This is by far the most common question when buying a chain lube,
Which bike chain lube should I get?
Dry or wet? Perhaps ceramic?
There's no clear cut answer to this. Since chain lubes are designed for a specific usage, it all depends on the type of riding and your local area. Sometimes you need a dry lube, other times wet lube or even ceramic lube.
Further Reading : The 3 Different Types of Chain Lubes for Bikes
The words PTFE, Teflon, Paraffin, boron nitride, wax, ceramic are enough to confuse most of us who are not a science geek. Today, there are hundreds of chain lubes to choose from. Sometimes, the more choices we have, the more confused we get.
So, here are my top 10 picks for the best bike chain lubes available today.
Best Dry Chain Lubes
1. Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube
Finish Line is an absolute standard in the bike chain lube industry and truly excels in off-road or extremely dusty conditions where you expect to be hit with tons of dirt.
You’ll notice that this lube goes on like water, causing you to doubt how effective it really is at keeping your chain clean, but just give it a moment to work its magic.
After a short time, you’ll see the wet film dry into a waxy glue that sticks to your chain but kicks dirt, grime, and dust off.
This is one of the best dry lube around today.
2. WD40 All Conditions Lube
Just as the name implies, WD40’s All Condition’s Lube is perfect for those needing a one-and-done lube for everyday riding.
Using specialized lubes can get cumbersome if all you need is a steady-performing lube that gets you from A to B without making a mess of your drivetrain system.
After years of being derided as a primordial chain lube, WD40 has re-entered the market with a PTFE-based formula that is worthy of your consideration.
3. Squirt Long Lasting Dry Lube
Biodegradable chain lubes are certainly hard to come by, but Squirt’s Long Lasting Dry Lube gives those concerned with ecological well-being a solid option for keeping the bike clean.
As a wax-based lube, your chain should stay clean for between 80–100 miles before needing a reapplication.
Some riders reporting great use north of 200 miles per application, making it an incredible value for the money as well as the environment.
Best Wet Chain Lubes
1. Pro Gold Xtreme Chain Lube
Extreme riders unite! Don’t get caught out in the rain without a proper wet lube to hold you down.
Pro Gold Xtreme Chain Lube is specifically designed for those epic days in the saddle that take you across unknown terrain but even lesser known changes in the weather.
Regardless of whether you’re on the road or trail, Pro Gold won’t let you down and is good for plenty of soggy miles of coverage.
2. Rock n Roll Gold Lube
Rock n Roll calls itself the king of lubes, and with a flashy gold package, who could doubt it?
The better question, however, is whether they stand up to the claim or not. We’re pleased to report that not only is Rock n Roll Lube a solid choice, but reviewers overwhelmingly agree that this just may be the king of wet lubes.
Rock n Roll is best suited as an all-purpose cleaning and lubrication system for both mountain and road, making it a great one-stop shop if you ride both but don’t want to spend on specialized equipment for each.
3. White Lightning Wet Lube
White Lightning recently rebranded itself, or perhaps they’d prefer the term redesigned, to better reflect their upgraded lube technology.
Their Wet Ride tech is the perfect choice for crazed days of long rainy rides, the kind your family asked you to not do.
But hey, those epic days are the most rewarding, right?
Using premium synthetic oils and repelling polymers, White Lightning’s Wet Ride is completely waterproof and knocks out all the squeaks, squeals, and creaks from your prized drivetrain.
Smooth shifting is back!
Best Ceramic Lubes
1. Muc Off C3 Ceramic Lube
You’ve heard of ceramic lube. Your bike mechanic talks it up. The pros talk it up. Cyclings blogs talk it up.
But, is it worth it?
The short answer is a resounding YES.
Moreover, Muc Off’s C3 Ceramic Lube just may have set the standard for this new class of lube tech.
What’s so great about ceramic lube?
For starters, it’s a fully biodegradable dry lube that also has fantastic weather resistance. The tiny bits of boron nitride actually keep your drivetrain clean – but, just like anything that sounds really, really good, there’s always a slight downside.
You’ll need to let Muc Off cure on your chain for about four hours before riding.
2. Finish Line Ceramic Wax Lube
The most trusted name in bike chain lube enters the ceramic lube market with a ceramic + wax combo.
What’s the big deal about combining wax with ceramic lube?
The major complaint aside from curing time that most riders have about ceramic lube is that it needs to be reapplied quite often. In some cases, every 35–40 miles, to be specific.
Finish Line found that by adding wax to the mix, they could extend that mileage, sometimes by double the distance.
3. CeramicSpeed UFO Drip
CeramicSpeed are innovators in the world of chain lube and were amongst the first to introduce ceramic lubes to riders worldwide.
Not only does this dry lube keep the gunk off, quiet the drivetrain, and keep your components newer longer, but the reduction in friction has been shown to save between 3–5 watts per pedal stroke.
