What To Lube Bike Chains With | PedalChef

You need to lube your bike chains regularly in order to keep them in good working condition. This article provides a list of the best lubes for your bike.

What is lube? Why do I need to lube my bike chains? What are some of the most effective lubes for my bike chains? This article will answer these questions and provide you with a list of the best lubes for your bike chains.

Bike lube is a substance that is used to coat bike chains and prevent metal-to-metal contact. Lubing helps to prevent friction between the chain and drivetrain components and increases your chain’s lifespan. There are many types of oil and no oil bike lubes including wet, dry, wax and ceramic lubes.

In this article, we will delve more deeply into how a bike chain operates; discuss the importance of lubing your bike chain on a regular basis and look at the various types of lube that you can use on your bike chains.

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Most bike chains are made from steel alloys or carbon, with many being plated with nickel in order to prevent or reduce the rate at which the chain rusts. Your bike chain performs the function of turning your back wheel when you pedal. It does this by transferring power from your pedal to your back wheel, ultimately propelling your bike forward.

With proper care and maintenance, your bike chains will serve you for up to four years or help you cover a distance of 2000 to 3000 miles.  Caring for your bike chain involves a number of activities. These include; cleaning your chain with a cleaning tool at least once a month or every time you clock 200 miles, using a degreasing tool to remove grease, cleaning with soap and water in order to remove the degreaser, and carefully lubing each roller in your bike chain. Ensure to wipe off excess lube after the process to avoid affecting the performance of your chain.

Lubricating your bike chain regularly is extremely important as friction between the chain and drivetrain components may lead to increased wear and tear. Underlubing is also responsible for that grating sound that you hear when your bike chain is too dry.

Under lubricating your bike chain also has an adverse effect as the extra lube attracts dirt and debris leading to even more friction. The trick to efficient lubing therefore lies in choosing the right lube and applying the right amount of it to your bike chain.

How To Choose The Right Lube For Your Bike Chain

Choosing the right chain lube will determine how efficiently your bike chain operates and how long you can expect to continue using it. The first thing to do before choosing a lube is to familiarize yourself with the different types of lubes available. The four most common types of chain lube are wet, dry, ceramic and wax lubes. Once you know the lube types available, you can then set about choosing the right one for your bike chain.

The second thing to consider while choosing a chain lube is riding conditions. Are you going to be riding in rainy or snowy conditions? Does your ride take you through desert or mountainous terrain? What type of weather conditions will you be riding under? The answers to these questions will help you choose the right chain lube.

Another thing to consider when choosing chain lube is how often you use your bike. Do you use your bike on your daily commute or only during the weekend? Do you frequently go on long distance trips? Frequency of use will help you determine which chain lube is best for you.

Finally, as you choose your bike trip, ensure that it has several properties such as the ability to protect your chain from rust and corrosive elements. Ensure also that it prevents dust from sticking to your chain, minimizes friction by penetrating the spaces between your chain links and protects your chain against extreme weather conditions.

Advantages Of Lubing Your Bike Chain

Lubing your bike chain has several advantages; First of all, it reduces friction between your chain and drivetrain, ultimately slowing down the wear and tear rate of your bike parts. Secondly, chain lube provides added protection from the elements and environmental conditions. This means that there will be less debris, dust, snow, mud and other substances getting into your bike chain and affecting its performance.

Lubing also improves the efficiency of your gear changes, resulting is a faster and smoother ride. Finally, lubing reduces the loud grating noises associated with a bike chain that has dried out.

Types Of Bike Chain Lube

The most common types of bike lube include wet, dry, wax and ceramic lubes. Chain lubes are usually classified into wet, dry, ceramic and wax lubes.

Wet lubes

This is the original lube that cyclists used before other types of lubes were created. Wet lubes are oil based and are made from high viscosity synthetic oils as well as additives like Teflon which reduce friction. They are ideal for riding in wet weather or for use during all types of weather.

The main advantage of wet lubes is that their viscosity prevents them from getting washed off during wet conditions.  They also provide more lube per millimeter which means that they last longer than other types of lubes.

One disadvantage of wet lubes is that they tend to attract dirt and grime, especially if they are applied excessively. This leads to increased friction between the chain and drivetrain and may cause faster wear and tear.

To enjoy maximum benefits from your wet lube, always ensure that you clean your bike thoroughly before application and that you wipe off any excess lube after application.

Dry lube

Dry lube was created to solve the problems that cyclists encountered with wet lube. These problems included clogging and reduced chain efficiency due to greater wear and tear. Even before manufacturers put out a product that would solve these challenges, cyclists were already boiling their bike chains in wax in order to ensure more efficient lubrication.

Dry lube is usually made of a small amount of oil, some additives to facilitate drying of the lube once it is applied to your bike chain and solids like Teflon or graphite. It is applied to bike chains as a liquid and allowed to dry for 2-4 hours. This allows the solvents to evaporate and leave a wax coating that lubricates your bike chain.

Dry lube works best in dry conditions and does not attract debris and dirt particles. This means that you do not have to worry about cleaning your bike constantly in order to ensure that it does not get damaged.

One major disadvantage with dry lube is that it does not work well in wet conditions. As a result, you will need to reapply it every time you travel 50 to 100 miles in order to ensure that your bike chain is protected.

Ceramic lube

This type of lube is a ceramic or synthetic based lube with particles of boron nitride. These particles adhere to your bike chain’s surface upon application, replacing dust particles and forming a protective coat that reduces friction. The coat gets larger with each subsequent application, resulting in even greater protection.

Ceramic lubes come in both wet and dry variations, allowing them to be used in both types of weather conditions. Ceramic lubes are ideal for pro cyclists who need the extra protection and maximum wattage from their bikes. They also work well for long distance cyclists as they stay longer and only need to be reapplied every 175 miles instead of the 100 miles required by dry lube.

Wax lube: This lube is usually made from paraffin particles emulsified with water or other carrier liquid and combined with Teflon. Applied correctly, wax lube forms a thick protective

layer on your bike, resulting in lower friction and reduced wear and tear.

One thing to note about wax lubes is that they require you to clean your bike thoroughly before application otherwise they will not work. This means cleaning your bike in warm soapy water in order to rid it of oils and grease.

How To Apply Chain Lube

There are several steps you need to take before lubing your bike chain. First of all, you need to clean your bike thoroughly and get rid of all traces of oil, dirt, grease and other impurities. This is especially important if you are using a ceramic, wax or wet lube.

Next, you need to allow your bike to dry thoroughly before applying any lube. Once it is dry, follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regard to application. Allow the lube to dry for a duration of 2-4 hours depending on the lube that you are using.


Danny Lawson

Danny Lawson

Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.

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