Avoiding brake pad contamination when using wet lube

Hi All

I seem to be having issues with contaminating disc brake pads when I use wet lube on the winter bike.

For reference I ride in Wales in the UK so it’s pretty wet in autumn / winter. Even when it’s not currently raining the roads are often still wet!

Recently, after poor disc brake performance my LBS said my brake pads were glazed / contaminated so they put in new pads. I bed them in and have been for 2 rides but after another wet ride I cleaned the bike yesterday and already noticed some oily marks on the brake pad area. I removed the pads and have squirted with disc brake cleaner and was seeing black marks on a clean cloth. I suspect that the wet lube from the chain is possibly contaminating the pads although braking performance felt ok during the ride.

My questiion is whether other people successfully use wet lube on road bike without having this issue. I am starting to think the wet chain is throwing wet lube onto the pads.

I would say that my bike cleaning regime is pretty good. I remove both wheels and use a dummy hub and have been wrapping a plastic bag around the caliper / pad area. When I relube I use only a drop on each link, leave overnight and wipe off the next morning before riding. I only relube when I’ve done a degrease or chain is squeaky. I dry bike with a towel etc and don’t use any sprays. Having contaminated pads in the past one of the mechanics in the LBS told me to just use dry lube to reduce the contamination risk but on some rides my chain got very noisy and I started getting surface rust on the chain quite quickly.

What to do others do in wet weather conditions when using disc brakes and what am I doing wrong?

For info I am using Muc Off Wet Weather Lube. I did not have the same issue in the summer using dry lube (on a different bike).

Any thoughts or ideas gratefully received and would be interested to hear if others use wet lube without issue?

Shimano calipers?
I had similar on older tiagra level calipers on two identical CX bikes. Pistons were leaking every so slightly.
Visible wet ring on the back of the pad when removed confirmed it.

Changed them all out for newer r7070 calipers which sorted it

I use wet lube and don’t have this problem.

Two thoughts occur to me:

  1. You’re using too much wet lube, and not wiping your chain down after applying. My protocol is 1 drop per link, cycle it through the cassette. Wipe off excess. After first ride, wipe it down again.

  2. There is some contamination on your road that is getting onto the discs and then into the pad. I live in Chicago and this is an issue with winter riding. Oils, salt and all other manner of contaminant litter the road in winter. Might not be you chain at all.

Good luck.


If you are riding in the wet, chances are the contamination is coming from the road, not your chain lube.

I’d think it’s from the road, not your chain. I don’t use wet lube anymore (just Squirt wax), but never had that issue when I did (also riding in Wales). And I’d re-lube after most rides, and without taking wheels off or any such fafg.

As a side note, that Mucoff wet lube is horrible. Used it on my commuter bike, and it just gunks up the jockey wheels and whole chain.

Came here to say, it’s probably the piston seals but either way throw the MO in the bin and get some decent lube before you kill your entire drive chain!

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/ for much much more info!