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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best bike chain lubes 2024 — keep your bike's drivetrain happy for increased durability and efficiency

Looking for lubrication that will make your bike run that little bit sweeter? Our guide to the best chain lubes for smooth running and long-term chain protection has everything you need to decide

This article contains links to retailers. Purchases made after clicking on those links may help support road.cc by earning us a commission but all of our reviews are fully independent. Find out more about road.cc buyer's guides.

The best bike chain lubes will keep your chain running smoothly, even in wet conditions, and resist debris build-up. There is a bewildering choice of chain lubes out there, so should you opt for an all-weather bike chain lube or switch between wet and dry lubes based on weather conditions? Here's everything you need to know, including the best bike chain lubes after extensive testing in various weather conditions, covering tens of thousands of miles. 


Ensuring your bike's chain remains well-lubricated is often overlooked, but it's essential for a smooth, efficient, and durable ride. 

The best chain lubes penetrate the chain's internal components, ensuring that the lubrication reaches where it's needed most, which creates a protective, low-friction layer on the chain to prevent corrosion and extend the life of the drivetrain. Some chain lubes can be expensive but, arguably, they're worth the money when compared to replacing drivetrain components.

Choosing the right lube will depend on factors such as weather conditions and riding style, but you should always clean your chain thoroughly before applying any type of lube. Lubing a dirty chain will wash grit into the link where it causes wear.

Choosing between wet and dry lubes will depend on the riding conditions and environmental factors. Wet lube is designed for wet and rainy conditions whereas (you guessed it), dry lube is suited to dry conditions. A lot of cyclists will switch to dry in the spring and summer - although if you're from the UK or a similarly unpredictable territory when it comes to the weather, you'll know that summer doesn't necessarily mean you won't get rained on.

Wet lubes are often oil-based, designed to repel water and prevent rust. On the other hand, dry lubes are typically wax or Teflon-based, creating a drier coating that reduces friction and doesn't attract much dirt. Dry lubes are cleaner but need more frequent application.

Below are some of our favourite lubes for various conditions and bike types. You'll also find plenty of extra tips and info below our selections if you still need more advice.

The best chain lubes: our top picks

The best chain lubes

Silca Synergetic Drip Lube

Silca Synergetic Drip Lube

10
Best overall chain lube
Buy now for £27.99 from Sigma Sports
Lasts many hundreds of miles
Don't need to start with a clean chain
Keeps your drivetrain very clean
Easily applied
Super-low stiction
A bit runny

Silca's Synergetic Drip Lube lasts for ages, is very clean, and will save you loads of money on drivetrain components. Yes, its RRP is £32 a bottle which is around £53 per 100ml, but that will last you a year and save you many times that amount by replacing prematurely worn components.

Tester Mike writes: "The compelling argument for Silca Synergetic is long-term. It's easy to apply, lasts ages and keeps things clean, but the real benefit is the protection it gives your components. Even if those components, like mine, live in Scotland. The longer you use it, the more you offset the price, and happily it lasts really well.

Based on my experience over 800km of mostly off-road riding, Silca Synergetic can save you enough money – over time – that it's functionally cheaper than the 'cheap' options. It's extremely effective, very easy to live with, and will keep your bike out of the shop and rolling in those hills where it belongs."

Oxford Mint Wet Lube

Oxford Mint Wet Lube 75ml

8
Best budget chain lube
Buy now for £3.99 from Oxford Products
Easy to apply and wipe away
Long lasting
Good value
Attracts dust and dirt

The Oxford Mint Wet Lube is an effective wet lube for bad weather and it's a very decent price too. It offers effective and long-lasting lubrication for bike chains in wet and variable conditions, priced at approximately a tenth of the cost per 100ml compared to Silca's Synergetic Drip Lube, at around £5.

Test Ashley says: "Being a wet lube, and an oily one at that, it does attract dirt quite readily. I wouldn't suggest that it's bad in any way, only that when the time comes to re-lube, you will need to give the chain a good degrease and dry first, to save creating a grinding paste through your drivetrain."

It's also available in 150ml bottles, being slightly better value at £7.49 versus £3.99 for the half-size one.

We've also reviewed the Oxford Mint Dry Lube which is a great value dry lube, also priced at £3.99. 

