Lubricating your bike chain is a very important part of bicycle care. When you use bike lubricant to keep your chains lubricated, you can avoid friction and improve the efficiency of your drivetrains.
Then, what if you run out of chain lube? Check out the types of oil you can use on a bike chain before you use WD40 or cooking oil.
- 1. Why do you need to lubricate your bike chain?
- 2. Which type of lube should you use on your bike chain?
- 3. What’s the difference between wet and dry lubes?
- 4. Which is the best lubricant for bike chains?
- 5. What oils work as bike chain lubricant alternatives?
- 6. What oils should you avoid using on bike chains?
- 7. How to Use Your Bike Chain Lube to Keep Your Bike’s Other Parts Moving Smoothly
Why do you need to lubricate your bike chain?
Lubricating the chain helps keep it from rusting, friction, and wear. Your bike chain will last longer if you use this. Keep the chain lubricated to improve your “drivetrain efficiency,” which is how much energy you get from pedaling. Without lubrication, bicycle chains have more friction, which leads to more wear and tear.
A dry chain causes more problems, such as more noise and trouble shifting. If your chain rubs against other parts all the time, you might not be able to shift as quickly.
Which type of lube should you use on your bike chain?
There are many bike lubricants, but they all start with a base oil and add different things. The main types of bike lubricants are:
- Light oils
- Thick greases
- Wax-based lubricants
- Spray lubricants
This means the oil can be thick and greasy or light and wet. Some oils are put on with small syringes, and others are sprayed right on the chain.
Putting on light oil is often the easiest way to do it. The consistency of the lubricant lets it get into every part of the chain. Light oils are usually put on the chain rollers as you crank the pedals backward. This is how they work.
Light oils may need to be used more often as easy as they are to apply. This is more of a problem when riding in wet or rainy weather. Light oil is washed away as you pedal.
Lubricants that are thicker tend to last longer when riding in wet or rainy weather. When you use thicker oils, they often leave behind a greasy layer that helps to protect the chain bearings from getting dirty. However, thicker oils also pick up dirt and make chains dirty.
A thicker oil means you have to clean your chain and gears more often. Use a paper towel to wipe away any excess grease on your bike before you start riding.
A wax-based lubricant might be better if you ride off-road in mostly dry weather. They don’t hold up well in wet and rainy places, but they protect against dust and dirt in dusty places. When used correctly, a wax-based chain lube can last longer and be more resistant to dirt and other things than other types of lubricants. However, it’s more difficult to use them.
Wax should not be put on a dirty chain first. Then, it would be best if you used a rag to work the wax into the chains. When you start, start with a small amount.
Because they spray, lubricants are the easiest to use. When you lubricate your chain, you have to do a point and spray it. Unfortunately, most sprays aren’t thick enough to protect you from friction.
There are spray lubricants that can be used on bicycle chains, like WD40. However, this isn’t a good idea. If your door hinge is making noise, this will help. WD40 is not strong enough to help lubricate your other parts so that it won’t work.
What’s the difference between wet and dry lubes?
Wet lubes are wet when they’re put on and stay wet. Dry lubes leave behind a waxy, dry residue. Light lubricants and thick, greasy lubricants are often wet, but most wax-based lubricants and spray lubricants are dry, like most wax-based lubricants.
Wet lube is good for most types of weather. It is less likely to break down and wash away in the rain than a dry lube. This makes it a good choice for wet weather. In the winter, salt can cause chains to rust, which can be dangerous. Wet chain lube also protects against this.
Which is the best lubricant for bike chains?
Some people use Finish Line to make bike chain oils. The company sells both wet and dry lubricants.
Finish Line’s lubricants are safe and can be recycled. The dry lubricant can easily get into every corner and crevice of your chain. The wet lubricant is good for almost any kind of riding.
What oils work as bike chain lubricant alternatives?
Here are a few alternatives to bike chain lube that work well:
Chainsaw oil: If you want to lubricate your chainsaw, you need to use chainsaw oil. This means the oil needs to be thick and sticky. The chainsaw oil that you put on your bike’s chains should keep them lubricated even in the heaviest rainstorms. It doesn’t work well in any other weather. The thick oil is too much of a hassle for people to use often. It’s easy to get dirty, making it hard to keep your chain and gears clean.
