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Published Nov. 9, 2021

The chain on your motorcycle can take a beating. It has many small moving parts that are exposed to heat, friction, and weather elements. If you want it to last and your bike to perform to its top ability, then you need to take care of it. When neglected, the chain doesn’t move smoothly, and it can prematurely wear and corrode. Using a motorcycle chain lube protects the metal from corrosion, helps the pieces move smoother against each other, and cushions the movement against the sprocket teeth. As a responsible rider, you should regularly clean your chain and apply a fresh coating of lubricant. Not all lubricants are formulated the same or work the same. This buying guide will help you choose the best lube for your budget, riding style, and road conditions.

Best Motorcycle Chain Lube Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Our top pick for the best motorcycle lube is both lube and wax. It has a para-film formula that goes on liquid, penetrates deep, and then dries to a protective film. The formula is perfect for most riders because it’s durable enough for heavy-duty riding, thanks to the extreme pressure additives. It’s also safe for O, X, and Z ring chains. Once dry, this formula won’t attract dirt, dust, and sand.

Some users find that this wax has fling-off. They are probably not waiting long enough for the wax to dry fully before riding again, as this lube has a longer drying time than other products on this list. There are no unique additives or formulations for anti-corrosion protection, like Teflon. We found that the smell isn’t great either, so use it in a well-ventilated place.

Specifications
  • Brand Maxima
  • Model 74920
  • Lube Type Spray
PROS

Para-film formula

Heavy-duty, anti-wear, and extreme pressure additives

Doesn’t attract dirt, dust, and sand

CONS

Unpleasant smell

Slow dry time

No fancy additives

Just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean you can’t properly care for your bike. Dupont’s chain lube comes with Teflon and Moly for dirt-resistant protection. The wax film makes this lube perfect for riding in wet conditions. Dupont claims that this lube can help your chain last up to five times longer, but we haven’t tested this. You can buy this lube in a small squeeze bottle for precise and accurate application. However, it also comes in a spray can if you prefer this method. You can safely use this lube on O-ring chains.

Unfortunately, this formula doesn’t last very long, so you’ll need to check your chain and apply it frequently. We also found Dupont’s self-cleaning claim to be inaccurate and that you’ll still have to manually clean your chain.

Specifications
  • Brand DuPont
  • Model B00KMMFE8Y
  • Lube Type Dry liquid
PROS

Safe for O-rings

Contains no silicones

Contains Teflon and Moly

CONS

Doesn’t last

You still need to clean your chain

Best Race Ready

If you ride hard and love pushing your bike to its limits, you need a lube like Motul Chain Paste that can keep up. Unlike the other lubes on this list, this is a paste formula that you’ll apply with a brush. The advantage of this lube is that you’ll have minimal to no wastage and fling off. You’ll notice that it outperforms spray-on liquids for its impressive lubricating ability.

Despite the performance benefits of this lube, you’ll find the application process to be a pain. The lube comes with a brush that you work over the entire surface of the chain. The thicker paste won’t penetrate deep into the chain like the liquids. Its white color doesn’t affect its performance but may look unattractive if you ride on the road and not on the track.

Specifications
  • Brand Motul
  • Model 102984
  • Lube Type Paste
PROS

No fling-off

No wastage from overspray

Impressive lubricating ability

CONS

Time-consuming application

White in color

Doesn’t penetrate as deeply

Pamper your bike by using this premium chain lube to protect your chain and cushion the sprocket. You’ll appreciate the protection that results in a longer chain life and fewer chain adjustments. It has a petroleum-based formula that goes on clear. Once on your chain, it effectively repels water, making it a smart buy for those who live in humid or wet climates.

One unpleasant thing about this lube is the container that it comes in, which allows too much lube to come out while spraying. This can make it difficult to get used to and result in overspray. The lube is so effective at being water repellent that it makes cleaning overspray a pain. This lube is also specifically meant for O-ring chains.

Specifications
  • Brand PJ1
  • Model 1-22
  • Lube Type Spray
PROS

Petroleum-based clear formula

Water repellent

Protects sprocket with a cushion effect

CONS

Sprays too much lube

Only meant for O-ring chains

Hard to remove overspray

Be prepared for any type of weather and riding conditions with the Muc Off All-Weather Motorcycle Chain Lube. The non-fling formula nicely coats your chain for a protective water-repellent barrier. This formula is perfect for beginners or those who are particular because it has a UV tracer dye. Shine a black light on your chain after application, and you can touch up any spots you have missed for a guaranteed full coverage application every time. You can safely use this chain lube on chains with O, X, and Z rings. A unique feature of this lube is its sweet candy-like smell, which does nothing to help it perform better but is pleasant during use.

Specifications
  • Brand Muc Off
  • Model 637US
  • Lube Type Spray
PROS

O, X and Z-ring compatible

UV tracer dye Water-repellent, non-fling formula

Sweet candy smell

CONS

Very tacky, making it hard to clean

Thick, maple syrup consistency

Not many applications in a single can

How We Selected The Products 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

When selecting the best motorcycle chain lubes, we considered a variety of factors. These included the ease and method of application, consistency, formulation, additives, fling-off potential, dirt and water repellency, and price per volume. We focused our comparisons on the most well-known and readily available brands. We avoided products that had narrow specialty use, such as off-road only lube. We also avoided general use lubes that claimed use on motorcycle chains as an afterthought. 

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

At face value, all motorcycle lubricants tend to look the same. However, you need to look at the fine print to determine if it’s the right lubricant for your bike. First, consider your experience and how much time you want to spend applying lubricant. Then compare your chosen lubricant type to the type of chain your bike has, how you ride, and where you plan to ride. The right lubricant will protect your chain and sprocket and thereby extend their useful lives. 

