Selecting a chain lubricant is not as bad as selecting a over the counter pain reliever or cold/cough medication, but there sure are a whole lot more choices out there than there used to be which greatly complicates things. I am not here to recommend one over the other as I certainly am no expert on the subject. If you are looking for recommendations you might try checking out reports such as this one.
There are products classified as wet lubes, dry lubes, wax lubes, ceramic lubes, Teflon lubes and probably others I know not of. I purposely selected WD-40 for the picture above just to see if I could get a response out of anyone. WD-40 is a great product, but it certainly is not recommended for chain lubrication (nor is 3 in 1 oil pictured among the lubes in another picture further below). That being said I want to make sure I communicate that I am talking about the original WD-40 product most of us are familiar with. In recent years the makers of WD-40 have come out with a whole line of products made specifically for bicycles.
I myself have been using one of their chain lubes and I liked it at first until I saw what it did … collecting dirt and grime, especially on the sprockets. So I no longer use it nor can I recommend it. It is like a magnet attracting lots of dirt and grime. It really gets caked on the sprockets and has to be forcibly brushed off with a brush and a cleaner. Anyway, WD-40 offer both a wet and a dry product. The two most common chain lubricants are the dry type and the wet type. Depending upon what kind of riding we do (where we ride) one might be preferable over the other. HERE is a short article on this subject. If we ride in rain, mud, and/or snow we should use a wet lube. Switching from wet to dry (or dry to wet) lubes is permissible, but the chain should be thoroughly cleaned first.
We do need to be careful what we use as we can gum up the drive train if we use the wrong thing. Of course, a part of all of this is also very much tied into keeping the chain clean as well as properly lubricated. I have written about chain cleaning previously.
Wet lubes pick up dirt and grit from the road and other surfaces we ride on so the chain will be messier if they are used. Dry lubes can wash off in a heavy rain. They are a little more difficult and time consuming to apply and have to cure up after application before the cycle can be ridden. It is recommended waiting 3 to 4 hours before riding. Properly applied and by wiping the chain down periodically dry lube will last a long time providing you stay away from rain or mud. Teflon and wax lubes also need to harden before they are ready to work in lubricating the chain.
Most of us probably use too much of the lube products when we apply them. I am sure I do. I am bad at not following the directions. I put a lot on and don’t wipe any off. I just take off riding with the chain loaded up with the lubricant. I usually use a wet type lubricant which means the chain can be messy. Any excess oil doesn’t seem to last long however so it is not a problem as far as I am concerned. I usually apply the lubricant while I am out riding as that is when it usually comes to mind in my case. Another thing about the WD-40 wet chain lube I use is that it smells good. After using it I can smell it for awhile as I ride. Of course, if one happens to be riding past a hog farm it really doesn’t make that much difference. 🙂
I have been using Rock n Roll Gold chain lube since I stopped using WD-40 chain lube. I am well satisfied with Rock n Roll Gold. Keeping your chain and sprockets properly cleaned and lubricated will help you get lots of miles out of them. I typically get over 11,000 miles out of a chain.
Don’t be like the owner of this bike and neglect cleaning and lubrication of the drive train.
Keep your chain properly maintained and it will help you …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
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