Motorcycle Chain Lube vs Chain Wax

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Lubrication is necessary to protect your gears and chain and allow for smooth riding. It also helps keep water off the chain, which can lengthen its life by preventing rust.

Both chain wax and chain lube are effective ways to do this, and which you should use ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and a few other factors.

Chain Lube

Chain lube is basically oil that you can easily spray on your chain. Because it’s liquid, it penetrates well and is easy to apply. 

The biggest problem with lube is that it can be messy. This is especially true if you don’t wait enough time after application because lube could fling off the chain and splatter your pants or luggage.

It’s also a lot easier to make a mess while you’re spraying it on the chain. For this reason, I always wear an old yard-work shirt when applying lube.

Similarly, lube collects dust a lot more easily than wax. As a result, it’s less suited to dry, desert environments like the Southwest.

Recommended Lube
Motul Chain Cleaner Plus Chain Lube
Pros:
  • Great value
  • Includes chain cleaner
  • Water and rust resistant
  • Easy application

Motul lube is my favorite motorcycle chain lube because of the easy spray can and convenient lubrication it offers.

Plus, it comes in a combo pack with a can of chain cleaner, making it a great value. The cleaner is a powerful degreaser that removes grime from your chain so you can apply the new lube.

Chain Wax

Chain wax serves the same purpose as lube, but it’s much thicker, kind of like toothpaste. As a result, you have to apply it like toothpaste: on the end of a brush or some other applicator. This is a lot more time consuming, the main downside of chain wax. 

Since wax is thicker, it also takes longer to penetrate the holes of your chain. This means that you have to wait a while after application before you can ride.

However, chain wax can be a great option if you live in dry environments because it sticks to your chain well and resists dust buildup. It’s very good at keeping dirt and grime from reaching the chain.

Recommended Wax
Maxima Chain Wax
Pros:
  • Middle ground between lube and wax
  • Forms waxy film on chain
  • Easy aerosol application
  • Protects against water and humidity

I love Maxima chain wax because it’s a cool middle ground in between lube and wax. Using an aerosol spray, you can apply it much like a liquid lube, creating a waxy film on the chain.

The aerosol mechanism helps it penetrate deeply while the waxy film protects against water and humidity.

What to Look For in a Lubricant


Water and Dust Resistance

The best lubricants, whether liquid lube or wax, should protect your chain from dust and water.

You should consider your riding environment in this case. If you live in a drier area, dust will be a major concern, and you should choose your lubricant, probably a wax, accordingly. Conversely, if you live in a rainy place, look for water resistance.

Also see – How long do motorcycle chains last?

Anti-Fling

You want a lubricant that clings to your chain. For one thing, it makes a mess when your chain flings grease everywhere. More importantly, though, more fling means less time before you have to lube your chain again. That means more work for you and more money on lube.

Final Thoughts

When choosing between chain lube vs chain wax, there are a few factors to consider, like your riding environment and whether it’s wet or dusty.

However, it will mostly come down to personal preferences. If you prefer liquid lube, try the Motul C1 chain lube/chain cleaner combo. If you prefer wax, I recommend Maxima chain wax.