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Best bike chain lubes 2024 — keep your drivetrain happy so it lasts longer

The best bike chain lubes for long-term chain protection and smooth running

The best bike chain lubes keep your chain running smoothly, keep working even when it's wet and don't pick up crud. But can you get one bike chain lube that does it all or should you switch between wet and dry chain lubes according to the weather? And with a bewildering choice of chain lubes in any decent bike shop, which should you buy? Here are the best bike chain lubes we've found after tens of thousands of miles of all-weather riding.

Read more: How to clean and lube your bike's chain

The best bicycle chain lubes get right into the links of your chain to lubricate it, and then stay there. The latest chain lubes include fiendishly clever additives which allow them to coat metal surfaces without attracting crud. They're expensive, but arguably worth the money if you're running an expensive transmission and want to prolong its life.

In general you should always clean your chain thoroughly before lubricating it if you're using conventional lube; lubing a dirty chain will just wash grit into the links where it causes wear.

As sticky liquids, wet chain lubes flow into the nooks and crannies of your chain to lubricate it, and flow back in when displaced by pressure while dry chain lubes use a volatile carrier to wash waxy lubricant into your chain; the carrier evaporates leaving a solid lubricant. Wet chain lubes are usually better at resisting water; dry lubes are cleaner but need more frequent applicatio.

The best chain lubes you can buy

Best overall chain lube: Silca Synergetic Drip Lube (60ml) — Buy Now for £28.80 from Merlin Cycles

Silca Synergetic Drip Lube

Silca's Synergetic Drip Lube lasts for ages, is very clean, and will save you loads of money in drivetrain components. Yes, its RRP is £32 a bottle. But that will last you a year and save you many times that amount replacing prematurely-worn components.

Tester Mike writes: "The compelling argument for Silca Synergetic is long term. It's easy to apply, lasts ages and keeps things clean, but the real benefit is the protection it gives your components. Even if those components, like mine, live in Scotland. The longer you use it, the more you offset the price, and happily it lasts really well.

Based on my experience over 800km of mostly off-road riding, Silca Synergetic can save you enough money – over time – that it's functionally cheaper than the 'cheap' options. It's extremely effective, very easy to live with, and will keep your bike out of the shop and rolling in those hills where it belongs.

Read our review of Silca Synergetic Drip Lube
Find a Silca dealer

Excellent lube for sensible money: Squirt Chain Lube (120ml) — Buy Now for £11.00 from Merlin Cycles

squirt chain lube 120ml

Tester Big Dave writes: “Good lube, this, and not to be confused with delicate wax lubes that demand you soak your chain in lavender oil for three weeks and then pick out the dirt with a toothpick before you apply it. You can just slap this stuff on, and after a few applications when excess wax starts to build up on the chain, you can easily brush it off, keeping your chain nice and clean. It stays put, too.

“Squirt lube easily survived 30-odd miles of normal commuting in all weathers, at which point it faced about the sternest test possible: 40 miles in the salt, snow and rain finishing up on the muddy, puddle-strewn canal towpath. I wouldn't expect any lube to survive that and the chain showed some evidence of rust the next day after a hose down, but it wasn't noisy - there was still some lube in there, so it's pretty tenacious stuff.

“I was sceptical about Squirt's claim that 'excess wax gets expelled by the chain and falls off during riding - cleaning with a dry brush is adequate', but it turns out there's some truth in that. The excess wax is pretty easy to get rid of: it doesn't readily fall off of its own accord but a quick brush buffs up your chain nicely, and dirt doesn't stick to it like it would with a wet lube.”

Read our review of Squirt Chain Lube

Best wet lube: Green Oil Wet Chain Lube (100ml) — Buy Now for £6.99 from Chain Reaction Cycles

Green Oil Wet Chain Lube.jpg

Green Oil's Wet Chain Lube is an exceptionally good barrier against water, dirt and corrosion, seriously reduces maintenance and won't turn the planet into an unliveable wasteland. The price is good and the applicator is well designed. There's really nothing not to like.

There are lots of very, very good wet lubes out there. Any of the wet lubes listed below will look after you well, especially if you observe proper application and thoroughly clean the chain before applying them. Green Oil's wet lube keeps your chain moving extremely well, but also boasts impressive environmental credentials: it's totally biodegradable, packaged in recycled plastic, and your bottle can be refilled at a small (10-20p) discount by selected bike shop dealers. Even the ingredients are sustainably sourced, so Green Oil isn't simply passing the ecological impact up the supply chain.

