What’s the best lube for this time of year? Wax, dry or ceramic? We check out three contenders
The job of a chain lube is to provide a lubricating film between the surfaces of the chain and the sprockets and chainrings it runs over. Sounds simple enough, but it’s a challenging job for lubes, having to contend with the British weather, grimy roads and poorly cleaned chains.
Lubes come in many different forms. For the summer when you can bank on it being predominantly dry, you can swap from a wet lube (a preferred option for wet winter riding) to one of the variety of dry lubes. They give good performance over long distances and don’t attract dust, dirt or grit, keeping your nice and clean.
In this article we’re focusing on three types of lube that are good choices for summer cycling; dry, wax and ceramic. Wax lubes are great for people who don’t like cleaning their chains, dry lubes prevent your chain from turning into a greasy grimy mess, and ceramic lubes employ the latest technology for slick and quiet running.
You might be happy with any lube on your chain as long as it stops it from squeaking and creaking, but there are specific lubes for particular conditions and riding demands, and are essential investments if you value your expensive drivetrain.
White Lightning Clean Ride
This sets up as a dry wax film leaving the chain dry after application, so there’s no oily residue to attract dirt and grit. And, as its name indicates, it cleans the chain during use, as any dirt flakes of with little bits of wax.
It’s not the easiest to apply however. The chain needs to be sparkling clean before you even get started. Application is made tricky due to its milky consistency, and if you’re not careful it will go everywhere. And when we say everywhere, we mean all over the rim, tyre and kitchen floor. Good job it comes in a large 240ml size bottles then.
For keeping your chain clean, provided you’re happy with the tricky application, Clean Ride is to be recommended. The secret is the frequent application required for good longevity. Great for those who don’t want to clean their chains.
£9.99 for a 240ml bottle
Finish Line Dry Teflon Bike Lube
This is a traditional dry lube from a company with an outstanding reputation in the lube market. The lube is applied wet and quickly dries to leave a protective film over the chain.
This means dirt and grime can’t build up on the chain and cassette giving your drivetrain a clean look that won’t look out of place in the professional peloton. The downside of dry lubes is that they don’t cope so well in wet weather, confining them to dry rides only.
They also need time to prepare; it’s best to apply the night before to allow the lube to set on the chain. When properly applied, the lube gives great performance, with the Teflon reducing friction between the moving parts and producing a very smooth running drivetrain.
£6.99 for a 125ml bottle
Juice Lubes Ceramic Chain Lube
This lube uses the latest state-of-the-art synthetic lubricant technology with ceramic boron nitride. It builds a ceramic coating on the surface of the chain, keeping it running exceptionally smooth and quiet; the fluoropolymers give a non-stick finish preventing grime building up.
Application is easy with the twist nozzle that lets you modulate the flow easily. Like Clean Ride the chain needs to be thoroughly cleaned before you get let loose. The consistency makes it reasonably easy to apply, with the excess wiped away with a rag leaving a good covering of lube on the chain.
Ceramic lubes cope better in a wider range of conditions, including damp weather, making them a good choice for the constantly changing British weather. The ceramic coating produces a very low friction coating that noticeable makes the drivetrain quiet, and longevity is impressive.
£9.99 for a 100ml bottle.
Keeping your drivetrain smooth this summer requires a decent lube and each of these is suited to the task.
Lubing top tips
1) Before using any of these lubes, it’s important to ensure your chain is thoroughly cleaned and degreased for best performance.
2) Once clean, shift into a middle sprocket at the front and rear
3) Carefully lubricate both the inside and outside of the chain while slowly turning the cranks backwards
4) Wipe of any exces
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