Safer Chain lube Alternatives For Motorcycles: Compared & Tested

Safer Chain lube Alternatives For Motorcycles: Compared & Tested

There are many alternatives for motorcycle chain lube or oil in the market. But are these alternatives good for the chain’s health and safer in the long run?

Engine oil, Gear oil, and chain paste make reliable alternatives for chain lube because of their vicious nature and different types of additives. These alternatives are recommended only for a short period and are not a direct replacement for chain lube.

There are also other alternatives such as chainsaw oil, cooking spray/oil, castor oil, clipper oil, and other kinds of oils. But the real question remains, are these alternatives practical, and do they really work as well as compared to the recommended chain lube products, and are they budget-friendly cheaper alternatives

First, we should understand that any chain lube product or alternatives provide the same application, which is the lubrication of chain rollers, O or X rings, and preventing rust formation.

With that out of the way, keep in mind that some alternatives work’s better and are safer than others. Our job is to choose these alternatives carefully in case if we don’t have chain lube readily available.

Motorcycle Chain Lube Alternatives: Do They Worth The Use

So the most common alternatives which come to most people’s mind is engine oil and gear oil. They are good, but you should know that each of these items has pros and cons.

Chain lube really depends on the riding conditions where you ride in. The chain needs different types of lubrication depending on the environment such as dry and dusty or wet and muddy conditions.

And if you do any kind of off-road riding or general riding on wet, muddy, super dusty terrain we recommended using the appropriate chain lube for your bikes/motorcycles and staying away from the alternatives as they are way too thick and viscous causing to attract dust and grime on the chain more than usual. ( It will be a lot of work which can be avoided by using chain lubes ). But if you still want to use the alternatives, use it within the limits.

We have tested multiple chain lubes and their alternatives on our motorcycles to see which provide better results and are they reliable substitutes for a chain oil or lube. So here’s a chain lube alternatives information in a table format to let you know which gives a better cost per mile.

Engine Oil ( Fully Synthetic )435-550 20-30 1 33.81(0.0508130081) i.e 5 cents
Gear Oil ( 75W 90 )500-62020-30 133.81(0.044642571) i.e 4 cents
Motul C5 Chain Paste310 10.41 5.7(0.05372)
i.e 5 cents
Clipper Oil250 12-17 0.248(0.0144)
i.e 1 cents
Cooking Spray185 1.5-2 0.238(0.002270)
i.e 1 cents
Castor Oil215 8-16 0.4716(0.02623)
i.e 3 cents
Coconut Oil245 7-16 0.4716(0.02589)
i.e 3 cents
Chainsaw Oil1244-8 132(0.04838)
i.e 5 cents
The range in miles varies because each of these alternatives is made up of different types of mineral oils, additives, and has different chemical compounds.

As you can see in the table, the cost per mile on the clipper, cooking spray, castor, and coconut oil is lower. But you can’t use these alternatives on your motorcycle’s chain, because they lack the physical-chemical properties which are present in chain lubes and gear or engine oil.

They lubricate the chain but are not as efficient as possible. 

Clipper, cooking spray castor, and coconut don’t have significant heat and load tolerance which are vital factors for any lubrication which are to be used on motorcycle chains. 

Physical-chemical properties help protect against corrosion and oxidation, which can cause rust formation.

Chain lubes are made up of contains such as petroleum distillates and Teflon also known as ( PTFE/polytetrafluoroethylene ), which is the substance claimed by the Guinness book of world records as the world’s one of the most slippery substance. These substances make sure that lubricant has its elastic nature which cushions the moving parts of the chain and sprocket which results in low wear on the chain and less friction.

These properties provide superior chain lubrication while preserving and extending the chain’s life.

On the other hand, Gear oil gives a better return on cost per mile than engine oil and chain paste.

Alternatives such as gear and engine oil or chain paste have high viscosity and density. Since oil oxidation rate increases at higher temperatures, these are designed in a way to sustain the higher operating temperatures, which keeps the chain and sprocket cool due to their strong physical-chemical properties.

Gear oil, and engine oil allow proper and thicker lubrication which can stay on the chain for a long period of time while reducing the friction and wear between the metal surfaces of the chain and sprocket. But again avoid going on any kind off road dusty, wet, sticky tracks as much as possible.

Clipper Oil, cooking spray/oil, coconut oil, castor oil don’t have these additives in them. And are mostly made up of mineral oils which do not align with what the chain needs.

Also engine oil, gear oil have different types of additives such as anti-wear additives, extreme pressure additives, corrosion inhibitors, antioxidants, friction modifiers, and much more which help your motorcycle’s chain to be in its optimal conditions.

So here are the safe and reliable alternatives for chain lube which gives also gives the best cost per mile.

Gear Oil (75W 90)

NO: 1

i.e 4 cents

Motul C5 Chain Paste

NO: 2

i.e 5 cents

Engine Oil (Fully Synthetic)

NO: 3

i.e 5 cents

And if you want to buy chain lube that doesn’t cost much and gives a better bang for the buck, we have a curated list of chain lubes from which you can choose.