Read our review of Green Oil Wet Lube
Find a Green Oil dealer

Best budget chain lube: Decathlon 03 Bike Chain Oil (100ml) — Buy Now for £2.99 from Decathlon

Decathlon 03 bike chain oil 100ml

Decathlon 03 Bike Chain Oil is a cheaper option than many lubes out there. It's easily applied and will keep your chain and derailleur running smoothly. For the price of £2.99 there isn't really a bad thing to say about this lubricant. You probably won't go through it twice as fast as anything twice the price, even with weekly applications (more so during wet/winter weather), making it an excellent choice.

Read our review of Decathlon 03 Bike Chain Oil (as B'Twin 300 Chain/Derailleur Bike Oil)

Best money-no-object chain lube: Absolute Black GraphenLube (140ml) — Buy Now for £114.99 from RM Cycles

2020 absoluteBLACK GRAPHEN lube.jpg

Absolute Black claims that Graphenlube is 'The ultimate bicycle chain lubricant'. And, in terms of what it appears to deliver in friction losses, and its longevity in normal riding conditions, it's definitely up there with the best. Which it absolutely should be given how much it costs.

Tester Big Dave writes: “We tried to test out AbsoluteBlack's watt-saving claims using our own slightly less scientific setup of a Tacx Neo 2 indoor trainer and a Rotor 2InPower crank-based power meter, ranking it against a few other lubes. And do you know what? It really does seem to reduce drivetrain friction. Graphenlube's tenacity is pretty impressive too. I found that I needed to re-apply the lube after about 400km of mixed weather riding, which is on a par with the better wet lubes I've used, and miles ahead of any wax-based lube that I've tried.

“Graphenlube does appear to reduce friction, and it's certainly pretty tenacious in real-world conditions. It's very expensive, but so are a lot of other bike-related things. If you're the kind of person who looks to buy a bit of extra performance, then here's another thing you can spend your hard-earned on. For the sort of savings you can expect I wouldn't say it was particularly good value, but you might have snaffled all the low-hanging fruit already, or you might not care. And it probably is the best lube I've tried.”

Read our review of Absolute Black GraphenLube
Find an Absolute Black dealer

Wolf Tooth WT-1 All Conditions Chain Lube (60ml) — Buy Now for £17.10 from Leisure Lakes Bikes

2021 Wolf Tooth WT-1 Chain Lube

Tester Neil writes: "Wolf Tooth's WT-1 Chain Lube may be the first I've tried that really delivers everything I want from it – and quite a bit more besides. It's a blue-green liquid that's thick enough to apply sparingly, one link at a time. There's no need to remove old lube first, but I started with a freshly-degreased drivetrain anyway, because I wanted to see exactly what this does differently.

"Once it's applied you can run the chain through the transmission a couple of dozen times, or go for a short ride. This allows the 'detergent-like' component to get to work. After this, a wipe with a 'micro-cloth' brings off a remarkable amount of black gunk – so much so, I found it hard to imagine any lubricant being left behind. However, on the next ride the chain ran impressively quietly and smoothly.

"After around 120 miles of 'ride and wipe,' the amount of dirt coming off was much reduced, but the chain was still running smoothly. If you take quiet running as a proxy for low wear (noise = friction = wear), this seems a very effective lubricant. WT-1 ticks all the boxes for me: it's easy to use, long-lasting, weather-resistant and – perhaps best of all – makes your transmission really easy to keep clean."

Read our review of Wolf Tooth WT-1 All Conditions Chain Lube
Find a Wolf Tooth dealer

Fenwick's Wet Weather Chain Lube (100ml) — Buy Now for £4.19 from Merlin Cycles

Fenwicks Wet Weather Chain Lube review3

Fenwick's Wet Weather Chain Lube provides very effective winter protection for your drivetrain, and stays working over multiple rainy rides. It's easy to use, reasonably priced and environmentally friendly to boot.

Read our review of Fenwick's Wet Weather Chain Lube
Find a Fenwick's dealer

Pedro's Syn Lube (100ml) — Buy Now for £7.99 from Amazon

Pedros Syn Lube.jpg

Pedro's is a long-running lube specialist and the Syn Lube is ideal for British road cyclists and commuters because we found it easily lasted 130 miles of winter riding in a mixture of wet and dry conditions over clean and absolutely filthy roads, keeping rust at bay without a buildup of congealed sludge on the derailleur pulleys or sprockets.

Read our review of Pedro's Syn Lube

Smoove Universal Chain Lube (125ml) — Buy Now for £14 from Bikemonger

Cyclorise Smoove Universal Chain Lube.jpg

Smoove is a thin, white liquid that needs applying to the rollers-only as you turn the chain to get a light, even coverage. Then you leave it overnight to dry (Smoove recommends this, though it says an hour is enough) and the next day, the chain appears completely dry. Only by touching it can you detect the presence of the lube, in a faint stickiness.

My plan was to see how far I could ride before chain noise became noticeable, but when I got to 200 miles it dawned on me that I was never going to get a grinding chain, because Smoove doesn't work like that. While most wax lubes work by flaking off, taking the dirt with them, Smoove creates this long-lasting coating which doesn't fall off (hence the long-lasting lubrication) but does hang on more to the dirt. Whether this is an issue for you depends on how often you like to clean your chain, but if you're a frequent cleaner, then Smoove works very well in between cleans.

Read our review of Smoove Universal Chain Lube

Muc-Off Hydrodynamic Lube (50ml) — Buy Now for £7.00 from Merlin Cycles

Muc-Off Team Sky Hydrodynamic Lube

When it was launched Muc-Off's Hydrodynamic Lube was presented as the most high tech chain lubricant that has ever been created. After using it, we'd say you'd struggle to find a better high end lube.

Tester George writes: “Muc-Off claim that the lube performs to the highest standards in a variety of conditions, from hot and dusty to cold and wet. I managed to test in some fairly diverse conditions that included each of these and I would agree that it performs well. With terrible weather at the start of an 80km followed by heat, there was no clunking or shifting lag, even under load at the end.

“It also doesn't pick up dirt, dust and debris, which is something I get particularly frustrated by with other lubes I have used. I also noticed this is a long-lasting lube; where I would normally aim to re-lube after each long ride, with this I didn't feel the need.”

Read our review of Muc-Off Hydrodynamic Lube
Find a Muc-Off dealer

Honourable mentions

Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lubricant (118ml) — Buy Now for £6.29 from Merlin Cycles

Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lubricant.jpg

Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lube is a super-clean-running formula designed primarily for the drier months, but several very soggy weeks suggest it's one of the most tenacious. Unlike most dry/wax types, this doesn't scab off and evict contaminant as you ride, but is designed not to collect grot in the first instance. Friction is extremely low, and transmissions feel crisp and silent. Staying prowess is surprisingly good by the standards of the genre.

Read our review of Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lubricant

Brunox Top-Kett Chain Oil (100ml) — Buy Now for £5.99 from Amazon


Tester Rob writes: “Brunox don't give much away but they make lube and anti-corrosion products for more intense applications than just bike chains and whatever goes into the Top Kett lube, it's serious stuff. Having squirted it onto a clean chain I waited a whole 520 miles before chickening out and applying some more. Usually what happens when a lube stops working is that your chain starts to squeak, rust spots appear and shifting performance drops off. None of that happened, I just got cold feet that a thin lube could last so long.

“When it came to cleaning off the first application my chain was remarkably free from grot and filth. You would be forgiven for expecting this from a dry lube, after all that's what they are famous for. What they aren't renowned for is longevity. Getting both from one lube is a real bonus.

“The second application survived some pretty foul weather, the Dartmoor Devil audax (muddy, grim) and is just running dry after over 300 miles. That's really quite remarkable.”

Read our review of Brunox Top-Kett Chain Oil

Morgan Blue Race Oil Road (125ml) — Buy Now for £7.00 from Tweeks Cycles

Morgan Blue Race Oil Road

Morgan Blue Race Oil is a really good option for general riding and racing. It applies easily, runs clean and performs well in mixed conditions. You'll need to keep on top of maintenance, though, it's not one to just slap on and leave.

Read our review of Morgan Blue Race Oil Road
Find a Morgan Blue dealer

Fenwick's Chain Lube (100ml) — Buy Now for £6.50 from Merlin Cycles

Fenwicks Professional chain lube

Fenwick's chain lube is a phenomenally clean-running, long-lasting synthetic lubricant and probably my favourite of all the many space age preps I've tested to date. At £9.99 it's highly recommended, and gives comparably sophisticated chain lubes a seriously good run for our hard earned, although methodical preparation/curing times won't suit everyone.

Read our review of Fenwick's Chain Lube

Juice Lubes Chain Juice wet lube (130ml) — Buy Now for £7.99 from Amazon

Juice Lubes Chain Juice

Tester Rob writes: “It doesn't look anything special, it's not a silly price and I have no idea if it's made from a secret blend of Himalayan spices, essential plant oils and the extracted glands of assorted rare animals. What I do know is that so far a single application has lasted for 566 miles.

“That's extraordinary and what's even better is that my chain still hasn't started squeaking yet. It runs nice and clean too, the rollers are shiny and the outside plates just have a dry crust of grime which should clean off nice and easy. I've not used it in truly foul weather, but it hasn't been all sunshine and warm breezes either. In the interest of scientific enquiry I should probably run the chain dry but after nearly 600 miles I've got itchy squirting fingers…

“If you're a long-haul audaxer, a short trip commuter or just plain lazy, this is great stuff.”

