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Motorcycle chain lubes are now more quality-made to suit a particular bike than they were before. While in the past, lubes were quite basic and performed as such, today, they’re more efficient.
Still, it’s not always so easy to find the best product, especially if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. This lube is more than just a grease to put on your chain as it has specific purposes and should be carefully selected.
Take a moment to read about some of the top motorcycle chain lubes and the most critical buying factors you should consider.
10 Highest Rated Motorcycle Chain Lubes
Maxima – Best for Long-term Protection
Maxima’s chain wax is one of the best choices if you’re looking for long-term protection. Its unique Para-Film formula creates a wax-like film, protecting in different conditions and situations.
This is a good choice if you live in a humid and wet area where it often rains. The waxy motorcycle formula effectively protects your chain against moist.
It’s formulated with anti-wear, heavy-duty, and extreme-pressure additives, providing effective lubrication and protection for all cables, chains, and sprockets.
It goes deep into all the hard-to-reach areas. Your chain will last a longer time thanks to the reduced wear and stretch.
This one is versatile and works for all kinds of motorcycles and vehicles. On top of that, it comes in different package sizes, which is excellent if you have a few bikes to look after.
Bel-Ray – Best for Off-road
If you’re enjoying off-road adventures, you should consider this Bel-Ray as one of the best to protect your chain. It comes in a 400ml package, but there’s an option to buy a pack of 6x400ml, depending on your needs.
The lubricant provides anti-wear protection for both chains and sprockets. It features an outer protective coating that doesn’t attract dirt, which is especially important for off-road riders.
It doesn’t fling off, but that’s only if you apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions that you can find on the back of the packaging. When applied and dried, the lubricant stays on for at least 15,000 miles.
This one is suitable for all O, X, and Z ring and roller chains for different bikes. It’s usually recommended to people who ride racing, sports, and off-road motorcycles.
DuPont – Best Dirt-resistant
This DuPont dry film lubricant comes in different package sizes, allowing you to choose according to your needs. It’s a useful versatility, especially if you have more than one bike.
It’s a 100% dry-film Teflon coating and lubricant meant for different purposes. While you can use it on chain-driven motorcycles, you can also use it on sliding glass doors, metal-on-metal parts, vinyl windows, and much more.
It’s a clean formula that’s long-lasting and micro-thin. As such, it doesn’t leave any residue, and it’s relatively simple to clean. It provides a dirt-resistant coating that works in temperatures from -100°F to 500°F.
This one uses resin-bonding technology that makes it suitable for metal-on-metal use. Once applied, it creates a thin coating that’s resistant to dirt and chemicals. As such, the lube is suitable for off-road and dirt bikes.
Motul – Best for Racing
If you’re into racing, you probably already understand the importance of a quality chain lube. In this case, this Motul lubricant is one of your best options since it’s specifically designed for road racing.
The bottle comes in a single size of 9.3 oz, so you’ll have to purchase several if this doesn’t seem enough for your needs.
This one is compatible with Z, X, and O ring chains, so you can use it on other types of motorcycles as well. However, keep in mind that it’s not recommended for off-road use.
The lubricant is easy to apply and simple to clean in case you get it on parts you didn’t intend.
It’s milky in color, so you might notice some white residue when it dries.
This is also relatively simple to wipe off once the lube is dry.
Honda – Best for All Temperatures
Honda is a well-known name in the industry, so you can be sure of its quality. This lubricant contains white graphite, offering superior lubrication over a longer period of time.
It resists wear and weather, so you can use it in different conditions (read more about winterizing your ride). Thanks to its formula, the lube works in both high and low temperatures. As a result, you can use it during any time of the year regardless of how hot or cold it is.
Another thing worth mentioning is its versatility and compatibility. It works on all types of ring chains, allowing you to use it on different bikes.
This one comes in a 15 oz bottle and is a bit tricky to apply.
Still, it’s a no-fling formula, so it’s going to last you a long time before you’ll have to reapply.
PJ1 – Best for Friction Reduction
This one comes in a 13 oz and 5 oz sizes, allowing you to choose based on your preference and need. It’s an O-ring chain lube, so make sure to check whether or not it fits your vehicle.
Thanks to its formula, the lubricant applies and penetrates quickly. This allows it to coat and protect the O-rings, keeping them pliable and moist.
The lube displaces and repels water, protecting against corrosion and rust. It reduces chain friction and shock, resulting in fewer adjustments and less wear as a whole.
It’s a petroleum-based clear formula, so it won’t fly off.
Instead, it extends the life of your chain, also protecting sprocket surfaces with cushioning between the rollers and sprocket.
