Best Road Bike Chain Lubes – 2020 Top Picks

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Riding your bike through dirt, mud, and rain can cause the chain to pick up all of these contaminants along the way. This makes the chain rusty and can result in an unsmooth and slow performance.

This is why if you are a regular biker, you need a good chain lube to keep things in good condition. These are of different kinds and are used according to the conditions.

We will cover all this, including the reviews for the best road bike chain lubes below. Let’s get started! 

Our Top Picks for Road Bike Chain Lubes

  • Performance formulation
  • Reduces corrosion
  • Extends chain life
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  • Anti-corrosive formula
  • Versatile use
  • Excellent lubrication
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  • Best for the Money
  • Dry-lube formulation
  • Protects against rust
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Comparison of the Best Road Bike Chain Lubes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • High-performance lubrication formula
  • Contains corrosion inhibitors
  • Extends chain life by reducing friction damage
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  • Special formulation displaces moisture for corrosion protection
  • Versatile use for a variety of mechanical components
  • Petroleum based formula provides excellent lubrication
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  • Best for the Money
  • Dry-lube formula reduces friction and keeps chain clean
  • Formulation repels moisture and protects against corrosion
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  • Rub-on wax Paraffin based formulation
  • Provides friction reduction and cleaning qualities
  • Reduces noise production
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  • All purpose formulation for mountain and road bicycles
  • Cleans and protects chains
  • Provides smoothness and eliminates sound production
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How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain? 

Some people suggest that using lubricants on the bike chain does not really affect the efficiency of the bike. But if you have a really old and rusty bike or if you bike regularly for long distances, you would know that that is not true.

Properly cleaning and lubing the chain can increase its lifespan and save you trouble down the road. If you think lubricating is unnecessary, imagine what happens to metal when it is exposed to contaminants for long periods of time. It rusts, develops friction, and becomes hard to move. Besides, it is always good to keep things clean and be on the safe side rather than the other way around. 

How often you do it really depends on the type of lube you use and the environment in which you bike. If you don’t really ride the bike that much, you can go months without needing to lube it. If you go 50 miles or above every time you bike, you are going to have to apply the lubricant after every ride. And for everything in between, it is recommended to lube the chain every two weeks.   

How to Choose a Road Bike Chain Lube

Chain lubes have different types, depending on the material. You have to choose according to your specific conditions. To help you understand which lube will suit you, here are some things to consider.

Environment

Some areas have dry and hot weather, where you will get a lot of dirt that can stick to the bike chain if there is any liquid on it. For this reason, wet lubes are not recommended in such conditions. These types will also dry out sooner under the hot sun and will require frequent reapplication. Therefore, in dry conditions, dry lubes are recommended which don’t encounter these problems. 

The opposite goes for wet conditions. Wet lubes do better if you are riding in the rain. We will discuss these types later on.   

Frequency and Length of Riding

As we mentioned above, the amount of time you lube your bike chain depends on how often and how long you ride it. If you travel long distances, you are going to need a lube that can handle the pressure and doesn’t need reapplication while you are riding.  

Material  

A lot of lubricants will have petroleum in them, which is harmful to the environment. It might not be an issue for many people, but if you are an environmentalist or just a reasonable person, you might want to look into lubes that use biodegradable materials.

Different Types

There are four types of lubes, i.e., wet, dry, wax, and ceramic. Ceramic is a newer option that is not affected by any weather conditions. Wax lube is similar to dry lube, but its consistency is waxier. It is the cleanest option as it leaves little residue behind, but it also needs constant reapplication in wet conditions.

Quick Take - Best Bike Chain Lubes

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best bike chain lubes:

  1. WD-40 Bike
  2. Tri-Flow TF0021060
  3. Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube

Review of the Best Road Bike Chain Lubes

Now, let’s get into the reviews for the best road bike chain lubes. We have mentioned their pros and cons, too, so that you know which one to invest in. 

