How often should I lube my chain?

  • I ride less than 200 miles a week, and I'm at about the 200 mile mark on my new road bike. Most of my riding is done on the road in an urban city, so there is a lot of odd, unnatural debris. My LBS told me to lube my chain every 150 miles, but I've read conflicting opinions.

    How often should I be lubing my chain?

  • 42-17

    42-17 Correct answer

    11 years ago

    Lubricate when needed. I don't think it's possible to put a mile marker on when to lube. I think most people add chain lube too often. Too much can cause debris to build up on the chain. Too little lube can cause unnecessary friction; but you'll know pretty quickly by the looks (and possibly sound) of it if you have too little lube.


    1. Wipe your chain off before you add
      more lube.[*]

    2. Is the color black?

    3. Is it greasy?

    4. Wipe all that schmutz off until it's
      looking dry.

    5. Add lube while rotating cranks.


    1. Lube the night before you ride: this
      gives the lube a chance to 'spread'.

    2. Wipe the excess off immediately
      before you ride - but not until dry
      as above.

    ^ [*]. Wiping off the chain is best done in a work stand or while the bike is in a position where you can rotate the crankarm such that you can hold a rag to the chain while the chain is moving.

    Wiping is not always best thing to do, because you can unintentinally take dirt from outside (where it is harmless) to the inside. The chain might look clean, but a lot of dirt would be inside. Best thing to do, IMO, is to remove it, submerge in some solvent (I use kerosene), and shake vigorously.

    @heltonbiker some chain manufacturers recommended _against_ solvent baths as this strips out all the factory lube which is typically a much higher quality than what you add with a drip on lube. I did some longevity testing and found solvent bath and relubed chains had a noticeable shorter life compared to wipe-lube-wipe.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM