How Often Should I Be Oiling/Lubricating My Bicycle Chain?
The answer to this question will greatly depend on the type of rider and bicycle that you currently have, the rate and mileage that you use your bicycle will very often dictate how often you should be oiling your bicycle chain
If your using your bicycle several times a week (which could be your daily commute to work five days a week for example, which could be classed as a regular rider) then I would recommend oiling your bicycle chain at least once a month
Oiling your chain once a month is a good rule of thumb to follow however it will not suit every regular bicycle rider, if your bicycle, and chain is fairly new then oiling your chain every two months will suffice for the first year, then switching to oiling your chain at least once a month for the second year
If you are more of an extreme cyclist, which is to say that your cycling almost everyday in urban and natural settings (to work and back during the week and then mountain biking or cycling on off road on the weekend with the same bicycle), then oiling your bicycle chain more often is recommended
For more extreme and regular cyclist, I would recommend oiling your bicycle chain at least once every two weeks. Riding more often and in challenging conditions, such as mountain biking on rocky terrain and on muddy off road tracks or riding in the wet and cold weather conditions on a regular basis puts much more strain on the bicycle chain. Dirt and debri can build up and cycling on a regular basis puts more strain on the bicycle chain than a regular or casual cyclists
If have checked your bicycle chain regularly and noticed there is a large build up of dirt and debri inside and outside of the bicycle chain links then it’s always a good time to clean and re-oil your bicycle chain. Sometimes you can hear your bicycle chain squeal or squeak as you cycle which is a definite tell tale sign of the chain needing cleaned and re-oiled asap
Common sense applies to this question as it will be different for every cyclist, as long as you’re doing regular checks and maintenance then you’ll get a good sense of how long you can go without oiling your bicycle chain
For regular bicycle riders then I would recommend oiling your bicycle chain at least once a month, for more extreme riders I would recommend oiling your bicycle chain at least once every 1-2 weeks
How Often Should I Be Checking My Bicycle Chain For Oiling & Maintenance?
Make sure to inspect your bicycle chain every 1-2 weeks, this will allow you to keep on top of all of the dirt and debri that your bicycle chain gathers on a regular basis. Regular checks on your bicycle chain is very important to controlling and managing the level of dirt, debri and rust that your bicycle chain will develop over time. Always be on the look out for any damage, wear and tear and any signs of rust forming on the bicycle chain
Why Do I Need To Oil My Bicycle Chain?
Cyclists ask this question a lot, oiling the chain on your bicycle is one of the best and most important factors to the chain lasting longer and giving you less problems long term
Oiling the chain on your bicycle maintains the function and health of the chain and keeps it running in optimal health
Cleaning and oiling the chain prevents dirt and debri blockages in and around the chains links that make up the entire bicycle chain and oiling the chain prevents rust buildup
If you do not oil and maintain your bicycle chain on a regular basis then you are likely to have more problems with the chain. Rust and dirt will slowly erode and make the chain not fit for purpose and will mean you have to replace it
What Does Oiling My Bicycle Chain Do?
Fundamentally oiling your bicycle chain prevents the start and build up of rust forming on your bicycle chain, one of the most common parts of your bicycle prone to rust is your bicycle chain, if the chain is not clean and well lubricated with an oil treatment on a regular basis then the dirt, oxygen and moisture in the air can quickly start the corrosion process
The bicycle chain is particularly more likely to rust than any other part of the bicycle, most bicycles when purchased have the chain oiled which provides an element of protection however the rest is up to the cyclist to keep the chain well maintained on a regular basis
Oiling your bicycle chain will prolong the life of the bicycle chain and keep it fit for purpose for a longer and more prolonged period of time. The biggest factor to your bicycle chain becoming dysfunctional is the buildup of rust and dirt, rust and dirt will slowly erode and make the bicycle chain not fit for purpose
What Oil Should I Use To Oil My Bicycle Chain?
It’s important to be aware that there are two types of oils that can be used for your bicycle chain, there is a dry and wet oil to choose from
Dry oil/lubricants are used to keep dry dust and dirt off the chain in dry weather conditions, dry oil/lubricants are best suited to the summer and autumn months of the year as there is less rain and wet weather conditions than the rest of the year
Wet oil/lubricants are used to give your bicycle chain extra protection in the wet and cold weather conditions, wet oil/lubricants are best suited to the winter and colder months of the year as there is more rain and lower temperature weather conditions than the rest of the year
Wet oil/lubricants are a lot thicker than dry oil/lubricants, which gives wet oils a better there superior protection. Due to their thickness, wet lubricants tend to be a lot more stickier, which has a tendency to attract more dirt, debris and dust to the bicycle chain
Choosing the best lubricant for your own bicycle chain depends on on your riding conditions, If you’re a commuter or mountain biker who may encounter rain, puddles and mud, a wet lube is the best choice. If you’re a cyclist who rides mainly in dry conditions, choose a dry lube
Below I will list some popular wet and dry lubricants, however, before I do, do not make the mistake of thinking that WD-40 is a lubricant is a bicycle chain lubricant, it is not. The solvents within WD-40 will actually push lube out of your chain, causing the links to rub together and wear out. So avoid using WD-40, using the following wet and dry oils will work just fine:
Dry Lubricants For Your Bicycle Chain
Muc-Off Dry Chain Lube
Muc-Off Dry Chain Lube is a durable, deep penetrating Chain Lubricant and oil that’s formulated to hold up in extreme conditions that would destroy ordinary chain lubes
Muc-Off Dry Lube is a highly versatile, dry weather chain oil that has state of the art penetrative qualities to ensure that the lube is driven deep into each chain link’s core. There’s no need to worry because Muc-Off Dry Lube is biodegradable, so it’s safe for you, your bike and the planet
Muc-Off Dry Chain Lube Spray
Dry Chain Lube has been formulated to hold up to the extreme pressures that are applied to a modern drive chain. This highly versatile, dry weather chain lube has superior penetrative qualities that ensure every part of the chain link is completely lubricated
The advanced ‘Dry Formula’ creates a clean, durable and protective chain wax layer that inhibits rust development and chain link corrosion. The formula creates exceptionally low surface friction to provide incredible drive chain efficiency without attracting contaminants. It’s clean, and it’s easy to use!
