How to use Chain Lube?

Routinely lubing your bike chain will improve its performance and prevent it from wearing out early. Choose a lube that’s right for your bike based on the conditions you’ll be riding it in. Once you have a lubricant, you should clean your bike chain thoroughly before applying it. Then you can easily apply the lube to your bike chain. Once you get the hang of it, you can start routinely lubing your bike chain in a matter of minutes!

Choosing a Bike Lube

1.Choose a wet lube if you’ll be biking in wet weather. Rain, snow, and slushy roads can wash away dry lube on a bike chain. Wet lube will be more resistant.

  • You can find bike lubes of all kinds online or at your local bike shop.

2.Use a dry lube if you live in an arid climate. Wet lube isn’t necessary if you’re going to be riding in dry weather conditions, and it attracts more dirt than dry lube. Dry lube will keep your chain cleaner, but you’ll need to reapply it often, usually about every 50–100 miles (80–161 km) of riding you do.

3.Get a wax lube if you use your bike to get around. Wax lube is less messy than other kinds of bike lubes, so it won’t get all over your clothes if you’re riding your bike into work or to the store. Wax lube also keeps your bike chain cleaner than other kinds of lubes, as dirt and grit are “shed” from the wax compound.

4.Don’t lube your bike chain with SG-40. Only use lubricants designed specifically for use on bike chains. SG-40 is a solvent that evaporates quickly, and only contains a small amount of lubricant. This product can cause dirt and grime to build up on the chain.

Cleaning the Bike Chain

1.Spray degreaser spray or isopropyl alcohol onto an old rag. The rag will get dirty from the chain, so use one you’re not too attached to. You don’t need a lot of degreaser or alcohol on the rag; a quick spray should be enough.

  • Don’t have degreaser spray or isopropyl alcohol? If the bike chain you’re lubing isn’t that dirty, you may be able to just wipe it down with a dry rag. If there’s still dirt and grime after, you should make a trip to your local hardware store to get a degreaser spray or isopropyl alcohol.

2.Hold the the rag against part of the bike chain.
 Hold the rag in place with your hand. The chain should be touching the part of the rag you sprayed with degreaser or isopropyl alcohol.

3.Backpedal the chain so it runs through the rag.
 Grab onto one of the pedals of the bike with your free hand and crank the pedals backward. The chain should start to move around the chainrings on the bike. Keep backpedaling until the whole chain has slid through the rag in your hand several times. Hold the rag in place as the chain spins.

  • Be careful not to catch your fingers in between the chain and chainrings!

4.Use a chain scrubber for a quick solution.
 If you don’t want to clean the chain by hand, you can purchase a 2-piece plastic chain scrubber. This device clamps around the chain and has a reservoir for degreaser and rotating brushes that clean the chain. To use it, follow the instructions included with the package.

  • Generally, you’ll slide 2 pieces together around the chain, put degreaser on the bottom half, then pedal the chain backwards for 10 revolutions.

5.Put your bike chain back on if it slips off. Give the chain slack by pushing the rear derailleur arm (the metal arm on the back tire) toward the handlebars. Put the chain back on the chainrings and push the rear derailleur arm back into place. Pedal the chain a few times and you should be good to go!

Applying the Lube

1.Shake the container of lube thoroughly.
 The different ingredients in the lube may have separated as it sat on the shelf, so give it a good shake to mix them all together.
2.Squeeze the bottle of lube and backpedal the chain as you apply it.
 Hold the bottle of lube so the nozzle is resting on the inside of the chain. Use your free hand to crank the pedals backward so the chain moves around the chainrings on the bike. Run the chain around the chainrings several times, continuing to squeeze the lube onto each part of the chain as it passes by. Hold the bottle of lube steady as you backpedal the chain.
3.Set aside the lube and continue to backpedal the chain.
 This will help work the lube into the chain. Run the chain around the chainrings at least 10 more times. Then, slowly shift through the gears to distribute the lube to the cassette gears and chainrings.

4.Wipe off excess lube with a rag. Hold the rag against the chain and backpedal the chain. Run the chain around the chainrings and through the rag a few times until all the excess lube is off.

  • Don’t skip this step! Excess lube can cause dirt and grime to build up on the chain.