How Many Times Should You Lube The Bicycle Chain?


We all know that the bicycle chain is one of the most important parts of a bicycle.

However, did you really ask yourself how often should you lube it?

Your bicycle is a series of parts and systems. The chain is probably one of the parts that receive a great deal of wear and tear.

The chain is always in constant motion, and also almost always subjected to constant tension. Furthermore, the chain is not encapsulated with anything. It’s basically exposed to the elements. This is why you should know how often you should lube your chain.

Sidenote: Bicycle safety should be a top priority. You should be able to contact someone at all times. That is why you don’t want your smartphone dying on you while riding. If you need help with that, please check this article of ours “In-depth Guide To Bike Charger 2016 (opens in a new window)”

How Often Should You Lube Your Bicycle Chain?

The short answer – it depends. There are other factors that need to be considered.
However, the major factors would be:

  •  Riding Patterns
  •  Environmental Factors

If you ride frequently, then it’s only natural that you lube your chain more often. Okay, that’s a bit vague. Let’s just frame this into a numerical figure so we can avoid further confusion.

A good rule of thumb to follow is you should lube the chain at least once every 80 miles (roughly 130 Kilometers). However, this is just an average. You will need to take into consideration the weather and climate.

If you are riding during a hot climate, then you can be a bit liberal with lubing. In fact, you can even lube once per 125 miles (roughly 190 kilometers). However, if the climate or weather is wet, it’s a different ballgame.

For cold or wet seasons, you will need to lube more often. Specifically, you should lube the chain around once per 50 miles (80 kilometers). Remember, these are just general rules of thumb, and certain factors may arise that you need to adjust the lube times.

For example, if you just got back after a dusty or muddy ride, then you should lube the chain immediately. However, clean it first before lubing (more on that later). Also, if your bicycle was exposed to rain or other wet conditions, then lube the chain immediately. Again, you should clean your chain before lubing.

What To Use For Lubing?

Let’s start with what not to use.

Don’t use household lubricant and sprays as these are usually too thin. In fact, these may even dry-out your chain.

Do not use vegetable-based oils, as these oils become gummy.

Do not use motor oils. These oils are just too thick and do a poor job of penetrating the chains.

The best oil to use is mineral-based lubricating oils that are specifically designed for bicycle parts. I suggest that you give White Lightning Epic Ride a try (if it’s available in your area).

How To Prepare The Chain For Lubing

Before you apply the lube, you must prepare the chain.

It’s best that you suspend the bike first as it makes everything easier.

The first thing to do is wipe the chain first with a rag. This will remove debris, dirt or dust.

Also clean the chain rings, both the front and back.

Time to apply the lube. When applying, direct the oil to the inner surface of the entire chain length. Below is a video on how to do it properly.