Silicone spray: The bike lubricant silicone spray is good for the bike. It is often used as a sealant or lubricant for things in the house. As a spray can, it is also easy to use. However, it won’t be around for long. After each ride, you may need to reapply the silicone spray to keep it from getting dry.
Clipper Oil: It keeps the blades in a pair of hair clippers running smoothly. Clipper Oil is a light machine oil that is used to do this. As with a silicone spray, it comes off very easily. Yet, it can reach every part of the bike chain to help keep it from getting rusty.
Vaseline: Vaseline is better than light machine oils and sprays at cutting down on friction. Some grease-based bike lubricants have the same texture and consistency as this one, too. Unfortunately, it’s also very good at collecting dust and debris, which means that it will need more cleaning.
3-in-1 oil: 3-in-1 oil is a multi-purpose oil that can be used for many different things, like lubricating bike chains. Base oil for 3-in-1 oil is naphthenic oil used in many bicycle lubricants. This oil is used to make the 3-in-1 oil. It has a high freezing point and is very good at protecting against corrosion.
What oils should you avoid using on bike chains?
Don’t use too thick oils, like engine oil and gear oil. When you put oil in your chain, it’s thick enough to keep it from getting into the rollers inside.
Even though you can use motor oils to lubricate your bike chains, you may not be able to get all of them. Thicker oil is also more likely to get dirty and clog up.
Can you use these lubricants on your bike chain?
|Engine oil||No (too thick)|
|Cooking oil||No (vegetable oil may be used in a pinch)|
|WD40||No (works as a degreaser)|
Final thoughts on oils for your bike
Oil is good for the chain of the bicycle. It helps keep the chain from getting worn and keep it working well. The type of lube you use should be mostly based on how you ride.
If you ride in dry weather, you might want to use a wax-based lubricant. In wet weather, you don’t want to use dry lube.
Wet lube is more likely to keep working even when it rains. It is common for a wet lubricant to have grease in it. If you use grease, you may need to clean your chains more often to get rid of dirt and buildup.
It’s not a good idea to use cooking oils or motor oils as bike lubricants. They don’t always work well as a lubricant because they are often too thick. Clipper oil and other light machine oils are good alternatives, but they may need to be used more often.
Vegetable oils can be used as bicycle chain lube if you can’t find anything else. Lighter than some cooking oils, but they still mess up and get dirty.
How to Use Your Bike Chain Lube to Keep Your Bike’s Other Parts Moving Smoothly
Some people need bike lubricant to keep moving parts moving. On the other hand, Obsessives see it as the bike-maintenance equivalent of a fine wine, where quality is of the utmost importance.
If you don’t apply the right lube to the right places, your ride will come to a halt. It doesn’t matter if you buy the cheapest option or the best one you can find. Here’s how to do it.
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Without Lube: An ear-piercing squeal will come from a dry chain, and it won’t move easily. In the future, it will rust, and it could break in half while you’re riding on it.
Lube It: A degreaser can be soaked on a clean rag like Pedro’s Oranj Peelz Citrus Degreaser. You can hold the chain with the rag as you backpedal to clean the rollers and side plates of your bike. Repeat until the chain is free of dirt. Then, dry the chain with a clean rag and the same way you cleaned it. Place a drop on the top of each chain link as you slowly backpedal for a few turns. This will give the bike chain lube time to get inside. If you don’t, more dirt will get on your chain if you don’t wipe off the extra lube. Use a light, waterproof lubricant, like Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubricant, to keep your clothes clean and dry. For wet weather, try Pedro’s Chain.
Never Use: Motor oil has acids and metal particles that can weaken a chain and make it wear out faster.
Without Lube: When you start and stop your bike, it won’t be as easy as it should be, and the pedals might not come off.
Lube Them: Every few rides, put some T-9 on your clipless pedal system, so it doesn’t get rusty. This is where your cleats go into the pedal. Spread a layer of Phil Wood Waterproof Grease on the threads of your pedals every time you put them in. This will make them move when you try to take them off again.
Never Use: Put some grease on the pedal springs. You’ll mess up the machine.
Without Lube: Putting cable through housings won’t be easy, which will make it harder for them to move.
Lube Them: Front derailleur: Shift the front derailleur to the hardest gear/big chainring, and shift the rear derailleur to the easiest gear/largest cog. Then, without pedaling, click your shifter to move up to the hardest gear or the smallest cog on your shifter (or the small chainring in front). You can slip the housing out of the slotted cable stops in some bikes and thoroughly coat the cables. This will give you a lot more slack in the cables. It helps to put a few drops of T-9 on your fingers, then slides them along the length of a cable until it’s covered in a thin film. Remove dirt from your cables, paying special attention to where they run through the cable guide under the bottom of the bike’s frame. Make sure you use the same lubricant and apply it the same way on your brake lines.
Never Use: Soapy liquid isn’t what WD-40 is. If your cables and housings are so clogged up that you need a solvent, you should buy new ones rather than try to fix them with a solvent.
Without Lube: Rust will build upon the places where the parts of your brakes and derailleurs move, making them less smooth and more likely to break.
Lube Them: Spray each pivot point (rear derailleur, front derailleur, rear brake, front brake) with T-9 every few months (more if you ride in wet conditions). This will help keep them safe and working well. Wipe off any excess lube, so it doesn’t get dirty.
Never Use: Put lubricant on the brake pads, rotors, or rims of your car. Make sure not to. It will be hard to slow down or stop. If you get lube on disc brake rotors or pads by accident, you’ll need to get new pads to be safe.
Without Lube: If you don’t fix your derailleur pulleys, not only will you go crazy trying to figure out what’s making the noise, but the pulleys won’t move freely.
Lube Them: Clean your derailleur pulleys with a clean rag and a degreaser to get rid of any dirt that has built up there over the years. To do this, put a small amount of Phil Wood Tenacious Oil on the bearings in the middle of your pulley. This will help them run smoothly and last longer. It’s time to go backward. Then, wipe off any lube that didn’t get into the bearings. Make sure to use it sparingly because it can get a little messy.
Never Use: Grease is too heavy for this job, and it will clog up pulley bearings and draw in dirt, so don’t use it.
Without Lube: Your Seatpost isn’t really a moving part, at least not until you want to remove or adjust it. It’s important to keep your seat post lubricated and check it now and then so that it doesn’t get stuck in place and become stuck.
Lube It: It’s done. Remove any grit and old grease, even inside the frame. Apply a small amount of grease to the part of the seat post that will go inside the frame, and then rub it in. If you don’t want your bike to slip or get stuck, you might want to use an anti-slip or anti-seize compound instead.
Never Use Too much oil. This could cause your Seatpost to move when it’s being used, which could make it fall off.
Use Of Bike Chain Lube- FAQ
What lubricant should I use for my bike chain?
Is it OK to use WD40 on bike chain?
If you want to use WD-40 Multi-Use Product, you can do that. Because it’s made out of water, it’s the right amount of water-based grease to keep your chains clean. A good water-based bike chain lube is WD-40. It will not only keep the chain clean and lubricated, but it will also keep it rust and corrosion free.
Is silicone lubricant good for bike chains?
It’s good to use silicone spray on your bike chains if you don’t ride very often. However, silicone spray can sometimes wash away, so if you ride your bike a lot, you should get a special bike chain lube instead.
Can you use olive oil for bike chain?
Olive oil, Sunflower oil, and other cooking oils can be used to lubricate your bike chain for a short time. This is better than not using any oil at all, and it’s better than not using any at all.
What household items can I use to clean my bike chain?
Step 1: Add hot water and dish soap to a pan
Step 2. Dip a cloth in the hot, soapy water
Step 3: Turn the bicycle pedals with your hands to move the chain further down the road
Step 4. Dip another piece of cloth in degreaser to clean
Step 5. Use a cloth that has been wet with water to clean your bicycle chain
Can I use 3 in 1 oil on my bike chain?
If you keep your chain clean and lubricated with 3-IN-ONE oil, it will outperform a dirty chain that’s been lubricated incorrectly, even with the best oil. It might not be fashionable to use 3-IN-ONE oil, but it’s a lot cheaper and does a better job than many wet lubes you can buy at your bike shop.
Can lithium grease be used on bike chain?
Yes, but it’s not the best idea. When used even a little, it will pick up a lot of dirt and make a mess. A lot of dirt will get into the bearings if you try to oil or lubricate the chain later. This will make the chain wear out faster than it needs to.