Read our review of Juice Lubes Chain Juice wet lube
Find a Juice Lubes dealer

Pedro’s Ice Wax 2.0 (100ml) — Buy Now for £7.99 from Amazon

Pedros Ice Wax 2.0

Ice Wax 2.0 from Pedro's is a chain lubricant that aims to reduce the time you spend cleaning your chain, by doing it for you in part. A lube for dry conditions, it's perfect for summer riding.

Tester Steph writes: “As a dry lube, it is designed for mixed riding, but mainly in dry conditions (it will work with the odd puddle or splash). The wax is supposed to wear off over time, and in the process of doing this, it leaves a cleaner chain by taking off any grime with it.

“At the end of the first ride after applying Ice Wax, the chain looked pretty clean. Over the following week, the routine of light cleaning and lubing the chain continued. My chain stayed looking like a clean chain as opposed to the usual black colour it can go. The wax is easy to apply and remove. And you definitely start to notice that it works after a few applications. It's also biodegradable which ticks the environmental box. As a low maintenance lube, this one is perfect for spring/summer riding.”

Read our review of Pedro’s Ice Wax 2.0

Pedro’s Chainj (100ml) — Buy Now for £7.99 from Amazon

Pedro's ChainJ lube

Tester Stu writes: “ChainJ is made from renewable materials, and is biodegradable making it 'safe for the people and the planet.'

“The lube itself is a chain oil as opposed to some of the thicker dry lubes on the market. Once you've cleaned your chain the oil is added; being of reasonably thin consistency the lube is easily spread over the chain on the first attempt. The ChainJ easily slips into the links and leaves a very quiet transmission and as long as you wipe off any excess no dust or dirt seems to stick to the chain.

“With the changeable summer weather we had during testing a once a month clean of the chain and re-lube with the Pedro's kept everything running smoothly. You'll need to re-apply more often in winter.”

Read our review of Pedro’s Chainj
Find a Pedro’s dealer

>>Read more: all chain lube reviews

Wet v dry: chain lube essential knowledge

We’re going to tackle one common question we get asked an awful lot: wet or dry lube? Knowing the difference between these two common types of lubes can help you in making the right decision when you’re shopping for chain lube.

Boardman CXR 9.4 - chain stay detail.jpg

And if you’re wondering why you can’t use WD40 or GT85, they’re water displacement products and should only really be used after cleaning your bike and before correct lubrication. They have some lubricating properties, and plenty of uses on bikes and round the house, but they're not up to the job of keeping a bike chain properly protected.

As with any products, you should follow the instructions because generally it’s recommended to start with a clean chain before applying lube, rather than just layering it up.

Do I really need to lube my chain?

Aerodynamic, or wind drag, is the biggest obstacle to going fast. Friction in the drivetrain also contributes to overall drag but a modern drivetrain is in the region of 90-98% efficient, depending on the condition of the chain and several other factors.

In a study of the efficiency of bicycle chain drives by James Spicer in 2000, it’s suggested that chain lubrication has a negligible effect on efficiency under laboratory conditions, and that friction can account for only a few percent of the overall losses in drivetrain efficiency.

That said, we’d still advise ensuring your chain is correctly lubed because while it might not help you go any faster (or at least not much), it'll certainly prevent the chain from going rusty and squeaking, and there's nothing more annoying than a squeaky chain. Okay, maybe a creaking press-fit bottom bracket...

So what’s the difference?

Dry lube comes out of the bottle wet, commonly a fast-flowing liquid but once it dries it leaves a wax film on the chain. It’s this wax that provides the necessary lubrication, the liquid is simply the carrier for the wax.

A wet lube is, as its name suggests, is wet, typically a thick consistency that flows slowly and sticks to everything it is applied to (and sometimes parts that the bottle isn’t aimed at). It remains as a liquid on the chain, unlike dry lube which dries out leaving behind a waxy residue.

Which to choose?

Which lube you choose comes down to the riding conditions and your maintenance habits. A dry lube doesn’t attract dirt and for that reason it’s a better lube for dry conditions, but the downside is that it often does not last as long as wet lube. So if you’re doing short rides in sunny weather on dry roads, a dry lube is a good pick. It has the benefit of keeping your drivetrain nice and clean too, you just have to remember to reapply it more frequently.

Cervelo S3 Disc - chain stays.jpg

If you prefer to keep your bike in pristine condition and are happy regularly cleaning and servicing your bike, a dry lube might be the right choice. Because it doesn’t attract grit and dirt like a wet lube, you can simply add a new application of dry lube to keep the drivetrain running sweetly.

Where wet lubes have the trump card is in sub-optimal conditions. The wet lube is more durable and sticks to the chain better when riding in the rain, and it’s a good year-round option for UK cyclists. Because it’s more durable it needs less frequent applications and is good for very long rides.

The downside is that it can be messy and leave your chain thick with gloop if you put too much on, and because it’s wet it can attract road dirt and grit. You’re going to need to wash your bike more regularly. Wet lubes suit cyclists that don’t want to have to inspect and lube the chain on a regular basis, as you can go many miles between applications.

The recommendation

If you take the time to look after your bike well, or you’re a racer or rider of a super high-end bike in the sunshine then dry lube is the way to go, and we found these were the most popular among the team, in particular Squirt chain lube, which is tenacious enough to use in crummy conditions too.

If you’re a regular commuter or a year-round long distance cyclist, then a wet lube is going to be our tip for you. It will not only last longer but also handle any weather conditions.

Conventional wisdom points to a wet lube for wet winter cycling, and a dry lube for summer cycling when it’s dry and conditions are good. It’s a good rule of thumb to follow and you won’t go wrong if you choose this approach.

Cafe wisdom: readers weigh in on chain lubricants

Our readers are always a great source of knowledge and experience on bike equipment and care. Here's the pick of your comments from a previous version of this article

ktache: I discovered something a few weeks back. I commute on some filthy tracks, canal routes and bridleways. Especially filthy recently. Cleaning the chain every night, wiping very well as I have taken the KMC advice on board and lubing. I need a wet lube and hve found over many years that Finish Line Cross Country has enough staying power for me, though I am interested in Rohloff's offering. Some times the lube wasn't enough, when the mud was particularly wet and there was also heavy rain.

So, I have been adding drop wise to the top of the roller for a few years now, the thing that I discovered was that if I did a small drop on each roller and then after doing the full chain doing another drop, it seemed to aid penetration and staying power. With overnight set up and wiping down before riding. I might lose a little more on the rag but it seems to work for me.

Prosper0: None of these. Use wax.

I'm sick of dirty, poor performing, labour intensive oils.

David9694: At £14 for Smoove, are we getting into "go fast" territory here? I just want a product that keeps the the chain lubed most of the time, doesn't attract/generate black gunk, is simple to use and not too many £££s.

Looked at some standard grease in a hardware shop at the weekend - decided to send off for some TF2, a fraction of the quantity, because it's labelled as "for bikes".

And finally, I went into the LBS who had a nice window display of wheels, said "what have you got that will me make me a better climber?" The guy asked could I wait three weeks, I said OK, he gave me a diet sheet.

Chris Hayes: I switched to waxing a few months ago after years of dirty, grunge-caked drive-trains. I'm using Silca's super secret and will try molten wax next. I'll never go back. Don't care about the marginal gains, for me it's about a clean drive train. The silence is a bonus.

fukawitribe replied to Chris Hayes: Ditto. I've pretty much just used Squirt for the last few years but will give Silca, White Lightning and home-grown mixture a crack too at some point.

ChrisB200SX: I've switched to molten speedwax now.

Works well for Zwift, flakes of wax cover everything like spots of oil would. I have two chains so I can always have one ready to swap over, minimal downtime, or I can wax both at the same time. Chain swaps around 300 miles, but with a quick link you can just swap a chain and then rewax the other chain at your leisure.
Haven't used waxed chain outside much yet but seems good so far.
It's simplest on a new/clean drivetrain, you just need to degrease/clean/dry the chain then wash in the hot wax. So there is some outlay in electric hotpot, thermometer, wax and degreasing/cleaning chemicals.

Sriracha replied to ChrisB200SX: Or if you are a cheapskate like me, just use food grade paraffin wax, about £10 per kilo online. And use a bain-marie (Pyrex dish suspended in a pan of simmering water on the stove) instead of an electric hotpot, saves on the thermometer too since it can't go over 100 degrees.

This really is one thing where dirt cheap is actually technically superior to all the potions, lotions and sauces they sell by the ounce. The only genuine hassle is the first degrease and clean - but you were doing that between regular lubes already, no? Thereafter I just pre-rinse the chain in boiling water, then rewax.

ChrisB200SX replied to Sriracha: Basically just as good.

For me, the molten speedwax was cheap enough.

Yeah, degreasing each new chain is a bit of a faff. But I'd say better than dealing with a chain covered in black oil.

I waxed 6 new chains and then just rewax when required (so far I've only needed to do the indoor trainer bike's chain). Should I actually be cleaning off an outdoor chain before rewaxing?

Freetime101 replied to ChrisB200SX

Do you need 6 chains for multiple bikes or do chains not last as long with waxing vs oiling? I'm guessing two chains is a good idea as unlike oil, you can't wax a chain in 30secs before a ride?

I'm intrigued by the idea of not having a manky black chain after every ride!

