Make Bicycle Oil At Home!

By Sanghita Dey, Staff Writer

Busy street in Varanasi courtesy
Busy street in Varanasi courtesy

Bicycle is still one of the important modes of transport in the villages of east and north eastern India. Bihar, a state in the eastern part of India, is the largest consumer of bicycles in the country. Being native to Bihar and a member of a bicycle trading and manufacturing family, I have a unique connection with bicycles. My mother, who owns and runs a chain of Bajaj Auto dealership in Bihar, started her entrepreneurial career with the home based business of bicycle oil manufacturing. Before mid 1990s bicycle oil in India was manufactured using “Sismar” rubber. But now this home based small scale business has shifted to a new method of redefining burnt engine oils into bicycle oil. This is an easy process and contributes in reducing petroleum waste.

Let me introduce you to this short and efficient manufacturing process of bicycle oil to lubricate bicycle’s freewheel, chain and gears.

Raw materials:

  • Burnt engine oil i.e. the oil we replace during the oil change of our motor vehicles
  • Sulphuric acid
  • A sieve
  • A stirrer


Step 1: The burnt engine oil contains lots of iron and carbon granules. Filter the oil to remove those granules with the help of a sieve with small pores.

Step 2: Take the oil into a container and add sulphuric acid to it. For 1 litre of oil add 4.5 ml of sulphuric acid and stir it slowly for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Leave the solution idle for 1 hour at room temperature.

Step 4: The solution breaks into thick oil with dark colour at the bottom of the container and relatively light oil floating on the surface of the container. Separate the light oil floating at the surface and your bicycle oil is ready to use.

Caution: Please be alert while dealing with sulphuric acid.

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