Best Motorcycle Chain Lubes: Keep Your Motorcycle Chain in Mint Condition
Ensure that your chain operates to its maximum longevity with our top picks for the best motorcycle chain lube
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The motorcycle chain rotates the rear wheel and is, therefore, constantly under pressure. Lubricating your motorcycle chain reduces friction and rust to make it run more smoothly. If the cleaning lube comes with a cleaning agent, it could remove dirt and grime that reduces the chain’s efficiency. With that in mind, let’s take a look into some of the best motorcycle chain lubes today.
- Best OverallDuPont Teflon Chain SaverSummarySummaryA self-cleaning lubricant that prevents the buildup of dirt and grime and promotes longer chain life.ProsProsO-ring safe formula. Resists fling-off. Water-resistant. Suitable for ATVs, bicycles, motorcycles, and dirt bikes. Enhanced wear protection.ConsConsWears out after a hundred miles. Not very rust-resistant. Washes off with water.
- Best ValueWD-40 Multi-Use LubricantSummarySummaryA multipurpose formula that lubricates, cleans and protects the chain system.ProsProsAffordable. Sprays two different ways for effective application. Moisture-displacing technology. Prevents corrosion on metal.ConsConsPoorly designed spray applicator. Needs constant re-application. Poor packaging.
- Honorable MentionProGold Prolink Chain LubeSummarySummaryA spray chain lubricant and cleaner that repels water and reduces corrosion on the chain.ProsProsGood for all climates. Cleans out dirt, grime, and abrasives. Develops a strong protective film against rust and corrosion. Easy spray application.ConsConsDoesn’t have an adjustable spray pattern. Feels too sticky. The bottle may come with some defects.
Benefits of a Motorcycle Chain Lube
- Maintain a clean chain. As an avid biker, you may not have the power to control riding through dirty and dusty places. However, you could at least make your chain resistant to dirt and grime. Chain lubes are formulated with cleaning agents that dissolve solid particles and keep the chain dust- and grime-free.
- Prolong the life of your chain. If you leave your motorcycle chain dry, it will start to wear out and eat away at the sprockets. In fact, a dry chain wears out four times faster than it normally would. Maintain a well-lubricated chain that resists friction for wear prevention.
- Water resistance. A motorcycle chain is often damaged by frequent exposure to moisture or heavy rainfall. A good chain lube repels water and fights off rust to keep your chain in good condition. The lube also remains intact on the chain no matter how wet it may get.
- Experience smooth movement. A well-lubricated chain will always perform better with regards to enhancing the movement of the rear wheel. The chain lube minimizes friction, and you'll have an easier time negotiating sharp turns, climbing hills, and coming to smooth stops.
Types of Motorcycle Chain Lube
Wet lube is designed for humid or wet conditions. It typically comes as a fluid with high viscosity that's designed to cling onto the chain and is less likely to get washed off. Wet lube also stays moist when applied on the chain. However, it tends to collect a lot of dust and grime and eventually may leave a black paste on your chain.
Dry lube is a thin fluid that evaporates minutes after application and leaves behind a friction-reducing film. Dry lube can be washed off with water and it doesn’t attract dust or mud to your chain. It’s mostly used in dry or dusty conditions.
Chain lube sprays are easy to apply and spread over a wider area since the fluids have a low viscosity. Spray lubricants are typically more expensive than paste lubes due to the convenience of a spraying straw, but they are more resistant to flinging.
Chain paste lubricants are highly concentrated and designed to remain intact on the chain. They also allow for deep penetration into the chain. It's not easy to apply as it requires much precision to get the whole chain covered. You'd also use more paste in comparison to spray lube with just one application.
Since 1953, WD-40 has been known to make some of the best penetrating oils, lubricants, cleaning agents, and water-displacing products in the market. The company is based in San Diego, Calif. One of the best motorcycle chain oils from the company is the WD-40 Multi-Use Lubricant.