Morgan Blue Dry Wax

Morgan Blue Dry Wax

8
Best dry lube
Buy now for £8.99 from Trade Inn
Lasts well in the dry
Cleaner than many oil-based options
Dries quickly
Biodegradable
Not so long lasting in wet weather
Affected by cold weather

 

Morgan Blue Dry Wax chain lubricant provides effective, quiet and long-lasting performance in dry conditions in particular. Like other wax-based chain lubes, it keeps the chain cleaner than an oil-based lube. It's not recommended for cold weather though, Morgan Blue suggests not using the lube below 0°C, which isn't unusual with wax-based lubricants. 

It's a really good option for general riding and racing as it applies easily, runs clean and performs well in mixed conditions. It's also effective at keeping the drivetrain quiet and smooth running, and it's reasonably priced costing around £7.95 per 100ml. 

Squirt long lasting chain lube

Squirt Long Lasting Chain Lube

8
Best value chain lube
Buy now for £9.99 from Wiggle
Long lasting
Resists dirt buildup
Easy to apply
Even new chains need to be degreased and cleaned before application

Squirt's Long Last Chain Lube is an excellent lube for sensible money. It's a mixture of paraffin and hydrocarbon waxes, water and emulsifiers which, unline oil-based lubes, dries after application, meaning it can protect your chain from road spray and rain without encouraging abrasive particles of dirt and dust to stick. This helps to keep your chain running cleanly and smoothly regardless of the conditions. 

Squirt is easy to apply and is well-balanced for price and durability. As with any lube, ideally you want to be adding it to a clean chain, and Squirt recommends degreasing whether your chain is old or brand new. It is hardwearing in all sorts of conditions and, once you have done that initial deep chain clean, it is easy to keep topped up.

It's also available in a range of sizes, with this 120ml bottle being the most common. They also do 15ml bottles for carrying on the bike, and a workshop-ready 500ml bottle and a Low-Temp version too. 

Wolf tooth WT-1 All conditions chain lube

Wolf Tooth WT-1 All Conditions Chain Lube

9
Best chain lube for all conditions
Buy now for £17.99 from Sigma Sports
Simple to use
Cleans and lubricates your transmission
Long-lasting
Gunks up the microfibre cloths fast

Wolf tooth's WT-1 all conditions chain lube is easy to use, long-lasting, weather-resistant and – perhaps best of all – makes your transmission really easy to keep clean.

Tester Neil writes: "Wolf Tooth's WT-1 Chain Lube may be the first I've tried that really delivers everything I want from it – and quite a bit more besides. It's a blue-green liquid that's thick enough to apply sparingly, one link at a time. There's no need to remove old lube first, but I started with a freshly-degreased drivetrain anyway, because I wanted to see exactly what this does differently."

"Once it's applied you can run the chain through the transmission a couple of dozen times, or go for a short ride. This allows the 'detergent-like' component to get to work. After this, a wipe with a 'micro-cloth' brings off a remarkable amount of black gunk – so much so, I found it hard to imagine any lubricant being left behind. However, on the next ride the chain ran impressively quietly and smoothly."

Blub Graph Premium Race Quality Bike Lube

Blub Graph Premium Race Quality Bike Lube 120ml

8
Best chain lube for performance
Buy now for £15.49 from Trade Inn
Easy to apply
Nice, quiet lubricant
Keeps your drivetrain clean
You have to apply it to a very clean chain
Unratified efficiency claims
Not so impressive in the wet

Blub's Graph Premium Race Quality Bike Lube is a clean, quiet and long-lasting wax-based lube with claimed efficiency gains. According to Blub's own unratified testing, its lube lasts longer and stays more efficient for longer than other brands' waxes. Though being somewhat coy, Blub has left those other brands anonymous, so it's hard to know just how much emphasis to put on those claims, but being more efficient is exactly what you want from a race lube. 

In the real world, tester Josh said "I found it durable, and during summer rides at least, it ran smoothly, quietly and left the drivetrain clean and free of grease and crud." He added, "I found I needed to reapply the lube very infrequently, and in summer while I was racking up a decent mileage, applying the lube once a week was more than adequate, leaving me with a very quiet chain and drivetrain."

The £16.99 cost of the Blub lube makes it more expensive than a lot of conventional lubes but it's a well-priced entry to the world of drip-wax lubes. If you have't tried a wax-based lubricant yet, Josh says that this is certainly worth a go.

