Best Bike Chain Oils For All Use Cases (7 Awesome Lubes)

As your bicycle chain comes in contact with the sprockets and the links bend at the joints, the friction causes chain wear. The more friction, the harder you must pedal to move forward, and the sooner your chain and sprockets will wear out. Chain lube is meant to reduce friction to make pedaling smoother.

A good chain lube keeps the friction minimal and the system running smoothly.

Let’s dive into the specifics of chain oils so you can pick the right one for your use.

If you have no time to read the details, here’s a summary of the best lubes for your bike chain:

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  1. Best for rare applications: Boeshield T-9 Lube
  2. Best for hassle-free application: Finish Line 1-Step
  3. Best Teflon-based lube for dry conditions: Finish Line Dry
  4. Best lube for performance: Muc Off Ceramic Lube
  5. Best premium all-rounder: Muc Off Hydrodynamic Lube
  6. Best oil for extreme wet: White Lightning Wet Ride
  7. Best biodegradable lube: Green Oil

Types of chain lube

Wet and dry chain lube refers to the kind of weather you will be cycling in, and not to the oil itself being wet or dry.

Wet chain oil is thicker, and they stick better to your chain. It isn’t washed off easily in rainy conditions, even after long rides. et oil collects more dust and dirt from the road, and it can look pretty dirty quite soon because of its sticky nature. It is best used in wet climates or in wet seasons.

Dry chain oil is a much thinner substance, and it doesn’t attract too much dirt because it’s less sticky. The downside of dry oil is that rain can wash it off easily, which means that you have to lube your chain more often if you use it in wet conditions. They are perfect for dry climates or in dry seasons of the year. 

Teflon-based lubes are the most common type among chain lubes. Teflon, aka PTFE, is not a third type of lube besides wet and dry lubes, but Teflon indicates the microparticles that the lube contains. They act as a surface between the metal parts of your bike. Teflon is a strong material with a very low coefficient of friction when it’s placed between two solid objects (this is why flipping a pancake on a frying pan with Teflon coating is so easy).

Ceramic lubes form a ceramic coating on the chain, which is an incredibly durable material and can prevent moving parts from wearing out too soon. Ceramic also makes the drivetrain very efficient.

Biodegradable chain lubes only contain oil obtained from plant-based ingredients. Their main advantage is being environmentally friendly. The bottle, the packaging, and all the parts of biodegradable lube are from recycled materials.

Best for rare applications: Boeshield T-9 Lube

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06/22/2023 06:13 am GMT

This lube is among the most popular chain lubes not only among cyclists but also for marine, automotive, tools, and even aviation use. 

What sets it apart from other lubes and makes it special is that instead of a Teflon or ceramic coating, it creates a wax film layer on the surface, which has four main advantages:

  • It prevents your chain (or any metal part) from rusting
  • It doesn’t attract dirt, and
  • Even when dirty, it doesn’t turn black.
  • It is the longest-lasting lubing solution, so you don’t have to lube your bike chain too often (great for lazy or forgetful people like me).

It is strongly recommended not to ride your bike for at least 2 hours, but preferably 8 hours, after lubing your chain with this oil to prevent all the good stuff from flying off.

Income School

Be aware that your chain must be as clean as possible before the first application since this lube traps any dirt in a coat of wax. For subsequent applications, wipe off the chain with a clean rag.

This is an amazing chain oil for commuters with an as-hands-off-as-possible approach to bike maintenance. For example, an average commuter can use it once every three to four weeks.

Best for hassle-free application: Finish Line 1-Step

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06/22/2023 06:15 am GMT

If you hate the idea of thoroughly cleaning your chain every time you lube it, and you’re looking for an easy-to-apply solution, you may just be looking for the Finish Line 1-Step, which is a cleaner and a lubricant in one.

When you apply this solution, it washes off the dirt from your chain and lubricates it at the same time. It is for those looking to take a minimalist approach to drivetrain maintenance. 

This is not a heavy-duty chain oil, so probably not suitable for commuter bikes or bike touring. Finish Line advertises it primarily for occasional cyclists and for bikes that spend much time in storage. 

It provides not only cleaning and lubrication but also creates a coating that prevents the chain and metal parts from rusting as long as the product is on the parts. It must be applied more frequently because it wears off sooner than most chain oils.

Best Teflon-based lube for dry conditions: Finish Line Dry

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06/22/2023 06:17 am GMT

If you live in a dry climate or you’re looking for lube for the dry season, the Finish Line Dry is an excellent option. This attracts as little dirt as possible and it is a solid option for road riding, off-roading or commuting in the Summer.

