If you want your MTB to perform well, then it is necessary to keep it in good shape. From brakes to the chain, everything should be in excellent condition so that you can push your limits and can conquer the trail with your superb bike.
While most of the bike components are made using steel or aluminum, the chain is always made using an iron. And that is why it is prone to corrosion. You need to lubricate the chain frequently so that it gives a smooth motion, and you can pedal with ease.
When choosing an MTB chain lube, you cannot just buy any lubricant. These lubes are available in different forms and types, so you should choose the right one depending on your requirements and where you want to ride your bike.
To help you make the right decision, we are here with this buyer's guide. The guide contains the factors that you should check when purchasing a chain lube. Check all the factors listed here and then search for the best MTB chain lube that will keep the chain in good shape while helping you get ultimate performance from the bike.
If you ask experts about the benefits of using MTB chain lube, then you will surely buy the best lube for your bike. There are many advantages to keeping the chain lubricated. Have a look at the benefits listed below to find out why a chain lube is necessary for your MTB.
Mountain bikes have more gears as compared to road bikes because frequent shifting is required depending on the type of terrain. When you use chain lube, then the shifting of the gear mechanism improves dramatically.
You will see a big change in the shifting mechanism as the gear will shift smoothly, enhancing your performance. Furthermore, the lube improves the lifespan of the gear system as the dry chain will not shift quickly, and there can be many issues such as chain breakage.
When you ride on the terrain, the chain has to withstand a lot of things such as mud, dirt, and water. Using lube will keep these things away from the chain, so the life of the chain will improve. Water can result in corrosion, whereas mud can stick on the chain and can impact the working of the gear mechanism.
Lubricating the chain frequently will help you keep the chain clean and protected from water and mud. Also, the lube keeps the chain protected from snow, and there will be no abrasion due to these natural contaminants.
In a nutshell, using a good MTB chain lube will safeguard the chain from the environmental factors, and the chain will perform like a new one.
When you don’t use a chain lube, there will be a lot of friction caused due to the friction as the dry chain rubs against other metal components of the bike, such as the gear mechanism. A dry chain wears out quickly, and you are left with no option apart from getting the chain replaced.
Furthermore, there are some other components such as the cassette, jockey wheels, crank rings, and much more that also wear out along with the dry chain.
When you use MTB chain lube, then you can rest assured that the chain and other components will not wear out quickly, and the chain will perform good. Moreover, using a chain lube will enhance the lifespan of the chain, and the chain will last longer without any issues.
It wouldn't be wrong to say that using chain lube will improve the life of the chain up to 3-4 times so you can save a lot of money.
A noisy chain is a sign that there is something wrong down there. When the chain is dry, it produces a lot of noise when the chain strikes against the other metal parts of the bike. Also, the mud that is stuck in the chain or the cassette will produce noise when you pedal the bike, and the chain moves around it.
Using MTB chain lube will keep the chain quieter, and there will be less noise. When the chain isn't dry, then you can rest assured that it will perform good so you can ride the bike with the assurance that everything is fine down there.
Most of the MTB chain lubes are resistant to water in order to protect the chain. When you lubricate the chain with a good quality lube, then it acts as a barrier between the chain and the water. The water cannot reach the chain, so there will be no corrosion at all.
However, with time the layer of lube gets loose, and if you don't reapply another coat, then the water can impact the chain. In short, you should use the lube regularly to make sure that the chain is lubricated all the time.
Not every type of MTB chain lube is perfect for your bike, and that is why it is crucial to check these factors before making a decision. With these factors, you can compare different lubes to buy the best one that keeps the chain wet and prevents it from friction.
The choice of the lubes should depend on the type of terrain where you want to ride your MTB. Every lube has different viscosity, boiling point, and much more. If you buy the wrong lube, then it will get hard due to the change in temperature and other environmental factors.
If the area you are planning to ride your MTB has snow or the temperature is below 0-degree then you need a chain lube with a low freezing point. Some chain lubes can freeze due to the cold temperature, and it will cause more harm to the chain than any good.
