Looking after your bike – picking the right lube

Keeping your chain clean and well lubed is key to a happy bike; there’s nothing more shameful than a rusty and squeaky chain! It’s something so simple but is often the most neglected part of bikes we see pass through our workshop, even on our own bikes sometimes! But take of your chain and it’ll perform better and last longer, improving your whole riding experience, with smoother shifting and quieter running. Not only that, it’ll help your cassette and chainring last longer, saving you money there too, which is no bad thing when a cassette can run as much £300 or more these days! Here we, with the help of Muc-Off, break down what lube is best for certain conditions and how to keep your chain looking and running like new.

Keeping it clean

Just throwing more and more lube on your chain is not the right approach, contrary to what many believe. Too much lube will attract more dust, dirt and grime and form a nasty paste, grinding your drivetrain into early submission. Keeping it clean prior to applying more lube is key to long chain life. Muc-Off’s Chain Cleaner X-3 is their latest device to help keep your chain looking as it should. With 120 cleaning points and a sturdy construction, the X-3 is a must have in your drivetrain cleaning arsenal. Teamed with their Bio Degreaser Drivetrain Cleaner, you’ll have all you need to get your chain squeaky clean and ready for some fresh lube to be applied.

Lube is lube right?

Well, yes and no! Any lube is better than nothing at all, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some science behind keeping your chain lubricated. You’ll probably have seen there are “wet” and “dry” lubes available. All lubes are wet though right, how can a liquid be dry? That is very true but getting the right one for the conditions is key.

Dry Lubes, like Muc-Offs Dry Lube, use a thin, liquid carrier than then dries to leave a waxy film on your chain. It’s this wax that provides the lubrication. This means it attracts less dirt, but washes off easily, so needs to be reapplied more often. This makes it best saved for dry, dusty conditions and shorter rides.

Wet Lube on the other hand is much thicker remains wet and flows into the nooks and crannies of your chain to lubricate it. As it remains a liquid, it resists water better than a waxy dry lube, but dust will stick to it and grind away at your chain. Wet lubes then are best for wetter, more winter-like conditions and longer rides.

Do I need a special lube for my e-bike?

While most e-bike chains are the same as regular chains, that hasn’t stopped brands like Muc-Off producing e-bike specific formulations of their dry and  wet lubes to help the chains cope with the additional stresses placed on them. If you have an e-bike, we’d recommend going for an e-bike specific lube if possible, but as we said before, as long as used correctly, a regular lube will do the job just fine too!

After spending your cold, hard-earned cash on a bike it really pays to look after it and with the chain being the only link between the cranks and the cassette powering you forward, taking care of will mean you reap the benefits in the long run and your bike will thank you for it, giving you super smooth shifting and a quiet ride.