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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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.
In extreme heat, the wax film will not last as long as in cooler conditions.
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Benefits of Bike Chain Degreasers
- High protection. Degreasers are made to break down grease and grime that build up on bike chains and other moving parts. Excessive dirt found on bike chains reduces their lifespan and causes premature aging. By using a degreaser regularly, you can protect your bike in the long term and increase its durability.
- More efficiency. Grease and grime are also known to have an impact on shifting performance and overall bike efficiency. With the right degreaser, you'll keep all the moving parts clean and make sure they operate smoothly for superior bike performance.
- Easy maintenance. Degreasers also make maintaining chains super easy. They break down dirt without much effort and allow you to get back on the trail in no time. Furthermore, some products combine cleaning and degreasing for even more user convenience.
Types of Bike Chain Degreasers
The main difference between bike chain degreasers comes from package options. The most common products come in spray bottles that are easy to use and transport. They make a perfect on-the-go solution when quick chain cleanups are needed far away from home. Also, most of the degreasers that come in spray bottles are water-based and less corrosive.
Degreasers that come in this packaging option are more flammable than the spray-bottle ones. For that reason, they are stored in metal casings that are not easy to burn. Aerosol degreasers are usually compact and lightweight, which makes them highly portable and easy to store. Bikers can keep them in maintenance tool kits and use them anytime and anywhere. They only need to be extra careful when using it at high temperatures and avoid storing the aerosol under direct sunlight.
Those who need heavy-duty bike cleaning solutions might want to opt for degreasers stored in cans. This is a popular option for saving some extra cash, too. Degreasers that come in cans need to be diluted in water, which makes them more powerful and long-lasting. You can also pick a perfect blend for each particular situation without being too hard on your pocketbook.
White Lightning was founded in 1994 by Paul Maples, a chemist determined to create a perfect lube for cleaning and maintaining vehicle chains. After the first chain lube from White Lightning became incredibly popular, the company quickly grew into a widely-known brand. Today, the White Lightning Clean Ride is one of the most popular bike chain degreasers on the market.
Finish Line is a company located in Hauppauge, New York. It all started in 1988 when Henry Krause made the first bicycle lubricants for enhanced performance and ultimate durability of all moving parts. Now, Finish Line produces all kinds of degreases, lubricants, cleaners, tire sealants, and more. The Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner is our best value pick on the list.
Bike Chain Degreasers Pricing
- Under $20: Most all-purpose degreasers are pretty inexpensive. They might be less efficient in removing tough dirt and grease, but are still an excellent option for regular bike chain maintenance.
- $20 and up: Pricier degreasers offer better cleaning results, dry faster, and last longer. For a few extra bucks, bikers can also get dilutable products that can be used over and over again for tough cleanups.
Degreasers are designed for heavy-duty cleaning of bike gears and chains. They are extremely powerful and able to remove grease, oils, and tough grime within a few moments. To achieve ultimate efficiency, most degreasers use solvents that are hazardous and unsuitable for plastic, paint, and rubber. Therefore, it's crucial to use degreasers carefully, depending on the surface type.
We also recommend getting degreasers made from naturally derived citrus and mineral spirit solvents. These are safe to use on different bike parts and are less harmful to humans too.
Along with picking a product with natural solvents, it's essential to get a non-toxic and biodegradable one. The truth is, most degreasers won't be both biodegradable and non-toxic. However, products that claim being both will certainly be safer than those without any labels. Thus, it's important to check out the product's description before the purchase.
Also, keep in mind that biodegradable products can still be toxic. We recommend looking for a combined formula and still use gloves and protective gear when handling the bike chain degreaser.
Ease of Use
When it comes to the application, most bike chain degreasers are easy to apply and wipe clean. Due to their high efficiency, these products resolve most of the dirt and grease all on their own. Still, sometimes you might need to use brushes and pads for detailed cleanups.
Consider whether you're a fan of spray bottles or you’re more up for getting a can. The former will allow for quick and effortless application, and the latter requires dilution but ensures thorough cleanups and lasts longer. In both cases, you'll get rid of the harmful buildup in a breeze. The only difference is that one application type might work better for you particularly.
- Quick Dry. It's also important to consider how much time the product needs to resolve dirt and grease. If you need something super efficient and quick so you can continue your ride within a few moments, we recommend looking for quick-dry bike chain degreasers.
- Price. Your pocketbook will also influence your decision when choosing the best bike chain degreaser. If you're on a limited budget, products in cans might be the best option because they dilute in water and last for longer. For those who can spend a few extra bucks on new degreasers, we recommend getting spray bottles.
Best Bike Chain Degreasers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- 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.