Bike maintenance is not a very tough job. But it is necessary to gain optimum performance. Among all the parts, the bicycle chain is the one that gets dirty and can cause problems easily. If you have a bike, you must know that the chain is opened and exposed to anything. Proper lubrication is essential to have it functioning correctly. A question might come to your mind about how often should I lube my bike chain?
You will find the answers if you read this article till the end. Before that, a little information about chain lubing and its types is crucial for you to acknowledge.
- Chain Lubricant for Bicycles
- Types of Lube
- How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain?
- How to Lube the Chain?
- Chain Lube in Summer
- Chain Lube in Winter
- What to Use and What Not?
- Some Final Tips for You
- Bottom Line
Chain Lubricant for Bicycles
When you apply force to the pedal, the chain transfers it to the rear wheel. But it is impossible to enjoy smooth ride if you do not keep your bike chain clean and lubed. After you ride for several miles, the chain will collect dust and mud. Most people leave their bikes after a heavy ride or ride on some dusty road without even looking.
They repeat the process again and again. Then, the problem comes to light. You would notice some noises, and the chain is not supporting the rhythms according to your pedal.
Therefore, when you lube the chain, it removes the dust from the chain. It will also help to operate the chain properly. Without lubing it, the chain will get rust, and there is always a possibility to get snapping in the middle of a ride.
Types of Lube
Mainly, there are two types of lubes. They are dry lube and wet lube. These two have different functions and different raw materials. Let us show the details about these lubes.
The dry lubes are for mountain bikes. That is because most of those mountain bikes pick up more dirt than regular. You have to wash it after every ride. Mainly, the dry lube takes a few hours to dry.
Some dry lube contains wax-like substances. When you lube your chain, you will notice some waxy film left behind. It will be best to use dry lube for challenging rides like mountains as it dries out easily.
Wet lube is suitable for wet conditions. It is because rust will be your primary concern when it comes to a damp environment. The main advantage of wet lube is that it can stay wet on the bike chain for a long time. It will prevent the moisture from penetrating the chainplates and rollers.
But there is a disadvantage of wet lube. As it always remains damp, dust and debris will easily get caught in the chain. It would be best to wash the chain after you use it. In that way, you will be able to avoid such problems.
How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain?
You have learned the types and their functions, right? But how often should you lube the bicycle chain?
Well, here are the answers.
After Every Long Ride or Tough Ride
When you have a mountain bike, it is essential to take care of the chain. That is because these bikes need to give a constant performance while riding. Without lubing the chain, any minor incident can cause you significant damage. Even if the cycle does not get any dirt, you should lube the chain after every ride.
After Every 100 Miles for Regular Bikes
For a regular bike, you do not have to lube the chain now and then. A typical bike does not expose to very much dust and debris. But that does not mean you leave the bike without giving a good look. No matter what happens, you have to lube the chain in every 100 miles. How can you count such distance, right? Therefore, lube the chain one or two times every month. You do not have to worry about the chain then.
When the Bike Is Exposed to Mud, Dirt, and Grime
You will notice when your bike gets exposed to a lot of mud and dust. Then it is a must to lube the chain. Before that, you have to wash the cycle with soap and water.
Lubing the chain will not be effective when there is so much dirt remaining in the chain. Therefore, you should wash the bike and then lube the chain. After that, the cycle will be in tip-top condition.
How Often Should I Lubricate My Bike Chain With Dry Lube?
If you are using dry lube on the bike chain, then you have to follow some rules. When the riding is limited to 5 miles a week in good weather, then once a month is better. You have to lube the chain every two weeks if your average ride is 30 miles. Long rides, which are about 50 miles on average, will get your bike dirty. Then you have to lube the chain after every ride.
How Often Should You Lube Your Bicycle Chain With Wet Lube?
Wet lube is not a temporary thing. You can use the bike a month after lubing the chain once and continue doing so every season. But there will be some exceptions for the rainy and winter seasons. In the rainy season, the lube will get off almost every day. Then you have to use it regularly.
But remember, just a few drops are enough when you are using it regularly. When the weather is not that bad, then the usage should be reduced to twice a week.
How to Lube the Chain?
Lubing the chain is not a tough job. But you have to remember the environments that you are riding. For example, you have a regular bike, you do not have to wash it every time while lubing the chain.
Before starting, a piece of napkin or cloth is necessary to clean the chain first. It will remove any residues left behind in the chain. Then, just put the head of the bottle above the chain and slowly remove the lubricants. It would help if you continuously moved the chain to ensure lubricants’ placement in every corner of the chain.
Then, move the chain with the help of a pedal for some time to be compatible with the new lubricant. Again, get the piece of cloth and put it on the chain with your hand. Then, you move the chain with the pedal. It will remove the extra lubricants from the chain.
Now, the bike is good to go. But when your bike has so much dirt, you should wash it first and then apply lubricants. The process is the same for any bike.
Chain Lube in Summer
In summer, you can use any type of lubes as you want. It is because the dry condition is suitable for dry and wet lubes. But experts say that it would be best to use dry lube. Mainly, it is a wax-based lube that is great to repel dirt and dust.
In summer, most of the earth or dirt is on rough roads and mountains, which are not so heavy. Then dry lube elements can easily repel them. The Nano-ceramic particles help to maximize the power you have given to the pedal.
Another advantage is its lightweight. You can easily wash it off when it is necessary. Wet lube is also applicable in summer. It is called “all-weather formulation lube.” That is because you can use them in any season.
How Often Should You Lubricate Your Bike Chain In Summer?
When it is the time of summer, lubing the bike chain is pretty straightforward. You will not face so many troubles. It is because in summer, most of the dirt is dry, and they don’t tend to get attached to the chain.
Therefore, you will have to worry about washing the cycle. If the optimum performance has a significant meaning to you, then you can lube the bike chain every weekend. But usually, once a month is enough to maintain the regular performance.
But for mountain or rough rides, things are pretty different. No matter what season it is, you have to wash your bike and lube the chain after every ride you have completed.
Chain Lube in Winter
Winter is the season where you will face trouble lubing the chain. It is because it brings back the dusty roads. But you can ride smoothly in winter and barely face any bad weather. The streets do not get washed by rain or water. Here is the main problem. You will not find any rain to clean the chain automatically.
On top of that, mud and dust could easily stay on-chain for a long time due to low humidity. Snowfall is another big issue in winter. It isn’t easy to ride on a snowy day. That is because the chains get more attracted to the snow.
The chain will bring trouble while you ride on snow roads. Dry lubes cannot handle such a rate of dirt on the chain. It would be best to use wet lube in such conditions. There is some best bike lube for winter that you can use. Wet lubes are made of heavy elements which have more resistant power to dust than dry lubes.
But there is one disadvantage of it, attracting more dust and debris compared to the dry lubes. Even some salty roads have become a problem for cyclists. The chain of the bike gets strain if there is any salt component present on it.
How Often Should You Oil Your Bike Chain In Winter?
Lubing the bike in winter is very important. As you see, you will face many problems in winter like muddy roads, snowfall, rain and salt on roads. The bike chain will be most annoying than ever because of these problems.
Therefore, you have to lube the chain every weekend. If the streets get too muddy or too much snowfall on the road, it would be better to lube the chain with a one-day interval.
When you do not compromise with bike performance, then you have to wash it every day and then lube the chain.
What to Use and What Not?
The proper usage of lubes is discussed in the article before. In a word, dry lube for dry condition and wet lube for wet condition. But you have to choose the best of them to ensure the chain’s functionality and lifetime.
It will wise not to use any lubricant you can find near you. Some people might suggest vegetable oil as a lubricant, but we will say it is an abysmal choice. A lubricating oil should be mineral-based and have ceramic properties. It gives a Nano-particle barrier to the chain.
Any other alternatives are not designed like these lubricants and will not prevent chain rust as well. We recommend using specific lubricants to lube the chain. And do not try other oils for experiments or due to wrong suggestions.
Can You Use WD-40 To Lube The Bike Chain?
WD40 is not a lubricant and is commonly known as a degreaser. A degreaser is used to clean off the dirt from the chain. But you cannot use them if you have a low-maintenance bike. It will remove or get off from the chain very quickly. But the performance will be optimized when you use it.
There is only one problem. The chain is needed to wash after every use. Therefore, if you are willing to do the struggle, you can use it. We recommend to stay away from WD40.
Can You Use Motor Oil To Lube The Chain?
Some people think oil is a lubricant to the bike chain. Even they can convince you about it. You might ask how often to oil bike chain. We will say never, that is because it is not a good idea. Engine oil does not work properly because of its heavyweight, making it so that it cannot penetrate the O rings and X rings of the chain.
On the other hand, lubes are very lightweight and easily penetrate through every corner of the chain. It is because these lubes are made with paraffin wax or Teflon.
If you are thinking of using motor oil to lube the chain, you would notice the differences. The chain will not function properly. Besides, oils will last only for few days. Another negative side is that it will reduce the life of your bike’s chain.
Some Final Tips for You
You can lube the bike chain according to the instructions. But you still might feel less informed. So, we would like to give you some final tips to you. They will be helpful for a properly functioning bike chain.
Too Much Oil!
You will see many people who do not care about over-lubricating the chain. But it will be better for you to avoid that. First of all, it will be a total waste. You do not need any extra amount to have proper function. Another thing to notice is that extra lube will attract more dirt than usual, especially wet lubes. Then it will make noises due to much dust.
Use a Piece of Cloth
Always use a piece of cloth to remove old lubricants and add new ones to ensure no extra amount is left behind. Your hand will get dirty if you do not use them. Sometimes greases can split onto your clothes. Then how to get bike grease out of clothes? Well, that is not impossible. You can use baking soda or a dishwasher to remove them.
Watch Where You Put It
It is essential to have a visual while putting the grease. If you do not see the chain or hold on to it properly, the lube will get wasted. On the other hand, lubing will not happen evenly. Therefore, you should be careful while you are lubricating the chain.
Washing your bike is the most crucial thing to maintain. If you do not wash your cycle out of mud and dust, there is no meaning to lube the chain. But for a regular bike, it will be best to clean the bike every month. For others, washing the bike after every ride is a necessity.
If you would like to have a stable optimum performance of your bike, regular maintenance is essential. There is no alternative to lube the chain in a routine schedule. But your question was, “how often should I lube my bike chain?”
Well, we hope you have got your answer. For anyone who loves freedom, a bike is the most important thing. That is why follow our advice and take good care of it.