Best Overall:
WD-40 Bike

WD-40 Bike, All Conditions Lube, Bike Cleaner, Degreaser, Dry Lube, Wet Lube

pros

  • Works in all conditions
  • Does not give off a bad odor
  • Prevents damage from friction
  • Improves the lifespan of the chain
  • Easily penetrates through the chain

cons

  • Difficult to clean off hands

What Recent Buyers Report

It can be difficult to figure out what kinds of lube to buy, so it is always a good option when the product is an all-rounder. This product really does what it says and keeps the chain running smoothly. Some people have an issue with it being in an aerosol box, but the results make up for it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The great thing about this lube is that it works in all weather conditions, including wet, dry, and otherwise. Its thin viscosity helps it easily penetrate through the rollers and get the chain fully lubricated. It prevents friction and corrosion to maintain the chain and extend its life. 

The lubricant comes in an aerosol spray form and has an easy application. It has been tested by scientists, bicycle retailers, and professional mechanics to ensure it actually works and does what it is supposed to. 

Bottom Line

Instead of thinking whether the lube you use will work in wet or dry conditions, be able to keep away dirt, or resist rain, you can choose the all-in-one option. This is why this product is our top choice. WD-40 has been active for over 60 years and has one of the most used sprays. 

Tri-Flow TF0021060 Superior Lubricant Drip Bottle- 6 oz

pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Does not attract a lot of dirt
  • Comes with an applicator hose
  • Works well under extreme temperatures
  • Light viscosity for deep penetration into chain parts

cons

  • A little too light and might drip

What Recent Buyers Report

According to buyers, this lube is good at keeping away dirt and grime. It does not leave a lot of mess behind and is easy to clean up. It works great in dry conditions. Also, it requires very little reapplication and can keep the chain clean and smooth for long rides.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lube has P.T.F.E and additives that keep away moisture and prevents all kinds of rust. It doesn’t just work on chains but also for old rusted nuts and bolts. It can also work under extreme pressures and temperatures due to high-grade petroleum. 

Since this product does not have a thick viscosity, it can easily penetrate through the chain. It also requires very little maintenance, and the drip bottle it comes in is very easy to apply.

Bottom Line

The tri-flow lubricant is very easy to apply and creates very little mess. This is a highly effective product that loosens rusted metal and makes things run smoothly and quietly again using high-grade petroleum and P.T.F.E additives. 

Finish Line Dry Bicycle Chain Lube with Teflon - 4oz Squeeze Bottle

pros

  • Keeps dirt and dust away
  • Works fine in wet conditions as well
  • Easily penetrates through the chain
  • Suitable for normal weather conditions
  • Comes in different sizes and in aerosol form

cons

  • Bottle does not come fully filled

What Recent Buyers Report

Users report that they love this dry bike chain lube because of its long-lasting effect. It works well in normal weather conditions, and you get rid of the annoying noises. It is very good at protecting the bike from dust.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like the availability of this product in different sizes. The bottle comes in two oz, four oz, thirty-two oz, and one-gallon bottles. It also comes in squeeze and aerosol spray bottles, so you can choose whichever application method is easy for you.

It leaves a dry wax-like film on the chain that contains Teflon fluoropolymer, and it absorbs dirt, grime, etc. to keep the chain clean. It is also good at repelling moisture. It is recommended to be used in on and off-road biking and in all kinds of dusty conditions.

Bottom Line

Overall, the dry Finish Line lubricant is a very versatile product. While it is best for dry conditions, it can handle some moisture as well. It has a lot of different options for sizes and packaging. 

Wend Bike Chain Wax Kit

pros

  • Creates very little mess
  • Simple rub-on application
  • Makes the bike run quieter
  • Comes with a cleaner and a towel 
  • A small nozzle applicator is present in the package 

cons

  • Does not penetrate into the rollers and pins easily 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers state that it is a great lube if you don’t want any dripping mess on your bike, floor, and your hands. This wax lubricant is easy to apply and easy to wipe off. The all-in-one kit cleans and lubes the bike chain, and you see a squeaky smooth bike.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Multiple reasons make this unit stand out. This rub-on wax is very easy to apply and clean off. It comes with its own cleaner and towel. It contains paraffin, zinc, and Teflon that reduces friction and makes the bike run quieter and smoother. The wax formula also absorbs dust and keeps the chain clean. 

You can get it in different colors, including black, yellow, pink, and blue, etc. it also comes with a small nozzle to apply it, which is the easiest and cleanest way to apply it. 

