How To Choose Bike Chain Lube And When To Use It

- Lube.

A trusty friend.

And more specifically, a triathlete's trusty friend

because without it, all those bike miles

that we ride on our bikes

can play havoc with our drive chain.

Now believe it or not there are a number

of different options available to us

for lubricating our chains.

Whether we're in search of better gear shifting

or we're looking to increase the lifespan of our chain

and bike components

or indeed just to get more efficiency out of our bike ride.

Then by properly lubing our chains

we can see some significant gains.

So today I'm gonna talk through

what bike lube we should use and when.

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Most manufacturers tend to bracket their lubes

into one of two categories,

those being wet and dry lubes.

Now as a basic rule of thumb,

you'd be forgiven for thinking

that those would be for the particular type

of conditions you're talking about.

Ie dry in the nice summer weather,

and wet for the miserable winter weather.

And for the most part you would be correct.

However, there is a differential

between these two categories of lube.

Now the dry element refers to the lubricating substance

of the lube.

And that works effectively the magic on your chain

when you're riding and is for the most part

a waxy type of deposit.

Now these dry lubes are applied as a liquid onto your chain

before taking well up to a few hours to dry.

So do bear this in mind before heading out on your ride.

The positive of dry lube is that it won't attract

too much dirt or dust and debris

when you're out riding.

So it's perfect for those dry summer days.

The downside however is that it will need

reapplied fairly regularly,

especially if you've been riding on a wet day

or if you've been out there on the saddle

for a really long ride and it just gets dry and squeaky.

And nobody really likes to have that dry squeaky chain

on a bike ride.

Wet lube was the original lubricant of choice.

In fact way back when, most brands used something

that effectively resembled more like a car engine oil.

It's consistency was way better than basic spray lubricants

that largely were designed to displace water.

It simply put was more durable and long lasting.

And that quality remains with modern wet lubes to this day

in that they're still applied as a wet lube onto the chain.

But unlike dry lubes that we've talked about

they remain in that form on the chain.

And the consistency is a bit thicker

meaning that it sticks to the chain.

Which actually means that they're rather perfect

for wet conditions because they have an increased

resistance to rain and they're just that much

harder to wash away when they are on the chain.

Now the associated downside of these wet lubes

is that they do attract that much more grime

and dirt onto the chain.

So we do need to clean the chain

a little bit more often

than we would with dry lube counterparts.

Now if performance is what perhaps interests you

a little more then you might want to consider

using a ceramic or wax based lubricant for your chain.

Now these sit somewhere between

the dry and wet versions of lubes.

But as with both of those versions,

they are applied to the chain in a liquid form,

but they do tend to dry a little more tacky.

These performance lubes will help to reduce the friction

and resistance between your chain

and the other moving components in your drive chain.

And therefore they're just gonna help

give you that little bit of improved performance

that you're seeking.

However, it is worth pointing out

that they are a little bit more expensive.

But as a trade off to that,

they don't need to be applied quite as often.

Using something like a Teflon

or a silicone based spray like this one

is a really good idea just to keep things moving

nice and smoothly and also quietly too.

I'm talking specifically about parts

where the chain might meet the chain rings at the front

or the cassette at the rear.

And it's also a really good idea to scan over the bike

and find any other areas where you could drop

a little bit of this too.

Like say the springs in the derailleurs.

The jockey wheels as well on our derailleurs too.

And also stuff like brake and gear cables,

if of course you're not using electronics.

Now regardless of whatever lube you decide to use,

it's always gonna work better when it's applied

onto a nice and clean chain.

So it's really worthwhile thinking about giving

the whole drive chain a nice rub down

with a rag or a towel or something like that

to just clean it all after each ride.

And definitely think about trying to do

a really deep good clean with soap and hot water

after say a long Sunday ride that you do

with your friends or the club.

Well hopefully this video has helped you

with any future decisions you're maybe gonna make

about a lube choice or the ride conditions

that you're maybe expecting to experience on that ride.

Also if you've got any other suggestions

on how to lube your bike appropriately,

then please let us know in the comments below.

We'd love to get those.

Also, hopefully you've enjoyed the video.

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Now if you want to see a video that I did

about what is a triathlon bike,

you can find that here.

And another video that Mark and I did

about how to pack your bike can be found here.