How to Quick Lube a Mountain Bike

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Mountain bikes do require some maintenance. A quick before-you-ride mountain bike lube can be an essential part of this maintenance but should not replace a more thorough mountain bike lube that should be done every 15 or so hours of riding. This is what I do when I'm getting ready to head out and I want a good smooth quiet ride. That's pretty much every ride. Some lubes will last for more rides than one but if things get loud or your shifting gets sticky it's time to lube.

I try to use a waxy lube like White Lightning on my chain only and use thinner lubes such as Tri-Flow on just about everything else.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 2 Minutes

Here's How

  1. Chain - Apply a generous amount of mountain bike lube to your chain as you crank the pedals around backwards. It helps to find a spot to steady your hand up against such as the back of the frame while you crank the pedals around. Watch out for the cranks and chainrings as they move.
  2. Front Derailleur - Lube the pivots on the front derailleur. just a spot of lube everywhere you can see movement between parts when you move the shift lever.
  3. Rear Derailleur - As with the front derailleur, lube the pivots on the front derailleur. Just a spot of lube everywhere you can see movement between parts when you move the shift lever.
  4. Pedals - Some clipless type pedals need to have the release mechanism lubed. Only lube your release mechanism if you have this type of pedal and your foot tends to get stuck when it isn't lubed.
  1. Put Everything Into Motion - Shift your gears, crank the pedals, bounce your bike around. If anything makes a squeak see if it has moving parts that can be lubed.
  2. Wipe It Clean - After you've lubed everything and moved it all around simply clean it all back off. Use a rag to wipe away all the lube you can from everywhere you lubed including the chain. This leaves the lube in between the parts but cleans it away from everywhere else where it's not needed. This keeps your bike from collecting dirt that dries everything out while you ride.

    Unless you want a bike that is always dirty, don't skip this step.

  1. Never get any lube on the your disc brakes. Don't lube the discs themselves or the caliper that clamps them. Make sure that as you lube the rest of your bike you don't allow any oil or oily rag to come into contact with the discs.


  1. Get to know your bike. Listen to where it generates noise. If that location has parts that move against each other chances are it could use some lube from time to time. Try to remember these spots and periodically lube them before they make noise the next time.
  2. Don't Skip the "wipe It Clean" step. Your bike will stay much cleaner and it keeps you from having to lube it as often.
  3. Clean and lube your bike after every ride. This really needs to be done after particularly muddy and dirty rides. Dirt dries all of your moving parts up and increases wear and tear.

What You Need