I've read a lot about wet vs dry chain lube and there doesn't seem a definitive answer on whether to use wet or dry chain lube in the winter. Some forums are full of people saying they only use dry lube because it doesn't wash off as easy, then other forums are full of people saying the opposite, for the opposite reason!

What type of chain lube is best for winter riding (water, gritted roads etc)

  • Good question, but possibly tweak it a bit, particularly the title, so answers will be less subjective. (This isn't a discussion board. :) Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 21:51

6 Answers 6


Personally I would go with the finish line wet as opposed to the dry.

Typically I use the dry if I want something that will keep my chain looking clean as well as lubricated. From personal experience I have found that I need to reapply the dry lube more often.

I will use a wet lube, sparingly mind you, for the nastier conditions.

Having wasted your time with that I would say that storage temperature/location, how you clean the chain (method, frequency and intensity) and how you apply the lube (gobs vs. sparingly on each link) is more important than the type of lube.

  • 1
    I ended up buying both types of Finish line lube to test out! Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 19:29
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    @Mark - Please let us know about your experience, and what worked; I'm quite curious. Commented Sep 19, 2010 at 3:06
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    I've been using the dry so far as I've not been out in the wet yet, but as the weather is now turning, I'm planning on degreasing and applying the wet this weekend. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 9:03
  • +1 for Finish Line Wet. However, I tend to blast the chain with CLR before degreasing it during cleaning in the winter so that road salt is evacuated more readily.
    – moshbear
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 17:59
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    I've been using the wet during the winter, and dry during the summer. No issues to report with either approach. I clean down my chain regularly in the winter (using the park tool chain scrubber), and re-apply. Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 9:01

My experience has been that the Wet / Dry naming of the product is a hint as to what conditions the product is designed for.

Wet lube is typically more like motor or sewing machine oil, and is designed to coat the chain and protect it in wet conditions.

Dry lube is usually a teflon lube in an evaporating or wax base, so the teflon particles stay in the links without a lot of wet "gunk" left on the chain to pick up sand, dust, grime, etc.


I use a product called 'Purple Extreme', originally developed for offshore oil rig components. I guess it is 'dry', because it dries on the chain (although you can use it immediately, they recommend letting it dry on first).


I've never had much luck with dry lube. It has very low viscosity and feels like it washes off easily. I use Finish Line Wet lube all year round. It's cheap, widely available and clean when applied carefully. I apply by taking the chain off the bike, cleaning it and dropping a couple of drops on each link, allowing it to soak in and then wiping off the excess. Sounds fiddly but it doesn't take long and you get lube where you need it (inside the links) and not where you don't (everywhere else).


I'm a big fan of Pro Gold. Year round, all weather. http://www.progoldmfr.com/products2/ProLink_Chain_Lube.htm

Apparently the Pro Gold company got their start making lubricants for mining equipment. So think lubricating metal in adverse conditions. Anyway, the downside to their bike chain lube is that it can be hard to locate locally. It's available online though.


I just recently mixed Finish Line Dry with 0.5 micron hexagonal boron nitride powder, a.k.a. white graphite. Night and day! And the HBN seems to add a lot more staying power.

  • Wouldn't the graphite powder work as an abrasive?
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 21:04
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    I'm told not, and experience is corroborating; this appears to be because of the size of the particles, they are small enough that they fit in the microscopic irregularities of the metal, and they slide very easily for slipperiness. Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 17:28

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