How to Choose the Right Lubricants
An overview of 3 essential types of lubrication, complete with brand recommendations.
In today’s tutorial we’ll take a look at lubricants. These are all brands that I trust and recommend after years of heavy use in the bike shop. There are three main types of lubrication you should have: light oil, chain oil, and grease.
When I talk about light oils, I’m referring to a product called TriFlow. There are many other types of traditional light oil available, but a lot of these are vegetable based and tend to gum up. TriFlow is synthetic, teflon-based, and comes with a lubrication tube that makes it easy to lube inside cable housings, pivot points, and other hard-to-reach areas. TriFlow will penetrate quickly and thoroughly, so you only need a few drops of it.
For chain lubrication I recommend a product called Finish Line Cross Country. I’ve tried a lot of different brands and found this to be the longest lasting lubricant. It’s a synthetic “wet-style” lubricant capable of sustaining high torque pedaling over long distances and nasty riding conditions. See the chain cleaning and lubrication tutorial for some more tips on applying it.
Another highly recommended chain oil is called Phil Tenacious Oil. It also works great as a lubricant and water repellent, but some people find it a bit too thick for chains. I find it is best used to lubricate the inside of internal gear hubs like Sturmey-Archer 3-speeds. If you have an older bike with a 3-speed internal gear hub, Phil Wood should be all you need for both your chain and hub.
A third type of chain lubricants are wax-based and are best for very dry climates. The best brand I’ve used is called Boeshield T-9. While wax-based lubes don’t collect as much dirt, they are a lot of hassle to apply correctly. You have to make sure your drivetrain is spotless clean before you apply it, which usually requires soaking your chain in cleaning solvent first. Then after you apply it you have to wait 2 hours before riding. It’s also important to remember that wax is simply not as good a lubricant as oil.
You should always have some waterproof grease handy for overhauling bearings and greasing threads. There are so many different brands available. You can get it in a one for shop use or in a smaller tube for occasional home use. You can use the tube along with a grease gun for squirting oil into tight spaces like bearing cages. Another thing you can do is keep some grease in a film container with a small brush, which makes it easy to quickly grease threads.
- Tri-Flow Superior Lube
- Finish Line Wet Chain Lube (Cross Country)
- Phil Wood Tenacious Oil
- Boeshield T-9 Wax Lubricant
- Super Lube White Grease Tube
- Finish Line Grease Gun
Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum
Hello, Ive just had my over 30 year old rockhopper serviced and its as good as new. Almost! Repair shop - where i bought it 6 years ago and have been great servicing it - say the chain is very worn and will be almost impossible to replace. Its a six speed. Would this be true? I'm not grumbling as its been a great bike but at the same time seems a shame to ditch it for want of a chain. Appreciate a...Read more
Hi, I'm Steve. I have this bicycle(non-geared) that I haven't used for a decade. The frame seems intact so I'm thinking of renovating it, I have disassembled it. I don't know anything about these things. Tyres, pedals and saddle I understand(not entirely), but other than that, the handle, brakes, crank bars I don't. I'm hoping someone will help me out to put it together. Thanks. I've attached two...Read more
I have a Specialized Sirrus 6.0 on order. It comes with tubeless tires. I’m thinking of having my dealer pull the tubes during setup and put in the sealant. Other than not worrying about flats, are the tubeless setups lighter and what’s the negatives?...Read more
Hi, I have a mountain bike thr has a 32 tooth chainwheel on the crank i would like to put a bigger 48 on to the crank axke i. Order to cycle the higher road speeds easier, if you install it in the exact place where you take off the old one it will not fit as it will touch the frame, because the crank is mounter in a indent of the spreader if the framer, is thete a such thing as a longer crank axl...Read more
I think I need to tighten the chainring bolts because while pedaling hard uphill today I heard some creaks. Does anybody know how to remove the plastic cover on the front crank? Thank you. IMG_3602.jpeg (Size: 79.36 KB / Downloads: 40) IMG_3603.jpeg (Size: 71.21 KB / Downloads: 41) ...Read more
Fairly dumb question, what are the early signs that disc brakes are wearing out? Are there any obvious visual cues? I don't want to wait until it's metal on metal.....Read more
I bought a can of mineral oil from motorex and it came in 250ml aluminium can with big cap, and I need to fill my brake lever with that oil but I don't have syringe or bleed kit. How could I fill it up without syringe or bleed kit and tips? Anything similar to syringe that would work? 54e2f371.jpg (Size: 152.52 KB / Downloads: 27) ...Read more
Hi, guys, the frame is 2017 Giant TCR ADV SL, can you tell this is a paint crack or a carbon crack? If it is carbon, repairable? Worth to repair? Thanks. 4F2F7C4D-0DD6-4271-A1F8-47D66B037913.jpeg (Size: 293.65 KB / Downloads: 107) 5D9E939D-05B9-4691-8586-8D33F305A7E2.jpeg (Size: 228.73 KB / Downloads: 105) ...Read more
I have a 1970’s Schwinn Varsity where the rear wheel doesn’t engage but gears rotate with chain and change gears? Went for a ride and 3 blocks later this happened....Read more
I usually go with some really nice polarized sunglasses. What do you think, It's really good?...Read more
3CC596A4-6393-4508-85E7-500A2A685C06.jpeg (Size: 69.61 KB / Downloads: 39) F04F1DF7-EF56-4B0E-94EA-1D7D3F48BA4C.jpeg (Size: 64.84 KB / Downloads: 42) Can someone identify this type of bottom bracket and a reference to what tools that I will need to remove it? Thank you....Read more
Hello everyone im looking to upgrade my brakes on a project bike that I'm doing, it currently has traditional lock bolt brake calipers can you upgrade to new style and how to do so? Kris....Read more
I bought a Schwinn Signature Sport Hybrid 21 Speed by mail (first mistake) and it came with the rear wheel off and derailleur off with the chain twisted with 2 loops. The derailleur is inside out and I have tried everything to untwist this thing with no luck. I can't find a "master link" in the chain anywhere. Any ideas or help would be appreciated. Supposed to be a Christmas present. &n...Read more
Hello ) I was wondering if any of you also fill up your bathtub or a large bucket with water in order to look for a leak in a flat inner tube? That's how I do it ... other methods our there? Holiday greetings...Read more
Ciao. Is it normal to have small metallic pieces stuck within brake pads? How do they appear there? Is it from the rims and braking or did I get them from "the street"?...Read more