With all the many bicycle lubricants available on the market today, choosing which type to use for your mountain bike chain can be a little tricky. Aerosol or drip? Dry, wet, or wax lube? To help you decide, here are some suggestions for choosing the most suitable bicycle lubricant for your chain.
Aerosol vs. Drip Bike Lube
Bicycle lubricants come in either aerosol or drip application. Drip application is recommended, as it is easier to get the lube directly on the parts of the bicycle chain that need to be lubricated. The spray application can be messy. The lube gets on other parts of your bicycle, which just collects more grime and dust while riding.
Types of Bicycle Lubricant
With the many different types of bicycle lubricant, it’s important to pick the right kind that matches the conditions you ride in. Here are some ideas that will help you choose which type of bicycle lubricant is best for what riding condition:
1. Wet Lubes: This type of bike lube goes on wet and stays wet, and is perfect for riding in wet, muddy, or snowy riding conditions. It’s also excellent when you will be crossing many streams.
Advantages: This types of lube doesn’t wash off when it gets wet and doesn’t require regular reapplication unlike with wax or dry lubricants.
Disadvantages: Wet lubricants can be messy if you’re riding in certain types of conditions. For instance, you’ll get a black oily residue on your chain if you ride in dry and dusty conditions. It’s also more difficult to clean the chain.
2. Dry lubes: This type goes on wet and then dries. Dry lubes are excellent for riding in dry and dusty conditions.
Advantages: Dry bicycle lubricants prevent dirt from sticking to the chain and don’t get as messy as wet lubes. It is best to apply dry lubricant on your chain several hours before a ride, so it dries and doesn’t collect dirt while riding.
Disadvantages: Dry bike lubricants wash off and need to be reapplied if you’re going to cross many streams or riding in wetter conditions.
3. Wax lubes: Wax lube leaves a wax coating on the bicycle chain. This is a good option for dry riding conditions.
Advantages: A wax coating makes the dirt flake off the chain, eliminating regular cleaning. This is an ideal alternative if your chain doesn’t get wet often and if you always want to keep your chain clean.
Disadvantages: This type of bicycle lubricant has to be applied more frequently than oil lubricant and doesn’t work well in muddy or wet conditions. There are some arguments about whether wax lubricants are as good for bike chains as oil lubricants, because the wax isn’t believed to get in between the necessary moving components as well as oil lubricants.
Remember to clean your bike chain before you apply bicycle lubricant on it. Otherwsise, the lube will work the dirt, dust, and mud into the moving components of your chain, accelerating chain wear.