Ultimate Bicycle Chain Lubricant Test | Best Chain LubeJun 10, 2021
I bought the eight most popular bike
lubes and today I'm going to try them out at the bike shop and just to make things interesting I'm going to add some things I found lying around the bike shop like a simple small motor. Oil and a penetrating
lubricant. We have many
test, but only three of them will make it to the podium. The first
testI'm going to do is a friction or wear test and how this works is that a metal cylinder is captured inside this arm and is forced to run against this metal wheel.
This metal wheel has a higher hardness than this metal cylinder, and rotating against this cylinder will cause wear. We'll put lubricant in this cup and it will magnetize behind the. wheel and the wheel is immersed in lubricant, the lubricant that provides the
bestwear protection will have the smallest wear scar. I will also be watching this green digital ammeter very closely because a low value here indicates that the motor is working less To overcome friction in the wheel as I perform each of these tests, I will start the timer and run them for 30 seconds and then, After I have done the test, I will measure the wear scar using this caliper in the first test.
What we're going to get is the worst case scenario, which is a dry test, we're going to use that wear scar as a control, let's remove the cylinder and find out how bad the damage is, that's hot, okay, let's wait a minute, okay So what have I done? What I learned is that the wear mark on an unlubricated cylinder is 8.14 millimeters. The first and most expensive lubricant I am going to try is Dumontec Classic Original, it costs 16.92 for 4 ounces and says it penetrates the plates and protects for exceptional performance. Shake it well. now I'm going to let the wheel run for a while without friction, make sure the wheel is completely coated, remove the cylinder, what we have here with the demontec is a barely noticeable wear scar at 1.1 millimeters between each of these tests.
I will wipe the excess off the wheel, degrease it and then take a stone and clean the surface without any lubricant. The next one I'm going to try here is a squirt, it's an emulsion of wax and water and it says. It is suitable for all bikes and conditions it costs 14.95 shake it well it squirts the wear scar on the jet is 6.16 millimeters the next one I am going to try is the white lightning epic ride it says it is the
bestoption for riding under varying conditions it has some solids floating in it so I'll make sure to shake it well.
It costs 14.60 for 4 ounces. The wear scar for the epic ride is 5.97 millimeters, a little better than the squirt. The next one I'm going to try. It's purple extreme and I guess for all the extremes here it does all of these things extremely well says it's the most advanced bike
lubeand goes 400 miles between applications purple xtreme costs 13.99 for four fluid ounces very slow to get out of the bottle, this will take forever with a 3.86 millimeter wear scar. The purple end performed better than the squirt and white beam, but still didn't outperform Dumontec. Ten dollars and seventy cents will get you four ounces of Park Tool and a synthetic blend. chain lubricant and makes no extreme claims.
It looks a lot like motor oil. The wear scar for Park Tools CL1 is 6.3 millimeters. 9.99 will remove 4 ounces of dirt from dry lube. It says it is race quality lube and this is for moisture. driving conditions, making it truly a complete lubricant. I like the screw cap. Yes, what I like the most is this bottle. It has a pleasant smell. The dirt wear scar is 1.85 millimeters. The next one I'm trying is a rock walking epic. Synthetic
bicyclelubricant, cleans lubricants and protects against corrosion, costs ninety-seven cents for four ounces and flows much more viscous than I expected.
Looking at it on the bottle, epix has a 7.52 millimeter wear scar and that's almost dry control just cleaning the wheel between different tests the next step is rock and roll the king of lubes this is your gold lube It says it dramatically improves pedaling and shifting and you can get four ounces of this stuff for five dollars and 67 cents. It also has some solids floating in it, so I'll make sure to give it a good shake. The wear scar on the king of lubricants was 4.07 millimeters. Okay, now we're down to two that you might find lying around your garage. 40 and for four ounces of wd-40 you will spend 2 dollars and 24 cents.