Chris Hayes replied to Freetime101

Wax doesn't seem to last as long in Winter as I'd like, but I've gotten used to wiping off and re-waxing my chain after rides (not before) and leaving it to dry overnight. I've not stretched to two-chains per bike, though technically there'd be no real hassle involved. Taking a chain off takes seconds these days, and shaking it clean in a bottle of solvent a few minutes. Ditto dipping it in wax and hanging it.

taberesc: Tried Rock 'n' Roll Gold. Seems to require application before every ride. Even at that, the chain sqeak was unbareable. Have gone back to wet lube. Finish Line Wet is a tried and trusted fave.

Reedo replied to taberesc: Ditto. Tried the red Rock 'n' Roll "Absolute Dry" stuff pictured here (same as "Gold"?) and hated it. Even in warm conditions with full pre-cleaning and applying lots the chain sounded squeaky and dry within a couple rides, sometimes sooner. In cold conditions forget it. You can warm the bottle but unless you want to use it indoors (with the solvent I dislike doing that) cool or cold air temps mean the wax solidifies on contact and doesn't get into the links at all. Might try DIY with powdered wax product and a less nasty solvent (alcohol?) next.

Municipal Waste: Having been in the bike trade for almost my entire adult life, it's safe to say I've tried almost every lube on the market; from cheap Weldtite gunk, to Muc-Off Hydrodynamic, to Wend Wax (think of a massive Pritt stick).

I really rate Prolink ProGold if you just want a liquid lube that's clean and good in every condition. However, I've recently been using the Muc Off ceramic dry as I had about a bazillion samples to use up and I have to say I'd really forgotten how good it is both on and off road at this time of year.

TucsonGuy: Years ago I gave up on all wet lubes. Loved the initial bathed in oil feel but within a ride or two it's a nasty mess. Most of my riding is probably 70% dry but even in the wet the waxy "dry" stuff works great. Squirt is probably the only lube I've bought over and over so its my fave overall.... any of the Rock 'n Roll stuff is great too!

Xenophon2: Rather than a technical, I think it's a personality thing:

Tried a number of lubricants over the years. I commute 35 km/day, regardless of the weather and despite the climate over here giving me a relentless push toward wet lubes, I finally chucked them. Never used one that doesn't transform into gooey black grinding paste over time. Thought I had found my thing with Green Oil which works well and lasts a long time but tends to accumulate and forms a truly tenacious black gunk. I don't want to do a full chain strip/dry/reapply routine every single week.

So I switched to 'dry' wax. Tried Finish Line which smelled nice and was spotless but if even a drop of rain fell it had to be reapplied. Am currently on Morgan Blue. The only downside is that in inclement weather it needs to be topped up every 2 days. But it cleans easily, no gunky black mess and it costs me 14 Euro for a 500 ml bottle.

Previous to MB I used the molten wax routine which was great but a lot of work, not worth the hassle. I want to spend time riding my bike, not tinkering with it.

Argus Tuft: I'm with bikespud. Wax every time. Boeshield (T47?), White Lightning – It's just wax dissolved in solvent. It even says as much on the Boeshield bottle. Make your own and use heaps. It's almost free!

Used to be a thing on the web proving plain old wax was the best lube of all.

matthewn5 replied to Argus Tuft: "Make your own and use heaps. It's almost free!"


A friend of mine was doing that years ago, and suffered third degree facial burns when it caught fire as she was heating it. Be *very* careful.

bikespud: I cant stand the the grinding paste effect of wet lube once it's got dirty. The degreasing then apply more sticky stuff makes no sense to me. I am a wax fan as there is less cleaning for sure. A big fan of White Lightning for years, but it's expensive and hard to find now. Tried Squirt and loved how clean it was. Tried Smoove - It lasts longer but I don't like the build up of black gunk between the chain rings. Testing Squirt Low Temp now, it's thinner again, but supposed to last longer in cold weather. Will see what this winter brings... Come summer it's probably back to Squirt again but no way anything oily. Buying degreaser just seems like a big con when wax is easy to clean off.

matthewn5: Singer sewing machine oil. Cheap and lasts for ever. I use Muc-off wet lube as a flushing oil to clean the chain, wipe it off, then apply sewing maching oil, wiping off excess. The chain feels so plush afterwards, it's lovely.

kil0ran: Decathlon have updated their lubes - now do a wet one and a dry one, in liquid or aerosol form and a ceramic one in liquid form only. £2.99 for the wet/dry for 100ml, and £4.99 for the swish ceramic one.