Keep in mind that it’s specifically designed for O-ring chains, so it might not work equally as effectively on other types.
Finish Line – Best for Rust Protection
This one comes in a squeeze bottle of 4 oz, although it’s also available in 17 oz and 8 oz sizes. It’s a wet lubricant that also works as a hassle-free cleaner.
One of the best things is how easily it penetrates all the hard-to-reach areas. It quickly flushes out old lube and dirt buildup with every new application.
This one works as a cleaner, as well. When you notice that there’s dirt buildup on your chain, you should just apply some to flush it out and lube it a bit more.
Thanks to its formula, the lube provides maximum rust protection. As such, it’s one of the best choices for occasional riders who frequently store their bikes during winter.
It’s engineered for recreational and commuting cyclists who need quick and easy application at all times.
Nextzett – Best Acid-free
If you’re looking for a long-lasting product and easy application, you might want to check this Nextzett. It comes in a 10 oz bottle, which should be enough for several applications, depending on how many bikes you have.
This is a high-temperature synthetic grease that’s quite easy to apply regardless of the type of motorcycle you drive. Still, it’s one of the most versatile formulas, allowing you to use it on many other vehicles.
It doesn’t attract any dirt, sand, and grime. It’s water-resistant and helps extend chain life, protecting it in moist and humid environments.
Another thing worth noting is that this is a resin and acid-free formula. As such, it’s gentler on your chain, but still highly efficient and protective.
Lucas Oil – Best Water-resistant
Having a reliable lubricant is one of the most critical things if you live in a humid or rainy area. This Lucas Oil is among the best water-resistant formulas, suitable for different kinds of chains.
It’s specifically designed to penetrate deeply into bushings and pins of your chain, providing smooth operation. On top of that, the formula is water-resistant, so it repels water, protecting the chain from rust and corrosion.
It comes in an 11 oz bottle, but there’s an option to buy a pack of four in case you have more bikes to look after. Keep in mind that even the 11 oz bottle goes a long way.
This is foam, so you might struggle to apply it if it’s your first time. However, make sure to read the instructions on the package for a more straightforward application.
Liquid Wrench – Best Anti-sling
Liquid Wrench is one of the most popular chain lubes out there. It’s an 11 oz bottle of lubricant that’s specially formulated for bike chains.
It’s easy to apply and dries only after it enters the links and wire cable strands. This means that it won’t dry on top of the chain before it manages to penetrate inside the loops.
The lube extends component life by preventing oxidation and protecting against humidity and moisture. It also contains anti-wear additives and synthetic moly. This helps with overall performance, allowing smooth operation.
This one doesn’t fling and stays on your chain for a longer period.
On top of that, it helps reduce noises on slightly rusted chains. It’s thin and easy to use on chains, brake and clutch levers, pedals, cables, and other such components.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Motorbike Chain Lube
Your Motorcycle Riding Style
Although some people might tell you that you can use any lubricant, that might not be the case. In other words, not all of them work for all chains and driving styles. Buying a lube without first taking into account several important factors is a bit risky.
Chains generally have the same purpose on all motorbikes, but it’s your riding style that affects their performance one way or another.
If you’re into off-road adventures, you need something that’s dust-resistant. Dust is a real issue that has a significant impact on the overall longevity of your chain.
For this reason, it’s essential to go for a lubricant that won’t attract any dust, sand, dirt, and other such grime. On the other hand, that’s maybe not as important if you’re a commuter who rides on paved surfaces, although some dust-resistance is always well-advised.
Type of Chain You’re Using
Another thing to keep in mind is the type of chain you’re using. Before purchasing any particular lube, you should first make sure that it can be used with the chain you have.
Two main types are the X-ring and O-ring. In essence, there’s not much difference between these two except that X-ring is a bit more long-lasting. It offers somewhat better performance, but it’s also more expensive.
Some lubricants work on all types, but as we said, this is something you should check. Putting the wrong product on your chain might result in damage, so make sure to be careful.
These rings are X-shaped when pressed in between the chainplates. An X-ring chain has great sealing and is quite durable. It’s almost always more expensive than the O-ring type. However, for the price, you get low friction and a chain that’s going to last you a long time.
These are O-shaped and were made before the X-rings. They distort to have two flat sides as the two plates push on either side of the ring. As a result, you get great sealing and a ring that’s ideal for most uses. It creates some friction, but it’s also cheaper than the X-ring chain.
Type of Lubricants
Because there are different types of chains, there are also several types of lubes suitable for each of them. The three main types you’ll come across are the wet, dry, and all-purpose lubricants.