AbsoluteBlack GraphenLube

AbsoluteBlack GraphenLube

8
Best money-no-object chain lube
Buy now for £115 from absolute black
Does appear to be very good at reducing friction losses
Lasts very well outdoors
Eye-wateringly expensive
Makes your chain look dirty

Absolute Black claims that Graphenlube is 'The ultimate bicycle chain lubricant'. And, in terms of what it appears to deliver in friction losses, and its longevity in normal riding conditions, it's definitely up there with the best. Which it absolutely should be given how much it costs.

Tester Dave writes: “We tried to test out AbsoluteBlack's watt-saving claims using our own slightly less scientific setup of a Tacx Neo 2 indoor trainer and a Rotor 2InPower crank-based power meter, ranking it against a few other lubes. And do you know what? It really does seem to reduce drivetrain friction. Graphenlube's tenacity is pretty impressive too. I found that I needed to re-apply the lube after about 400km of mixed weather riding, which is on a par with the better wet lubes I've used, and miles ahead of any wax-based lube that I've tried."

It's very expensive, but so are a lot of other bike-related things and if you're looking for a bit of extra performance, this is something you can spend your hard-earned cash on. 

How to choose from the best chain lubes

faq-icon
Do you need to lube a chain?

Like aerodynamic drag, friction in the drivetrain contributes to overall drag. A modern drivetrain, though, is in the region of 90-98% efficient, depending on the condition of the chain and several other factors.

In a study of the efficiency of bicycle chain drives by Spicer et al in 2000, it’s suggested that chain lubrication has a negligible effect on efficiency under laboratory conditions, and that friction can account for only a few percent of the overall losses in drivetrain efficiency.

That said, we’d still advise ensuring your chain is correctly lubed, because while it might not help you go any faster (or at least not much), it'll certainly prevent the chain from going rusty and squeaking. There's nothing more annoying than a squeaky chain, apart from maybe a creaking press-fit bottom bracket...

faq-icon
Can I use plain old WD-40 to lube my bike chain?

No! WD-40, GT85 and the like are not lubricants, they’re water displacement products and should only really be used after cleaning your bike and before correct lubrication. They have some lubricating properties and plenty of uses on bikes and around the house, but they're not up to the job of keeping a bike chain properly protected. WD-40 the brand does produce bike-specific products, such as its dry lube given a 7/10 score by off.road.cc and a WD-40 bike degreaser that we scored a 9/10 - but despite what that genius on the club run told you, the classic multi-purpose WD-40 product won't replace a bike-specific chain lube. 

As with any products, you should follow the instructions. Generally it’s recommended to start with a clean chain before applying lube, rather than just layering it up.

faq-icon
What is the difference between dry and wet lube?

Dry lube comes out of the bottle wet, commonly as a fast-flowing liquid, but once it dries it leaves a wax film on the chain. It’s this wax that provides the necessary lubrication. The liquid is simply the carrier for the wax.

A wet lube is, as its name suggests, wet, and typically a thick consistency that flows slowly and sticks to everything it is applied to (and sometimes parts that the bottle isn’t aimed at). It remains as a liquid on the chain, unlike dry lube which dries out, leaving behind a waxy residue.

Which lube you choose comes down to the riding conditions and your maintenance habits. 

faq-icon
How often do I need to lube my bike chain?

The frequency of lubing your bike chain will depend on the riding conditions, weather, how often you ride, and the type of lubricant used. If you've been riding in wet conditions, you are going to need to reapply lube sooner than riding in dry conditions to prevent your chain from going rusty. 

If you need to wash your bike after a ride then it should involve cleaning, drying and re-lubing your chain. Regularly inspect your chain, and if it appears dry, dirty or makes a noise when you ride, it could be a sign that it needs some lube.

faq-icon
How do you clean a bike chain before lubing?

Before reapplying lube to your bike chain, you should use a degreaser to remove any grime and the old lube. If using a water-based degreaser, rinse the chain with water and then you must dry your chain properly before applying the new lube. 

 

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

Add new comment

29 comments

Avatar
peted76 | 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm standing with Fenwicks 'Professional Bike Lube'.. I love the stuff and it's still made using the dust from moth wings. 

(I was disappointed to find the article on road.cc where this was specified appears no longer to be online, ergo has slipped into urban legend status). 

 

 

Avatar
Daddy Feebs | 2 months ago
1 like

Asking cyclists to recommend a lube is the very definition of YMMV, normally. It's a nest of opinion and conjecture. What works for someone, doesn't seem to work for someone else - small changes in use and application always skews the narrative. But it'll tell you this - Synergetic is the only thing I've used which absolutely delivers, on everything that every review has ever said. Yeah, it's that good. 

Avatar
Glov Zaroff | 2 months ago
2 likes

I've been using Synergetic on all but one of my bikes since Silca released it and it really is exceptional stuff. Super quiet drivetrain and, while it's not as clean as a waxed chain (my other bike runs Silca hot wax) a swift wipe down with a rag after a few rides and the chain looks great.

Avatar
ktache | 2 months ago
3 likes

I'm about to finish my first bottle of Silca Synergetic and I liked it so much that I got another two bottles. A more detailed comment will be going on the review page at some point, but I reckon it's the best bicycle chain lube I've ever used.

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Griff500 replied to ktache | 2 months ago
0 likes

I'd be interested to hear more. I'm not convinced that the tester's comments after only 800 km help much.

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Hirsute replied to Griff500 | 2 months ago
1 like

I found I needed to reapply after wet conditions more than I expected to.
My friend got a later batch where the dispenser was larger than the original 'needle'. He said he got a reply to say the original did not dispense enough.

Avatar
mark1a replied to ktache | 2 months ago
0 likes

I've ordered a bottle to try out based on the reviews here and by ZFC, so your opinion & comment is encouraging thanks. Current lube is Muc Off Hydrodynamic which was highly rated on road.cc (9/10) some time ago, yet roasted on ZFC. 

Avatar
LookAhead replied to mark1a | 2 months ago
0 likes
mark1a wrote:

Current lube is Muc Off Hydrodynamic which was highly rated on road.cc (9/10) some time ago, yet roasted on ZFC.

Lube reviews that don't reference and rely heavily on the results of independent testing are next to worthless. Which means that, at road.cc, it's really not worth reading anyone other than Mike Stead on the topic.

Avatar
Glov Zaroff replied to LookAhead | 2 months ago
0 likes

@LookAhead - Get a grip.

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LookAhead replied to Glov Zaroff | 2 months ago
0 likes

If you've got a substantive objection to my claims, I'm happy to take it under consideration!

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Cycle Happy | 2 months ago
0 likes

White Lightning Epic Ride is the go-to for me on a commute of crappy roads and light trail.

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tomascjenkins replied to Cycle Happy | 2 months ago
0 likes

Have you read Zero Friction Cyclings review of this lube? It's shocking!

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Cycle Happy replied to tomascjenkins | 2 months ago
0 likes

I hadn't, but have now. I'm really surprised by how badly they rate it. For me, it seemed to be working well and whilst I hadn't noticed a lot of wear, I guess it must be, so will take a better look. I'd never seen zero friction before

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tomascjenkins | 2 months ago
0 likes

Green Oil is great, and non petrochemical. It lasts a long time, but eventually (2 months) being plant based, you need to give it a good degrease as it starts to stiffen up. It runs quietly and stays on the chain rather than spraying off into your frame. It's made in the UK as well, and isn't mega bucks but somewhere in the middle. It's also good for lubing spoke holes on a rim when building a wheel.

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Oldfatgit replied to tomascjenkins | 2 months ago
0 likes

Green Oil were doing a free bottle refill too.
Given how sparing I seem to need to use it, hope that offer wasn't time limited

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Pot00000000 | 2 months ago
0 likes

Disappointed not to see EFFETTO MARIPOSA Flowerpower Wax on the list given how good it is.

zero friction facts tested it, and it's performance was outstanding, only beaten by hot melt wax.

i've been using it this year in the UK and Ireland in shitty weather and it's been awesome. Perhaps not as long lasting in super wet weather, but wax never is.

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
1 like

Squirt had been my favourite for a while now. Cheap enough so you can just apply liberally and also a convenient form of wax lube. I started using it when I was mucking around with a wax bath (more like a small frying pan) and micronised graphite as a top up to keep the wax treatment going for a few more days. Then I figured out that I might as well just use the Squirt by itself and not spend so much time on chain treatment.

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Sriracha replied to hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
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I've stuck it out with hot wax (ordinary food grade paraffin wax, no extra toppings) for my own bike, yielded to Squirt on her bike. She goes out in the rain occasionally, I'm not that daft!