Bottom Line

Wax lubricants are one of the most effective lubricants for bike chains when it comes to riding in extreme dirt and hot weather conditions. With this all-in-one kit, you can service and maintain your bike yourself.

Rock N Roll 135816 Gold Chain Lubricant, 4-Ounce

pros

  • Keeps chain clean
  • Works well in dry conditions
  • Does not have an unpleasant smell
  • Lubricant does not drip off the chain
  • Acts as both a cleaner and a lubricant

cons

  • Needs to be reapplied a lot

What Recent Buyers Report

As per buyers’ reports, this is one of the highest-rated bike chain lubricants. It does not drip off, and you can feel a noticeable difference in performance. It is easy to apply on and clean off, and it also cleans away dust from the chain.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

What makes this unit stand out is that it is a two-in-one product with a cleaner and a lubricant. This lube is for mountain and road bikes. It is known for giving a smooth and quiet chain that also looks brand new after all the dirt has been cleaned away. Meanwhile, the cleaner helps you keep the bike as clean as possible.  

Bottom Line

Overall, this is a cleaning and lubricating product all in one bottle. This all-purpose product is great for keeping the chain clean in long rides. Moreover, the dry type lube can keep the chain clean for about a 100 miles drive.  

Wet vs. Dry Bike Chain Lube - Comparison Overview 

These are the two most popular types of bike chain lubes. They both have their respective uses. But which one should you use? Here is a quick overview of both types.

How They Work

Wet lubes are made of different kinds of oils and some other additives. These stay wet to the touch until cleaned off. They are made to repel water. The more vicious they are, the more resistant they are to water. But they also end up attracting a lot of dirt.

Dry lubricants are mostly made of paraffin wax or Teflon. When applied to the bike, they are still wet, but after some time, they dry off, and just a layer of dry lubricant remains behind. Because they are dry, they don’t attract a lot of dust.

Preferable Conditions

Looking at their characteristics, it is easy to tell that wet lubes work best and should be used in wet conditions. If your home town sees a lot of rain, then this would be the way to go. The same goes for dry lube. It is best suited for dry and sunny areas where you are unlikely to encounter rain.

How to Lube a Bike Chain

You don’t need to take your bike to a garage or mechanic to get it lubed. It is simple enough to do it yourself if you follow the right steps. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Before applying any lube, the chain should be as clean as possible.

  2. Wipe away all dirt, mud, and other unwanted things.

  3. Find the joining pit of the chain and rotate it until it is on the button run.

  4. Starting from the joining pit, apply the lubricant on each roller.

  5. Rotate the chain to go around.

  6. You will know you are done when the joining pit comes down again.

  7. Let it settle for about half a minute.

  8. Paddle the chain backward for a few seconds, so the lubricant is fully immersed.

  9. After a few hours, wipe away the access lubricant, if any, on the outside.

For some more tips and different application techniques, here is a visual guide:

Conclusion 

Casual bikers might not consider lubing a necessary task, but for professional riders and people who bike every day, these things are very important. There are even specialized lubes other than the dry and wet one we discussed that give the bike better efficiency.

Keeping the bike clean and lubricated is important if you don’t want the annoying clinking sounds and ugly-looking rust around your chain and if you want it to last longer. 

People Also Ask

If you have more questions about lubes, how to use them, or other confusion, read through these frequently asked questions for help.

Is Chain Wax Better Than Lube?

It depends on the conditions. If you ride in very dry conditions, chain wax is more effective as it does not attract any dirt and sand, etc.

What Happens if You Don't Lube Your Bike Chain?

If you don’t lube your bike chain, you will find it slowly starting to deteriorate. Like anything, if not maintained properly, it will lose its efficiency sooner than expected. The chain will pick up rust, and you will start hearing noises from the bike as you ride it. 

Can You Use Olive Oil to Lube Bike Chain?

Olive oil can be used for lubing a bike chain, but unlike bike chain lubes, they will not repel dirt and might not hold up against heavy rain either. They are a temporary fix if you are in a hurry and don’t have anything else.

What Household Items Can I Use to Clean My Bike Chain?

For a degreaser, you can use the orange citrus degreaser, and you can use Shellite to get rid of grime. Kerosene can also be used, but Shellite is preferred because of its low odor. You will, of course, also need some clean rags.