Also known as E.I. du Pont de Nemours, DuPont is a renowned name in the chemical industry as it has been in existence since 1802. Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., the company manufactures some of the best lubricants, cleaning agents, adhesives, and fabrics. One of the best O-ring chain lubes from the company is DuPont Teflon Chain Saver.
Since 1979, Maxima has carved its niche as an apex, US-based manufacturer of equipment maintenance products for cars, motorbikes, ATVs, scooters, and snowmobiles, among other equipment. One of the best motorcycle chain cleaners and lube from the company is the Maxima Racing Oils Chain Oil.
Best Motorcycle Chain Lube Pricing
- Under $20: Budget this much for a lubricant that comes in a convenient bottle for easy application. Most popular products here also double as cleaning agents and dissolve dust and grime from the chain, on top of having water repulsive properties.
- Above $20: Most lubricants usually don't go over $20 unless they come as kits with other special cleaning agents. Also, if you find yourself in this higher price scale, you may be buying a brand name or a gallon or more of some of the best chain lubes.
Water and Dust Resistance
The best motorcycle lubes are resistant to dust and water and are suitable for off-road adventures especially on a dirt bike. Go for a product with anti-corrosion properties as a bonus. Dust often gums up an oily chain and water leads to the formation of rust. It's really difficult to remove rust and other deposits from a chain system. The elements could even break the chain.
Type of Lube
There are different kinds of chain lubes available on the market that comes with different application styles and lubing properties. Aerosol sprays are messy and more expensive, but they work fast and spread over a wider area. Paste or chain wax are mess-free but aren't as penetrative as aerosol lubricants.
Motorcycles either have X-ring or O-ring chains. They are both used to seal the inner and outer plates, pin, roller, and the bushing of a motorcycle chain link. X-rings offer better protection and resistance to wear than O-ring chains. O-ring chains, on the other hand, are affordable. Ensure the lube you choose is compatible with the type of chain you have; otherwise, you may damage it.
- Driving Conditions: If you drive in humid or wet conditions, you need a lube that’s water-resistant to protect your chain from rust. However, if you are a fan of off-roading, then you should go for a dry lube that’s dirt-resistant.
- Anti-Fling Formula: The last thing you want to see when you are blasting across the road is your lubricant getting flung across the road. An anti-fling formula ensures that the chain lube remains firm on the chain, no matter how fast the chain moves.
Best Motorcycle Chain Lube Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Motorcycle Chain Lube Overall: DuPont Teflon Chain Saver
DuPont Teflon chain saver is a 100-percent dry-film formula that comes out from the spray can as a wet lubricant but dries into a micro-thin coating. The product uses Teflon fluoropolymer in its formulation to prevent dirt and debris from sticking on the chain. Teflon is the same product that prevents eggs from sticking on the skillet. It also contains moly, which contributes to its water- and wear-resistive properties.
The lubricant can withstand high temperatures of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and always settles into a clean, dry, and white coating. It also resists corrosion and minimizes squeaky sounds on your bike chain. The product has an O-ring-safe formulation and is also suitable for mowers, outdoor power equipment, hinges, locks, and so much more.
However, the product has its cons. First off, its thin film washes off easily with water. It’s, therefore, not suitable for wet regions unless you don’t mind reapplying the lube for better protection. It’s also not as rust resistant as you would expect a high-end lubricant to be. Moreover, it wears out after only 100 miles.
Best Value Motorcycle Chain Lube: WD-40 Multi-Use Lubricant
WD-40 is a heavy-duty lubricant that can be used on both motorcycle and bike chains. It comes with a smart straw that flips two ways: up for a stream and down for a spray. WD-40 boasts that it’s a single formulation that performs five functions, including lubrication, penetration, protection, removal, and displacement of moisture. Also, the product doesn’t contain harmful products like CFCs, kerosene, graphite, or silicone.
