Best Bike Chain Lube in 2020: Wet and Dry
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As any experienced biker will tell you, the chain is one of the most important parts of your bicycle. That’s why you need to use the best bike chain lube as part of its general and regular maintenance.
Keep in mind that your bike kicks up a lot of dust and debris while you’re pedaling. All this can get into the metal components of your bike, including the chain and drivetrain.
The thing about using a chain lube is that it helps to loosen up the entanglement between the chainrings and sprockets in order to maintain shifting performance. Lubing your bike as part of regular maintenance also helps to prevent the occurrence of wear and tear on the drivetrain, as well as friction and corrosion.
An under-lubricated chain can lead to too much friction between the different metal components of your bike, including the drivetrain. That’s why regular lubrication is needed.
Bike Chain Lube Reviews
The following list has taken into consideration different budgets and lifestyle factors, which can affect how often you use your bicycle and why.
1. Finish Line Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube
The Finish Line Dry Bicycle Chain Lube is a versatile product that can be utilized in both its dry and wet state. It’s ideal for bike commuters and anyone who encounters lots of dust, dirt, and sand regularly while riding their bicycle.
We were pleasantly surprised by this lube’s ability to handle wet conditions, since it’s mostly dry. In our opinion, it’s the best mountain bike chain lube on the market, although it can also be utilized for road cycling purposes as well.
It’s worth noting that this chain lube works so great because it has dust-absorbing qualities. This is great news for your chain because it means that you can take it on any type of terrain. It’ll trap dust on the surface so that it doesn’t penetrate deeper.
This lube is made from a synthetic Teflon oil. This means that it works smoothly and offers long-lasting results. It’s also not as messy as many of its competitors and the low viscosity means that the oil is able to reach all different parts of the chain.
2. Pro Gold Products ProLink Chain Lube
Are you scanning this list looking for the best dirt bike chain lube? Then your search ends here!
The Pro Gold Link chain lube is specifically designed to equip your bicycle to handle wet and muddy conditions. Once applied onto the bike chain, it can completely protect it from these and other contaminants and moisture in order to reduce oxidations.
Taken together, these benefits help to expand the lifespan of your bike by maintaining the durability of the chain. The best part is that this one works to clean the chain as you pedal your bike. So, there isn’t much active work that you have to put in yourself. It repels water and reduces the number of times that you need to wash your bicycle as well.
Not only is the product inside fantastic to work with, but Pro Gold went as far as to design the container in a way that keeps the end-user in mind. This lube comes in an eco-friendly applicator that’s reusable and easy to use.
3. Wend Chain Wax Kit
This bike chain lubricant from Wend Chain comes in the form of a comprehensive wax kit that takes care of all of your bike chain protection needs.
There are many of these kits out there but this one’s kinda unique. For one thing, all you have to do is rub it onto the chain’s surface in order to create an instant protective film. This will help to keep the chain working smoothly so that it doesn’t make noises while pedaling.
In case you’re wondering, this lube kit offers the same performance as zinc and Teflon based lubricants, even though it’s made from a paraffin-based formula. It reduces metal friction in just the right way and the kit comes with the lubricant and the cleaning formula that you should use for best results.
Experience shows that this cleaner is capable of removing any and all contaminants covering the chain for a complete and thorough clean.
4. Bike Medicine Synthetic Chain Lubricant
Bike Medicine is one of the most well-known lube manufacturers there are. For years they’ve been helping bike owners to keep their bicycles in ship-shape.
Their purple lube need only be applied once every 400 miles, granted you’re riding in dry conditions. This makes sense considering the fact that this lube was initially created to coat and protect mine drivetrains.
This makes it a hardy product that can withstand the toughest conditions. When applied, it produces a protective film that helps to keep metal surfaces from grinding together.
According to Bike Medicine, they’ve tested this lube under extreme pressure to make sure that it performs as advertised. So far, it’s been able to create a powerful coating as advertised.
5. WD-40 Wet Chain Lube
Next in our list of the best bicycle chain lube options, we have the WD-40 wet lube. What makes this one so special? Well, if safety is important to you then you’ll be glad to know that it’s formulated to enhance both safety and performance. That’s the best of both worlds right there!
It’s certainly the best road bike chain lube because it’s designed to ensure that your bicycle is able to handle any kind of conditions that you come across, whether that’s gravel, asphalt, mud, or water. This wet lube can take them all on!
If you want to keep water, dirt, and mud off your bicycle, then you should definitely consider adding the WD-40 chain lube to your arsenal of maintenance tools. This will do wonders to increase the lifespan of your bicycle by fending off corrosion and rust, both of which can be caused by the accumulation of water and mud. This is especially during weather conditions and seasons during which those two conditions are common.
