Best Bike Chain Degreasers: Maintain Your Bike’s Efficiency
Use a good-quality bike chain degreaser to extend the life of your chain
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PUBLISHED ON October 5, 2019
A properly cleaned and lubricated chain reduces friction. Regular cleaning and degreasing can also lengthen the lifespan of your chain and gears, particularly if you ride mostly backcountry or your riding environment is desert and trails. A clean chain makes pedaling easier, allowing you to ride further.
- Best OverallWhite Lightning Clean RideSummarySummaryClean Ride sets as a dry wax film, so there is no oily film to attract dirt and abrasive contaminants. It is cycling's only self-cleaning lubricant.ProsProsThis is a good product for getting the deep stuff loose. It strips away grease, lube, and grime. It is also long-lasting.ConsConsIn wet weather, the wax film becomes wet and sticky, reducing efficiency.
In extreme heat, the wax film will not last as long as in cooler conditions.
- Best ValueFinish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain CleanerSummarySummary1-Step is a light, wet-style lubricant. It penetrates and flushes old grease and contaminants out with each new application.ProsProsThis cleaner is a surprisingly versatile two-in-one product. Primarily for chains, it also works on gummed-up mechanisms and sticky cables.ConsConsIt’s somewhat messy to use and requires more frequent reapplication than traditional wet lubes.
- Honorable MentionFinish Line Speed 1 Bike Chain DegreaserSummarySummaryThis is a dry-style degreaser. It cleans and strips down to the bare metal. It evaporates dry and leaves no residue.ProsProsIt’s perfect for cleaning and decontaminating disc brakes. A turbo sprayer uses mechanical agitation to help quickly remove contaminants. It’s fast-acting with good dirt stripping power.ConsConsSome users complain it is less potent than the manufacturer suggests and is not great for excessive dirt build-up. Don’t expect it to last long if it’s your only cleaning product.
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- If you don’t have a chain cleaning tool, use a folded rag. Pour a small amount of chain cleaner onto the rag and then hold it around the chain as you backpedal for a few rotations.
- Choose a bike lubricant that’s right for your conditions. A chain degreaser that performs well in dry, hot climates may not perform as well in wet, cooler conditions. If you have a bike with fat tires and you enjoy snow riding, your choice of a chain degreaser may be limited.
- After one or two long rides, or following wet rides, always clean and lube your chain. If you’re commuting regularly, a once-a-week chain cleaning and lubing will keep it running smoothly and maintain the integrity of the chain.
Q: Is gasoline a good degreaser?
A: In theory, gasoline is a very effective degreaser. However, it’s not safe and has a somewhat pesky habit of evaporating very easily.
Q: Is WD40 a good degreaser and lubricant?
A: It is a reasonably good chain degreaser, but is not designed for bike chains. It’s best to use a product specifically designed for degreasing and maintaining your bike chain.
Q: How often should I degrease my bike’s chain?
A: This depends on the climate you live in and how often you ride. Dry, dusty, backcountry riding calls for more chain maintenance than riding on paved roads and pathways.
Our pick for the best bike chain degreaser is White Lightning Clean Ride due to its self-cleaning ability and its wax protective film.
If you are an occasional biker or if you are storing your bike for the winter, a more budget-friendly option is the Finish Line 1-Step.