The bike chain is made of steel. Its strengths are resistance to wear and robustness, but to maintain these strengths the chain needs proper maintenance. As such, investing in a high-quality bike chain lube is a must.
Bike chain lube can be used for other bike components as well. However, this versatile product is typically hard to choose. This guide aims to show you which is the best bike chain lube, but if you don’t feel like reading, use the links in the table below to see our selection of products.
Lubing the chain of the bike is an operation that should fall into the routine of any cyclist. It doesn’t matter if you only use the bike to go to the market. Regardless of the discipline and commitment, chain lubrication is essential.
Read on to find out why this maintenance operation is beneficial and which lubricants you should use. If done properly, this procedure will maintain your chain as new for a really long time.
Why Should You Lubricate The Bike Chain
One of the questions many newbies ask is why should they lubricate the chain. You should do it for a matter of sliding, friction, and protection against corrosion.
The chain is made up of external metal meshes connected by cylinders and interlocked with pins. When the chain is set in motion, inside the system is created a series of forces which make the various parts of the bike to work.
Therefore, lubrication has the role of helping the sliders between the pins slide, reducing the friction and thus the heat generated. Since heat is the main element that ruins the surface of the various parts, this is a great advantage.
In addition to this, lubrication also has the task to protect the metal chain from atmospheric and environmental elements, such as water and oxygen. Both these elements cause corrosion, which ruins the characteristics of the chain.
To lubricate the chain properly, the lubricant should only be applied to the pins of the chain. For this reason, spray lubes are not only useless but harmful.
In fact, spray lube will tend to end everywhere except on the chain, and it can easily contaminate the disc brake pads. Moreover, using a spray lube is nothing but a huge waste of material that ends up on the outer meshes.
The outer side of the chain need not be lubricated, as the layer that would create would be a trap for dust and dirt, which would accumulate on the derailleur, sprockets, and other bike elements. With this in mind, let’s see which bike chain lubricant you should use.
Which Bike Chain Lube To Use
Bike chain lubrication should be carried out using only bike lubes, preferably biodegradable formulations. Avoid using products designed to remove rust, as these products have a high migrating power. This means that these lubricants are not viscous and tend to drip from the pins and spoil the chain.
Lubricants based on perfumed hydrocarbons or oil distillates should also be avoided. Rubber gaskets, such as bike hubs, pedals, and steering gear suffer from the contact with these products, which cause them to dry.
The best bike chain lubes are the ones that can be applied as drops. Usually, these lubricants are divided into two major categories:
Deciding which is the best between the two types is often a matter of preference. Nevertheless, as a general rule, the bike chain lube should be chosen according to your riding style and chosen discipline. For example, a dry lube is more suitable for those practicing trail cycling, while the wet version is recommended for those practicing a “cleaner” discipline.
The Best Bike Chain Lube For All Purposes
1. Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube
Finish Line is one of the world’s leading manufacturers specialized in the production of bike lubricants and related maintenance products. One of their most popular products is the DRY Teflon Bike Chain Lube, a lubricant designed to set up a synthetic film on the chain to keep it clean in dirty conditions.
The lubricant is made of synthetic oils and Teflon, being a perfect choice for many off-road and road cyclists. Thanks to the added Teflon, the Finish Line lube minimizes pedaling friction and repels moisture, maintaining the features and performance of the bike.
The lube is available in several purchase versions that include squeeze bottles and aerosols. The lube has an excellent performance in typical cycling conditions.
Thanks to its formulation, this lubricant can provide optimum drivetrain efficiency without attracting excessive amounts of abrasive contaminants.
2. Tri-Flow TF0021060 Superior Lubricant Drip Bottle
Tri-Flow is another popular bike chain lube designed to ensure deep penetration into the hard-to-reach moving parts of the bike, and remove dirt contaminants from the delicate components.
This lubricant has a light viscosity and it is made of high-grade petroleum oils. Thanks to these features, the lubricant is able to provide an optimum lubrication under extreme temperatures while ensuring superior longevity protection against moisture, friction, corrosion, and rust.
In fact, the lubricant has excellent performances in temperatures between -60 and 475 degrees Fahrenheit. It also works under pressures of 3000 pounds.
3. White Lightning Clean Ride - Chain Lube
The White Lightning Clean Ride lubricant is a unique wax-based bike chain lube designed to set up as a wet lubricant to then form a dry wax film on the chain, protecting it from abrasive contaminants and other types of dirt and dust.
The lubricant comes in a 4-ounce drip and squeeze bottle that makes applying a breeze. Moreover, this product also boasts a self-cleaning action that is activated by any dirt that finds its way into the chain or parts of the system.
A great feature of this lube is that it dries out completely once applied. This means that you’ll not have to worry about an oily film attracting dust and dirt.
Thanks to all these features, the lubricant is suitable for all cyclists, regardless of their chosen discipline.
4. DuPont Teflon Chain-Saver Dry Self-Cleaning Lubricant
DuPont is one of the most popular manufacturers of mechanical lubricants and maintenance products not only for bikes but for cars, boars, and power tools as well. The manufacturer offers a complete line of high-performance lubricants designed to meet all the needs.
One of them is the DuPont Teflon Chain-Saver Dry Self-Cleaning Lubricant, a product designed to lubricate the chains of bikes but also those of motorcycles, ATVs and chain-driven lawn and garden equipment.
The bike chain lube is formulated to be used in highly contaminated or wet environments, although it performs wonderfully in all environments and disciplines.
The only major drawback of this lube is the packaging. The product is available in aerosol containers and sprays. As explained above, these applicators are often a source of contamination for the other components of a bike.
5. Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubrication 4oz liquid
Last but not least, Boeshield is the last bike chain lube that made it to our list. Just as DuPont, this lubricant wasn’t designed specifically for bikes but it can be used for many other vehicles or power tools.
The lubricant is a dry type designed to protect the bike’s chain from rust and corrosion. Moreover, the product has a mild action on paints and metal surfaces, as well as on plastics and vinyl.
The lube has a light viscosity when applied but it dries out completely and it forms a thin film of wax that protects the metal components for months. Thanks to this feature, the lube is ideal to use in all disciplines and on all types of bikes.
Another thing we like is that this lubricant has been developed by the Boeing Company to lubricate and protect aircraft components. This means that its performance is indisputable.
Conclusion & Final Pick
Because of its popularity, performance, and ease of use, the best bike chain lube available on the market is the Finish Line DRY Teflon Bike Chain Lube. This chain lube is formulated to set up a synthetic film on the chain to keep it clean in dirty conditions.
The lubricant is made of synthetic oils and Teflon, being a perfect choice for many off-road and road cyclists. Moreover, thanks to the added Teflon, the Finish Line lube minimizes pedaling friction and repels moisture, maintaining the features and performance of the bike.
The product is available in various purchase versions, that include squeeze bottles with a dripper, aerosols, and large containers. In our opinion, the best way to go, especially if you are a beginner, is the drip and squeeze bottle as it will allow you to apply the lube with more ease.
Regarding the performance, the lube is formulated to provide optimum drivetrain efficiency without attracting abrasive contaminants. Thanks to this feature, this product is ideal for cyclists of all disciplines and above all for those practicing off-road or performing in wet conditions.