Cuando utilizar cera o cuando aceite en una cadena de bicicleta

When to use wax or when to oil a bicycle chain

Introduction to bicycle chain lubrication

In the world of cycling, maintenance is crucial to ensure optimal performance of our bicycle. The chain, being one of the primary components, requires particular attention regarding its lubrication. But why is chain lubrication so vital and how to choose between oil and wax?

Importance of good lubrication

Lubrication is imperative to keep the chain in optimal condition and ensure its functionality. A good lubricant protects the chain against premature wear, reduces friction between links and helps optimize bicycle performance.

Damage due to lack of lubrication

A chain without proper lubrication can face problems such as rust, accelerated wear, and reduced efficiency in transferring energy from the pedals to the wheel.

Types of lubricants for bicycle chains

Among the most used lubricants we find mainly two types: oils and waxes. Each of them has specific characteristics that make them suitable for different contexts and personal preferences.

Bicycle chain oils

Oils are liquid lubricants that can be of different viscosities and compositions.

Benefits of using oil

  • Ease of application: Oils are generally easy to apply and distribute along the entire chain.
  • Protection: They offer good protection against corrosion and have an inherent ability to repel water.

Disadvantages of using oil

  • Dirt Attraction: Oils can attract dust and dirt, which could cause a buildup of grime on the chain.

Bicycle chain waxes

On the other hand, waxes offer a dry alternative and are often preferred for dusty conditions.

Benefits of using wax

  • Less dirt: As a dry lubricant, wax tends to attract less dirt than oil.
  • Maintenance: Less frequent compared to oil.

Disadvantages of using wax

  • Application: Wax can be a little more work to apply correctly.
Factors to consider when choosing lubricant

The choice between wax and oil can depend on several factors, such as the type of climate in which you ride the bike and the type of use it is given.

Meteorological conditions

In humid environments, a high viscosity oil may be preferable due to its ability to repel water. In dry and dusty conditions, a wax may be the best choice to prevent dust buildup on the chain.

Type of bicycle and use

For mountain bikes facing challenging and variable trail conditions, wax could be a solid option. While for road bikes, an oil can provide constant and long-lasting lubrication.

How and when to apply lubricant

Regardless of the lubricant you choose, it is essential to apply it correctly and at the right times to ensure longevity and optimal function of the chain.


Choosing between wax and oil for your bicycle chain will depend greatly on your specific needs, type of bicycle, and the conditions under which you generally ride. Will you be looking for the robust protection of oil or the cleanliness of wax? Both have their place in the world of cycling and your final choice will be the one that takes you smoothly down the road.


  1. Can I alternate between using wax and oil on my bicycle chain? Yes, but it is advisable to thoroughly clean the chain when changing between types of lubricants to avoid unwanted mixtures and build-up.

  2. How often should I lubricate my bicycle chain? Lubrication frequency depends on usage, lubricant type and riding conditions, but a good rule of thumb is to check and, if necessary, lubricate the chain every 100-200 kilometres.

  3. Is it possible to use cooking oil as a bicycle chain lubricant? Although some cyclists use cooking oil in pinch situations, it is not recommended as it does not have the same protective and long-lasting properties as lubricants designed specifically for bicycles.

  4. Is it necessary to degrease the chain before applying new lubricant? Yes, degreasing the chain ensures that the new lubricant can adhere properly and provides adequate protection.

  5. How do I know if I have applied enough lubricant to the chain? The chain should appear evenly lubricated but without excess product. If you hear squeaks or feel resistance when moving the chain, you may need to apply more lubricant.

Back to blog