Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our large bicycle chain oil test 2022. Here we present all the bicycle chain oils that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the most suitable bicycle chain oil for you.
You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to when buying a bicycle chain oil.



Summary

  • Bicycle chains should be lubricated or oiled regularly to prevent them from drying out.
  • Before you start lubricating the bicycle chain, you should remove old grease, dirt and oil from the chain.
  • Bicycle chain oil with good creeping properties can also get into the individual, hard-to-reach chain links, as the oil is very thin and can "creep" well.

The Best Bicycle Chain Oil: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying bicycle chain oil

Which bicycle chain oil is suitable for my bike?

An unkempt chain is not only annoying for fellow cyclists, but also damages the drive system in terms of power transmission and function.

An unmaintained chain not only damages the drive but is also annoying for fellow cyclists due to the squeaking noises. (Image source: unsplash.com / Brina Blum)

Since bicycle chains are exposed to extreme conditions, chain oils also have to perform enormously. Choosing the right bicycle chain oil is therefore difficult for many bikers. Basically, a distinction is made between oils for derailleur chains and chains for hub ge ars:

  • Gear chains should be oiled regularly. You can find out which oil is best for this in our product ranking.
  • Hub gears are maintenance-free and should be lubricated with chain grease rather than oil.

Which bicycle chain oil is suitable for e-bikes?

An e-bike has to transmit much higher forces to the chain than a conventional bicycle. In addition, you cover a lot of kilometres on an e-bike and are often confronted with rain and dirt, which affect the chain and lead to increased wear. The right chain oil for an e-bike is therefore essential. It should remove stubborn dirt but also not have too strong a degreasing effect, otherwise there is a risk of the lubrication being removed from the individual chain links.

Under no circumstances should you use strongly grease-dissolving agents such as WD40 for chain and drive care.

We recommend the F100 cleaner from Dr. Wack for your e-bike. The product convinces with its strong adhesive effect, even under high loads. It is also quick and easy to apply.

What does bicycle chain oil cost?

The prices of bicycle chain oils vary only slightly. There are cheaper versions starting at 6 euros and more expensive versions starting at 15 euros. Here you should also consider the adhesive effect.
Online shops Chain oil prices
Amazon 5-15 €
Bike-Discount 5-13 €

What alternatives are there to bicycle chain oil?

There are various alternatives for chain maintenance on bicycles. There is no single correct method. However, there are many suggestions on how to get your bicycle chain clean:

  • Chain grease
  • Chain wax

Chain grease stands for viscous oil, which is available as a spray or in bottles. How often you should lubricate your bicycle chain varies greatly. It depends on the mileage, the weather and the quality of the chain. The best way to clean your chain is without chemicals. You can use a cleaning cloth or a toothbrush to clean the chain.

Removing old grease and dirt is time-consuming, but urgently necessary if the chain is to last a long time.

You should always use chain grease sparingly, as too much lubricant attracts dirt. It is better to use very little lubricant on a regular basis than to grease everything up once. Chain wax is less recommended for bicycles. Due to its firm consistency, wax cannot penetrate very deeply between the chain links. Getting a chain clean of wax is a challenge.

In addition to chain oil, you can also use chain grease or chain wax for chain care. Chain wax is recommended for winter storage because of its greasy consistency. (Image source: unsplash.com / Markus Spiske)

Wax can only be removed chemically. So once you have lubricated your chain with wax, you will never get rid of it again. In addition, wax does not lubricate well. Therefore, chain wax is only recommended for winterising a bicycle.

Decision: What types of bicycle chain oils are there and which is the right one for you?

We distinguish between the following types of bicycle chain oil:

  • Bicycle chain oil in wet conditions
  • Bicycle chain oil in dry conditions

To make your purchase decision easier, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each type below.

What distinguishes bicycle chain oil in wet conditions and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Bicycle chain oils for wet conditions are more viscous and the oil remains on the chain instead of drying. This chain oil is ideal for cyclists who are not deterred by wet weather or mud. The oil penetrates deep into the chain, ensuring greater longevity. It also provides long-lasting lubrication, even in extreme weather conditions. This reduces wear and improves chain performance.

Advantages
  • Greater durability
  • Better lubrication
Disadvantages
  • Poor in dry conditions
  • Leads to high wear if used excessively

What distinguishes bicycle chain oil in dry conditions and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Bicycle chain oil in dry conditions is a thin-bodied oil. The oil leaves a thin film of wax on the chain after it has dried. This provides the necessary lubrication and ensures longer adhesion. A dry lubricant is also significantly more dirt-repellent than a wet lubricant. However, it must be applied regularly to retain the long-term effect.