The wd-40 wear scar costs a whopping 7.78 millimeters, just plain old dinosaur bones 10 w 30, it's about 87 cents for four fluids. ounces of this plain old motor oil allowed for a wear mark of 6.73 millimeters. The winner of the wear test was Dumontec with a wear mark of 1.1 millimeters, but was closely followed by Muck Off dry lubricant with a wear mark of 1.85 millimeters which is now in third place. behind by 2.01 millimeters with a 3.86 millimeter wear scar it was extreme violet, the clear loser and I'm ashamed to admit it's wd-40, well I'm not ashamed to admit it's the loser, I'm ashamed to admit I've used wd-40 a lot with chains, I didn't learn my lesson anymore, it was a little better than just doing a dry ride, the other one, surprisingly, was epic rock riding, which is the second worst lube on the wall here and finally, simply 10w out of 30 was the third worst now I'm going to do the wear test without dirt.
I really want to see what the wear scar will be after letting it dry on the cylinder and wheel. I want to see what kind of protections it will give in a dry state without a tank, let's see how this goes, it doesn't sound bad because it draws low amps, I'm very curious. They are not bad at all for being dry using muck off as a dry lubricant. I came up with a 4.23 millimeter wear scar. I have a drill here that has a carriage bolt coming out of it on the end of the carriage bolt. I have assembled a chainring and have a perfectly cut piece of chain.
I have this handle that I cut out of a bottle of fork oil and I'm going to put the lube in this little pot that I made and then I'm going to take the drill and I'm going to put the plate in that pot and I'm going to use this marker as a guide and I'm going to make one full revolution and then I will immediately place this rag on it and make one more revolution, after that I will start the stopwatch while I place the drill on the cardboard box and turn it to the maximum. speed for 30 seconds Now with the trigger fully depressed on this cordless drill, the revolution at which it spins is about 350 rpm, which is about three and a half times faster than the maximum rpm and maximum cadence of an athlete.
I'm going to take this chain and degrease it between each of the tests and dry it with compressed air our first test is dumontec this is the dumontec spray pattern and now it's squirt's turn this is the squirt spray pattern and now we're testing the white ray epic journey and here I have the epic spray pattern which I think is a little bit more and a little bit wetter than the jet and here goes the purple end this is the purple end sling pattern and right now I would say it's just overtaken by Dumonds, okay, we're back at the Park Tool Cl A parking tool is nearby and could have taken the lead from Dumond to get the most sling.
Okay, we're back to wiping off the dry lube. The dry lube performed very well in this test, perhaps just behind the epic ride below in the. sling is rock ride epix ride epics had a high degree of sling similar to the demand for technology and park tool cl a king of lubricants let's see what the king can do. I think the king of lubes did a little better than dumontec cl1 and rock ride epics. my dirty little secret wd40 let's see how this goes wd-40 doesn't seem to have much resistance and that surprises me and here is our tenth and final lubricant, plain old motor oil, well, I wasn't expecting much from old motor oil, but I Surprisingly, it worked better than some of the bike-specific chain lubes.
Now I recognize that the sling test is a somewhat subjective test, so what I did was group them into three different groups, those who I think performed poorly, those who I think performed fairly well, and those who I think performed poorly. better performance in the test. The lubes that I think performed poorly were the regular dumontec original park tool cl1 small motor oil and the rock ride epics, they have the highest sling. pattern and they also saturated the cardboard a lot, even after sitting overnight I can still feel that they are quite greasy. The ones that I think worked pretty well were wd40 purple extreme and rock and roll gold after sitting overnight, the lubes have penetrated deeply into the cardboard and are not greasy to the touch, the lubes that I think did the best in the test of slings overall were White Lightning Epic Ride Muck Off dry lube and then they finally squirted, there was some penetration and after sitting overnight they are dry to the touch but the squirt has a raised feel to it, it has a lot bumpy and I can feel the wax in this lube now the sling test really wasn't that fair for the dry lubes so I took the dry lube that had the most residue on it I guess the wettest of the dry lubes it feels weird to say and I loaded it on the chain and put it through the sling test after letting it dry and nothing came off during the sling test, so we can assume that the epic ride and White Lightning squirt would be In addition, the drivetrain of A mountain bike is an open system and mountain bikes are operated in some of the harshest and dirtiest conditions so having a lubricant in the drive system that picks up and holds dirt is not good at all and so I want know how much dirt each of these lubricants will pick up and attract into the system and I have designed a test to determine that for each lubricant.
