How to Lubricate Your Bike- What Part Needs Oil?

Biking is a common activity for many of us. Whether it’s for commuting, sports, or leisure, you just cannot overemphasize the importance of bikes in our daily lives. However, maintaining your bike is key to ensuring that your bike functions properly for as long as you use it, and lubrication is a crucial aspect of maintenance. For you, the problem may be not knowing where to lubricate your bike.

A bike is a combination of parts, pieced together by bolts, screws, and nuts with hinges in between. These parts require oiling to promote smooth locomotion and enhanced performance. Also, lubricating your bike prevents wear and rust, usually caused by friction. It is also a major anti-clogging agent that usually affect pedaling and biking generally.

You must also be careful about the amount of oil you apply. While it is important to lube your bike, applying too much oil can equally affect your bike’s performance. Too much oil will attract dust and abrasive materials which can build up and still cause clogging. Meanwhile, not enough oil will not hold. It is important to apply the right amount.

how to lubricate bike

Why Should You Lubricate Your Bike?

Some of the important reasons you should lubricate your bike include;

To Prevent Corrosion:

Most parts of a bike are made of metal. Metal, as a material, requires oil to prevent corrosion which can cause a lot of damage. Metals corrode natural when they react to their environment. You need oil to keep them intact.

Keep Moving Parts Moving:

The parts of your bike that require lubing are usually those parts that move. By oiling them when you should, you prevent rust from building and clogging the hinges which allow movement. When these parts do not move, there’s no way your bicycle can function.

Quick NavigationWhy should you Lubricate your Bike? To Prevent Corrosion: Keep Moving Parts Moving: To Prevent Defacing: Promotes Performance: Saves Cost: Types of Lubricants Wet LubesDry LubesAll-Purpose Lubes What Part Needs Oil?ChainCables PedalsBrake ArmsLevers DerailleursThe Jockey WheelConclusion

To Prevent Defacing:

Corrosion eventually defaces your bike if nothing is done. When corrosion spreads, it begins to rapidly cover up or eat up the beautiful and colorful designs the bike has, making it look old and rickety. Lubing can stop corrosion and slow down the defacing process.

Promotes Performance:

Lubing your bike is a critical way to enhance your bike’s performance. It keeps it sharp and prevents friction, thereby ensuring that your bike functions as it should. So you can go your long distances without any troubles.

Saves Cost:

By lubing your bike regularly, you save a lot of money you would otherwise spend on repairs or replacement of parts. Sometimes too, the damage from not lubing your bicycle parts can be irreparable and would require that you buy a new bike altogether.

Types of Lubricants

There are three major categories of lubricants used for bicycle maintenance. They include;

Wet Lubes

These are basically oil-based lubricants and come in heavy quantities. They withstand liquid and mud and are designed to provide a protective layer for your bike’s moving parts, even when overwhelmed with spray.

Dry Lubes

Unlike wet lubes, these do not attract as much dust. They include wax, Teflon and other substances that provide a layer on specific parts of your bike. They also dry easily and are suitable for dusty terrains.

All-Purpose Lubes

These lubricants can be used in all weather conditions, and do not serve specific purposes. Due to the fact that they are not produced for specific conditions, they tend not to perform as well in such specific situations.

What Part Needs Oil?

Now that you know how important it is to lubricate your bike, it is equally important to know what part of your bike needs oil.


This is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about lubricating a bike. The chain plays a major part in acceleration and movement. When not properly lubed, it can produce a very disturbing sound, and would often prevent the smooth shifting of gears. It might even snap while you ride as a result of rust.

lubricating bike

How To Lube Chain

The first step to lubing your bike is cleaning (degreasing) it. It is important to clean so as to remove all dust and grease that are stuck to it. There are some degreasing products that can do this.

Your bike should probably be on a work stand. Dip a rag into your degreaser and grab the chain with it while you backpedal. Continue the process until the chain is clean. Then, using the same backpedaling technique, dry the chain with a clean rag.

To apply lubricant, just apply a drop on each chain link as you backpedal. This will ensure it finds it way around. If there is excess lube, wipe it off. With this process carried out as often as required, your chain continues to work fine. Whatever you do, do not use motor oil. It contains elements that can damage your chain.


