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Bike Sports & Fitness

Bike chain lube for summer or dry conditions

When it comes to lube the bike chain, we must pay close attention to the weather conditions and of course, to the terrain through which we will cross. We’ll show you by comparing the dry and wet chain lube during summer (or dry season).

Dry or wet bike chain lube for summer or dry conditions

A few days ago, we told you about bike chain lubes, explaining the advantages of each one depending on the time and terrain.

Today, we’ll show you a quick and easy comparison to understand the chain lube performance during the summer season (AKA dry season in some countries).

In the test, we used the Dry and Wet versions of Finish Line, a very popular brand in cycling. Likewise, you can find other brands such as WD-40, Muc-OFF, and many others that will provide similar performance.

Dry and Wet lube from Finish Line
Dry (left) and Wet (right) lube from Finish Line

We’ll focus on showing you the “before” and “after” chain state when applying both lubes.

Bike chain – Before

For testing, we used two 29in MTB, the first bike with a 1×12-speed SRAM transmission to which we applied the dry lube (top part on image). For the other bike, with a 1×10 Shimano transmission (bottom on image), we used the wet lube.

Dry and Wet lube
Chains with dry (top) and wet (bottom) lube

Both bike transmissions were clean and in perfect condition before the route. We apply the lubricant directly in the area between the chainring and the cassette over three chain turns.

We waited 4 hours and then used a cloth to remove the excess on both bikes, turning the chain a total of 15 turns.

In the image, you can notice the higher density of the wet lubricant, even after cleaning the excess.

As we have already mentioned, we carried out the test during the dry season (beginning of March in Costa Rica), on a 26-miles trip with segments of dirt, ballast, and a lot of dust.

We do not cross puddles, rivers, or any element that would introduce moisture or water into the chains.

Next, we show you some route images.

Route with different dry conditions
Route with different dry conditions

Bike chain – After

After just over 26 miles of travel at an average speed of 7.5 miles/h, we proceeded to take the pictures and compare the chain and transmission conditions.

In the dry lube case, we can see that although the chain has a thin layer of dust because of the conditions of the trip, the links and even the chainring are relatively clean.

The washing process took very little time and little use of the degreaser.

Dry lubricant: after a trip in summer.
Dry Lube – After the ride

Now, in the case of wet lube, we can see a greater dirt accumulation and oil displacement along the chain (even on the chainring). This, because wet lube offers less dust resistance compared to Dry lube.

Wet lubricant: after a trip in summer.
Wet Lubricant – After the Ride

So we should never use the wet lube in dry conditions? No, wet lube still works, but you should clean the transmission frequently: after every trip and even during long distances, you may need to do some cleaning.

Most manufacturers guarantee that wet lube can be used under different time and travel conditions. After all, in summer there are times when you have to cross puddles, small streams, and even isolated rains, depending on the region.

So, if we use wet lubricant in dry conditions:

  • As the distance increases, more dirt accumulates on the chain, and, trust me, cleaning becomes difficult.
  • If there is a lot of dirt on the chain or transmission components, it could affect the performance and even accelerate component wear.
  • The transmission needs to be cleaned frequently: After every trip and probably some fast cleaning over long distances.

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