The fluid frees sticky mechanisms and prevents the chain from sticking to the gears. The lubricant also reduces friction and silences a noisy motorcycle chain. The product is safe for both O-rings and X-rings. It’s a cheap and convenient product, as WD-40 claims that it has more than 2,000 uses. It is also suitable for plastics, wood, and rubber.
The downside of the product is that it comes in poor packaging, and you may receive a defective product upon delivery, either with a dented bottle or a loose straw. It has an overly complex spray applicator that you may find to be difficult to use. Also, it needs to be reapplied every few weeks to increase its lubricity.
Best Motorcycle Chain Lube Honorable Mention: ProGold Prolink Chain Lube
ProGold Prolink is a spray lubricant and cleaner that repels dirt, mud, and other abrasives from the chain. It also repels water and resists wash off. It has metal-friction reducers in its formula that promote the smooth flow of the chain. In addition, the spray lube is ideal for all weather conditions, as it will not let dirt or grit stick on your chain in wet or dry conditions.
The product promotes smoother shifting of gears and a quieter drive. It reduces corrosion and prolongs the life of the chain by fighting off rust. It’s also environmentally friendly as it doesn’t contain harmful products like lead, silicates, or graphite. It can be used by both cyclists and motorbike riders and is great for derailleurs and cables too.
A major drawback of the product is that it feels sticky, and you may have a hard time getting it off your hands once you are done applying it. It has a non-adjustable spray that comes out as a shower, which is inconvenient when you don’t want any of the product on your wheels or spokes. Also, the manufacturer could improve on the packaging, as you may get a leaking bottle upon delivery.
- The best time to lubricate your chain is after a ride when it's warm. The lube will spread easily and penetrate the chain rollers faster. Also, ensure that you lubricate the chain before you wash the motorbike. You want to repel water from the chain as opposed to locking it in.
- To check if your chain is worn, you should lift the chain in the middle while pulling on the rear socket. If the chain lifts by more than ¼ inches, then it’s worn and needs to be replaced. Alternatively, you could take it off and measure its length. If it’s 2.5 percent longer than its original size, then it should also be replaced.
- You shouldn’t put a new chain on a worn sprocket. Sprocket teeth are designed to be exactly the same pitch as the chain and should wear out at the same rate. If there’s a mismatch, you will experience reduced acceleration and a decline in the overall performance of your motorbike.
Q: How often should I lubricate my motorcycle chain?
A: While it may enhance your motorcycle's performance to lubricate your chain after every ride, you should ideally apply lube after every 300 miles, or once every 100 miles if your chain is unsealed. However, it could be sooner depending on how dirty your chain looks or how stiff it feels.
Q: Can I use engine oil as a substitute to lube?
A: Engine oil has its advantages on a motorcycle chain as it dissolves dirt, leaves behind a greasy coating, and it's smooth enough to promote the efficient movement of the chain. However, it's not formulated to be resistant to water and dust. It will lose its lubricity when it's raining and may gum up with dust particles.
Q: Where is the best place to spray the lube on the chain?
A: Spray the lube on the inside circumference and lower run on the chain. Once the chain is in motion, it will work the lube outwards and spread it evenly on its entire circumference. Spraying the lube on the space before the rear wheel will make a mess on the frame rails, sprockets, or swing arm once the chain starts turning.
Q: Can I use bicycle chain lube on a motorcycle?
A: Yes you can, but you should be keen on the specifications of the brand. Although the chain's systems aren’t the same, they function on the same principle, and some multi-purpose lubricants in the market can be used on both. As long as the lubricant has dust-resistant and lubrication properties, then it will work for both chain systems.
Our top pick for the best motorcycle chain lubricant is the DuPont Teflon Chain Saver. It’s an O-ring safe formula that cleans, protects, and lubricates the chain, and also resists fling-off.
Our budget-friendly option is the WD-40 Multi-Use Lubricant. It’s an affordable lubricant, moisture-displacing liquid, and one of the best all-purpose formulations that can be used on any metal structure and moving parts.
Would you use an aftermarket chain lube for your motorcycle? Leave us a comment in the section below.
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