What is the best bike chain degreaser?
Top 9 Bike Chain Degreasers
1. Finish Line Citrus Degreaser
2. White Lightning Clean Streak
3. Park Tool CB-4 Bio
4. Chainbrite Chain Cleaning Fluid
5. Finish Line Speed Bicycle Degreaser
6. Muc Off Bio Drivetrain Cleaner
7. Runaway Bike Degreaser
8. Pedro’s Oranj Peelz Citrus Bicycle Degreaser
9. Runaway Bike Cleaner.
Can I use baby oil on my bike chain?
Make sure you use bicycle lubricant, not WD40 or some other solvent, when you clean your bike. Putting anything other than bike lube on your parts can make them rust faster. Customer: I’ve heard from people who say they’ve used baby and motor oils as well as coconut and vegetable oils.
Can I use engine oil as chain lube?
If you want to use engine oil or grease, don’t do it. Instead, use a good chain lubricant. Grease can’t get into the O rings and X rings like chain lubricant can. If your chain and sprocket are made of metal, engine oil lasts only a few days, which makes them less durable.
Can you use vinegar to clean a bike chain?
Remove parts that can be taken off, like the bike chain, and put them in a bucket of vinegar. Leave the water to soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse it off. Garden hose: Make sure you thoroughly rinse off the vinegar and scrape off the loose rust with the hose before you use it. N.B. Vinegar can damage your bike’s metal if it isn’t properly rinsed off.
Can you clean a bike chain with soap and water?
Dirt and grime can be removed off the bike’s frame by using a pail of warm soapy water and a soft brush. The link: Your bike’s chain is the most vulnerable section to lubrication failure. Slow the rate of chain wear by cleaning and lubricating frequently A degreaser and a rag are all that is needed to clean chains that haven’t accumulated a lot of sludge.
Is dishwashing liquid good for bike chain?
Dish soap is a great way to clean many parts of the bike. You don’t want to clean the chain so much that you remove its factory lube.
When should I degrease my bike chain?
If you ride your bike a lot, you should clean and lubricate your chain at least once a month. If you like to ride your bike off-road and get it dirty, you should clean it even more than that.
Should I wax my bike chain?
Hot wax isn’t only for skis. Using it can make the drivetrain cleaner and last longer with less work.
How often should I lube my bike chain?
Bicycle Tutor says that you should clean and lubricate your bike’s drive chain at least once a month to keep it running smoothly and protecting you from damage. When you ride your bike, your chain and drivetrain are usually the dirtiest parts. This dirt is bad for the life and performance of your bike.
Can you use candle wax for bike chain?
Yes, but it isn’t very good at lubricating. It peels off, so it gets rid of dust, sand, or mud. To do this, you’d need a double boiler. One pot fits into the other. When the bottom one gets hot, it makes water boil. When it gets hot, it makes wax melt.
Is Chain Wax better than oil?
In this case, chain lube is the best thing to use if you want to start riding your motorcycle right away after you lube the chain. Use a chain wax if you ride your bike in dirt and dusty areas, because it has been proven to keep dirt, grime, water, and other things from getting on your bike.
Is paraffin wax a good lubricant?
Paraffin wax was not only the best lubricant they tried, but it was also the cleanest. It even worked better when the chain was dirty. This is when you need something to melt the Paraffin Wax. You’ll need something that can get the wax up to about 150 degrees.
Can you use paraffin wax on bike chain?
Use paraffin wax if you are set up correctly to keep your bike chain clean and smooth. Because I dip the chain in hot wax, it’s quick and easy once you get the hang of it. It also doesn’t pick up dirt or leave greasy “tattoo” marks on you or your clothes.
Can you use car wax on bicycle?
There aren’t many car waxes now that have abrasives in them, because many car finishes have clear coats on them. In general, they say not to use abrasive ones because they can scratch the clear coats. Use a wax that is safe for clear coat on a bike frame (except matte finishes, of course).
Can I use Turtle Wax on my bike?
It doesn’t matter what kind of polish or wax you use on your bike, as long as it’s good. As soon as I finish cleaning the bike, I wax the frame and metal parts. I usually use a soft, dampened rag to wipe down the bike first. You might be able to do the waxing during the winter months early next year and be fine.