How does it work? This lube simply coats the chain so that mud and water can’t even infiltrate through the string.
6. DuPont Teflon Self-Cleaning Lubricant
This double whammy of a self-cleaning lubricant from DuPont is made from a combination of Teflon and wax. These two components make this a wet lube, even though it’s effective at tackling dry conditions as well.
Also, this versatility is what makes this one of the best bike chain lubes available. You can use it on off-road bikes due to its thermal stability and it’s suitable for daily commuters as well.
Note that the DuPont Teflon Lube has been made to handle and withstand high contamination and wet environments alike due to its ability to penetrate frictional surfaces.
You can thank the Teflon wax film for the latter benefit. The best part is that it’s powerful enough to fend off all manner of contaminants including grass, grit, and dirt.
7. Finish Line Ceramic Wax Bicycle Chain Lube
When looking for the best lube for bike chain, this product from Finish Line often comes up, and it’s not hard to see why. First of all, it comes in three different bottle sizes, namely 2, 4, and 32 oz. So, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to whether or not you want to use it at home or on the go while biking.
This is a ceramic-based lubricant that offers the best of both worlds between wet and dry lube, so as to ensure optimal drivetrain performance. The thing about ceramic lube that makes it so fantastic is the fact that it coats the drivetrain and bicycle chain so thoroughly that it’s completely protected from the elements.
Its texture is agreeable; it doesn’t get wet or sticky once dry, and it doesn’t attract dust, grime, grit, or dirt. This makes for smooth pedaling and overall functionality. You don’t have to do a lot of cleaning once you’ve covered your chain with this lube because it creates a darkish film that coats the entire surface so that any dirt attached to it is simply rinsed off by the rain.
The liquid changes texture when experiencing temperature changes. For instance, the colder it gets, the thicker the lube gets. But, it seems to like room temperature conditions as it becomes watery when that happens. Keep this in mind so that you know when and how to use it in order to get it at the optimal texture.
8. RocRide Eco-X Bicycle Chain Lubricant
This wet lubricant from RocRide is another common feature on bicycle chain lube reviews. It’s a budget-friendly option that comes in different bottle sizes as well. This includes 2, 3, and 20-bottle packages.
It’s perfect for the avid biker who goes on constant expeditions, and it’s made from renewable and biodegradable resources so you know it’s eco-friendly as well.
But, don’t let its sustainable make-up fool you, because this is one potent formula that’s made to ensure that your entire drivetrain works like a well-oiled machine. But, it does so without hurting the environment.
This chain lube is also treated with a cocktail of beneficial antioxidants that help to prevent wear and corrosion of several drivetrain parts. Because it’s a wet lube, this product can be utilized all year round, regardless of climate and temperature levels. It’s the best bike lubricant for off-road and regular applications, as it has the ability to repel water and dirt alike.
How to Get the Best Bike Chain Lube
Now that we’ve gone over our bike chain lube reviews, it’s time to check out the criterion we used as part of our research process, which you can use to make your ultimate choice too.
Viscosity refers to how thick or thin the lube texture is.
For the most part, light oil is suitable for environments with a lot of dirt and sand dust, because it’ll help to keep your bike chain moisturized but without being too moist.
High viscosity or thick lube is recommended for wet and muddy terrain because it helps to prevent water from penetrating through and can protect it from corrosion.
Wet vs. Dry
One of the first things you should think about when looking for the best bike chain lube is the type of environment that you’re going to take your bicycle in.
The good news is that most lubes are equipped to handle both wet and dry conditions.
But, wet lube is known for being the most versatile option because it can handle year-round weather conditions and road traffic, while dry lube is mostly useful for dusty conditions.
One of the ways in which lube manufacturers stand out from the competition is by adding unique features to their products which customers can’t find in any other option.
These features usually come in the form of unique ingredients that are designed to either cover more of the drivetrain surface or improve your bicycle’s performance and longevity.
One of these bonus features that you want to look out for is the ability to repel rust which can come in handy when you’re biking through wet or damp conditions. Or if you’re someone who stores your bike in an old shed.
But, our favorite ingredients have to be those that are designed to protect the chain lube in order to extend its lifespan.
The best bicycle chain lube is also usually easy to use. You want a bike lube that comes in a bottle or other receptacle that makes it easy to apply when you need to.
Ease of use is essential especially if you plan on using the lube while you’re on the go, or even at your garage.
Most of the lubes that we’ve reviewed are easy to apply and are designed with a nozzle or drip-tip. This allows you to get into those little nooks and crannies of your bicycle that are often difficult to clean.
