually, the temperature of the lube will affect its density. The liquid thickens up when the conditions are cold but becomes watery at room temperature. So be sure not to waste any more when you are applying the ceramic wax lube to your bike's chain in hot conditions.
This chain lube will easily last over 120 miles after application. It is the ideal lubricant for cyclists who'd rather spend time on their saddle than waste it on drivetrain maintenance. However, be sure not to wipe off the extra lubricant after applying it to your chain.
3. Wend Bike Chain Wax Kit - best dry lube for bike chain
- Wend wax‐on is the first ever "rub‐on", wax based, chain lube
- Wax‐on is quiet, Quick, and clean
- Wax‐on is a sophisticated paraffin based Formula that includes proprietary friction reducers as well as proven lubricants such as Zinc and...
Wend Bike Chain Wax is a one-of-a-kind, rub-on chain lubricant that has caused a lot of excitement in the industry. This chain lube contains a mixture of Teflon and zinc, which helps to keep the chain clean. It has a low friction coefficient and makes for a smoother and quieter drivetrain.
The application process is very simple; just rub it on the chain and proceed to work it into the rollers with the help of your fingers. However, you want to ensure that the whole chain is thoroughly cleaned before you apply the wax for optimal visual effect and efficiency.
Fortunately, the kit comes with a cleaning formula to help you achieve this. The cleaner should be able to get through whatever is covering the chain (grime, dirt, used wax, etc.) and leave the drivetrain looking clean and shiny.
Applying the wax delivers a very smooth and quiet drivetrain. The ride will be effortless even after covering miles of road. Whether you are riding on gravel or an off-road trail, the drivetrain remains fluid and neat, without calling for a second application.
The benefit of using a wax-based lube is that there is no wastage since the lube doesn't drip as you are applying it on the chain. One thing to remember though, is that you should be cautious not to over-apply the wax; a thin coat of lube is all that is needed to get the job done!
4. Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube – Best Mountain Bike Chain Lube
- Especailly recommended for riding on or off-road in dry, dirty, dusty environments, yet it holds up well in moderately wet conditions
- DRY Lube can also be used on derailleurs, shifters, cables, and brake pivot points
- Finish Line's DRY Lube provides optimum drivetrain efficiency without attracting an excessive amount of abrasive contaminants
Finish Line chain lube has been around for a while and they come in many varieties. This bottle is rated for "All Riding Conditions", and if you take a close look at the sticker, you'll see a pair of icons that indicate it can be used in the sun and rain (not snow though).
This dry lube comprises a petrochemical blend with Teflon and uses a synthetic Fluoropolymer. It is this component that helps to ensure the lube flows easily when you apply it and still dry up to a much drier state.
Finish Line chain lube penetrates all the moving parts, leaving the spinning cranks with minimal friction. The cable, cleat, and derailleur also become slick, and this will be apparent when changing the gear on a derailleur transmission.
This dry lube ensures that your bike's drivetrain stays clean once it has been applied. It doesn't attract dust, dirt, or grime from the road easily. It is also quite durable, but not as long-lasting as the Finish Line wet version. The manufacturer sites 100 miles as the minimum mileage to be covered before reapplication!
When applying this lube, the bottle has to be shaken well for the lubricating and diluting agents to mix. The lube comes up runny so you want to take it easy when applying it on your bike chain. Remember to turn your chain backward as you apply and wipe down the chain with a lint-free rag once all links are coated.
Only ride the bike after the lube has fully dried for effective results. The Finish Line Dry lube will be a great choice for your mountain bike, given that it doesn't attract much sand. The bike remains clean and the lube will stay on for a long time; almost a month after every time you put it on.
5. RocRide New ECO-X Bio-Based Chain Lube - best all weather bike chain lube
RocRide New ECO-X is a biodegradable and renewable-based wet chain lube. This environmentally friendly and all-purpose lube can be used in any kind of condition, both wet as well as dry. It is treated with extremely effective anti-oxidants, to go with anti-corrosion and anti-wear additives for all weather conditions.
The lube comes in a lightweight and easy to use 4-ounce bottle that features a no-spill twist cap. This simplifies the application process and ensures that there is no wastage of chain lube.
Since it is a wet lube, you will enjoy the convenience of using it in all kinds of conditions. Whether you are riding on a dusty, dry, or wet environment, the RocRide ECO-X will get the job done. It can also be applied to a wide range of bike components.
These wet lube will include everything from the drive-train, cables, brakes, derailleurs, bearings, chain, sprockets, cranks, shifter pivots to cables and pumps. It is effective in cleaning these parts and protects them from wear, resulting in a durable bicycle.
This wet lube also repels moisture from your drivetrain and other moving components to offer improved performance in wet weather. You can use this lube for both your city commute and off-road adventures without worrying about wasting time in repairs.
Be sure to shake the bottle well before application so that the solid lubricants don’t settle. Clean the moving parts and wipe them down carefully until there are no signs of moisture or particles. Finally, remember to apply a consistent amount of lube throughout the rotation and remove any excess lubricant using a clean rag.
What Should I Consider When Buying Bike Chain Lube?
When you go out shopping for a bike chain lube, be sure to consider the following factors before you decide to buy:
The value of the bike chain lube you chose refers to how well it can cope with the elements, how much it can repel grime, dust, and dirt, as well as its cost in general. Naturally, you're bound to go for the cheapest option available to you.
The only problem is that you'll need to be re-lubing after every few miles and before you know it, you'll have run out of chain lube. Don't go for the cheapest option; instead, find a decent chain lube that will last longer and offer the qualities I've mentioned.
Even if it is costly initially, you'll see the value it brings in the long run!
Consider the kind of environmental conditions in which you'll be riding most of the time before buying a chain lube.
Various types of chain lube come with unique properties and are best suited for different conditions. The most common types are dry and wet chain lubes, but you can also find ceramic lubes.
The gist of it all is that dry lube is most suitable for dusty conditions whereas wet lube fairs best where there is a lot of moisture involved.
Meanwhile, ceramic lube provides a balance between the two!
With so many bike chain lubes on the market today, competition has become very stiff! This is why different brands are trying to stack their products will the all-important extra features to make them stand out from the crowd.
In most cases, these will include ingredients that enhance the longevity of the lube, although there are more interesting features that you should look out for. The ability to repel dust is a crucial feature, as well as offering the opportunity to ride in wet conditions without the chain lube washing off.
Some ingredients are also dedicated to increasing the lifespan of the chain and other drivetrain components. All these are a huge bonus for frequent riders who need a bit of protection to ensure that the chain can cope with everyday use. The more features, the better!
Ease of Use
Applying bike lube can be an awkward process for many people. You can easily end up causing an undesirable mess and wasting a lot of the lube if you don't have enough experience.
This is not something that you want to happen, especially if you have to make a stop mid-journey to apply the lube.
Many of the chain lube options above offer an easy way of lubricating your bike, either using a drip-tip mechanism or a more precise nozzle. This also allows the lube to easily penetrate to "hidden" areas that also need to be kept oiled.
Eventually, it is always important to look out for such factors, even if you have no worries about the potential mess.
If your bike chain needs lubing and you cannot find the proper chain oil then you can use old engine oil. Sewing machine oil could be a 2nd choice, however, it is too light.
If you ride frequently, your bike will need regular cleaning and lubrication. Otherwise, the guides explain that you should lubricate your drive chain at least once every month for optimal security and performance.
Many people see the slimy mess that bike chain lube makes when it is being applied and wonder what kind of components it may contain. The thing is, many manufacturers keep these ingredients a secret; they consider them as some sort of a secret sauce that sets them apart from their market rivals.
That being said, the common ingredients used in most chain lunes include boron nitride, paraffin (wax), synthetic oils, and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is more commonly known as Teflon.
There are additional proprietary ingredients that a manufacturer may add but these are usually undisclosed to the public!
Maintaining the shape and performance of your bike can be a demanding task. You have to create enough time to clean all the components and make sure that they are well lubricated. However, finding the ideal chain lube for your bike shouldn’t part of your headache!
The above chain lubes will be a crucial asset whenever you take your bike out for a ride. Whether you own a mountain bike or road bike, you’ll have no qualms finding one that works for you!
After All is Said & Done, I Recommend:
Last update on 2023-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API