As we mentioned, it’s quite important to choose carefully as some lubes might not work for particular chains. While going for an all-purpose lube seems as an easy way out, make sure to consider both wet and dry alternatives as they provide unique advantages.
Wet lubricants are designed to work in damp and humid conditions. The carrier fluid featured here has a higher level of viscosity, meaning that it doesn’t dry when applies. It clings better, so it’s less likely that rain and humidity would wash it off.
However, it has a significant drawback. In most cases, these attract dirt, so your chain might end up covered in a paste-like dirt buildup. The only way to avoid this is by maintaining and cleaning your chain somewhat more frequently.
Dry lubricants have a thinner carrier fluid that evaporates after application. This leaves all the friction-reducing particles in place. As opposed to wet lubes, the dry ones work better in dry and dusty conditions.
These are equally as protective but won’t attract as much dirt and mud. On top of that, you can wash them off quite easily if the weather conditions become damp.
The application process is somewhat different, as well. You should only apply a single layer at a time. Leave it to dry before applying another coat.
Lastly, there are all-purpose lubricants that are supposed to bring the best of both worlds. These are meant to work in both dry and wet conditions. However, it’s not really like that as these can never deliver condition-specific advantages of the dry and wet lubes.
Sprays are the more modern solution, and also the more popular one. It’s easier to find since many people prefer using it over the paste.
The reason behind its popularity is usually its ease of application. Sprays are somewhat easier to work with than pastes, which is precisely why people opt for it.
Paste products were more popular in the past, but even today, you can come across people who swear it’s the better option. These are highly concentrated and not as easy to use, especially for riders who don’t like hassling around their bikes as much.
Type of Chain Cleaner
A chain cleaner is equally as important as a lube because you should always remove the old and dirty lube before applying a new one. This extends the life of your motorcycle, allowing it to run smoothly.
Choosing a cleaner isn’t as simple because you can’t just go for any degreasing liquid. A wrong type can actually damage the frame, paintwork, and other parts of your vehicle.
For this reason, you should look for the ones without sodium hydroxide or any other acids and solvents. Surely, you could use a concentrated degreaser as a cleaner, but you’d have to dilute it. In most cases, that’s just too much hassle because you could damage your bike.
Your chain lube, as well as cleaner, shouldn’t attack the seal. That’s why you should only consider cleaners that were tested with different rings.
Another vital factor to consider is the material compatibility. Whatever product you use could get into contact with the rest of your motorcycle. The formula of your choice mustn’t damage any of the other components and parts.
In most cases, cheaper cleaners aren’t as well-tested. This isn’t always the case, but you should check if the label states that the product has been tested.
The two main types you’ll find in the market today re the water-based and solvent-based cleaners. There’s a clear difference between the two.
The solvent-based cleaners are applied directly to the chain until it’s visibly clean. Those that are water-based are in the form of a liquid. You spray them on, and they turn to a gel-like formula in a few seconds. This sticks to the dirty chain, pulling all the dirt off once you rinse it.
Choosing between the two generally depends on your needs and preferences. However, professionals recommend water-based solutions because they’re typically a bit more efficient. In other words, you have to use only a little of the product to get great results.
Water-based cleaners are also more eco-friendly since the substance left behind won’t damage the environment. It’s a gentler version, so it’s unlikely ever to damage your bike if it comes into contact with any other parts.
Generally, chain cleaning isn’t too challenging regardless of the product you go for. Some are easier to use than others, but in most cases, the entire process is quite simple.
As we mentioned, solvent-based cleaners aren’t as eco-friendly. They’re relatively easy to use, but you should ensure that the formula won’t damage your vehicle.
These are typically somewhat harsh, and although they are quite efficient in getting all the dirt and grime off, they can easily damage the paint finish of your bike.
Water-based cleaners are the more eco-friendly solution as they’re not as harsh. These are unlikely to damage your bike, but make sure to check if the product was adequately tested.
These are in the form of liquid, but turn into a gel-like formula once applied. Water-based cleaners are highly efficient and recommended by many experts and professionals.
Additional Tips in Choosing Chain Lube for Motorcycles
Easy to Apply
You should always consider the overall ease of application. A product that’s easy to use is that much more convenient and useful.
For this reason, you should look for a lube with a fast and simple application. This will make it easier to use it properly and more frequently.
Luckily, some lubes require that you only pour a little on the chain before it works like new. These hassle-free products take only a few minutes to apply and work.
Waterproof lubricants aren’t as affected by the weather conditions. These stick to your chain a bit better and help protect it from corrosion and rust.
Keep in mind that not every chain lube is waterproof or even water-resistant, so make sure to double-check that.
