Have you ever wondered if you could make your own chain lube? Yes, technically. You may lubricate your bike chain with any oil, although some work better than others. Here are the alternatives to chain lubes.

Important note: Remember that most lubricants are designed for use in closed systems, not in a bicycle chain exposed to the environment, dirt, and debris. Your bike is probably not working at its optimum if you don’t know how crucial it is to keep your chain greased. Well-lubricated best bike chains guarantee that your bike goes smoothly through the motions.

There are, however, many different lubrication alternatives to pick from. A few well-known companies make bike lube, but many other options will work just as well. Here are some of the finest and worst bike chain lube alternatives available.

Chain Lube Alternatives

1. Bike Oil

This is one of the most common ways to lubricate your bike’s chain. It’s cheap, easy to use, and comes in a variety of viscosity. However, this type of lubricant can dry out over time and cause your chain to seize up. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get your bike back on track, then this is a perfect choice.

Can You Use It?

If you end up using bike oil and chain lube, use them in small quantities. Don’t be tempted to coat your chain in it.

2. Silicone Grease

This is another popular option for lubricating your chain. Like oil, silicone grease dries out over time, so be sure to apply it sparingly. This product also has a tendency to leave residue behind, which makes cleaning difficult.

Can You Use It?

Yes. However, make sure to use the one which is suitable for bikes. Some grease types should not be used on your bike at all.

Alternatives to Chain Lubes
Bike chain lube is essential in protecting the chain from wear and tear. It also helps in making your rides smooth. With a protected bike chain, you are capable of applying the gears smoothly and it also helps the chain last longer. Here are the alternatives to chain lube. Please keep in mind that most lubricants are designed for use in closed systems, not in a bicycle chain exposed to the environment, dirt, and debris. Your bike is probably not working at its optimum if you don’t know how crucial it is to keep your chain greased. Image: Media24

3. Wax

Wax is a popular lubricant often found on bicycle frames-made using a thick, liquefied wax composition that dries and then flakes off over time, bringing dirt and grit with it. It’s very slippery and won’t wear down quickly like oils and greases. Be careful when using wax, though, since it can melt quickly.

Can You Use It?

Yes. It’s also an excellent choice for individuals who want to coat their bike’s chains evenly and thoroughly.

4. Chainsaw Oil

These oils are made to be viscous. They must follow a drivetrain that spins between 11,000 and 15,000 RPM. A bike chain spinning at 50-100 RPM is a good illustration. It’s clear to notice how stickier the oil is than the lube that your bicycle chain requires.

The basic purposes of a chainsaw oil are:

  1. To lubricate it.
  2. The blades grow excessively heated. Thus it lowers the working temperatures.
  3. Protection against rust/oxidation.

The oil from chainsaws sticks to logs, absorbed into sawdust, becomes stuck in loggers’ clothing, or falls to the ground in 99 percent of cases.

Can You Use It?

Chainsaw oil can be used as a moist lubricant for bike chains, and it’s excellent for biking in bad weather when you require a viscous lubricant that won’t get washed away by wet or rainy situations. This lubrication is too dense for most cases unless you ride every day in the rain.

5. Gear lubricant

Gear lubricants come in two varieties: gear oil and gear grease. Both of these products have similar properties, and both are explicitly made for gears. They’re usually applied after the gear teeth are cleaned, and they protect them from corrosion and reduce friction.

It’s possible to use gear lubricants on your bike if you wish. Just make sure that you choose the right kind for your particular needs.

  • A substance’s viscosity is a measurement of its thickness. These oils are thick to reach the internal workings and rollers of the chain.
  • Gear lubes must have an added Extreme-Pressure component. These gear oils have an additive profile that is unsuitable for riding.
  • Such oils are meant to work in high-temperature environments. Because lubes viscosity varies with temperature, additives are required while using the equipment. Furthermore, lubes responsibility is to eliminate excess heat. These traits aren’t essential for bike lubes.

Can You Use It?

It’s a gamble. Due to poor performance and stickiness, the chain might get affected and be harder to clean, as road and trail debris stick to this oil used for high-temperature gears.

6. Multi-Purpose 3-IN-1 Oil

This type of oil contains three different types of lubricating agents: mineral oil, synthetic oil, and silicone oil. These three components work together to provide optimum lubrication.

Mineral oils are derived from petroleum and are the most common form of lubricants. They are inexpensive and widely available. However, they are not environmentally friendly and may cause damage to the environment.

You can employ this product if you need to lubricate all parts of your bicycle, including the drive train, derailleur, brakes, pedals, and other components. But remember that this type of lubricant has a higher risk of causing damage to your bike.

Can You Use It?

Absolutely. This oil was explicitly formulated for bicycle chains, and it surpasses several bicycle lubricants.

7. Vegetable Oils

Sesame, Canola, Peanut, Corn, Cottonseed, Rapeseed, Linseed, and olive oils all reduce friction to levels similar to bike lubricants.

Castor oil is a poor bike lubricant because of its viscosity, which prevents it from penetrating the rollers.

While most vegetable oils may lower the amount of force required to pedal a bicycle to levels comparable to bike lubricants in test settings, the main reason you wouldn’t want to use them is that they will collect a lot of dust and debris.

Can You Use It?

No. Such oils will collect dirt, and they will oxidize and decay fast. These oils should be avoided unless necessary.

8. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is a sticky substance that helps protect against corrosion and keeps your chain clean. It’s an excellent alternative to WD40 or silica gel, but it doesn’t have much lubricity.

Can You Use It?

No. It may appear to do a fantastic job, but it isn’t long-lasting enough to be of any value. Petroleum jelly will not protect your bike while going through the movements, and it will rapidly vanish in rainy weather.

9. WD-40

Because WD-40 is not a lubricant, it should not be used on your chain. A solvent is WD40. This means that WD-40 can be used to clean your chain, but you’ll still need to apply genuine lube afterward.

Can You Use It?

No. It’s not a lubricant.

Benefits of Bike Chain Lube Alternatives

The most significant advantage of utilizing a non-commercial bike chain lubricant is its accessibility. The majority of the items listed above are everyday household items, so you should be able to find one and be enticed to use it on your chain. You’ll need to look for and order a specially designed best bike chain lube.

Negatives of Bike Chain Lube Alternatives

As you can see from the list above, there are certain drawbacks to utilizing bike chain lube substitutes. Bike chain lube is designed to withstand the elements. This includes dealing with a variety of weather conditions, pressure, and other external variables.
It’s difficult to predict which lube will perform best in wet and dry settings, which risks the possibilities.

Some will draw more dust, resulting in greater grinding and friction, increasing wear and year. Some of them will simply wash away. Some will quickly deteriorate. Some will deteriorate the chain lube supplied by the manufacturer. Another thing to consider is that they aren’t designed to prevent rust, which is one of the most common causes of bike chain damage.

Alternatives, while readily available, are not always less expensive. Cooking oils and grease will be around the same price as a specialty bike chain lube. You’ll also have to apply it more frequently because it degrades faster than a dedicated bike chain lubricant, increasing costs.

Final Thoughts

Bike chains are complex pieces of equipment. They require maintenance and care to keep them running smoothly. If you’re looking for something cheap and easy, then you might be better off using a generic chain cleaner instead of trying to make your own. However, if you’re willing to spend some time and money on your bike, then you’ll want to invest in a quality bike chain lube.

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