What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Chain Lube

Types of Motorcycle Chain Lube

Spray

This is the most common type of motorcycle lube because it is fast and simple to use. Beginners and experienced riders alike can shake, point, and spray. There is a risk of over-application, but with practice, you can get the motion down. Applying too much of a spray lubricant results in fling off, making a mess of your leg and bike. Within this category, you will also find lubes labeled as “dry,” which means they have drying agents. The spray comes out as a liquid and dries to form a wax-like layer over your chain to repel contaminants and lubricate your chain. It extends your chain life by preventing corrosion and keeps the components clean. 

Paste 

Thick grease-type lubes are referred to as paste lubes. They aren’t runny and won’t drip like liquid spray varieties. This makes their wastage minimal, with a reduced risk of fly-off. The problem with this type of lube is that it takes more time and finesse to apply. You’ll need to use a brush to work it into the crevices of the chain. Some people also find this type to more readily collect dust and grit, but this is typically from over application. The advantage of paste lube is that it tends to be more durable and has impressive anti-friction properties. 

Liquid 

The oldest and messiest type of lubricant is plain liquid. There are no drying agents, so the risk of over-application resulting in dripping and fling-off is high. It may come in a spray can, but it can also come in a squeeze bottle with a drip nozzle. This type of lubricant is better left to the experienced owners who know how much lubricant their chain needs for the climate, riding conditions, and ride style. Be sure to have something underneath your bike when using liquid lubricant, or you risk making a mess of your garage floor. 

Motorcycle Chain Lube Key Features

Chain Compatibility 

Some lubricants are designed to work with all chains, while others are only compatible with specific chain types. If you have a chain with O, X, or Z rings, you need a lubricant that won’t degrade these rubber rings in your chain. Lubricant designed for these types of chains is less viscous and designed to protect these seals. It will coat the rings, providing extra protection and smoother movement between them and the metal links. Lubricant designed for chains without the extra ring is more viscous to penetrate the metal components better and provide a complete coating to prevent rust. 

Anti-Fling Ability 

The formulation and additives in the lubricant will dictate its anti-fling capabilities. The more aggressive and hard you ride, the more anti-fling your lube should be. This ensures that the lubricant stays on your chain and not on your leg, bike, and all over the road. Lubricants that have wax or drying agents or are a paste formula tend to work best for preventing fling off. Beware that lubricants with anti-fling ability can still fling off if you over-apply them to your chain. You only need a small amount of lubricant that creates a thin layer over the components. The lube shouldn’t look goopy or be a noticeably thick layer. 

Riding Conditions 

Not all lubricants perform in the same riding conditions. A lubricant that works wonders in a hot and humid climate can let you down when riding in the cold northeast. If you ride in an area with high levels of rain or humidity, then look for a lubricant with high water resistance and repelling qualities. These products will last longer and prevent rusting of your chain. If you plan to ride in arid or dusty areas, a dry lube will serve you better. These are less likely to attract grit that can wear out your chain faster.


Motorcycle Chain Lube Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and motorcycle chain lube. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • You are already up close and personal with the chain, so check your sprockets while you are at it. If you accelerate or brake hard, your ride style can cause uneven and premature wear of the sprockets. 
  • Never use a petroleum-based detergent or cleaner on your chain, as these could eat away at the chain and seals. 
  • Wire brushes can damage your chain, so only use a nylon brush when cleaning your chain. 
  • Do not try cleaning your chain with a high-pressure jet or pressure washer. These are great at removing dirt and grime, but the intense force of the water pressure can damage your O, X, or Z rings. 
  • Make the job easier on yourself by purchasing a center or paddock stand. These let you freely rotate the back wheel so that you don’t have to stop and roll the bike forward a few feet as you work around the chain length. 

FAQs

Q: Is WD40 good for motorcycle chains?

Do not use WD40 on your motorcycle chain. While this product is a well-known lubricant found in most home garages, it’s not designed for use on motorcycle chains. WD stands for water displacement, so all it does is repel water. It’s not designed as a lubricant for metal on moving parts.

Q: How often should I lube my motorcycle chain?

The standard advice is to lube your chain every 300 to 600 miles. However, this is a standard answer and should be adjusted based on the type of riding you do and where you typically ride. Listen to the sound of your chain — if it sounds dry, it’s time to lube.

Q: What happens if you don’t lube your motorcycle chain?

Without lube, the components of your chain rub together and wear faster. The lack of protection also leads to vulnerability to the elements. Eventually, it will wear unevenly and rust. This could result in your chain breaking while you are riding.

Q: Can you over-lube a motorcycle chain?

Yes, you can. Your chain doesn’t need to be soaked and dripping in lube. This will result in fling-off, which will make your bike, wheel, and tailpiece gross and covered in excess lube. Your chain will also attract more dust and dirt.

Q: Do I need to lube a new motorcycle chain?

Modern chains typically come with lube on them from the factory. This lube is usually good for the first couple of hundred miles. Then you’ll want to commence with a routine cleaning and lubing routine. If you decide to clean the chain before using it, you will also need to apply lube.

Final Thoughts

Our top pick for the best motorcycle chain lube is the Maxima Chain Wax. This easy-to-apply spray liquid penetrates deep into the chain and then dries as a protective wax that won’t attract dust, dirt, or sand. 

For a more affordable option, consider the DuPont Teflon Chain-Saver Dry Self-Cleaning Lubricant. Its Teflon and Moly additives help to protect and cushion your chain and sprocket for longer useful life.

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