Check the freezing point of the lube to ensure that it remains in a liquid state even in cold weather.
To ride the MTB in humid areas, you need a chain lube with a high boiling point. When you pedal the bike, then the chain and other metal parts of the bike strike together, which causes friction, and there is a generation of heat.
The hot climate works as a catalyst, and the chain lube evaporates quickly, making the chain dry again. Get an MTB chain lube that has an extreme boiling point so that it remains to stick to the chain without getting evaporated due to the hot weather.
Rains are inevitable, so you should get a chain lube that remains stable even when exposed to water. Most of the MTB chain lubes are waterproof, and the lube doesn't get washed due to the rains or when you ride your bike through a pothole filled with water.
Check the instruction label to ensure that the lube you are buying is waterproof and has an excellent grip on the chain.
The types of MTB chain lube depends on where you want to use it. You will find dry and wet types available in the market when searching for the best MTB chain lube. To keep the chain function smooth, you need to choose the right type of lube.
Here we have explained how these types are different and which lube type should be your choice.
Dry MTB chain lubes are often made using Teflon as the material is durable and long-lasting. Dry lubes don't require any moisture, and they soak into the bike chain to make it function smoothly and quietly.
If you are planning to ride on terrain with arid conditions where sand, dust, and dirt will come in contact with the chain, then dry lubes should be your choice.
If you go for wet lubes, then the sand or dust will settle down on the chain due to the moisture, and it can be bad for the chain.
Furthermore, using a dry lube is different as compared to using a wet one. You need to spread the lube on the chain with your finger or a brush and the pedal slowly so that the lube spreads on the entire chain and the connected components.
Web MTB chain lubes are the most common chain lubes that you see in the market. The lube is visible on the chain, so when you touch the chain, the lube will stick to your hand. You should choose wet lubes when riding the MTB bike in rains or areas with water.
Water cannot wash off the lube, and it will remain adhering to the chain for optimal performance. However, there are some downsides to using wet lubes, and that is the exposure to dust.
Dust and sand can settle down on the chain, but you can wash it off with soap and water. Wet lubes are available in spray cans so that you can quickly apply the lube on the chain without making your hands dirty.
The viscosity is the resistance of the lube to flow. If the lube has less viscosity, then it will flow quickly as compared to the lube with high viscosity. The choice of viscosity should depend on the type of terrain where you want to ride.
If you are planning to ride your MTB in an area with muddy and wet terrain, then go for lubes that have high viscosity and are thick. The water can wash off the lube if it is thin and has a watery viscosity.
On the other hand, you should choose a lube with low viscosity if riding in an area with drylands. The light and oily lube will keep the chain lubricated, and there will be less impact of temperature and other environmental components such as sand and dust.
When choosing the formulation, you will come across oil, ceramic, and wet. You should choose the right formulation to enhance the lifespan of the chain and other components connected with it.
The ceramic formulation makes the lube last longer when you use it in dry and wet conditions. Furthermore, these MTB chain lubes are highly versatile and durable. If you are a professional rider and want the chain in good shape every time, then you should choose ceramic lubes,
However, these lubes can be expensive, and you need to apply them properly to make sure that it lasts longer on the chain.
If you want to ride the bike in a wet area, then you should choose MTB chain lubes made using synthetic oil. Also, the lube doesn’t wash off when the chain comes in contact with water or mud.
The MTB chain lubes that have dry formulation come in the form of wax. When you apply the wax on the bike chain, then it dries up to keep the chain from friction caused due to the abrasion. These chain lubes are affordable and easy to use. However, you need to apply the lube multiple times to keep the chain working smoothly.
To apply the chain lube, you need to prepare the chain so that it gets a good hold, and you get the ultimate performance from the bike. However, some lubes don't need any preparation, and you can apply them directly to the chain without cleaning it.
If you are planning a short ride on your MTB, then you can go for chain lubes that require thorough cleaning of the chain as you can do it in your garage. On the other hand, chain lubes that work well when you drip them on the chain are good for folks that are planning for a multi-day trip.