Most bike cables are made of steel and require lubing. They do a lot of movement because they serve as a linkage between the brakes, gears, and wheels. A lubricating wax or oil would do the magic. If you can, you should remove the cable from the housing so you can adequately work on it.

Shifting performance and gliding in its housing will prove very difficult if cables are not lubed properly. Rusting is also more likely to occur and this would literally cause a dysfunction in your bike.

lubricating bicycle

How To Lube Cables

It is actually very easy to lubricate the cable. The easiest way is to use your fingers and just rub it on across the length of the cable. Be sure to pay attention to the cable guide under the bottom bracket.

You might need to adjust the front and rear derailleur to reduce the firmness of the cable or simply take it out of its housing for an enhanced result.

You don’t even need to pedal when you do this. Just ensure you get a thorough coating on your cable for optimum performance. Where there is excess lube, simply wipe it off. Do not use solvents for this. Use a lubricator.


Another part of your bike that requires prompt lubricating is the pedal. Your pedals are responsible for locomotion. You do not want to have a seized pedal due to corrosion. Without lubricating, you would find it difficult to engage and disengage. You may not even be able to remove your pedals when you need to.

how to lube your bike

How To Lube Pedals:

Apply drops of oil on the corners of your pedal after cleaning. A brush should do the cleaning for you. In lubing, you should pay attention to the part that links your pedal and crank arm and the part around the spindle that rotates. These parts form a sequence that allows you to pedal your bike and should be oiled after every few rides.

Brake Arms

This is a very sensitive part of your bike to lubricate. It requires much care. You do not want the oil to spill on your brake pad or wheel as it will greatly reduce brake impact. Only moving areas and knots should be lubed. The brake arm also has a cable in the middle that needs to be lubed. This will greatly enhance the performance of the brake and prevent accidents.

How To Lube Brake Arms:

As with some other parts, you oil the brake arms by letting some drop on it and then rubbing it with your fingers. To identify the moving parts of your brake assembly, you can squeeze the levers and take note of the parts that move, especially against each other. Those are the parts you should lube.


The levers are control mechanisms attached to the handles of your bike. Usually, for controlling the brakes, they also require oil application on their moving parts. This helps to ensure that biking control and operation are done without hassles which may be caused by friction and sizes.

How To Lube Levers:

To lube, drop small amounts of lubricant on the parts and rub along with your fingers. Be careful not to create a mess around the bicycle head area. If that happens, you should wipe it off. You should squeeze the lever so the lube works its way around the parts that need it.


Derailleurs are devices attached to the wheel. The front and rear derailleurs ensure that your gear responds when you apply it. There are moving parts all around these devices that require lubing, especially the pivots. Not applying oil can make them become rigid and stop working. They also contain pulley wheels that should be oiled frequently.

How to Lube Derailleurs:

Carefully drop some amounts of lubricant on the moving parts and work with your fingers. Continue to work until it becomes fine and slimy. You should turn the pedals and shift the gears so you are able to identify the parts that need lubing.

The Jockey Wheel

This is that part of the bicycle that the chain is attached to. Naturally, some of the lube on the chain rubs off on these wheels but it is necessary to do some extra lubing. This is a crucial part of the bike, and if it seizes, the bike cannot move.

how to lubricate a bike

How To Lube Jockey Wheel:

For better result, you might need to take off the chain. However, it is possible to apply the lube by backpedaling. This gives you access to every point on the jockey wheel. Spin the chain afterward for a better spread of the lube.

Other parts of the bicycle that may require lubrication are the front mech and the link between the pedal and the pedal wheel. It takes the same process and caution to do this. Ensure you wipe the excess when you’re done and clean parts that need to be clean before you lube them.


Biking can be fun and can make life a whole lot easier for you. The best feeling is riding between cars in a congested traffic or just riding into the sun during summer. However, if you don’t take care of your bike by lubricating it, your biking experience can get really awry. Now that you know the importance of lubricating, how and where you should lubricate, you should do so as promptly as you should.

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