Ask a Mechanic: Choosing Between Wet and Dry Lubes

Stacey wants to know: “When should I use a dry lube versus a wet lube, and what really is the difference between the two?”

Keeping your chain lubed is the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way for you to keep your drivetrain quiet and functional, as well as “improve your power output up to 6 watts as a result of mechanical efficiency” according to a 2013 Velo News study.

Determining what lube will best suit your needs is relatively easy. More often than not, wet lubes are used in wet conditions. Wet lubes use either a synthetic or a petroleum-based oil as the base for the mixture and stay wet after application, so if you’ll be riding a lot in the dead of winter, frequently riding in the rain, or mountain biking in the mud, then a wet lube will best suit your needs.

Dry lubes are typically used in dry riding environments where the drivetrain or part being lubricated will not be exposed to a lot of water. They’re applied wet, but dry into a wax-like film that coats the chain and keep out dirt and grime. These lubes can be quite versatile in that they hold up okay in wet conditions and can double as a lube for derailleurs, shifters, and cables.

As we get into spring and riding conditions will be more variable, picking a lube can be quite difficult.  A wet lube used in the dry will pick up more gunk, but a dry lube used in the wet will wear off much faster.

Switching from a dry lube to a wet lube is not always practical, especially switching from a wax-based lube to an oil-based lube. It is also not really necessary if you use a premium lube that has the benefits of both a dry lube (cleanliness) and a wet lube (protection, quiet and durable).

One chain lube that we’ve found to excel in both circumstances is Dumonde Tech’s Pro X line of chain lube. Saving you time and money, the Pro X lubes can be mixed interchangeably; use the Lite formula for dryer conditions and the Regular formula for wetter conditions. Both formulas are incredibly quiet, pick up very little dirt, and last for an incredibly long time.

Regardless of what your riding, a lubed chain will keep noise down, improve your efficiency, and save you money by increasing the time needed before you have to replace your chain, chainring, and cogs.

Whether you’re looking for chain lube or help, get on over to Art’ and get what you need.