Finish Line recommends applying the lube every 100 miles, but many people use it for 200-300 miles. If you’re a commuter, you can ride your bike for two-three weeks before you have to lube again. If you ride it in the rain, it washes off more quickly and has to be applied sooner.

Remember that this isn’t a cleaner and a lubricant, but only a lubricant. This means that you’ll need to remove oil residue and dirt from the chain before applying it using degreaser and chain cleaning tools

Best lube for performance: Muc Off Ceramic Lube

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06/22/2023 06:18 am GMT

The Muc Off Ceramic Lube makes your drivetrain as efficient as possible. It is a go-to chain oil for performance athletes who have taken their ride to the next level.

This lube is great for several reasons:

  • Ceramic reduces friction efficiently
  • It doesn’t attract dirt
  • Ride your bike 300-400 miles without lubing as long as the weather is dry
  • The lube lights up under UV light, and comes with a UV flashlight. You can use it to check if you’ve missed any spots and to know when it has worn off, and to know EXACTLY WHEN TO APPLY it again.

Remember that rain and wet weather can wash this lube off quickly and you need to remove it with a degreaser before you apply the lube again.

Best premium all-rounder: Muc Off Hydrodynamic Lube

All-Weather Option
Muc Off Hydrodynamic Chain Lube
$16.45

This chain lube is an ultra durable, low friction bike chain lubricant suitable for use in all weather conditions.

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06/13/2022 06:44 pm GMT

Muc Off’s Hydrodynamic Lube is an excellent choice if you are a heavy-duty user riding long distances in various weather conditions ranging from dry to wet and anything in between. 

For the premium price tag, you get a premium riding experience and superior chain protection. 

If you live in a wet climate or if you want something for the wet season and you don’t feel like lubing your chain too often, this lube will take care of your needs. Since it contains thick oil, it will shine in a special way in wet conditions. 

Like its ceramic version, this oil also comes with a UV flashlight, which you can shine on your chain to see if you have missed any part or want to know when it has worn off and be certain when it needs to be reapplied.

Best oil for extreme wet: White Lightning Wet Ride

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06/22/2023 06:22 am GMT

The White Lighting Wet Ride is one of the gold standards of chain protection and lubrication when riding in extreme weather. This premium quality synthetic chain oil will protect your bike chain in the harshest weather conditions: rain, snow, slush or even mud.

This oil makes your chain completely waterproof and ensures that you can ride for a long time without worrying that shifting becomes unreliable or replacing your damaged chain because of a lack of lubrication.

Remember that since this is a very thick oil, it’s only recommended for wet and extremely wet conditions, because it attracts grime and dirt. 

Best biodegradable lube: Green Oil

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06/22/2023 06:28 am GMT

Green Oil is a biodegradable alternative for those who don’t want to use synthetic oils. This lube uses plant-based extracts to produce quality lubrication for your bike chain.

I love that this is an all-purpose lubricant, and can be used both in wet and dry conditions. It may not match the performance benefits of some of its competitors, but it is not made for performance-oriented riding. Its main selling point is that it is sourced from sustainable sources, making no impact on the environment.

A pro tip for lubing

You need two hands to clean and lube your chain properly. You can knock over your bike easily if you have it leaning against the wall while doing bike maintenance. This is very frustrating, and it can be fixed easily with a bike stand.

Doing some bike maintenance on my bike stand

A bike stand makes bike maintenance more convenient. Even simple tasks, such as cleaning and oiling your chain or adjusting cables or brakes, are so much easier if you have a bike stand. You can see what you’re doing close up and it holds the bike firmly in place so both of your hands are free to work.

Bike Repair Stand
$82.98

This is a sturdy bike stand that makes bike maintenance much easier than flipping the bike upside down. Some tasks, such as working on the headtube, cable routing or truing the wheel are made really simple with this stand.

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06/13/2022 06:46 pm GMT

It’s a one-time investment you are going to enjoy the benefits of for life.

Happy Riding!

Sam Benkoczy

Hi, I'm Sam. I own and maintain 6 e-bikes, 15 regular bikes (road bikes, folding bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes among others). I learned about bikes from my local bike mechanic as well as from bike maintenance courses. I love being out there in the saddle, and using my bike as a practical means of transportation. You can also find me on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/bikecommuterhero Say hi to me at sam@bikecommuterhero.com.

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