Advantages
  • Suitable for dry conditions
  • Dirt-repellent
Disadvantages
  • Wax film is not very resistant
  • Must be applied more often

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate bicycle chain oils

We have formulated the following buying criteria for you:

  • Adhesion
  • Colour
  • Biodegradability

We will now explain what the individual criteria are.

Adhesion

Bicycle chain oils with creeping properties have a high adhesive effect and thus guarantee continuous lubrication. A bicycle chain oil with good creeping properties also gets into the individual chain links, as the oil is very thin here and can "creep" well. However, a bicycle chain oil with creeping properties is less resistant than a thicker oil, which in turn has poorer creeping properties.

Advantages
  • Thin oil
  • also flows into individual chain links
Disadvantages
  • Less resistant
  • Oil can be washed off more easily

Colour

Oils can darken the chain, which in turn attracts more dirt. If you use a thin oil, the colour will probably be less discoloured, but you should also re-oil more often. There are chain oils with ceramic technology that form a thin ceramic coating on the chain. This reduces friction and does not darken the bicycle chain. Therefore it is also water and dirt repellent, and suitable for long-term use.

Biodegradability

Instead of mineral oil-based oils, you can also use biodegradable oils made from raw materials such as soy. However, these lubricants have to undergo extensive tests before they are allowed to affix the "biodegradable" seal of quality to the bottle.

Conventional bicycle chain oils, greases and cleaners work well but contain toxic substances that are not good for the skin or the environment.

100% biodegradable chain oils consist of natural and largely vegetable components. However, the question here is whether biodegradable chain oils are just as good as the conventional ones? Quite clearly, yes! Biodegradable chain oils work just as well as chain oils with mineral oil components.

The chain oil from Bio-Chem is ideal for this. It provides a higher lubricating and creeping effect and optimal wear protection. In addition, the product is made from extra-gentle and biodegradable ingredients.

Facts worth knowing about bicycle chain oil

How to lubricate the bicycle chain properly?

Before you start lubricating the bicycle chain, you should remove old grease, dirt and oil from the chain, as the desired layer of grease on the chain should be very thin afterwards. This is best done with a cloth, chain cleaner or a small cleaning brush or toothbrush. The purpose of oiling is not to lubricate the entire chain, but to lubricate the moving joints between the chain links.

If there is too much oil on the chain, it will attract a lot of sand, dirt and dust.

Note: In order not to damage the braking effect, it is essential to take care when lubricating the chain that no oil gets on the brakes, rims or brake discs. Lubrication is also possible: Less is more! You should pay attention to the following steps during lubrication:

  1. Note a point on the chain as a starting point that you can find again so as not to "over-oil" the chain.
  2. Shift to the middle sprocket of your sprocket or chainring at the front and back.
  3. Now you can start to oil the inner side of the bicycle chain.
  4. Finally, shift into all gears again and let the chain run for several revolutions.
  5. Afterwards, wipe off the excess oil with a cloth. However, you should wait 15 minutes before wiping it off, because then the oil can spread between the joints.

How often should you lubricate the bicycle chain oil?

Opinions differ greatly on the question of frequency. Passionate mountain bikers are of the opinion that the bicycle chain should already be oiled after 100 km. Others start at 500 km.

The frequency depends on various factors, such as the weather, the shifting style or the riding conditions. The number of kilometres and the degree of stress are also decisive.

Fact is: The chain should be oiled regularly to prevent it from drying out. Because if the chain is dry, the drive increases and so the chain will quickly wear out or break. Therefore, check regularly whether the chain is still well lubricated. At the latest when you hear squeaking noises, the chain should be lubricated.

How do I remove bicycle chain oil stains from my clothes?

You can remove oil stains from your clothes with the following household remedies:

  • Butter or margarine: These are the classics for removing oil stains from clothing. Butter and margarine combine well with oil, so it is easier to remove the oil. After you have smeared this on the stain, you should let it work for a short time and then wash it as hot as possible.
  • Baking powder, baby powder or flour can also help. Simply sprinkle it on the oil stain and then wash it with soap.
  • Last but not least, a conventional washing-up liquid will also work. Dishwashing liquid dissolves grease, so you can simply smear the oil stain with a little dishwashing liquid and let it soak in. Afterwards, you should wash the spot with lukewarm water.

How do I dispose of bicycle chain oil?

Whether it is oil packaging or oil on a cleaning rag, it belongs in hazardous waste or residual waste and not in household waste. To collect oil during lubrication, you should place newspaper under the chain. You can then dispose of this together with the oil packaging and the cleaning cloth.

Photo source: unsplash.com / Vlad Smolyakov

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