The selection of bike lubricant

The selection of bike lubricant is essential but is often easily overlooked. If we use it incorrectly, it will not only fail to protect the parts but may also damage the parts. In this article, we have compiled some information about bike lubricants to help you choose the type.

1. chain lubricant 

Chain lubricant is applied to the chain pin and protects the chain and flywheel to reduce friction. It is mainly divided into wet, wax and dry types, and some types contain special additives.

Chain lubricant

The wet chain lubricant has high viscosity, water resistance and compression resistance, but it is easy to adhere to dust. It is generally used on the chain of mountain bikes that require heavy cross-country.

The water resistance and adhesion of the wax chain lubricants are between that of the wet and dry lubricants. It is generally suitable for light off-road bikes.

The dry chain lubricant is made with silicon-based lube and anti-pressure agents. Because silicon has good adhesion performance and the chemical properties of the dry chain are stable, the resistance of the silicon lube film is not perfect. The dry chain lubricant is not good at waterproof but it has good ash resistance so it is generally used on the urban bike. 

2. Lubricating Grease


It is mainly made of mineral oil (or synthetic lubricating oil) and gelatinizer. According to different gelatinizers, it is divided into Nano-based grease, Calcium-based grease, Calcium-Nano-based grease, and Lithium-based grease. 

The Lithium-based grease has good water resistance and is widely used on bikes among so many types. 

The viscosity of grease is extremely high. Adding it to the chain will significantly increase the viscous resistance of the transmission system. At the same time, it will absorb a large amount of dust, which is very detrimental to the transmission system. It is often used on parts with low rotational speed, frequent friction and waterproof requirements, such as bottom bracket, hub and headset bearings.

3. Shock absorber oil

Shock absorber oil

The absorber oil is mainly made of silicon. The indicator ‘WT’ represents its concentration. The higher the value, the higher the concentration. That means better vibration reduction and better tire grip performance. The popular absorber oils are 2.5WT, 5WT, 10WT and 15WT. The oil concentrations of 2.5 and 5WT are low so they are usually used as damping oils. In contrast, 10WT and 15WT have high oil concentrations, which are generally used in air chambers. 

4. Brake oil

There are two types which are mineral oil and DOT oil. Generally, the type will be marked on the brake lever oil pump to prevent adding the wrong oil. 

Mineral oil is non-corrosive and does not absorb water, it can be used at high temperatures. DOT oil is synthetic oil which easily absorbs water and its performance significantly decreases after absorption. The maintenance cycle of DOT oil is short and it is generally replaced once a year. The popular DOT oils include DOT3, DOT4, and DOT5. The larger the value, the better the performance.

Mineral brake oil
DOT brake oil

We can choose the appropriate oil based on the above contents. 

Don’t hesitate to leave a message regarding the cleaning if you have anything to share. We are looking forward to your idea and story. 



[1] ‘Cycling Bible’ Editorial Board. Cycling Bible [M]. 1st Edition. Beijing: Machinery Industry Press, 2013.

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