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wtjs | 2 months ago
1 like

You would have to be a real mug who deserves to be defrauded to buy anything from Absolute Black. I'm not expecting people to believe what they see on YouTube, but these OSPWs are beyond a joke and beyond even the Emperor's Suit of Clothes parodies

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Griff500 | 2 months ago
0 likes

'What's the difference between wet and dry lube?" ,the answer given by the author is just plain wrong! It has nothing to do with wax, nothing to do with how it comes out if the bottle. Dry lube (eg Mucoff dry ceramic, which isn't even wax at all) is intended for dry conditions, and as I can attest, washes off at the first pass through a puddle. Wet lubes are designed for use in rain.

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Pot00000000 replied to Griff500 | 2 months ago
0 likes

You're wrong. They are correct.

 

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Griff500 replied to Pot00000000 | 2 months ago
0 likes

Really?  You saying all "dry lubes" contain wax?  Read the sales bumph on almost any dry lube, its all about envoronmental conditions FA to do with wax.

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Pot00000000 replied to Griff500 | 2 months ago
0 likes

No, not all dry lubes contain wax. But dry lubes are not for dry conditions, and wet lubes are not for wet conditions.

dry lubes evaporate when you apply them and - dry.

wet lubes remain wet when you apply them. 
it has nothing to do with the conditions you use them in, just the state they are when applied to a chain and ready to use.

 

edit- there can be confusion as some companies market Wet and dry lube targeted at wet and dry conditions, but it doesn't mean the wet is for wet and the dry is for dry 🤓

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Griff500 replied to Pot00000000 | 2 months ago
1 like

It seems you are on your own, because even Emily Tillet (the author) elsewhere in the same article says ""Wet lube is designed for wet and rainy conditions whereas (you guessed it), dry lube is suited to dry conditions. "   

Or if you want a second opinion, Bike Radar's definition "Dry lubes, so-called because they’re designed for riding in dry conditions, are often made up of ....."

Or a third, cyclist.co.uk "Wet lubricant is for wet weather conditions. It’s thicker and doesn’t need to be applied so regularly, and won’t wash away. "   "Dry lube is for dry weather conditions. It’s thinner and runs very smoothly. Needing to be applied more regularly; it’s more prone to being washed away by rain or when hit with a hosepipe. "

..Yellow Jersey "Dry and wet are pretty much universal terms and most chain lubricant manufacturers will offer these two variants as a minimum. As a very simple rule of thumb, use dry lubes in dry conditions and wet lubes in wet conditions."

Bike-mag.com "It’s a general rule of thumb that when riding in dry conditions, you use dry chain lube, and in wet riding conditions, you opt for wet chain lube.  "

Cycling Weekly" Dry lubes are much cleaner to use and attract less dirt build-up even with repeated applications. This makes them much better in dry or dusty conditions, especially off-road or on gravel.

However, even a light rain shower will wash dry lube off the chain and it is less durable; an 80-mile ride in dry conditions can see lubrication drastically reduced."

 

 

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Rendel Harris replied to Griff500 | 2 months ago
1 like

Calm down chaps, you're both right (or both wrong, depending whether you're a glass half full or empty type): as the contradiction in the article itself pointed out by Griff shows, different people use the same terms to mean different things. Personally I tend to say dry to mean for use in the dry seasons and wet for wet seasons but I know plenty of other people who are just as or more knowledgable than I who say wet to mean thick liquid lubricant and dry to mean the thin type where the liquid evaporates to leave a dry covering, or just straightforward wax. 'Tis not, in the grand scheme of things, that big a deal.

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Pot00000000 replied to Griff500 | 2 months ago
0 likes

And many including silcas josh poertner say the opposite. 
 

whatever. Both are equally shit at being lubes anyway. Wax is the only way to go to achieve low friction and relatively long lasting results. 

Avatar
LookAhead | 2 months ago
1 like

The "Best chain lube for performance" has, by the author's own admission, "Unratified efficiency claims". And the "Best budget chain lube"--again by the author's own admission--"Attracts dust and dirt", which means those things will grind down your drivetrain faster and the few dollars you saved on the bottle of lube will be far eclipsed by the premature wear of your components.

That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the value of this list.

If you want to know real facts about chain lube, leave this page and head over to Zero Friction Cycling.

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Fluffed replied to LookAhead | 2 months ago
1 like

ZFC is a great, just be prepared to lose half your day reading about various lubes, when you visit!  1

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LookAhead replied to Fluffed | 2 months ago
0 likes

Only half a day? You got off easy!