(Last Updated On: September 8, 2022)

Looking for a way to spruce your bike chain without breaking the bank? Olive oil might very well be the answer. Making sure that you are regularly cleaning and maintaining your bike’s chain is fundamental to the overall functionality of your bike, as well as ensuring that you’re getting optimum speed. 

Can I Use Olive Oil On My Bike Chain (And Is It Bad For The Chain)

Even though bike chain lubricant is considered to be the norm for keeping your bike’s in pristine condition, many bike owners claim that olive oil can be used in its place, and the best part? It’s a whole lot more affordable and easy to come by than bike lubricant. But, just because it’s cheap and readily available – does that mean it’s good for the chain? 

Well, as it just so happens, using olive oil is something that has caused plenty of debate in the biking community! To help settle it, below, we’re going to be taking an in-depth look at whether or not olive oil can be used on bike chains, the potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Let’s take a look:

Can you put olive oil on a bike chain?

If you’ve clicked on this article, then chances are you already know what you should be putting on your bike’s chain (lubricant) but, whether it be to save money or have an alternative at hand in case of an emergency, many bikers are claiming that vegetable oils work just as good, if not better, than the real deal. 

Technically speaking, the answer to whether or not you should put olive oil on a bike chain isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. On one hand, using an oil not intended for use on a bike chain could potentially cause it to become damaged in the long run, while on the other hand, using some oil is better than no oil at all – so how bad could it be, really? 

Well, first and foremost, vegetable oils such as olive oil aren’t specifically designed to be used on a bike chain, which naturally means that they aren’t going to be as effective as something that has been designed to be used on a bike chain – aka bike lubricant!

Nevertheless, as we’ve already mentioned above, some time of oil is better than no type of oil, which means that olive oil can be a great help in the event of an emergency.

Even though it might not be as effective as real bike lubricant oil, it can provide you with a temporary, quick-fix to get yourself home, or to the nearest bike store to stock up on more lubricant!

To help you gain a better understanding of using olive oil on a bike chain, below we’re going to be breaking down the benefits and drawbacks of using vegetable oils such as olive oil in place of a bike chain lubricant. Let’s take a look at them:

Benefits of using olive oil on a bike chain

  • Affordable – One of the main benefits of opting to use olive oil is that it’s more affordable and cost-effective than bike chain lubricants as a short term, quick fix. However, it should be noted that for the best long-term results, bike lubricants are best to use.

  • Great for emergencies – As we’ve mentioned above, olive oil is a great alternative to regular bike lubricants if you’re in an emergency situation. Olive oil will offer you a temporary fix and keep your chain operating for enough time to allow you to get to your home or nearest bike store.

  • Fast-acting – Olive oil is a fast-acting oil that will be able to penetrate into the chain with ease and help to increase speed and prevent any annoying, “squeaking” noises. Plus, besides ensuring optimum speed, olive oil is also able to be used as a cleaner and will make sure that stubborn dirt, stains, and other debris get stuck in the chains from outdoor riding with ease.

Drawbacks of using olive oil on a bike chain

  • Not as effective as bike chain lubricants – One of the main drawbacks of using olive oil for your bike chain is that it is not as effective as bike chain lubricants. If you are planning on using olive oil, it is important to keep in mind that olive oil is not strong enough to be able to lubricate all of the moving components of the bike chain, which means that the oil will come off extremely quickly. 
  • Short-term effect – Another drawback of using olive on your bike chain is that it will only be able to offer you a short-term, quick fix, which means that you aren’t going to be able to enjoy a long-term effect. Needless to say, to give you an idea of how long olive oil will be able to lubricate your bike chain, you will likely be able to cycle for around fifty miles before needing to re-lubricate.
  • More susceptible to rain – Using a dedicated lubricator designed for use on a bike chain will be made to withstand exposure to the rain and other kinds of adverse weather. Unfortunately, olive oil is not made to serve this kind of purpose, which means that if you are planning on using olive oil to lubricate your chain and happen to live in a rainy part of the world – then you can expect the olive oil to run off almost instantly. 
  • Easily picks up dirt – Another huge drawback to using olive oil on a bike chain is that it can pick up dirt and debris with ease, while bike chain lubricants are designed to resist dirt. This will mean that you will have to clean your chain more if you are using olive oil, which is something to keep in mind if you would prefer something a little less cleaning maintenance.