The Best Bike Chain Lubes for 2020

The best chain lubes and how to make sense of dry, wet, ceramic and wax lubricants

Components Cross Country Cyclocross Enduro Gravel Tech

How to choose the right bicycle chain lube

Finding the best bike chain lube for the riding you do can be daunting. There are so many bike lube options now that you can reach the breaking point just from searching for it.  With options ranging from dry, wet, ceramic and wax – it’s hard to tell what will help you excel in your areas riding conditions and what can make it worse. That’s why here to help because the lube that you choose truly can make the difference between a squeaking chain or a smooth shift til the end of each ride. Follow along as we roll smoothly through the best bike lubes on the market.   


The Best Dry Chain Lubes

Best used in the dry, spring and summer conditions when you have less chance of moisture or water hitting the drive train. In general, dry lubes are much cleaner to use and attract less particulate build-up even with repeated applications. This makes them much better in dry or dusty conditions, especially off-road or on gravel. The downside is they don’t last very long and water washes the lube away.

Squirt lube wet/dry

 

Squirt is a favorite amongst riders in dry areas as well as cyclocross racers everywhere. This wax-based (available in wet and dry) long-lasting lube is great for anyone on the road or in the woods. Squirt lube lasts longer than other waxed based lubes that we’ve tested previously as it has 4 waxes emulsified well. It contains 36% wax rather than the 17% typically found in other solvent-based wax lubes.

It has good, low viscosity so it penetrates well into the chain pins easily without much drama. It’s best applied on a squeaky, dry chain so take the time to clean the chain and rings of other products. From then on, just apply sparingly or liberally. It doesn’t matter as it manages itself, shedding excess lube.

Low-temperature lube that doesn’t harden is available. And it’s all biodegradable and earth-friendly as well.

Price: $13.95
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More information check out: www.squirtcyclingproducts.com


Muc-Off Dry Lube

 

Dry lube that is formulated to hold up in extreme conditions that would branch off into near wet lube territory. Muc-Off Dry Lube made our Best of list because of it’s highly versatile. We’ve found this lube to excel both on the road and off – especially in the mid-late summer when long rides are plenty and thicker lube is needed. This can be attributed to the penetrative qualities of the lube and the fact that there is a wax component in the chemical makeup. Muc-Off Dry Lube is biodegradable so don’t worry about getting it on the grass when liberally applying.

Price: $11.00
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For more info check out Muc-off.com


WPL Dry Lube

WPL Dry Chain Lube is a bio-based chain lube formulated for dry and dusty riding conditions and manufactured in Whistler Canada. The biodegradable, non-toxic, and PTFE-free formula keeps the gears shifting smoothly and the environment safe from harm. WPL’s formula is hinged on class-leading surface-binding compounds that create a thin film around moving chain links to create a solid performance in many conditions. Check out thier full line of petrol free lubes, greases and fork service lubes. 

Price: $13.00
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For more info check out WPLBike.com


Pedros X Dry

X Dry is the newest lube from the team at Pedro’s, formulated with its exclusive CleanTech Chemistry – X Dry uses advanced polymer technology that dries to a unique semi-fluid film and provides clean and long-lasting performance. We’ve found the X dry works excellent in dry to spring type conditions and runs very quietly. Be sure to clean you chain thoughly before appllication though, X-Dry works best on a very clean chain from the get-go. 

Price: $7.00
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For more info check out Pedros.com


Rock and Roll Absolute Dry

An extremely clean running dry lube that we’ve found works well on road bikes as well as dirt. The wax particulate works well with keeping the chain clean and quiet during long rides. We do recommend adding a bearing to the container to help churn up the wax for a better full bodied application. If you’re a fan Rock and Roll lube, you need to add this to your arsenal.

Price: $7.00
buy now

For more info check out Rocklube.com


The Best Wet Chain Lubes

Do you ride in inclimate weather often or do you like the mid-week roll through the creek crossing? Well if you’ve answered yes – you should add a wet lube to your collection. Most wet lubes provide efficient coverage and liberation for over 100 miles of riding with a single application. Besides their protective qualities, wet lubes excel at reducing drivetrain noise but be mindful they can collect dust and dirt quite easily – more reason to choose your chain lube wisely for the season and ride at hand.

Dumonde Tech

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Dumonde Tech Original Bicycle Chain Lube is a go-to with many mountain bikers and cyclocross racers. It’s one of the few chain lubes that can stand up to the worst conditions. Functioning as a liquid plastic, this chain lube undergoes polymerization to form a strong plating that helps your chain stay cleaner, quieter, and last longer. It’s available in the original, full-strength formula shown here as well as a lighter version called Dumonde Tech Light. We’ve found the more viscous, original formula is the better choice for bad weather and gritty conditions.

Price: $9.00
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For more info check out dumondetech.com


Rock and Roll Wet Extreme

 

A classic when the weather turns wet and sloppy. Rock and Roll Wet Extreme will keep your chain quiet and shifting well though all manner of adventure. Intended for mountain bike and wet condition, this formulation of lube is thicker than the Rock and Roll Dry but offers the same quiet rolling characteristics and wax-based formula – highly recommended for century rides and all-day gravel grinders. 

Price: $9.00
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For more info check out Rocklube.com


Morgan Blue Race Oil

 

The leading lube and oils used amongst the World Tour Teams, Morgan Blue are rarely seen on the shelves in North America. With products ranging from lube, grease, massage oil and beyond Morgan Blue has every facet of rider care covered. Race Oil is perfect for the weather of the cobbled classics and the spring weather around the US. The thick viscosity and synthetic additives to help reduce friction, to obtain a smooth shifting and extend the life of the drive train. Highly recommended for cyclocross and early season mountain bike applications. 

