Chain lube

tenohfive Posts: 152
edited September 2016 in Commuting general
I'm bewildered. I've bought my first road bike, am cycling about 150-200km a week and have a chain cleaning machine on order and need some chain lube for after. Something non-faffy. There appear to be hundreds of options. I get why there are different types, but is there any consensus on a good all-rounder that'll do me commuting over the next few months? Preferably one in the 'value for money' bracket.


  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    GT85 and a rag.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    You'll get loads of opinions on this topic. Some say use anything. I've tried a few, but quite like Rock N Roll Absolute Dry. Keeps the chain clean, is easy to clean and relube (very little black gunk) and last quite a long time. Not your typical "dry lube" that should only be used for dry conditions.
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  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    Squirt. Never cleaned a chain, except for a hose down when I wash the bike. No mess. Chains last as long as ever. And most of my riding is off road in nasty conditions.
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  • davis
    davis Posts: 2,506
    For cleaning it you'll get a long way with a solvent-soaked rag once a week for next to no money.

    For oiling after... there's a whole load of guff available. You can get expensive oils like Phil Woods or whatever which might work very very slightly better, but I believe most of the difference is perception and people kidding themselves. I used a cheap 1 litre bottle of non-fling chainsaw oil for years and didn't notice difference (do you honestly believe your bicycle chain is subject to more stress and worse conditions than a chainsaw chain? Really?).

    The only things I'd really think about are: dry lube for when it's dry, wet lube for when it's wet, keep your chain clean (weekly), keep 3 chains "on the go" and swap them regularly (~1000km ish).

    I use Finish Line Dry for the "best" bike, and Finish Line "Wet" for everything else. The only reason I'm using Finish Line is the handy dropper bottle sizes and they were on offer.

    About the only "rule" is to use a lubricant (like oil) rather than a degreaser/solvent like WD40/GT85. Keep things clean and try not to stay awake worrying about it.
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  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    I've tried a number of lubes.

    Dry lubes are fine in summer but in winter seem to dispear in seconds when confronted with road spray, a hassle applying everyday and even then traces of rust appear during the day from the ride in. Summer is of course 3 weeks a year (it seems).

    Squirt, love it on my MTB but on my commut I get rust appearing at the joints where the wax is rubbed away.

    Wet lube, yes it creates a mess, yes it looks horrid, yes it works. Finish line works for me, I use the ceramic as any tiny benefit I can get ill take.

    My chains last circa 2 years 2500 miles before they start to rust too readily for me to put up with, wear is still below 0.75%, my (single) alloy chainring has managed 5500 miles and still working fine, the (bought used) cassette managed 4000 miles for me before being replaced as an indication of longevity.

    I'm based in the Midlands and some years I'm riding in salt spray nearly every day for 3 months of the year.
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • prawny
    prawny Posts: 5,440
    After watching a GCN video where one of them uses WD40 I thought I'd give it a go for a bit. The chain lasted over 4000 miles, never went rusty and shifted perfectly and silently the whole time. I tried going back to finish line wet lube once and it was crap. So I cleaned it off and went back to WD40. GT85 and 3in1 also work.
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  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    I must say I found that WD40 gave similar levels of rust protection to sea almost seemed to encourage rust. Maybe that is as much to do with different uses as anything else.
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    For cleaning I use WD40 on a rag (an old t-shirt) to get the crud off. Then Green Oil chain lube is applied sparingly to the inside run of the chain with a toothbrush, ideally the night before so it is less tacky by the morning.

    I used GT85 when I first started commuting (5 miles each way). It was OK in the dry but it didn't last long and the chain would dry out very quickly on a wet day. Have used 3-in-1 but it goes gummy and I found it terrible for sucking dirt onto the chain.
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