Boatsie: I used vegetable oil once. Smooth as.. At end of ride I must have collected a sandbox worth of sand though.. Grindy as.
I use RnR gold, RnR red, Muc Off wet, Muc Off dry. Pretty lazy cleaning and applying but when used even the filthiest chain sets smooth out.

visionset: How many miles you get out of chain is irrelevent unless you also state oyur maintenance philosophy. If you are running the whole drive train into the ground (or at least cahin and cassette) you probably can get 10,000 miles out of it. No one is gonna be impressed with the shfiting on said drive train after say 3000 miles. Or alternatively you intend to keep your cassette throun many chains, and you can for probably 10 chains if you wear to 100.2% Yep that's just 0.2% of wear. equates to about 5mm of 'stretch'. Over this and you start to shag the cassette. If you are on Ultegra or better then the latter approach is cost effective and always a crisp change to boot.

peted76: I've recently been converted from Rock and Roll Gold dry lube (which I've used for ages and have thought was the best) to Fenwicks Stealth lube.. for a wet lube, I'm amazed at just how clean and well my chain runs using it.

My scientific test is always to put the chain in the middle gear and spin it backwards. Fenwicks is beating the RnR lube by about half a crank rotation. 100% science right there.

mikepridmorewood: I've had 10,000k out of a chain by cleaning with wet wipes and lubricating with GT85

steveal50 replied to mikepridmorewood: Can't see much use for the wet wipes. GT85 washes away the muck and leaves a trace of lubricant - perfect!

Argus Tuft: One or two weeks between lubes is about right, maybe 300-400km.When it starts to make the whirring sound.

I was a devout R&R gold user and ran a long term test using the stuff according to their instructions which don't mention cleaning – just flooding on and wiping off – versus the same lube with a weekly clean in one of those round brushy things (two different bikes run concurrently). Chain wear measured by steel rule.

From new to worn out:

Wiping Off: 3000km.
Using chain cleaning device: 10000km.

Thorough cleaning seems more important than choice of chainlube. You can wipe the chain down till you're blue in the face but the damaging grit is on the INSIDE.

Having said that, chain cleaning is a lousy job, so I now use the insitu hot waxing described above.

From a cost/benefit viewpoint, there's no point spending more on hi-tec unguents than you're saving on drivetrain wear.

Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the cycling public.

check12: Rock n roll gold, do it.

Argus Tuft: Dissolve a rounded teaspoon of grated paraffin wax in 100ml of shellite (I don't know what it's called over there – Stoddard's Solvent?). Using pliers, carefully pull the nozzle out of a R&R lube bottle and refill using a small funnel. Close enough to free. A small amount of moly or bearing grease – less is more – makes it even better.

hawkinspeter replied to Argus Tuft : "shellite". I think we call it white spirit in the UK.

Argus Tuft replied to hawkinspeter: Ta HP - I found it worked as well as the bought stuff.I've moved on to using a home made "candle" of wax with a dash of grease applied to a chain freshly warmed with a heat gun. Any dirt seems to fall away. No cleaning required. Use a suitable heat shield between chain and wheel.

hawkinspeter replied to Argus Tuft: I've tried paraffin wax myself, but I didn't use any solvent with it. I used to melt the wax in a small frying pan and put the chain in it. Then, sprinkle some micronised graphite on top of the chain and put some paraffin wax granules on top so that they melt and carry the graphite into the chain. Swill around a bit and then remove the chain and let it cool. Once cool, spend a bit of time removing excess wax and flexing each joint of the chain and then pop it on the bike.

The reason I stopped doing that was that the wax treatment only lasted a week or two unless topped up with some other wax lubricant (e.g. Smoove), so in the end I thought it was less trouble to just go with the pre-made lubricant.

I've now switched over to using DryFluid which is a special slide lubricant that although expensive lasts really well and is easy to apply and stays nice and clean.

StraelGuy: I generally get around a thousand miles a chain on my winter bike and I've been doing a lot of experimenting with lube regimes. I used to be an avid cleaner but chains seem to last longer if you use wet lube, NEVER strip / degrease the chain, add one more drip of lube per link every two or three rides and keep the outside clean using an old t-shirt. Just my $0.02.

BehindTheBikesheds replied to StraelGuy: Only a thousand miles, christ what are you riding through dust, dirt, mud, rain with road salt for good measure and not wiping post ride or any cleaning at all?

Even a bog std SRAM PC1030 has got me 4 times that on my daily. Have got 14,000 on the middle chainring and the cassette (that cost £12) has same miles as the chain, they're already well past their best but I'm running them until the chain starts to slip.

Oh and that was periodically degreasing and washing the chain completely and then relubing with car full synthetic oil. I wouldn't do it on a spendy chain but then I wouldn't use those spendy chains on a bike that gets taken out in all the shitty conditions the UK weather will throw at you.

Ives replied to BehindTheBikesheds

Oh boy, you wouldn't like how I got only 500 miles out of my last chain (Shimano HG40) before it was stretched 1%. That's with obsessive wiping after every ride. On a city bike.

I left the factory lube on like Sheldon Brown suggests, but after as little at 200 miles the chain was already 0.5% stretched.