Cleaning a chain requires a brush and water, which isn't available when you are out on a multi-day trip. Choose the lube depending on your requirements, and therefore you will have a good time riding your MTB.
The MTB chain lube should be stable so that it remains in its place. There are two things to check when buying an MTB chain lube i.e., thermal stability and hydraulic stability.
The lube should be thermal as well as hydraulic stable so that it can withstand water without getting hard.
The change in temperature has a significant impact on the performance of the chain lube. The lube that isn’t thermally stable can dry up with the increase or decrease in temperature. It is essential to buy lubes that have excellent thermal stability so that the lube lasts longer, and you don't have to reapply it multiple times.
When it comes to buying an MTB chain lube, you can't forget to check the hydraulic stability. The hydraulic stability helps you determine how resistant the lube is against water. The additives present in the chain lube protect the lube from water or moisture, and it will not transform into any other chemical compound.
If you want to ride in an area with wet weather, then you should check the corrosion resistance of the MTB chain lube. Not all MTB chain lubes offer resistance to corrosion, so it is essential to check it beforehand.
You will find several additives in the chain lube that protects it from water, and the lube remains sticking to the chain. You should check the consistency of the lube when looking for a corrosion resistant MTB chain lube.
MTB chain lubes with good demulsibility will soak the water, and the lube will remain functional by protecting the chain from environmental factors. Every chain lube has a limit when it comes to demulsibility, and you will see foam produced due to the abrasion.
Lubes with good demulsibility are ideal for wet conditions.
To make sure that the lube lasts longer and protects the chain from abrasion and environmental factors, then you need to apply it properly. If you don't apply the lube properly, then it can do worse to the chain rather than any good.
Here are some tips that you can use to lube the MTB chain.
Before you start applying the lube on the chain, it is important to clean it so that the lube gets a better hold on the chain. Use a clean rag and put it on the chain. Now pedal slowly using your hands so that the rag cleans the entire chain.
Now apply the lube on the chain. Use small quantities and keep pedaling so that the lubricant spreads on the entire chain. If you have a spray chain, then spray it on the chain while pedaling. On the other hand, for the wax, you need to rub the lube on the chain with your finger as it is the best way to do it.
Now let the lube settle down on the chain so that you can ride the bike. If you have used a web lube, then you can ride the bike after a few minutes of applying the lube on the bike. Conversely, you should let the bike sit for a few hours after applying a dry MTB chain lube.
Keep the lube with you and reapply it multiple times whenever required. The best way to check if the chain needs lubrication is by inspecting it with your fingers. If the chain is producing any noise or the gears aren’t shifting properly, then you should reapply the lube.
A: There is no need to use chain lube on a new chain as the manufacturers already lube the chain. However, after some time riding the bike, you should consider applying the lube. Buy a good chain lube with a new bike so that you can use it whenever required.
A: No, you should not use road bike lubes on an MTB because they have a different formulation. The lubes made for MTBs are excellent in terms of stability. Also, the lubes can withstand the exposure to dust, dirt, and water.
A: You should apply the lube when the chain asks for it. Always inspect the chain before you ride the bike so that you can use the lube if the chain needs it. Moreover, keep looking for any noises as the chain produces noises when there is abrasion caused due to the friction between the cassette and the chain.
Never over-lube the chain as the chain will get greasy, and your chain lube will not last that long.
A: It depends on the type of chain lube you are buying. If you are purchasing ceramic MTB chain lube, then it will cost you more as compared to other types such as oil and wax. The ceramic lubes have Teflon that is durable and is perfect for MTB bikes.
A: If you are planning to lubricate the other components of your bike using a chain lube, then it is not a good idea. The lubes are designed to be used on the chain only.
You can buy the best MTB chain lube with this buyer’s guide. Note down all the factors and then compare different lubes depending on these factors. Choose the right type so that the lube lasts longer on the chain by protecting it from wear and tear.
Lastly, go through the FAQ and tips section so that you can choose a good MTB lube easily.
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