Welcome to off-road.cc's guide to the best chain lubes for mountain and gravel bikes. These wet and dry lubes have all been tried and tested by us in all conditions and have received a score of over four out of five in their review.
[Updated 12th May 2020]
Should you use wet or dry lube?
The question of whether you should use wet or dry lube really comes down to the conditions you are riding in whether on a mountain bike or a gravel bike. A dry lube, not surprisingly is better for dry conditions, it won't attract dirt or dust but it often doesn't last as long as more durable wet lubes. Shorter rides on dry, summer trails will need a dry lube, whereas longer rides on wet sloppy trails in the winter will need you to use a wet lube. A wet lube, as well as being more durable will; stick to the chain better when riding in the rain on longer rides. It can be a messy affair though and become sticky and gloopy if you use too much.
The best chain lubes
WD40 Bike Dry Lube goes on easily, works well to keep chains running smoothly without caking them in dust and grit, and can even withstand the occasional puddle or shower. It doesn't build up over time the way wax lubes can either. The nozzle can get a bit overenthusiastic, however, and there are cheaper options.
ProgGold ProLink Chain Lube is a thin lubricant that creates a smooth-running, clean chain in a range of conditions, creates minimal build up over multiple applications and lasts pretty well. It's very a thin liquid, however, so requires careful handling.
Fenwick's Wet Weather Chain Lube provides very effective winter protection for your drivetrain, and stays working over multiple muddy and rainy rides. It's easy to use, reasonably priced and environmentally friendly to boot.
Viking Juice is Juice Lubes' all-conditions, long-lasting chain oil, and with careful application, it lives up to its promise. It's thinner than most wet lubes so penetrates really well, but it needs several coats to work – and it's easy to spill. It’s UK made and totally biodegradable though, and won't gum up with filth on the trails.
WPL wet chain lube is a non-sticky chain lube that helps reduce the build-up of black gunk on your gears and is well priced too. We just wish it was a bit more widely available, for now, though you can buy from suspension specialists, TF Tuned.
Squirt Lube is a 100% biodegradable wax and water emulsion that dries to the chain and forms a 'long-lasting lubricant'. It can be used for wet or dry riding and, assuming you follow the instructions, it works and lasts well.
Green Oil's Wet Chain Lube is an exceptionally good barrier against water, dirt and corrosion, seriously reduces maintenance and won't turn the planet into an unliveable wasteland. The price is good and the applicator is well designed. There's really nothing not to like.
B'Twin 300 Lubricant is a cheaper option to many lubes out there and we don't think you'll end up using a great deal more of it either. It's easily applied and will keep your chain and derailleur running smoothly.
Back in 2009, our tester Stu found Pedro's Syn Lube to be 'Excellent'. An nothing's changed now – it's still a cracking product for keeping you squeak-free in the winter months.
Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lube is a super-clean-running formula designed primarily for the drier months, but several very soggy weeks suggest it's one of the most tenacious. By our reckoning it's well worth trying if you didn't mind reapplying it a little more frequently than your typical everyday middleweight.
Wickens & Soderstrom No.5 Drivetrain Lubricant is a thinnish lube that does a great job of keeping things quiet whilst being non-gunky and easy to clean off. That's about as good as chain lube gets.
Smoove is a thin, white liquid that needs applying to the rollers-only as you turn the chain to get a light, even coverage. Then you leave it overnight to dry (Smoove recommends this, though it says an hour is enough) and the next day, the chain appears completely dry. Only by touching it can you detect the presence of the lube, in a faint stickiness. While most wax lubes work by flaking off, taking the dirt with them, Smoove creates this long-lasting coating which doesn't fall off (hence the long-lasting lubrication) but does hang on more to the dirt. Whether this is an issue for you depends on how often you like to clean your chain, but if you're a frequent cleaner, then Smoove works very well in between cleans.
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