Next, you want a bicycle chain lube that can handle different elements. This means that it has the ability to repel dirt and debris no matter if you’re on a mountain trail or asphalt. This is what determines whether or not it provides value for money.
Most people are only too happy to jump at the chance of buying affordable bike chain lube. But as with anything, you will get what you pay for here. The last thing you need is to reapply your lube all the time because it keeps running out.
You want a lube whose effects last much longer than a couple of days, and you might have to pay a higher price for that.
One of the best ways to determine if your bike lube works as advertised is to check online reviews. This will tell you all that you need to know about the lube and how it actually works in real-life applications.
The great thing about reviews is that this is where people share useful tips on how to get the most out of these products.
Most of which are tips that even the manufacturer may not have thought of including in the product description.
Types of Chain Lubes
Bike chain lubes also come in different types to suit different applications and bike designs. You have wax lubes, ceramic lubes, dry lubes, and wet lubes.
As with anything, none of these options is perfect and each of one comes with its own pros and cons.
Wet lubes are ideal for use all year round because they’re mostly made from high viscosity synthetic oils and feature potent additives like PTFE.
They’re perfect for use in wet conditions and a little goes a long way with this type of lube. So, value for money is guaranteed.
Because of its texture, it doesn’t get washed off easily and lasts longer on your bike chain. But this same feature makes it susceptible to attracting dirt and grime.
To avoid or minimize this, avoid applying liberal amounts of wet lube on your bicycle chain, and be sure to wipe off any excess before you go on your bicycle ride.
If using this type of lube, you’ll also need to clean your drivetrain frequently to avoid build-up of contaminants over time.
As the name implies, dry lube is designed to handle dry conditions. As such, they’re formulated from 90% carrier fluid and only 10% actual lubricant, which could be a combination of synthetic oils and additives.
Some wax lubes might be considered part of the dry variety. But we’ll explain why below.
Dry lubes have a lower viscosity which means that they’re ideal for low friction applications and they don’t attract that many contaminants.
The only problem with dry lubes is that they wash off easily when they come into contact with puddles or rainwater. This can lead to unwanted friction and wear as a result.
Wax lube are so-called because they’re mainly formulated from paraffin wax.
In case you’re wondering, paraffin is what’s used to make regular candles. This material has proven to be very effective at creating chain lube because it’s great at repelling contaminants in order to increase bike longevity and efficiency.
Most wax-based lubes are made from a combination of carrier fluid, PTFE additives, and high-refined paraffin wax particles.
The great thing about wax is that after you’ve applied it, it basically forms a hard layer of protection to keep friction at bay.
Once it’s dry, you can rest assured that no contaminants will be sticking onto your bike chain or drivetrain components. This is what makes it so effective.
Ceramic lubes are fairly new to the market, so a lot of people don’t know much about them. They’ve certainly entered the market with a bang.
Most companies are claiming that they have the ability to improve bike performance and this is often reflected in their price. Whether or not this is justified remains to be seen.
How to Apply Chain Lube
You should always clean your chain before you lubricate it. But, you don’t have to adhere to this rule all the time, especially if you’re using dry lube.
After all, you might have to lube your chain up while you’re on the road or trail due to hearing that squeaking noise.
Follow these three simple steps to lubricate your road bike chain effectively:
- Wipe away dirt, dust, and grime from the chain using a clean rag. You can even use a chain cleaner to deep clean it.
- Apply the lube by the drop on each roller, but never on the faceplate.
- Use the rag to wipe away excess lube.
How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain?
There’s no one size fits all answer to this question. But, for the most part, dry lubes need to be reapplied more frequently compared to wet lubes.
One rule of thumb that we can give you is to wipe your bike chain every 80 to 100 miles for the best results. Basically, additional lubrication is often needed when you ride your bike frequently.
You’ll know your bike needs lubrication when it starts squeaking on you. be sure to lube it as soon as possible. You should do this to avoid the noise getting louder, and you should definitely lube it more often if you’re riding your bicycle in a region that experiences a lot of rain.
Now that you know what to look for in a chain lube and what your options are, you’re in the perfect condition to go out there and make an informed purchasing decision. If you’re still undecided, that’s totally understandable and we’re here to help.
Out of all the options we reviewed, the long-lasting Finish Line DRY Chain Lube is the best bike chain lube for the money. It comes in different sizes, giving you the opportunity to save and buy in bulk.
Because of its ceramic-based formula, it works similarly to both wet and dry lube. Most importantly, it coats your bike chain in a thin film that protects it from dirt, grime, grit, and dust. It has also been shown to reduce drivetrain friction.