Best chain lube to maximize performance and keep things clean

I’ve been using Squirt chain lube, but after a year of consistent use it has really left my RD and pulley wheels gunked up with wax. I’ve also used a traditional waxed chain, but it flings wax all over the floor when I’m riding on the trainer.

I’m looking for a chain lube that leaves my drivetrain as clean as possible and doesn’t fling crud all over the house when I’m riding indoors. I ride in dry conditions only. What’s everyone’s recommendation?

Put a bath towel on the floor under your bike and trainer. Do not use a good one or you might get in trouble.
I would clean my chain rings, cassette, and pulleys every month. You can also have your LBS do it.

1 Like

Appreciate the feedback. I use a towel, but somehow I still manage to make a mess lol. Admittedly, I haven’t done enough maintenance on a frequent basis. The build up could very well be my fault.


To echo @TrekCentury you’ve got to do some maintenance. :slight_smile:

I use Smoove drip on wax (similar to Squirt). Smoove claims that you can clean your drive chain with their biodegradable degreaser and then reapply some Smoove. I’ve done it several times, and it worked just fine. I didn’t even use their degreaser, just a generic bio friendly degreaser.

The other option would be to remove the chain and do a mineral spirits / alcohol clean and reapply the wax fresh. (Of course, you clean the whole drivetrain while the chain is off.)

Once a month would be too frequent for me. 2-4 times per year sounds about right.

I don’t get that much buildup with Smoove. I do get a few black bits of wax on the floor of my indoor setup but I put the whole bike and trainer on top of a tarp from Home Depot. Right under the chain I have three paper towels just lying there and they catch 99% of whatever flies off the chain.

The other way to go would be to use some kind of dry lube or wet lube all winter indoors and then switch back to wax lube for the summer outdoor season. I’m getting such amazing drivetrain longevity with wax that I will not switch back to oil.

Silca Super Secret is a drip wax but won’t fling as much wax off the chain compared to an immersion wax. So if you want to stick with a wax based lube that would be a good option.

Alternatively Silca Synergetic, which is a wet lube but not messy, still offers very good performance. I have a bike at my parents place in another city that I ride when I visit them and use it both indoors on a trainer and outside, and found it worked well. I just wipe down the chain with a dry microfiber after riding outside.


As far as cleanliness nothing beats immersion waxing IMHO. I’ve been waxing since 2015 and wouldn’t think of using any other method. Drivetrain longevity and low friction are great but being able to grab any part of the drivetrain or brush it up against my calf and not have greasy marks on me is priceless.


How much Squirt are you putting on and do you allow the carrier to evaporate before riding? You are not meant to apply and immediately start riding. I used Squirt for a year or so like you and had no such problems with wax gumming up RD.


if you ride in dry conditions then you are already using the correct lube - wax.

It sounds like you need to find some ways to not get crap all over the house, rather than change your lube. I have the same issue, I find I just have to clean up after every ride. Since using drip wax (predominately) it flings a lot less wax around for me.

Try hovering and then wiping the floor with a hot cloth after your ride. The heat should help melt the wax to collect it better.

Maybe if you only rode indoors you could use a dry lube. I have never tried these. I have used squirt and now hotwax. I always found that these both clean up easily. Hotwax I clean with dustpan and brush and when I still used squirt I occasionally removed the jockey wheels for cleaning.

UFO Drip now comes in an ‘indoor’ flavour, apparently designed to not drop as much when used indoors. I’m just using standard UFO All Conditions and using a trainer mat with occasional brushing of the floor though myself

IME a hot waxed chain will only fling wax around for the first ride, but should remain functional for ~10+ hours of ride time. If you’re using the same bike indoors and out, just hot wax, then do an outdoor ride, then you’re good to go for a couple weeks. Top up with drip (Silca Super Secret is a much cleaner and more effective option than Smoove or Squirt). Again, apply it in your garage or outdoors, then let it dry overnight and you should be good to go for multiple rides.


Another vote for wax, I actually swapped out chains saturday and spent a few minutes just spinning it backwards while it flung the residual wax. I then happened to be vacuuming so I cleaned it up, did a ride the next morning and there is virtually no wax flung on the wall or floor around the bike. Doesn’t take much to prevent issues.

Been exclusively waxing my tri bike chains since 2015, swapping between 2 chains that are 99% indoor (plus a race/outdoor waxed chain), granted I have had some time off in that period but they just now are measuring as worn (1/16th inch) and will be replaced.

I used to get a lot of flakes after the first ride(s) but made two changes that have pretty much eliminated it. First was a switch from plain Gulf paraffin wax to Molten Speed Wax. Second was after removing the chain from the crockpot and hanging it up I immediately wipe it down with a rag while still hot to remove any excess wax from the chain. I ride outside so the flakes were never an issue for me but never see any flakes now.


I use immersion wax on my chain. It does fling when initially waxed. It’s cool enough in my pain cave that the wax will all vacuum up.

I have the same issue here. Used squirt and the cassette and chains are very messy and hard to clean… not sure which method should use to keep the cleanness and drivetrain efficiency.

Similar to Smoove, that I use, Squirt sells a bio cleaner/degreaser. I’m guessing you could do just like Smoove suggests - clean your bike/chain in a normal fashion with their degreaser. Wipe down your chain, let dry. And then reapply.

Those are both oilier wax blends, good for certain things but definitely less clean. As above, immersive, UFO Drip or Silca Super Secret will leave everything clean aside from a few flakes on the floor

I’ve been using TruTension Bananaslip all-weather. It’s pretty clean indoors, and it was rated good for performance on that Australian site ( which measures such things. Looks like they now have UFO Drip New Formula and TruTension Tungsten Race as higher-rated drip lubes. Only downside is you have to warm it up (I’ve found just running hot water over the bottle works, or leaving it in the sun) a bit before applying.

All I can add is that during the pandemic, I rode my Madone on a 2T everyday for between an hour and an hour an a half. All the things that the local bike shop warned me about were fine (bar corrosion, headset) and yet there was lots of destruction. I ended up having a rusted and partially seized chain covered in rust, and a pair of Speed Play pedals that had the inner bearings completely rusted out and seized. I was horrified with how bad the damage was. I even used a ‘bike thong’ most of the time. I did almost lose it when I finally took the bar tape off, so if it’s on a trainer most/all of the time, changing the bar tape occasionally is a fantastic idea. The bars were fine after several years, but the tape was beyond nasty. Practically contagious.

I was using White Lightning lubes, and apparently not enough. Check, clean, lube based on how you ride and sweat. I’m wondering if waxing the chain would have worked better. I was able to rebuild the pedals with donor spindles. (The White Lightning lube stunk to high heaven, which is probably why I didn’t use it enough)

White Lightning is what ZFC use to test chain longevity, in order to keep the tests short - as it’s the worst performing lube for wear!


I would also expect it to have close to no resistance to rust, as it’s essentially a bad dry lube with a load of alcohol as a carrier. TBH, my chain on the indoor bike has a little rust on it as I’m not best at wiping the chain down after rides and there is a LOT of salty sweat flying around.

The best if you literally wanted to just ride and do no maintenance would probably be Silca Synergetic or similar, but wax works fine if you just wipe the chain dry after use and occasionally rinse it off.

1 Like