Price: $8.00
buy now

For more info check out MorganBlue.com


WD-40 BIKE Wet Lube

WD-40 BIKE Wet Lube

If you like WD-40 you’re gonna love their bicycle-specific line, especially the wet chain lube. The WD-40 wet lube is for wet, muddy and extreme conditions – perfect for mountain biking and cyclocross. This lube provides a durable coating in a proprietary no-wax formula won’t leave a sticky residue on your drivetrain. Bonus, the WD-40 Bike line has a great smell and will give you an extra reason to apply liberally to your drive train.  

Price: $9.00
buy now

For more info check out WD-40Bike.com


Muc Off Wet Lube

Muc-Off Wet Chain Lube is an ultra-durable, long-distance bicycle chain lube formulated to excel over long distances in wet or muddy conditions. Muc-Off uses what they call ’Extreme Pressure Additives’ that are said to coat every part of the link to provide a smooth gear change and an ultra-efficient drive chain. The extreme pressure additives also increase efficiency and the vegetable oil-based formula can be applied to chain, shifters, cables, and derailleurs.

Price: $9.00
buy now
For more info check out Muc-off.com


The Best Ceramic Chain Lubes

Ceramic lubes are now commonplace in the local bike shops but what makes them different and how do they translate into a better ride? Well, the makeup of the ceramic lube is based in tiny, boron-nitride or nano-ceramic balls to roll against the chain’s sliding surfaces. This makeup allows the chain to maximize your power output by reducing metal to metal contact and can provide up to 10 times the performance of conventional chain oils and lubes.

Muc-Off Ceramic Lube

If you’re looking to maximize marginal gains and eliminate waste you should check out Muc-Off’s line of C3 ceramic lubes. Designed with added nano ceramic particles and synthetic polymers, C3 Ceramic Chain Lube will take your pedaling power and transfer it to speed on the bike. The C3 Dry Ceramic Lube is biodegradable, petroleum-free formula so you don’t have to worry about yourself, your bike or the planet. Available in both wet and dry lubes so you can roll ceramically on the road and in the woods respectively.

Price: $9.00
buy now

For more info check out Muc-off.com


Finish Line Ceramic:

A full synthetic lubricant, enhanced with nano-sized platelets of boron nitride and micron particles of fluoropolymer. Finish Lines Ceramic lube builds its a ceramic coating on the frictional surfaces of a drivetrain that results in pedaling smoothness and added quietness. Mountain bike, cyclo-cross, road and track racing. Finish Line is so confident in the performance of its Ceramic line, they claim it delivers more miles per application, often exceeding 175 miles. A personal favorite and known performer – if you’re looking for a change in your cross country or cyclocross lube, put this on your list.

Price: $9.00
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More information check out: finishlineusa.com


Specialty: The latest, greatest and sometimes the priciest lubes that will get you that extra second in a time trial or longer time between services. We’re talking about wax, hydrodynamic and everything in between.  If you’re looking to get the max from your performance and your chain – keep a close eye on the next couple products – they can add watts to your performance and subtract seconds from your personal records.

UFO by Ceramic Speed:

Said to generate less friction than any other chain lube on the market – Ceramic Speed’s UFO Drip Chain Coating is applied in liquid form but hardens to a 100% dry chain coating. A favorite amongst World Tour time trial specialist and climbers alike – UFO is easy to apply and hardens quickly. Like most things cutting edge, UFO comes at a premium price of $75 for a 180ml bottle. UFO claims that as long as you keep your chain coated and it will then remain clean as long as you continuously apply UFO Drip every 200 km as recommended.

Price: $75.00
buy now

For more info check out CeramicSpeed.com


Muc-Off Hydrodynamic Lube:

If you are looking for the most efficient bike chain lube for long distances and/or the harshest of weather conditions, look no further. Developed specifically for Team Sky, Muc-Off Hydrodynamic Chain Lube will last for miles and miles with all the performance of the companies C3 ceramic lubes. Having used the Hydrodynamic lube many times, we can attest to the long life and performance that it offers. Though designed with long road races in mind, Hydrodynamic Lube works fantastically for off-road applications as well as cyclocross.

Price: $25.00
buy now

For more info check out Muc-off.com


The Best Wax Chain Lubes

Wax lubes are a variation dry lubes and pay homage to the paraffin wax days of old. They exhibit the same properties and we’ll treat them separately here as ones that are in solid form and have to be melted for chain application.

Molten Speed Wax

Blending new age science with old-world technique, Molten Speed Wax delivers drive train efficiency and dirt repellency in varying conditions. Using fully refined paraffin, DuPont PTFE and the smallest micron size Molybdenum disulfide available, Molten hot wax lubricant clings to chains but nothing else. Though the process may take some time with cleaning and waxing – the final product is truly remarkable and lasts for many rides in all kind of weather. For use; 1 lb. of MSW waxes a minimum of 8 training chains or 16 race chains. If you’re looking to mix it up this season and try something new – look no further.

Price: $10.00
buy now

For more information: For more info check out MoltenSpeedWax.com


WEND Wax

 

Truly the first ever “rub‐on”, wax-based, chain lubricant. Wax‐On is a sophisticated paraffin based formula that includes proprietary friction reducers as well as proven lubricants such as Zinc and Teflon. The application is a cinch as the user simply rubs the wax onto the chains rollers via an application stick, resulting in a race-ready waxed chain in seconds.

Price: $20.00
buy now

More information check out: wendperformance.com/


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About the author: Mtbr

Mtbr.com is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.


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