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How Often Should You Oil a Road Bike Chain?

The bike chain is one of the most essential components of a road bike.

It requires regular lubrication to reduce friction and prevent rusting, which can damage bike performance.

So, how often should you oil your road bike chain?

The frequency of oiling depends on how often you ride your bike and in what conditions.

If you ride your bike frequently in wet weather or when salt may have been applied to roads, you should oil your bike chain every couple of weeks or every 100-150 miles.

Let’s take a closer look at bike chain lubrication.


Why Oil a Road Bike Chain?

Oiling your chain helps to keep it clean, prevent rust and corrosion, and extend the life of your chain.

Also, remember that bike chains left without oil will wear out faster.

This has to do with the friction between the bike chain and the bike’s drivetrain.

When the bike moves, the friction causes heat which eventually wears out bike parts like a bike chain.

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How to Oil a Road Bike Chain

When oiling your road bike chain, use a good quality bicycle-specific lubricant and wipe off any excess lubricant using a clean, dry rag.

Here´s our step-by-step guide:

  1. Ideally, place your bike in a work stand
  2. Soak a clean rag with degreaser
  3. Grasp the chain with the rag and backpedal slowly
  4. Once the chain is clean, use a clean rag to dry the chain (backpedal slowly)
  5. When the chain is dry, apply one drop of chain oil to each chain link separately (backpedal slowly)
  6. Slowly backpedal for a few revolutions
  7. Wipe off the excessive chain oil

Use a chain oil or waterproof light lubricant.

For example, Boeshield Boeshield T-9 Lubricant, Phil Wood Waterproof Grease, Pedro’s Chainj Chain Lube, or Phil Wood Tenacious Oil. 

More are available, so research and choose one suitable for your bike chain. 

Whatever you do – Never use motor oil! 

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How to Choose the Right Bike Oil

When choosing a bike oil, consider the climate you ride in and the riding you do.

Are you located in a wet or dry environment? Are you riding in muddy conditions or on primarily dry roads?

The bike oil you choose should be suited to the terrain and climate.

For example, a bike oil designed for wet conditions will be thicker than one designed for dry climates.

Choose an oil that matches your bike’s needs.

a dirty road bike chain

Corrosion on Road Bike Chain

If you live in a wet climate, it’s essential to regularly oil your road bike chain to prevent corrosion.

Use a waterproof lubricant such as the Boeshield Boeshield T-9 Lubricant.

Bike chains corrode exposed to water, salt, dirt, and other environmental elements.

Over time, the bike chain develops a layer of dirt and rust which can cause damage to bike performance.

When Should I Oil My Road Bike Chain?

It would be best to lube your bike chain every 100-150 miles.

If you ride your bike in dry conditions and on pavement, lube it every week.

In that case, it’s unnecessary to thoroughly clean the bike chain beforehand. Instead, apply a light lube and wipe off any excess.

If you ride your bike frequently in wet weather or when salt may have been applied to roads, oil your bike chain every couple of weeks.

An excellent way to remember is that if you’re having trouble shifting gears due to friction, it’s time to oil your bike chain.

Can I Change My Bike Chain?

a bikes wheel and some tools

Yes. If your bike chain becomes worn or damaged, you’ll need to replace it.

Can you do it yourself?

If you are familiar with bike maintenance (and have the tools at hand needed), you can replace the bike chain yourself.

Otherwise, taking your bike to a shop for professional assistance is best.

When replacing the bike chain, ensure you have the correct size for your bike!

How Can I Extend the Life of My Bike Chain?

You can help extend your bike chain’s life by regularly oiling and cleaning it, avoiding wet or dusty conditions.

And if you can not prevent such conditions – take extra care to oil and lube your bike chain every couple of weeks.

Also, look for signs of wear on the bike chain, such as rusting or discoloring.

Additionally, bike chains should be replaced every 1,000 to 2,000 miles, depending on how often you ride and the environment in which you ride.

Oil or chain lube is essential for bike chain maintenance; keeping bike chains lubricated prevents corrosion and damage and extends bike chain life.

The type of bike oil used should suit the climate and terrain in which it is ridden.

Bike chains should be oiled every 100-150 miles or once a week for dry conditions.