Will CeramicSpeed’s UFO Lube make you ride faster?
Well, you’ll need to try a bottle out to discover that for yourself, but the lab reports look good.
1. Molten Speed Wax
The special mention going to Molten Speed Wax – and, not only for their incredible name.
This is an innovative chain lube for those looking to get the best out of their gear and legs. Molten Speed Wax calls this a “hot wax lubricant” – it needs to be heated up before application, but once on, it stays on for a long time and repels much more than other lubes.
If you don’t mind a bit of prep, this one’s worth it.
The 3 Different Types of Chain Lubes
If you thought that all chain lubes are created equal, think again!
In the not so distant past, most people figured WD40 did the trick when greasing up the bike chain.
After all, it was just about getting that squeak out, right?
Dry Chain Lubes
As the name implies, dry lube is meant to be used in dry conditions.
They're ideal for the spring and summer. Ideally, you'd want to lube the chain the night before your ride the next morning so that it can penetrate and coat the chain links thoroughly.
There are 2 types of dry lubes : Wax (Paraffin) and Teflon (PTFE).
PTFE is found in most dry lubes today. Even though they do collect more dirt and dust than wax, they've a very low coefficient of friction, giving you a very smooth chain.
Wet Chain Lubes
Wet lube is meant for use in wet conditions.
If you live in a damp, humid environment that sees a lot of blustery weather and winter time snow, then consider going the wet lube route.
Wet lubes are usually oil-based and are thick, sticky and water-resistant. Thicker wet lubes are more water-resistant, but they also attract more dirt.
Ceramic lube is the next generation of bike chain lube.
The chain lube need to penetrate the small bits of your chain like the pins and rollers. Those are the pieces that need to be cleansed and protected.
Nothing does the job quite like ceramic lube which uses microscopic pieces of boron nitride to keep your drivetrain clean and as frictionless as possible.
Ceramic lubes cost a little bit more than usual dry and wet lubes, but if you’re running an expensive drivetrain or just care a lot about your bike, the extra cost is worth it.
If you want to be really ahead of the curve, then there is ceramic wax lube, a very effective way to keep your drivetrain nice and neat with the best of both chain lube worlds, ceramic and wax.
1. What is the bike chain lube made of?
The ingredients of the chain lube is often a secret. Manufacturers consider them their secret sauce which differentiates them to their competitors.
Having said that, there are several common ingredients are boron nitride, synthetic oils, Paraffin (wax) and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is more commonly known as Teflon, which is a registered trademark owned by DuPont Co.
Teflon is the same chemical used to coat the non-stick frying pans.
2. How do I apply the chain lube?
Ideally, you'd want to lube your chain when its clean. But realistically, this doesn't always happen especially if you're using dry lubes.
The lube might dry off and your drivetrain starts to squeak before your next bike wash.
So here are 3 easy steps how to lube your chain.
- 1Use a clean rag and wipe off any grime from the chain. Wrap the rag around the chain and spin your pedal backwards.
- 2Wrap the rag around the chain and spin your pedal backwards.
- 3Wipe all 4 surfaces of the chain from top, bottom, inner and outer.
- 4Apply a drop of chain lube on every roller (not the face plate).
- 5Wipe off any excess with a rag.
3. How often do I need to lube my chain?
It all depends on where you ride. As mentioned above, dry lubes would need more relubing as compared to wet lubes.
As a rule of thumb, you'd want to wipe your chain every 80 to 100 miles if possible. The more you ride, the more cleaning and lubing is needed.
If you start hearing squeaks, then it's time to relube the chain before the squeaks get louder. This is very common especially if you ride in the rain as the rain water tend to wash the lube off the chain.
4. Can I use other types of lube on my bike chain?
It's not recommended. That's why we've chain lubes for bikes.
Many beginners made the mistake of using WD-40 to lube their bike chain. Afterall, WD-40 prevents squeaks right?
You'd want to stick with bike lubes if you want to squeeze every bit of mileage from your drivetrain. Avoid motor oils such as engine and gear oils, as they tend to be much heavier than a wet lube and attract a lot of dirt very easily.
5. What factors affect a chair wear?
The main factors that affects a bike chain wear include:
- 1Overall Maintenance. The frequency of you cleaning and keeping the chain well-lubed.
- 2Usage Conditions. Wet, muddy and sandy conditions wear down a chain at a must faster rate.
- 3Drivetrain Conditions. A new chain on a worn out cassette/chainring will wear very quickly, and vice versa.
- 4Riding Style. If you pedal with a lot of torque (think of low rpm) or power (think of climbing), the chain will wear quicker. That's why the pros use up to 10 chains throughout the 3 weeks Tour de France.
The best way to extend the chain's lifespan is to have it well lubed and cleaned whenever it's dirty.