Before choosing the chain lube we should take things into consideration such as optimum lubrication of the chain and does the lube avoid attracting dirt on the chain as much as possible.

Oxford All-Weather Chain Lube300-60024.18 50016.90(0.04836)
i.e 5 Cents
Motul C2 Chain Lube 300-600 9-11.994009.3(0.02625)
i.e 3 Cents
Muc-Off All-Weather Chain Lube 300-600 16.99 400 13.53(0.042475)
i.e 4 Cents
Pro Honda Chain Lube 300-600 8.10-9.0445015(0.01882881)
i.e 2 Cents
Bel-Ray Super Clean Chain Lube 300-600 14.99-16.95 400 13.53(0.03995)
i.e 4 Cents
Maxima Synthetic Chain Guard 300-600 10.35-11.9941414(0.02614112)
i.e 3 Cents
Lucas Chain Lube Aerosol 300-600 11.9932511(0.03690522)
i.e 4 Cents
Motorex Chain Lube ( Off-road ) 300-600 14.95-15.9550017(0.031)
i.e 3 Cents
PJ1 Black Label Chain Lube 300-600 15.44-16.2540013(0.0396)
i.e 4 Cents
Quicksilver Off-road Chain Lube 300-600 8.9935012(0.0256857143)
i.e 3 Cents
The range in miles is the same because each of these chain lubes contains near to similar types of additives. And chain should be lubed every 300-600 miles if you are using chain lubes. So we are calculating it on the basis of cost per milliliter or ounce.

Note: Oxford all-weather chain lube is not easily available in the united states and may cost a little more.

So as you know by now different chain lube works in different ways and also depends on the riding conditions.

Keep in mind that if you’re not riding your motorcycle in extreme conditions such as muddy off-road tracks or super dusty terrains, you can without a doubt go for a little budget-friendly chain lube.

And it is not as different as you think from an expensive alternative. It comes down to the proper application of cleaning and lubing the chain without overdoing it while taking an appropriate maintenance routine.

You can choose any chain lube based on these two factors.

  • Cost per milliliter/Ounce ( Bottle/ Can capacity )
  • By effectiveness and quality standards

So here are the results based on these two factors for chain lube.

Top 3 Chain Lube By Cost Per Milliliter/Ounce

  1. Pro honda chain lube
  2. Motul c2 chain lube
  3. Motorex off-road chain lube

Top 3 chain lube by effectiveness and quality standards

  1. Oxford all-weather chain lube
  2. Muc – off all-weather chain lube
  3. Motul c2 chain lube

You can save your money by picking the effective yet a little budget-friendly chain lube at any time and the items in a budget-friendly/ cost per milliliter category are as effective as the other ones but they come at a little cheaper prices.

What Can I Use Instead Of Motorcycle Chain Lube?

As we have gone through the curated table of chain lube alternatives, we found that gear oil, engine oil, and chain paste are the reliable alternatives you can use instead of chain lube on your motorcycles chain.

You can use these alternatives while cruising or while daily commute. Avoid using these alternatives on dirk and off-road dusty tracks.

Engine oil and gear oil are thick and sticky in nature and improper application of these oils will attract dust and pollutants to the chain, which can result in damage to sprockets teeth and chain rollers.

Is Oil-Based Lube Good For Motorcycle Chains?

Particular oil-based chain lube alternatives are not optimum and recommended to use on motorcycles as a permanent replacement for chain lubes.

These oil-based lubes are as follows:

  • Cooking Oil/Spray
  • Castor Oil 
  • Clipper Oil 
  • Chainsaw Oil
  • Coconut Oil

They sure will lubricate the chain but not in a significant way. These oils do not have particular additives in them which are needed to protect the chain from rust and corrosion.

They are also not made to tolerate high amounts of pressure/load, friction, and heat which are essential components of lubrication that are to be used on a motorcycle’s chain.

You can use these alternatives on lower cc ( 125- 200 ) street motorcycles/bikes only for a short time.

Using cooking oil/ spray, castor oil, clipper oil, chainsaw oil, and coconut oil as a chain lube comes with its downsides.

The downsides are as follows:

  • Can’t go at a higher speed where the chain is prone to a higher amount of friction
  • Off-road riding where the chain is susceptible to catching higher amounts of dirt and pollutants on sprocket and chain surface.
  • Avoid dry dusty areas for riding your motorcycle.
  • Not suitable to go long rides/trips

If you really want to use these oils on the chain, then ride at moderate speed in the city during your commute as a temporary short time fix.


The alternatives come with their pro and cons. If you’re looking for a temporary fix for short time, you can surely use these alternatives.
Engine and oil are thick and sticky so they can attract dust and pollutants to the chain’s surface. And if the chain gets dirt, follow the proper cleaning and lubing routine of the chain.

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