I have printed two black rectangles on a sheet of waterproof adventure paper using a fixed amount of lubricant I will paint the bottom rectangle of each of the sheets with the lubricant then I will take each sheet and use 30 mils by volume of this sand and pour the fine white sand across the rectangle, distributing it evenly after the paper is sufficiently loaded. I will drop each leaf three times from a height of two inches. We'll see how much the black rectangle retains. The first one I'm trying here is Rock Ride. I'm going to paint it until I can see that it's just been evenly coated and that's it, starting with 10 mils.
Now we bring it here and I take 30 ml of sand and distribute it evenly until it is well covered and I no longer see black. we'll pick it up and drop it from a height of two inches one two three times, that's how much rock ride epics it held and we'll just throw this brush away because we won't reuse it. The next one is normal motor oil 10 w30 and we release it one two three and there we have the amount of sand retained by the 10 w30 motor oil the next lubricant is park tool cl1 one two three and that is the amount of sand retained by park tool cl-1 the following dumond tech lubricant there we have how Dumontec retains a lot of sand.
Our next lubricant is the king of lubricants. Rock and Roll Gold. What liquid. Wow, I almost got one coat after one pass. That's impressive now for our three drops. A surprise, that was a lot, it fell from the first drop. two and three and that is the amount of sand that the rock and roll gold, the king of lubricants, retained, let's see how the purple extreme 10 thousand works, just like the king of lubricants, one stroke is almost enough to cover it completely one two three and that's the amount of sand The extreme purple wd-40 held is so thin I'm wondering how it will fare and that's the amount of sand held by the wd40.
Now we are getting into squirt dry lubricants. Most of these say you should apply and let dry, but I'm actually going to do that. to apply them like I normally apply lubricant, which is minutes before I hit the road, well this is very easy to see when I have a good coat, oh, it's curling the paper one, two and three and there's the amount of sand that the jet retained. Next up, this is the weirdest lube, but it doesn't want to form an even layer on this banana-coconut rectangle. What am I doing? And how much sand was retained by the dirt.
The last lubricant I will try in the sandbox is. The white lightning epic journey is very liquid like wd-40, it has taken over the entire plate, it seems to be eating the ink and there is the amount of sand that the white lightning epic journey retained. I went back and made a second batch of dry lube this time. allow dry lubricants to dry as recommended by the manufacturer and that is the amount of dirt that Epic Ride retains after letting it dry and the amount of sand that is retained with the jet that is allowed to dry and the amount of sand that is retained with the dirt dried when I actually let these dry lubes dry, they worked exceptionally well with the rideepic white beam rendering the best of all, the sand plus the sheet of paper it was on only weighed five and a quarter grams and the jet reached five and a half. grams total and wd-40 held up right there with a jet of about five and a half grams total, the worst results in the sand test weighed about three times as much as the best with 10 w30 weighing 16 and a half grams total and dumontec.
It didn't perform much better, weighing just under 14 grams, followed by Park Tool CL1, weighing just under 13 grams. These are sticky, sticky lubricants and I would not recommend them if you are riding in dirty conditions for the final test. What I want to do I want to see how these lubricants work in wet conditions so what I did was cut 10 lengths of chain of 10 links each, let's say 10 times fast I cleaned and degreased them completely and then I took compressed air and I blew off all the water to make sure they were dry and then I let them sit in the sun for a while also to make sure they were completely dry, then I took each length of chain and completely submerged it in each respective lube and let them sit for about 15 minutes to ensure that the lubricant could become fully saturated behind all of the roller bearings after letting each length of chain sit in the lubricant.
I took them out, ran them through a paper towel once, and then put them on another paper towel to dry for the wet test. I have a half gallon pump sprayer. I'm going to fill it up to 32 ounces each time. I'm going to pump it 50 times and I also marked on the nozzle exactly where it should be to make sure I have a consistent spray pattern for each of these tests. The pump sprayer is one and a half feet away from the chain hanging from a shifter cable for each test. I'm going to spray using the spray pump until it starts sputtering air and then leave it for this test.
I am going to use a high precision scale that measures up to 1 100. of a gram I will measure each length of chain before I spray them and get what their weight is and then I will let each length of chain dry in the sun after I have sprayed them, I will get a final weight and I will be able to see the difference in hundreds of grams of the amount of lubricant that was removed. All of these chains have now had a few hours to dry. Now let's see how much lubrication they lost in the water.