Mungecrundle: Having run out of dry lube, I used some Wurth motorcycle chain wax and have been using it ever since. Dries in a few minutes, keeps the chain clean and running smoothly. Only shortcoming is that as a spray lube you need to be careful that it doesn't get to where it isn't supposed to be.

dave_t: I've been using the Fenwicks Stealth Lube (also confusingly called Professional Lube) all year round for a couple of years now and find it very silent and clean running. To maximise the useage I apply it using a small syringe which helps to target the application spot and reduce wastage.

PRSboy: Squirt seems to be the holy grail of lubes, as long as you don't mind reapplying after a wet ride. I've been most impressed.

r.glancy replied to PRSboy: Hated the stuff..flakes off way too quickly and get chain noise within 100 miles. Smoove is similar but doesn't flake off. Gets my vote every time.

fukawitribe replied to r.glancy: I've found Squirt stays on pretty well (for me anyway) even in the wet - very clean, very easy to apply, not so cheap. I've not tried Smoove yet but heard good things about running it, not so much the actual prep and application, probably give it a whirl at some point though.

maviczap replied to r.glancy: Another Smoove user here, best lube I've used so far. I just run my chain through a Fenwick's chain cleaning sponges, with a bit of their foam cassette cleaner, which is another great product. So I might give their Stealth lube a go once the Smoove runs out.

But with a quick clean and application of Smoove its back to a quiet drive chain.

Rian_constant replied to PRSboy: Wax-based lubricants are the first choice for summer bikes. Advantages of wax without the hassle and dangers of melting wax. Reapplying is done in less than a minute.

hawkinspeter: Dry Fluid

Explore the complete archive of reviews of lubricants on

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Lozcan | 1 year ago

A third engine oil, and 2/3 white spirit, works a treat.

EM69 | 1 year ago

No Prolink Progold? A superb lube I use all the time...

Smoggysteve | 1 year ago

Many years ago, used to buy cheap oil from Halfords. Then I started buying 'premium' oil brands. Then I went on to waxing - alternating between 2 chains one on the bike, one ready waxed ready to replace it. Then onto the extreme graphene based drip lubes. Now im back to cheap oil. Why? Cos After 15 years of riding in all conditions socially and competitively, Ive noticed not one blind bit of difference.

I look after my bikes, I clean them regularly and I look after my drive train & chains. The supposed 'quality' of the lube is such an insignificant thing it isnt worth spending so much money on. If you're thinking of spunking £100+ on a bottle of lube, my advice is stick to budget priced stuff and spend the money on something else. 

Absoluteblack graphene wax - Great for about 200km then its noisy as its all worn away leaving a chain thats covered in bits of black crap. I didnt partiulary enjoy having to go through the whole claining and dipping process every week. I like my bike but I also have a life! Silca Synergetic - lasts a bit longer and keeps your chain looking clean but so does a chain bath and a rag after a ride!! (and the bloody annoying bottle tip that is so easy to snap) ABgraphene - They are having your eyes out - unless your attempting the hour record you will never see VFM with it. 

Now I just continue to regulary use muc off wet lube all year round and save some pennies to boot.  

huntswheelers | 1 year ago

Can of worms.....  I work on the tools and get asked this all the time.... I do have some customers who wax and some Molten Speed Wax users.....

When I service, I lube chains before return to customers with a wax lube, either Squirt or Morgan Blue Wax unless they specify otherwise.... If they want to continue with wax they can if not they can clean off and apply a lube of choice.... The reason for using wax, selfish really but I had bottles of all makes and types of lubes....having one type is cheaper and simpler.... Whatever your choice of lube.... ride safe

PRSboy | 2 years ago

I recently fitted a new Shimano chain, and left the factory coating on.  Whatever that is, is great.  Has not gone black or gunky, and has provided far better protection than Squirt in damp weather.

check12 replied to PRSboy | 2 years ago

Factory lube is anti corrosion as its main purpose, so it'll be better at keeping the chain none rusty, squirt is low friction main purpose not anti corrosion. If your happy with the factory lube all good

andystow | 2 years ago

If you don't fully disassemble your chain, you're just wasting your time. You need to get the inside cleaned and lubricated. This can't be done from the outside!

I do this weekly. If you have time for a four hour bike ride on Saturday, you have time to spend six hours on your chain on Sunday (you can get it down to six hours once you've done it a few times.)

Justblewbyyou replied to andystow | 2 years ago

you should be riding again on sunday not cleaning your chain for six hours...I have ridden 100 km a day here in Ontario since march (now oct) only missing about 7 days due to all day rain (retired) on my 70-80s colnagos, pinarello,, frejus, guerciotti, superleggera bianchi etc. Caught out in fog and the wd40 spray teflon bike lube (not regular wd 40) ended up all over a Colnago so was researching wet lubes. One guy liked the old 3in1 oil I used to use...old school!

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