Keep your whip freshly oiled with a new bottle of bike chain lube or grease. Bike chain lube can often go overlooked by new cyclists, who get their bikes tuned up at a shop and never see the magic that happens behind the curtain. But you can make tiny, easy improvements to your bike instead of paying that $175 bike tune-up fee by buying a simple tube of lube.
But why do you need bike chain lube? A chain gets dirty outdoors, picking up dirt and grit that gets lodged on your chain, which will slow you down over time and make your chain dirty. A healthy, fast chain should be silvery and shiny. But the trick is to not apply the lube too often, otherwise, the grease will make it sticky, which will attract more unwanted dirt.
There are a few different types of lube: dry vs wet, and wax vs drip. A wet lube is easily applied and stays wet on the chain, making it a preferable choice to a dry lube, which can flake off more quickly. A wax-style lube hardens after you apply it, which may flake off later, and a drip lube stays on your chain longer. Although the wet / drip combo sounds better, it often attracts more dirt, which leads to you cleaning the bike and chain more often. But for the amount of grease you get on the chain to keep things moving, it’s worth it in our opinion, but if you prefer a dry / wax option, that works too. It really just depends on how often you want to clean the chain.
Bike chain lube is easy to apply. First, buy a bottle of lube. Second, get a paper towel and hold it beneath the chain. Next, slowly spin the pedal so that the chain is moving, and apply a small dot of lube to each chain link. Run the paper towel along the chain as you do this, constantly moving the pedal to keep the chain moving. This is best done with the bike off the ground so you don’t have to worry about the back wheel moving. You need less than you think, so keep that in mind while you’re applying the lube, one drop per chain link should do the trick. (Applying an excess of lube will attract more dirt.)
Keep your new bike clean and fresh so you can keep riding fast and check out the best options for bike lube below.
1. Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant Drip Bottle
A 6-ounce bottle of wet lube will last you a lot longer than you think, and this option from Tri-Flow is an excellent choice. It applies easily to the chain and stays on for at least two weeks. It displaces moisture and prevents rust and corrosion on your chain, while the high-grade petroleum provides an excellent coat of lubricant which will benefit your bike in hot or cold weather. If you’re seeking a wet lube, try out the Tri-Flow brand.
2. Natural Bike Chain Lube by Sheep on the Road
Made from a mixture of sheep’s wool and vegetable oil, this bike chain lube is a great eco-friendly choice that is excellent for the environment and safe around kids. This lanolin lubricant is Teflon-free and will grease your chain the same as any other lube option without sacrificing performance. No sheep were harmed in the making of this product — the oil comes from the natural oil found on a sheep’s wool to protect them on the mountainside. A petroleum-free oil, you’ll help keep the environment protected with your purchase.
3. Finish Line Ceramic Wet Chain Lube
Finish Line is another preferred brand by cyclists and their Wet lube is an excellent option to keep your bike clean and greased for your next ride. Made from high-quality ingredients, this lube greatly reduces your drivetrain and bearing friction. It is a wet-style lube that goes on wet and stays wet, so be sure to keep your area and your clothes clean at the time of application. It repels water and is made from patented nano-ceramic chemistry. Check this lube out if you’re seeking to keep your bike fresh and oiled for your next big ride.
4. Mountain Flow Plant-Based Bike Lube
Another eco-friendly chain lube on the market is by Mountain Flow, a great company based out of Colorado. While they have multiple types of bike lube, including a wax option, their wet lube is a really great plant-based option for eco-minded cyclists. With 0% petroleum, this all plant formulated lube can be easily applied to your chain and keep it functioning just as well as the other lube options out there. Help out the planet today by trying out a plant-based lube whose bottle is 100% recycled from consumer waste.
5. WPL Wet Bicycle Chain Lubricant
Specially formulated for wet conditions, the WPL lube won’t dissolve under heavy rain or puddle splashes. Keep your bike extra lubed and clean for a wet, long-distance ride with this eco-friendly lubricant that’s made from non-toxic materials. This lube will help improve your bike’s performance by reducing friction and preventing chain wear as well as improve your pedal efficiency. A great choice for riders going longer distances in inclement weather or the rainy season.
6. White Lightning Extreme Wet Ride Bicycle Chain Lube
Another excellent option for those going on long, wet rides is the White Lightning chain lube. Simply grease up your chain before your next big ride and spin your pedals faster as the miles go by. Having a clean bike chain will make it a lot easier to complete a harder, longer ride and White Lightning’s Wet lube will help you get there. Made from premium synthetic oils and water-repelling polymers, this lube is one of the most waterproof options we have.
7. One MFG Wet Bike Chain Lube
A great choice for a wet lube by One MFG, this premium synthetic oil bike chain lube will keep your chain clean and spinning. With water repellent polymers, your chain won’t pick up any more dirt or grease from the road as it stays wet and fresh throughout your ride, never picking up excess water. Simply drip onto the chain and then carefully rub dry with a paper towel.
8. Park Tool Synthetic Bike Chain Lube
Formulated with a blend of PTFE and synthetic oils, the Park Tool bike chain lube will keep your chain from attracting more dirt than necessary. Apply through a simple drip dry system and dry with a paper towel. This bike chain grease works well in wet or dry conditions.
9. RocRide Epix Bike Chain Lube
The RocRide bike chain lube is made specifically to keep your bike clean and running smoothly. All you have to do is apply the lube to the chain and dry it with a paper towel. This lube is made from synthetic oils and will prevent grit and dirt from catching on your chain, providing you with a smoother ride.
10. MountainFlow Wax Bike Chain Lube
MountainFlow’s wax lube is applied gently and stays on for the duration of your ride. It may flake off before a wet lube would, but it’s still an excellent option for riders looking for a thicker alternative to a wet lube. Keep your drivetrain running smooth and clean with MountainFlow’s plant-based, eco-friendly bike chain lube.