The first lube we tried was purple. extreme, started at 26.07 grams, now weighs 26 grams, a loss of 7100 grams. When I inspect it I can also see that during the drying time there was rust around some of the pins, the rollers still seem fine. lubricated the second lube we tried was rock and roll gold it started at 26.1 grams now it weighs 26.06 grams that's a loss of four hundredths of a gram when I inspect the chain there is a little less rust than the purple end and the rollers too They seem to be lubricated. Dry lubricant still has dirt in it.
It started with 26.09 grams. It now weighs 26.06 grams. A loss of three hundredths of a gram. The dry lube has no rust on the chain and appears to be well lubricated. Demontech I started with 26.07 grams, now it weighs 25.96, that is a loss of 11 tenths of a gram, that is, a lot of lubricant loss. When I look at Dumontec, it looks more like a dry chain, there is a little bit of lubricant on the rollers. Epic started at 26.09 grams, now weighs 26.02 grams, a loss of 7,100 grams. Rock Ride Epics has a little rust on some of the pins and overall looks like it has lost quite a bit.
White Lightning's epic journey started at 26.03 grams, it now weighs 26.01 grams, a loss of 2100 grams. As I inspect the chain, it has a bit of corrosion compared to some of the others. Park Tool Cl1 started at 26.06 grams, it now weighs 26.01, so a loss of five hundredths of a gram there is corrosion around some of the links and I saw corrosion on one of the rollers. The weight of the jet before testing was 26.13 grams and now it is 26.11 grams, a loss of two hundredths of a gram as I inspect the jet chain I can't find corrosion anywhere. In my opinion, squirt is a kind of sticky lubricant.
The chain resists movement at first when you bend it and hangs downward. You can see that the chain still maintains some of the heavy wd-40 containers. 26.07 grams before the test now weighs 26.03 grams, which is a loss of four hundredths of a gram. I'm surprised that the wd-40 doesn't show much corrosion. I think he did a very good job protecting the chain. In fact, I can still see it shining on the rollers of this chain. The 10w30 weighed 26.04 grams before water. It now weighs 25.98 grams, which represents a loss of six hundredths of a gram. Also, the 10w30 had exceptional results in terms of corrosion resistance, I don't see it.
There was corrosion on this chain and I still see some moisture on the rollers for the wet test. The dry lubes performed best as expected and Squirt performed the best of all. It may be a little stiff but there was no corrosion on the chain. The chain and it was not washed, the stream was followed closely by the dirt and then there was the epic ride of the white lightning. In my opinion this is a very fine lube and although it is a dry lube it washes off the chain quite easily. I found a lot of corrosion for a lubricant that is supposed to resist water and these are the lowest performers in the wet test; dumontec had the worst performance: it lost about 11 tenths of a gram and that is a big loss for a lubricant;
There was also quite a bit of chain rust Rock Ride had similar performance and appearance with some chain rust and a loss of about seven hundredths of a gram, but I think the purple end surprised me more because it is a lower viscosity lube than these other two and was lost. seven hundredths of a gram too and that's a big loss for a lube that cleans quite a bit off a chain. Testing is complete, results are in, and I'm ready to put three of these lubricants on the podium through the process. of disposal the first two lubes that I am going to throw away are the ones that had unacceptable wear scars that were almost those of the dry control and those were epic rock ride and wd40 these two lubes do not go in my transmission the next two lubes to be removed performed correctly in all the tests I ran here and those are 10w30 and part cl1 tool this next lubricant I really wanted to like it performed the best in the wear test with a 1.1 millimeter wear scar, however, It performed poorly in all the tests I did here and those are 10w30 and cl1 tool part this next lubricant. the rest of the tests and that is dumontec, whether in the wet or in sand, he was always in the bottom three.
I am not using this lube on anything other than an indoor bike. The bottom five here performed well in all tests, with perhaps one weakness. here and there, but there are three here that performed very well in wear and friction and those were these three and of the last three there is one that stood out above all the others: it excelled in wear and friction but also in sling and test wet and that was dry lube, that's the lube I'm going to use on my mountain bike drivetrain from now on and plus it smells like banana laffy taffy, it comes in a great bottle and it's also biodegradable, the last two lubricants fought neck and neck in all the different tests, however, in the end the rock and roll gold costs five dollars and sixty-seven cents and the purple end costs more than twice as much, so the rock and roll gold gets the position number two and the purple winger takes third place after.
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