The variety of lubricants in your local bike shop can be a little confusing, vital for maintaining your bicycle and keeping things moving smoothly, they prolong the life of parts and improve your ride if applied correctly.
There’s essentially three different types of bike lube:
- Chain Lubricants (Dry/Wet)
- All Purpose Lubricants
Dry and wet are pretty much universal terms and most chain lubricant manufacturers will offer these two variants as a minimum. As a very simple rule of thumb, use dry lubes in dry conditions and wet lubes in wet conditions.
These go onto the chain wet, but then dry to a waxy finish. Most take a few hours to dry, so plan for this before you head out to ride. The positive side of a dry lube is it won’t collect much dirt which is perfect for cycling in dry conditions. On the downside, dry lubes wash off very easily and will need re-applying after a wet ride.
Wet lubes are thicker and stick to the chain, remaining wet to the touch until rubbed away. They are perfect for wet conditions, as they offer a highly increased resistance to rain and are harder to wash away. The downside is they collect dirt so need cleaning up a lot more regularly to stop damage to components.
Wet lubes should only really be used when the conditions call for it. They are perfect for your winter bike in harsh conditions, but clean up the chain and swap back to dry lubes in the summer to prevent grime building up within the cassette.
Can I Use Other Types of Lubrication On My Chain?
In short, no. Chain lubes are made specifically for the task so there’s little need to stray elsewhere. The classic beginner mistake is to use a very lightweight household oil such as WD40, which is designed for low use parts. Whilst this will grease the chain in the short term, it is not meant for outside use and will very quickly wash away. The other extreme is motor oil. This is generally too thick for use on a bike chain, and will not penetrate the smaller parts of a bike. It is also very sticky, so will pick up muck from the road very easily.
Source : https://www.yellowjersey.co.uk/the-draft/everything-you-need-to-know-about-bike-lubricants/