Keeping your bike well lubricated is crucial to maximizing its performance. Applying oil to its chain and moving parts when required are part of giving care to your bike. Chain maintenance is among the most controversial facets of bicycle mechanics.
What to use?
Bicycle chain lube of course! They are formulated especially to penetrate into the tiny rollers of the bicycle chain. Motor oil/Singer oil is too thick and can’t penetrate each of the tiny areas of the bicycle chain properly. WD40 or equivalent evaporates quickly.
This is often the most overlooked aspect when choosing a bike lubricant.
With so many choices in the market ie Wet, Dry, Ceramic, Wax, Spray etc. It’s easy to get confuse. Follow a simple rule: Choose one that works for your precise needs matching your terrain condition…period. Dry lubes in poor weather will simply washed out at the next puddle and wet lubes will gunk out in similarly weather.
Not all are created Equal
Some lubes like DumondeTech Pro X series are true polymer-based. It’s a liquid plastic that turns in to a solid plastic as you ride and your chain’s metal parts work against each other to create pressure and small amounts of heat. This polymer is attracted to heat and will migrate aggressively towards it, unlike many oils that will move away from heat. Basically, the harder you ride, the cleaner it gets! This falls into the family of self-lubricating plastics which are significantly more slippery than Teflon with none of the wax based coating and more towards a very clean oil look.
When to Lube? That is the question.
It is dependent on the conditions you ride in. You can’t say categorically that wet or dry conditions require more care as along with moisture, sand and dust also damage the it. I clean my chain after every ride and apply a new film of lubies.
Side note: What motivates me? Put it this way, the cost to replace a chain and a drivetrain is a lot..alot..more.
Some advocates degreasing, other don’t. For me, so long as I stick to the same lube like Dumonde Tech where degreasing is only required on the very 1st application just to strip off and reset the chain condition to “clean”.
“I’m only one drop away, I’ll be there to save the day, Superman got nothing on me, I’m only one drop away”
- One small drop per link.
- Use the right lube for the right condition. There is no point slobbering the entire bottle of a light lube for foul weather ride.
- Be careful not to accidentally coat your rotors, which could impair braking
- Lube the inner side of the chain as it has greater contacts with the cogs and chainrings.
- Let it sit a couple of minutes before wiping off the surplus lubricant.
Always have a little lube handy in your bike kit. Remember, the health of your bicycle starts from the chain.