A guide to Chain Lube

Your bike is spotless. Your drivetrain is clean, dry and you are about to lube your chain. What lube do you use?

This is a quick guide to chain lubes (short for lubricant) to help you pick the right one for your bike


Is chain oil different from chain lube?

Chain lube is sometimes referred to as ‘chain oil’. Whilst lots of lubes can be oil or petrochemical based this is not always the case. A lot of lubes, for example, we sell from Muc-Off are vegetable or wax based which makes them biodegradable!

Do I need to use chain lube on my chain?

Absolutely! It is very important to clean and lube your chain regularly. Not only does it help make sure that your gears run smooth and efficiently, it also acts to protect your chain against premature wear, rust and corrosion!

Do I need to clean my chain before applying lube?

Yes, ideally everytime. However we understand this is not always possible, for example on a really long ride you may carry a small bottle to top up your chain lube to keep everything running smooth and quietly before a good clean!

How often should I clean and lube my chain?

The more you keep your transmission clean and lubricated the better it will work and the longer it will last. Some diligent riders may do theirs after every ride but that is not always feasible. It depends on the conditions you ride in. If you regularly ride in wet, dirty conditions you will need to clean your transmission more often but we would recommend a clean and lube at least every 100 miles.

How do I lube my chain?

We have a handy guide on how to lube your chain here.

Types of Lube

There are different types of lube. Here are some of the key differences to help you choose the corect lube for you and your bike.

Dry Lube

Use Dry Lube when there your drivetrain will remain dry so use in Summer is common. It dries almost fully on your chain which means it is not sticky or prone to attracting dirt. It is also easier to clean off when you need to apply more lube. However, it is prone to washing off easily in the rain or in wet, muddy conditions so you may need to apply it more often.

Wet Lube

Wet Lube is obviously designed for use in the wet. When it is raining, muddy or if there is any chance the drivetrain might get wet. It is a thicker, stickier lube than dry lube and will not wash off easily. The downside of this is that wet lube can be a bit tougher to clean off and more prone to picking up dust and dirt in dry conditions.

Ceramic vs Regular

You will see that ceramiv versions of lubes are available. These lubes contain nano ceramic particles and synthetic polymers that help improve both performance and longevity meaning your chain is lubricated better for longer. Great for any bike including electric bikes!

Aerosol Lube

Some lubes are available in aerosol format. These are no different to regular lubes except the packaging and in application but although they are easier to apply, overspray can contaminate your disk brakes more easily than fluid based versions. Take precautions when applying them.

ebike Lubes

Ebike Lubes  are slightly thicker and are formulated to cope with the higher torque demands of eBike chains due to their motor. If you own an eBike then these are the lubes for you!