You should always look for a lube that’s dust-resistant. Even if you don’t think you come into contact with as much dust, you’ll notice a lot of buildup on your chain unless you protect it.
A dust-resistant product is your first line of defense against dirt, sand, and grime that you come across on the road, more so if you’re into off-road riding. It helps make maintenance easier while prolonging the overall life of your chain.
Another thing you want to pay attention to is whether the lube is going to stick well to the chain. It’s important that it doesn’t fling off after a short time, leaving your chain exposed to water and dirt.
To avoid this, look for an anti-fling formula that sticks to the surface with ease.
Cleaning and Applying Lube on Your Motorcycle
Cleaning and applying lube shouldn’t be a complicated process as long as you know what you’re doing. You should check the label to see if there are precise instructions on how to apply it.
More Reading: Cleaning a Motorcycle Chain – From Degreasing to Oiling
The first thing you should do is identify the type of chain you have. Plain chains have metal-on-metal links and no seal in between. These can typically be cleaned with more aggressive products.
Sealed chains have a rubber seal between the inner and outer links. This keeps the lubrication inside, keeping the grime out. Due to such design, these chains require gentler cleaning.
Use a center or paddock stand to lean your bike on. Both would work fine, as long as the rear wheel of your bike can move freely since this allows a more efficient application.
If you don’t have a paddock or a center stand, you can use the kickstand, although you’ll have to drive the motorcycle around your driveway a bit. Clean one bit of the chain and then move your motorbike so that you have access to another section.
You should carefully examine the state of your chain. This gives you the opportunity to notice if it’s maybe damaged somewhere. You should check how much wiggle room it allows and how it behaves under pressure.
If your chain looks good, you can now proceed to clean it. Take a cleaner of your choice and apply it to the chain. Don’t be afraid to soak it up as you’re supposed to remove all the grime and dirt buildup. Use a motorcycle chain brush to scrub off the gunk and dirt.
You should only apply the lubricant once the chain is clean and dry. Pick one of the lubes we reviewed and apply it evenly to all sides. Make sure to opt for the right motorcycle chain lubricant that fits the type of chain you have.
Reasons Why You Need to Apply Lube on Motorcycles
One of the most significant issues with chains is metal-on-metal friction. When it’s dry, the chain wears out much faster, which is why we turn to lubricants to help solve the problem.
There’s friction between the chain and cassette, jockey wheels, crank rings. The dirt buildup makes metal wear out faster, which is why you should keep the chain clean and lubricated. With regular maintenance, you can extend the life of your chain from two to four times.
Another reason why you should apply lube is to protect the chain from environmental impact. Does it often rain in your area? Is it humid? Rain and snow cause rust, while mud and sand increase friction and wear.
Every time you ride in wet conditions, you’re at risk of having a rusty chain within a week. For this reason, it’s critical that you opt for a corrosion-resistant lubricant that doesn’t attract dirt.
If you notice any noise, it could be due to a dry chain. Use your finger to check how dry your chain is and whether you should apply some lube to it.
On top of that, a dry chain consumes some 20 watts at 22 mph. Regular lubrication helps to save energy since the chain can only work efficiently when it’s properly greased.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should you lube your motorcycle?
This is a hot topic that many people have different opinions on. In most cases, your best bet is to check the manual to see if the manufacturer has specific recommendations for how often you should lube your motorcycle.
Most experts suggest that you do this every 300 to 600 miles. This should be enough to deliver peak performance and longevity.
However, don’t forget to check how lubed the chain is from time to time. Use your finger for this now and then even if you didn’t hit the 300-600 miles mark.
Can this product work on rusty motorcycle chains?
You can still use a rusty chain unless it’s completely rusted throughout. Some rust shouldn’t affect your overall safety, although it’s a bit ugly to look it.
If you care about aesthetics, you should remove rust. However, note that this isn’t necessary for your chain to work. In other words, you can lube a rusty chain.
What are the best lube alternatives?
In most cases, any oil is better than no oil. While you can use anything from chainsaw oil to extra virgin olive oil, nothing can really compare to the authentic, specifically made motorcycle chain oil.
Pretty much any oil would work for a while. However, oils that aren’t made for this purpose might not stand up to weather conditions, dirt, and grime.
At this point, you probably understand the importance of using the best motorcycle chain oil. The products we reviewed are made specifically for different motorbikes and are the best of what the market offers.
Hopefully, the information from our buyer’s guide helped you pick one of the lubes. Although this much information seems a bit overwhelming, you can always return to the guide as you decide for one of the reviewed products.
Choosing a reliable lubricant will make all the difference in how your vehicle behaves and how easy it is for you to maintain it.