There is definitely a lot of confusion when it comes lubricants; bicycle stores have shelves of all different makes and applications from multi-purpose to dry, wet, wax and so on. Today we are going to shed some light on the topic and help you to select the correct lubricants for your different types of riding. As we have mentioned in previous posts; having a well oiled machine will ensure every ride is enjoyable and will increase the life span of your components.
Multi-purpose lubricants: WD-40 and Q20 are excellent for repelling water from your components immediately after a wet ride. They are both aerosol applied lubricants so it will help remove the water when sprayed onto your chain, chain rings, cassette and dérailleur. This type of lube is perfect for when you are not able to clean or immediately dry your bike. Both products come equipped with an attachable straw to help get access to bearings and other hard to reach places. Multi-purpose lubricants do not provide sufficient protection in muddy conditions and do not last very long in extremely hot or dry conditions either.
Dry lubricants: Do not contain mineral oil or silicon so they do not attract as much dust as oil based lubricants.They will handle a few river crossings but will not protect your components if exposed to water for long periods of time. Suitable for mountain biking and road cycling in clear weather, dry condition lubricants will still provide protection in short periods of rain.
Wet lubricants: Usually contain synthetic or mineral oil and offer protection in the harshest of riding conditions. Wet lubricants will repel water and will keep things running as smoothly as possible in muddy conditions. Wet lubricants will attract dust in dry dusty environments.
Not using lubricants or using incorrect lubricants can be harmful to your components and will reduce the overall lifetime of your bike.
- Not using lubricants will allow friction and rust to take over in no time.
- Using a wet lube in dusty conditions will attract dust to your drive train and will create a ‘grinding paste’ which will slowly wear down your components.
- Using dry lubricants in wet conditions will not offer the protection required and you will shortly find yourself with a noisy drive train.
When should I clean and replace my lubricant?
- Your lubricant should be replaced as soon as your drive-train is dirty.
- As soon as it has become noisy.
- Re-apply lubricant after a long ride.
The old lubricant can be wiped off with a cloth and some de-greaser if you went on a short clean ride otherwise it is advised to use a chain cleaning tool with some de-greaser to get all the grime out of your chain links and rollers.
Should I only put lubricant on my chain?
Lubricant should be put on almost all moving parts of your bicycle: chain, chain rings, cassette, dérailleur, shifting cables, seat post clamp, bearings and your suspension components. This will prevent rust build up and ensure all components operate as they were designed to and allows for components to be easily removed when maintenance is required.
Note: Do not get lubricant on bicycle rims, brake pads or brake rotors (Brake Disc).
Our favourite lubes are manufactured by an American based company called White Lightning, which has been around since 1994 and was developed by a research chemist and cyclist, Paul Maples. Paul set out to develop the worlds first self cleaning bicycle lube that would simply shed the dirt as you ride and ‘Clean Ride’ was awarded four U.S patents.
White Lightning has a range of excellent products that have easy to read descriptions and instructions and they supply lubricants to recreational and professional riders alike.
Clean Ride sets up as a dry wax film. There is no oily film to attract abrasive contaminants so your chain and gears will perform better and last 2 to 3 times longer. Clean Ride’s self-cleaning action is activated by any dirt, grit or grime that finds it’s way onto your chain or parts. Small particles of the outer wax structure will flake off, taking the dirt, grime or grit with it – the cycle of ‘self-cleaning’. Clean Ride is a unique, wax-based lubricant, so it is important to start with a clean chain. For optimum ‘self-cleaning’ performance, do not mix Clean Ride with oil based lubricants. The dirtier the ride, the more active the shedding action. So to this extent, Clean Ride will require more frequent re-application during and after dirtier rides. When Clean Ride is used regularly and properly, you’ll rarely have to clean your chain again. So, while your buddies are cleaning their chains, you’ll be applying a fresh shot of Clean Ride and heading out for yet another great ride!
Epic Ride™ is an excellent all-conditions bicycle lubricant that satisfies the demands of road and off-road cyclists. Because Epic Ride is uniquely formulated with non-petroleum based synthetic oils, it provides long haul durability without the excessive grime build-up common with conventional synthetic and non-synthetic wet-style lubricants. This unique technology was awarded a patent in 1999. Epic Ride is a superior chain lube that also works great on derailleurs and cables. Epic Ride will also smooth out stanchions and rejuvenate suspension seals and wipers. Epic Ride is a “lube-and-go” product, so no chain preparation or dry-time is required. Just apply and you’re off! In a very short period of time, Epic Ride has become a top seller and the lubricant choice for riders seeking the performance of a wet-style lubricant and the cleanliness of a dry-style lubricant.
Wet Ride is a thicker, heavier bodied lubricant that is totally waterproof. Wet Ride is made using only premium synthetic oils and water repelling polymers. The result is a lubricant with unmatched film strength. Wet Ride lasts and lasts, through the longest of rides and the ugliest of weather conditions. Special anti-corrosion additives prevent rusting of parts even when subjected to snow or sleet, heavy fog or coastal salt-air. Because Wet Ride is so durable, it’s a popular choice for off-road cyclists who are faced with muddy conditions. Wet Ride is heavy enough and waterproof enough to easily counteract the effects of mud and crud on the chain. In dry conditions, Wet ride is especially popular with road cyclists seeking optimum performance over ultra long distances. Wet Ride eliminates drivetrain noise, it delivers super smooth shifts, unmatched lubrication intervals, and total protection against water.
White Lightning’s Clean Ride and Easy Lube are both formulated using White Lightning’s patented self-cleaning technology. Easy Lube labeling uses non-technical language as it is targeted to the recreational rider. Easy Lube will keep your chain and gears clean because it goes on wet, but dries to a dry, non-oily wax lubricant that will shed away any dirt that finds its way to your parts. Yes, that’s right – it self cleans by shedding dirt off your chain and parts. All you do is apply, let dry and ride. Reapply as needed (more after particularly dirty rides) and ride – no cleaning or degreasing required. 2oz Squeeze Bottle.
For more products and info visit the White Lightning website here.Picture source