Chain lube is the first line of defense when it comes to your bike chain. The amount you should use is not as paramount as how often you should use it. Perhaps the two should and will go hand in hand for the perfect experience. There are two kinds of riders. There are those that will wash and grease the bike after every ride, and there are those that simply never do. Those that do it often will also have a mileage mark on which to lube their chains. Bike chains will easily break if neglected which can be both costly and risky. Bikes that use fixed gear mechanisms have to be well handled especially if the rider is using the chain for braking. This only means that extra care at this point needs to be given. There is nothing like lubing too much as long as you have the time. There are, however, factors that will not only determine how often and how much you should lube but what kind of lube to use.
Factors determining how much lube you should use
Lube is mainly affected by weather patterns. Different weather cycles will call of the various lubricating mechanisms especially if you ride in extreme weather. Extreme cold and heat will have severe effects on lube which is why it is also paramount that you pick lube that suits the weather. Grease may not be the best idea in cold places while light lube may not work best in a hot area. You want to maximize the use and the life of your lube since it also costs money. Hot weather may call for more lubrication as compared to cold weather. This again is determined by the type of lube that you will use on the bike chain. Hot and dry places will often need the changing of lube since dirt and other foreign material will get into the chinks. Dust will increase the grinding action leading to more wear and tear. Ensure that you use more lube in wet weather since water will quickly wash away the lube. Riding in rainy weather will degrease the chains to some point. You will need to take a look at the chain links just to be sure you are not riding dry. Using wax and grease in this kind of weather will save you more money when it comes to buying lube.
There are those that are keener when it comes to cleaning their bikes as compared to others. Cleaning your bike often will call for the use of more lube on the bike. Not doing the same will be a problem for your chain. Dirt and rust will quickly cover the chain leading to severe wear and tear damages. The beauty of cleaning your bike often is that you also get to inspect the condition of the chain while taking good care of it. Cleaning the bike chain will also get rid of any dust that has collected on the chain, adding more life to the chain. It is evident that you will get more from your chain through increased cleaning and lubing. You only need to use enough lube to cover your chain links and cog without being wasteful. This is done by using proper application methods to ensure that the lube gets to the links and teeth without spoiling over or creating a mess in the case of grease.
Lube will also wear out with use. The longer the ride, the more the lube is used. The friction and the heat will cause more lube to be used and in the case of light lube, it drips away. People that use their bikes around the city or the neighborhood may not need to lubricate the chains every so often. This also goes for those that use the bikes occasionally. It is wise to ensure that your chain is well lubricated when you want to store your bike for long. Bikes that suffer from rust are often the ones that are stored for a long time without use. People who will ride about 100 to 200 miles at one go will need to clean the bike and lube it before every ride. 200 miles is a long distance when it comes to bike chains. The lube will have worn out as well as washed away especially in wet weather. The best kind of lube for long distance riders is wax. It forms a good layer protecting the chain for a long time and is also easy to remove for another layer to be applied. Grease is messy especially in dusty places and will be a challenge to degrease.
Type of storage
Where and how you store your bike also affects the lube both regarding the amount and the frequency of application. Storing your bike without sufficient lube is disastrous. Clean the bike well and use the lube that will infiltrate the links of the chain sufficiently. You will need to create a scheduled checkup after a while just to monitor the chain. The presence of rust on the chain will indicate that the lube is used up. You will then need to clean the bike again and lubricate the chain again. Storing the bike in a dusty place will attract rust and deface the chain. Storing it in a humid place will also attract rust which is why the bike will still need to be checked while in storage.
How to tell your bike chain needs lube
An indication of rust or dryness on the chain means that it is time for you to lubricate the chain. You should not wait for the telltale signs. Schedule your calendar to carry out the exercise promptly. The way the chain trolls on the gears will also give an indication whether you need more lube on the chain. Cranky chains are due to hardened links which are caused by the lack of lubrication. You need to get a good feel of your bike when it is well lubricated so as to tell the difference when it is not.
The amount of lube used will also be determined by the budget. This does not, however, allow one to use lesser lube than needed. It only lets you use it less often but in sufficient amounts while monitoring the chain. Luckily, lube is not costly which then gives you an opportunity to treat your chain to the best of conditions.