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best_lube

Over the summer, Chris Daniels wrote an excellent article covering pretty much everything mountain bikers should know about chain lube. If you missed it, I highly recommend giving it a read!

We also asked our readers to weigh in on their favorite lubes for mountain bikes, and in looking over the data, we found some interesting insights.

Wet vs. Dry

lube_types

I really wish we had asked folks where they live to see if there is a correlation with trail conditions and their choice of lube type, because there should be a close relationship if people are choosing lube correctly. Still, it’s interesting to note that mountain bikers are pretty evenly split between wet lubes and dry lubes. (If you’re not sure what a hybrid lube is, you didn’t read Chris’s article yet. Do it.)

Popular Greases and Bike Wash Products

While we didn’t specifically ask for readers’ grease and bike wash preferences, dozens of readers chimed in with recommendations for these products. So, if you’re looking for a good grease to use on your bike (please, not the chain!), it seems you can’t go wrong with Phil Wood Waterproof Grease or Park Polylube 1000.

Bike wash is a product that doesn’t get a lot of coverage, but it can serve the vital function of cleaning and keeping your frame protected from gunk and mud, making future cleaning even easier. Based on our survey, White Lightning Wash & Shine stands out as the top choice for washing and waxing mountain bike frames.

Most Popular Mountain Bike Lube Brands

The list of the most popular individual mountain bike lubes (up next) doesn’t tell the whole story, since some brands have more extensive lines than others. So, we added up all the mentions by brand, and here is how the brands stacked up.

  1. White Lightning
  2. Finish Line
  3. Rock “N” Roll
  4. Tri-Flow
  5. ProGold
  6. Pedro’s
  7. Muc-Off
  8. WD-40
  9. Boeshield
  10. Park Tool

Most Popular Mountain Bike Lubes

#1: ProGold ProLink Chain Lube

ProGold says their ProLink chain lube “does not build up or become tacky” and it “sheds dirt, mud, and abrasives.” The company packages the lube in a number of different ways, from drip bottles to aerosol sprays and even an applicator pen.

#2: Rock “N” Roll Gold Lube


Rock “N” Roll Gold Lube falls somewhere between a wet and dry lube, and it’s one of the company’s newest (and, they might add, more expensive) offerings.

#3: Rock “N” Roll Extreme Lube

Extreme Lube from Rock “N” Roll is designed for mountain biking and is well suited to wet conditions.

#4: White Lightning Clean Ride

Who doesn’t like the sound of a clean ride? This wax-based dry lube from White Lightning is designed to shed while you ride.

#5: White Lightning Epic Ride

White Lightning Epic Ride lube is the prototypical hybrid lube, and was even awarded a patent back in 1999. As with other hybrid lubes, Epic Ride seeks to blend the advantages of both wet and dry lubes.

#6: Finish Line DRY

As you can tell from the name, Finish Line Dry Teflon is a dry lube, but unlike others on this list, it uses Teflon fluoropolymer instead of wax to create a dry finish.

#7: Boeshield T-9

With a name like Boeshield T-9, it has to be good, right? This hybrid lube is designed for both wet and dry conditions.

#8: Tri-Flow Superior

Tri-Flow Superior is a wet lube with a distinctive bubble gum smell that’s formulated with PTFE, the same stuff used to make Gore-Tex.

#9: White Lightning Easy

White Lightning Easy is a dry, wax-based lube that’s fairly similar to the company’s popular Clean Ride Lube (see #4 above).

#10: Squirt Long Lasting Dry Lube

Squirt’s Long Lasting Dry Lube is a wax-based lube that’s designed to–you guessed it–last a long time.

Overall, competition among the top 10 (and beyond) was fairly close, demonstrating just how many great chain lube options are on the market today. And if none of these lubes are to your liking, try blending your own! In fact, a few of our survey respondents report doing just that.

Flipside question: Is there a lube you’ve tried that just didn’t work out? What do you think went wrong?

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# Comments

  • Chris Daniels

    That’s a surprising amount of folk using wet lube. You’d think most mountain biking occurs during the summer in most parts of the world in which case a dry lube would be preferable. Then again, with fat biking in winter, you’ll see wet lube usage increase, but I still wouldn’t have guessed it’d be more than dry. Thoughts?

    • Jeff Barber

      I personally use wet lube year ’round. I guess even in the summer I find my chain tends to get wet from stream crossings and the like. We also don’t typically encounter loose conditions, so I don’t find dust and sand sticking to my wet chain too often.

      My assumption was that more people on the east coast would use wet lube, but maybe not. Aaron uses dry lube in summer here so we’re split 50/50. 🙂

    • wilsonm73

      Jeff you’re right. Location and climate makes a huge impact on what you use. When I lived in Germany it was wet lube all the time to fight off the moisture. When I moved to Colorado wet lube just attracted a ton of dirt and dust. It caused so much build up on the chain, cassette and rings. I switched to a dry lube.

  • drcbrath

    I used to home brew by lube; 1 oz motor oil + 3 parts mineral spirits + 1 part WD-40. Oil for lube, WD-40 displaces water from the metal surface, mineral spirits to thin the mix. Cost only about 50 cents for 4 ounces! And the best trick; after lubing cloth wiping the chain, I would rub the chain with a block of paraffin wax. The paraffin absorbs excess oil that otherwise collects dirt. This mix typically lasted me about 30+ miles in dry southwest conditions—as long as most other, more expensive, bike specific chain lubes. But now just use Rock-n-Roll Gold; easier and lasts 60+ miles.

  • bikerboy13

    Thanks! And great article Chris… for some reason I missed the part about hybrid lubes in Chris’s article but I’ve figured out what it is…

  • williedillon

    I started using Eco Sheep Mountain Sheep lube and I find it works well. While it won’t keep the chain as clean as a wax lube, it doesn’t seem to get too dirty. It’s also completely non-toxic and biodegradable which I really like. A can of it also lasts a long time.

  • Chris Else

    just put some oil on and get out and ride! lifes too short to worry about what oil to put on your chain! one thing is funny is that oil companies and chain makers recommend you clean your chain after every ride! whys that? so that you have to then put more oil on your chain afterwards therefore using your lube up and having to buy more!

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