Lubricating your bicycle chain keeps the chain from drying out. Moreover, it prevents rust in the chain and gives you a smooth ride. Despite a variety of lubricants for bicycle chains, people look for alternatives. And, one of the most common questions is that whether they can use olive oil.
So, can you use olive oil on your bicycle chain? The simple answer to this question is both yes and no. you can put olive oil on your bicycle chain once in a while. But, if you are thinking about long-term usage, you shouldn’t use it.
Can I use olive oil on my bicycle chain?
You can use olive oil on your bicycle chain because having oil in some amounts is better than having no oil at all. However, this can be effective only for a short time. If you are thinking big, using olive oil on your bike’s chain isn’t effective.
Keep in mind that olive oil is never an effective solution compared to a dedicated lubricant for your bicycle. So, olive oil can’t be used as an alternative for commercial bike lubes. People all over the world have their arguments when it comes to using olive oil on a bicycle chain.
And, most of them are convincing as well. So, should you stick to chain lubes or use olive oil instead? Keep in your mind that olive oil is never going to be as effective as a proper lube oil. However, it can help you if there is an emergency.
Olive oil can provide you with a temporary solution and that should be enough for you to take the bicycle to a nearby shop for a proper fix. Apart from that, the greasing effect of olive oil is temporary. And, it attracts dirt that could hinder the performance of your bicycle.
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What other household items can I use to oil my bicycle chain?
Here are some household items that you can use to oil the bicycle chain.
- Vegetable oils – Apart from olive oil, certain vegetable oils such as sesame seed, peanut, canola, cottonseed, rapeseed, linseed, and corn can be used to oil the bicycle chain. However, these oils tend to oxidize and degrade quickly. Also, they provide poor protection against corrosion. The vegetable oils should be avoided unless there is an emergency.
- Chainsaw oil – One of the stickiest oils is chainsaw oil. Because it is super sticky, it won’t come off your bike’s chain but debris and dirt will stick to it as well. If you are riding in wet conditions where you need the lube to stick on the chain, a sticky oil like chainsaw oil is the best choice.
- Motor oil – You can put motor oil in your bicycle’s chain. However, due to the oil’s thickness, it won’t protect your bike against wear. Also, the oil oxidizes when you apply it to open-air applications like the bicycle chain.
- Machine oil – Light machine oil like sewing machine oil contains 100% base oil. But they don’t have anti-wear properties and lack performance. However, if you are not thinking about performance and like to use it only once, sewing machine oil should be your choice.
Should I just buy actual bicycle chain lubricant?
An actual bicycle chain lube (like this right here) provides a film that tends to separate contact of metal between the chains and cogs. To reduce friction in the drivetrain, a single layer of lubricant should be there to impede direct surface contact.
A perfect bicycle lube is thick enough to avoid metal contact and has the required thinness to penetrate deep into the inner chain components. If the lube has high viscosity (too thick), the performance decreases.
The drag force tends to increase and makes the bicycle slow. Moreover, the chain will stretch, and the chances of wear increase. An actual lubricant has oxidation stability as well. Lubricants have a lasting effect and you don’t have to oil your bicycle frequently unlike olive oil.
While olive oil accumulates grime and dirt, a good bicycle lube protects the chain from accumulating any kind of debris to a great extent.
So, you can put olive oil in your bicycle chain to reduce noise and friction, but only in emergencies. When you have run out of specialized lubricants and looking for a safer option for some time, you can use olive oil. For long-term use, lookout for a better option.