Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by Hamna Nouman
If your bike isn’t properly lubricated, it may not perform at its best. Well-lubricated chains will allow your bike to move smoothly.
There are many lubricants to choose from. While some brands make bike lube specifically for their brand, there are many other options that can be used. These are the top and worst options for bike chain lube.
Why do I need bike chain lube?
To keep the rust from building up and to reduce friction, bike chains require lubrication. Chains can also be damaged by wear and tear. Taking care of your bike’s chain will ensure optimum performance, as well reduce the likelihood of it breaking. You can choose from grease-based, wax-based, spray-based, or light oils as purpose-made lubricants.
The original chain is greased when you purchase a bike. This ensures that it lasts a long time. Some lubricants can actually cause damage.
Apart from brand-name best bike chain lube, olive oil, household greases and cooking oil are the most popular options. They are all easily accessible at home, which is the main reason.
When replacing brakes or gear cables, household grease can be used in small amounts. Some people use grease to lubricate their bike chains. Although it provides some protection, grease lacks the essential qualities of a top-performing bike oil.
There are many types of grease available. Automobile grease, for example, should never be used on a bicycle. Grease on your bike can cause more friction and gunk.
Oil for bikes
Although bike oil is not recommended for chain lubrication, it performs well than grease. Bike oil can reduce friction and protect against damage, but it won’t last long.
Use small amounts of bike oil or chain lube if you do end up using it. Do not coat your chain with it.
You should avoid these
Although I don’t believe grease or oil can perform better than bike chain lubes, they can still be effective. There are other options that you might consider.
Motor oil, although it is sometimes used by some, can actually cause damage to your bike’s components due to its acidity. Petroleum jelly, while it might seem like it could do the job well, it’s not durable enough to be useful.
Petroleum jelly won’t protect your bike while it is moving. It will quickly evaporate in wet conditions.
Cooking oil is a popular household product that might be tempting, but it is not suitable for use with mechanical parts.
It is unstable chemically and can be oxidized over time. Cooking oils do not contain graphite which is a fundamental component of good bike chain greases.
This is why cooking oils quickly degrade and the benefits they provide are not long-lasting. In fact, cooking oils can attract dust to your chains, creating more friction.
Olive oil and coconut oil both fall within the same category and will face the same challenges. If olive oil gets wet or windy, it can become contaminated, even though it is lighter in color and more natural.
On the one hand, heavier bike chain lubricants like grease and bike oil will provide more protection than cooking oil which can quickly degrade. However, you must be careful not to use too much and damage your chain.
Bike Chain Lube Alternatives: The Benefits
Accessibility is the main advantage of an alternative to a specially-made bike chain lube. These are all common household products so it is easy to find one that you like and use on your bike chain. You will need to search for a bike chain oil that is specifically made for your needs and order it.
Alternatives to Bike Chain Lube: The Negatives
There are several negatives to bike chain lube options, as you can see from the above. The purpose-made bike chain oil is designed to withstand the elements. This includes dealing with various weather conditions, pressures and other external factors.
It is difficult to determine which lube will be most effective in both wet and dry conditions. This adds risk to the alternative products.
Some will attract more dirt, which means more grinding and friction. This will lead to more wear and a longer year. Many of them will just wash right off. There are some that will degrade quickly. Manufacturers’ chain lubricants may be damaged by some. They aren’t designed to prevent rust which is the most common cause of chain damage.
Also, even though they are more affordable, there are still alternatives that can be used. A purpose-made bike chain oil lubricant will be about the same price as cooking oils and grease. It will also require you to use it more often as they degrade quicker than a purposely made bike chain lube.
Purpose-made Bike Lube
A purpose-made bike chain grease is designed to protect your chain from corrosion, gunk and rust. You can also purchase specific bike chain grease depending on the type of riding you do.
Mountain bikers who are accustomed to riding in more rugged terrain would benefit from a special wet bike chain grease. A dry bike chain grease might be better for road cyclists who plan to ride on smooth roads.
We love to see people take up cycling, whether for recreational purposes, to improve their riding skills, or to compete in a triathlon or bike race. We believe that more cyclists means more bike trails, bike lanes and other bike amenities, which all of us can benefit from. It creates a productive cycle, which can also make our population healthier, which is good for everyone.
It can be difficult to buy a bike at an entry level price. There are dozens of brands available, and each model has an infinite number of components. You will find that you either fall in love the first bike you see or you become overwhelmed by the number of choices and decisions available to you when you begin looking for one.
For many manufacturers, the “entry level” could be anything from $2,500 to $2,500. This is more than most people consider entry-level, but it’s still a good price if you intend to ride a lot. There are still many options available for best road bikes under 1000 range.
The ideal bike chain lube would look like water but penetrate deeply into the components and chain. It would also have a wax-like component to prevent dirt and rust from being attracted.
This is, undoubtedly, the ideal mix that does everything. Although wax-based lubricants don’t attract dirt or dust, they don’t last for very long. Grease-based oils penetrate deeply into the chain, but attract dirt.
While I believe there is nothing better than bike chain lubes made specifically for bikes, some options are sufficient. The best lubricants not only will protect and enhance your chain but they also should be suitable for the weather. It should be easy to apply and clean up.
These are the main shortcomings of bike chain lubricants. They will be expensive and ineffective in the long-term, but they can do the job as a temporary fix.
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