C3 Dry Ceramic Chain Lube
C3 Dry Ceramic Chain Lube provides total corrosion protection and unparalleled performance in dry, dusty and damp conditions because of the added nano ceramic particles and synthetic polymers
C3 Dry Ceramic Chain Lube maximises your power output by reducing metal to metal contact to a groundbreaking, low level and provides up to 10 times the performance of conventional chain oils and lubes. The Muc-Off R&D team definitely didn’t cut corners when they brought the future of bike lubes to the masses
C3 Dry Ceramic Lube is biodegradable and petroleum free so you don’t have to worry about yourself, your bike or the planet. The new C3 Dry Ceramic Lube is available in 50ml and 120ml so whether you’re in the workshop, on the road or hitting the trails, we’ve got you covered
Wet Lubricants For Your Bicycle Chain
Muc-Off Wet Chain Lube
Muc-Off Wet Chain Lube is an ultra durable, long distance bicycle chain lubricant and oil that’s been specifically formulated to excel over long distances in wet or muddy conditions. The formula has been derived from natural ingredients and made completely from renewable sources
Muc-Off Wet Chain Lube penetrates deep into your chain link’s core to provide long lasting lubrication and total protection. The integral ’Extreme Pressure Additives’ coats every part of the link to provide a silky smooth gear change and an ultra efficient drive chain
C3 Wet Ceramic Lube
C3 Ceramic Wet Chain Lube unique ceramic coating provides incredible durability and long distance performance on all bicycle chains. The innovative formulation in our chain oil also uses Boron Nitride to ensure ultra low friction for ultimate drive chain efficiency, high performance and durability
The waterproof qualities of Muc-Off C3 Ceramic Wet Chain Lube also means that your drive chain will excel in the harshest of riding conditions. C3 Ceramic Wet Lube is packaged in an ergonomic bottle complete with pipette system for easy use and application. It’s also 95% biodegradable and is ideal for Road, Cyclocross and MTB
Can I Over Or Under Lubricate My Bicycle Chain?
Yes, it’s possible to over and under oil your bicycle chain so you have to watch out for this. If your bicycle chain is under oiled, which is to say that too little of an amount of oil has been applied then the bicycle chain is likely going to be too dry which can cause friction for each chain link on the entire bicycle chain
Over lubricating the bicycle chain can cause dirt and debris to build up at a quicker rate, oil is a sticky substance that can allow greater amounts of dirt and debris to latch onto, more so than a correctly lubricated bicycle chain. If you do over lubricate your bicycle chain then make sure to wipe of any excess amount of oil with a clean dry cloth, it’s very important that you use a clean cloth to prevent any additional dirt being moved to the inside of the bicycle chains
When Should I Lubricate My Bicycle Chain?
As mentioned before you should generally be oiling your bicycle chain at least once a month, for more extreme riders I would recommend oiling your bicycle chain at least once every 1-2 weeks. However there are occasions and times when it would make sense to oil your chain outside of your habitual bicycle maintenance sessions
I would recommend oiling your bicycle chain after cleaning your bicycles drivetrain, this is directly connected to the bicycle chain so it makes sense to do all of it at once. Another good time to oil your bicycle chain is after you have been riding in heavy rain. The heavy rain can wash off all of the oil on your bicycle chain leaving it exposed to the harsh weather conditions
Another time to consider oiling your bicycle chain is the night before a large cycle, if you plan to go on a long and treacherous cycle on the Saturday, then it’s a good time to do some basic maintenance, which will include oiling your bicycle chain the night before the big cycle to avoid any problems on the big day
Should My Bicycle Chain Be De-Greeced Prior To Putting On Fresh Lubricant?
Yes absolutely, It’s always a good idea to thoroughly clean (which naturally takes away a large portion of the oil) your bicycle chain before applying fresh oil. It’s good practice to wipe the entire length of the chain with a clean rag to remove any dust, dirt or debris. Then apply a new coating of oil on your bicycle chain, this is just a recommended thing to do and it makes perfect sense
How Often Should I Clean And Oil My Bicycle Chain?
Similarly to the first question, the answer to this question will greatly depend on the type of rider and bicycle that you currently have. The rate and mileage that you use your bicycle will very often dictate how often you should be cleaning and oiling your bicycle chain
As mentioned before, I would always recommend that you clean your bicycle chain before applying fresh oil (re-lubricate). So this means that every time you plan to oil your bicycle chain, then I would recommend giving a good clean first
For regular bicycle riders then I would recommend cleaning and oiling your bicycle chain at least once a month, for more extreme riders I would recommend cleaning and oiling your bicycle chain at least once every 1-2 weeks
I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have anything to add, then leave a comment down below. All of the information has been thoroughly researched and I have plenty of real world experience on this issue to add as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy!