What can I use to Lube my Bike Chain?
People always ask me “What can I use to lube my bike chain?”
If you don’t understand how important it is to maintain your bike chain, your bike is most likely not going to ride at it’s best. A lubricated bike chain guarantees that your bike will perform flawlessly especially when pedaling.
Having said that, there certainly are a great deal of different lube choices to select from. Some well established brand names have ready-made bike lube, but there are actually lots of other options that will definitely get the job done. Here are usually some of the most effective, and even worst choices you may use for bike chain lubricant.
Why Should you use Bike Chain Lubricant?
Bike chains requires lubrication every now and then to minimize friction and rust. Chains are susceptible to damage as a result of daily use, therefore by maintaining them, you will not only get optimum performance from your bike, you will minimizes the chances of a broken chain when out and about. There are many types of ready-made lubricants ranging from wax-based, grease-based, light oils, and spray on lubes.
When you purchase a bicycle, the original chain automatically comes oiled or greased up. With regular treatment, you can get longer use out of you chain. Nonetheless, some of the lubricant alternatives will certainly degrade the lube.
Therefor, sometimes people will choose an alternative like cooking oil and other household greases. Also, the fact they are all easy to find around the house. I’ve actually done this myself.
Bike Chain Lube Alternatives
Household grease is often used in tiny dosages when changing gear cables and even brakes. Nonetheless, some people additionally utilize household grease for lubricating their bike chain. However, even though it give some protection, it doesn’t even come close to the quality of a ready-made lubricant from an established brand.
There are other types of grease you may find around the house like automotive grease that shouldn’t be use on your bike at all. The main issue with using automotive grease and other household items is that you risk clogging up your chain and adding even more friction.
Bike oil isn’t commonly used for lubricating your bike chain, however, it’s a lot better than using household grease. Just keep in mind that while using bike oil will help minimize friction, the longevity of protection will be cut short.
So if you decide to use bike oil instead of a ready-made chain lubricant. Make sure to use it in small doses. Just make sure NOT to be aggressive or completely coat your bike chain with it.
Oils and Greases to Avoid using
While I don’t assume either grease or bike oil performs any better than suitable ready-made lube, they may still get the job done temporarily. Some others alternatives are much less advised at all for you bike chain.
Take motor oil for example. Because of it’s acidity, it will actually degrade and wear away the components of you bike. Likewise, petroleum jelly may also seem appealing but it’s really not useful at all do to it’s lack of durability.
Petroleum jelly doesn’t offer any type of protection when you’re using your bike and will wear off in “wet” riding conditions.
Cooking oil may seem like a tempting alternative but will not do the mechanical parts of your bike any justice.
Cooking oil doesn’t last that long, it’s acidity, and it chemically changes over time. One of the basic components of a ready-made lubricant is graphite, which cooking oils have none.
And because of that, any benefits of using cooking oil are short lived. What make cooking oil even worse is that it attracts dust and can clog up you bike chain.
Other cooking oils like coconut oil and olive oil, will yield the same results as well. Even though olive oil is natural and lighter, it will still wear away quickly especially when it rains.
So, the greasier alternatives can offer more protection than the cooking oils but can clog up your chain if you use too much of it.
The Benefits of using a Bike Chain Lube Alternative
The primary advantage of using an substitute to a ready-made chain lubricant is they’re easily accessible. Most of the above are often typical household products, thus you may quickly locate one and be tempted to use it on your bike chain. For a ready-made chain oil, you can hope places like Walmart may have them or you will have to search and order one online.
The Downsides of using a Bike Chain Lube Alternative
As we already covered some of the basic reasons why using household oils and greases are not ideal. Ready-made bike chain lube is design not only for lubrication, but also for protection from harsh elements. That includes handling a different types of climate, pedaling pressure, and many other factors.
Another downside with the alternatives is that you really don’t know which ones will work BEST in dry or wet conditions.
Some will certainly draw in more dirt which will add friction and grinding. And in turn, will lead to wear and tear. Some are going to merely wash right off. Some are going to degrade quicker than others. Some are going to degrade the initial manufacturer’s bike chain lube. Even worse, the alternatives are not made to stop rust, which is actually one of the biggest causes for bike chain damage.
Also, just because the alternatives are accessible, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily cheaper in price. Motor oil, cooking oils, and other household greases can cost just as much (if not more) as ready-made lubricants. Also, since the alternatives will wash away a lot faster then the ready-made brands. You will constantly have to keep applying them which will inevitably bring up the cost.
Why you Should Only Use a Ready-Made Brand
Ready-made bicycle chain lubricant is ultimately designed to prevent rust, corrosion, gunk, and to make sure your bike chain moves over the gears efficiently. Depending on what type of biking you are doing, you can purchase a “very specific” type of bike chain lubricant.
For instance, if you’re a mountain biker, you may want something more wet resistant since you will be riding in more dense and rugged conditions. However, a dry bike chain lube is more suitable for someone (like myself) who enjoys road biking.
It would be nice to have a mix that was thick like wax to prevent rust and be applied like something thin enough to penetrate deep into the chain.
It just doesn’t exist. Even though wax-based lubes are good at avoiding dirt and dust, the longevity just doesn’t cut it and they wear off pretty quick. Grease-based bike chain lubes can penetrate deep into the bike chain, however, they will also attract dust and dirt.
Personally, the ready-made brands are the way to go for me even though some of the alternatives will get it done even if it’s just temporally. Also don’t forget, the ready-made bike chain lubes will protect your bike chain from the elements and they are easily applied as well as cleaned up.
There is really no comparison aside from the fact that the alternatives are right there in you house. But again, the cost will add up since they wont last long. If you’re really in a pinch, they will work short term.