Moving on from Rock'n'roll lubes

Question out there, what lubes do people use for bikes that see plenty of rain and puddles?

I’ve been using Viking Juice from Juice lubes but I find I’m applying it more often that I’d really like to. This is for a commuter bike which I’m pretty lazy about so don’t want anything too time consuming. Any suggestions?

From a pure durability standpoint in wet weather, the most water resistant lubes IME are: FinishLine Wet, Muc-Off Wet (blue cap), Phil’s Tenacious, Pedros SynLube and Chain-L. All of these can survive rainy riding, just be sure to wipe down to remove as much water as possible after riding. In terms of attracting dirt, I think Chain-L and Muc-Off are the worst but I’d also argue they have the best durability.

My protocol for winter riding in the rainy Greater Vancouver area is to wash the bike, and at the end with a separate rag I wash the chain with water and Dawn and give it a quick hit with a Park brush, then rinse with the garden hose with the nozzle on the highest pressure setting (not aimed at any bearings!), then dry and re-lube. I can usually get 300-500km out of an application before I repeat the process. I always try to wipe down post-ride immediately.

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Start waxing your chain. Do it today or tomorrow. It’s the single best thing I ever did since taking up cycling. After about a year of waxing now, I just changed over my trainer bike to wax and went through the cleaning process to prepare the chain, my god, to think I put up with this shit for so many years, dirty chain, chainrings, cassette, jockey wheels, wheels and bike in general, all filthy from lube and my trainer bike even get ridden out on the road. My hands covered in dirty grease, some on my clothes etc. Also, I tried the wax drip lubes, forget it, same problem as normal lubes. Waxing seems to be a huge step for a lot of people, in my very large bunch, there are 2 of us that wax our chains despite both of us reaching out to anyone interested to help them see the damn light. All we got was some light teasing, explanations about how their current lube keeps their chain and bike sparkling clean or radio silence. Not one has given it a go. You can lead a horse to water. A fun trick I use is when we all get back to the cafe after a ride, especially if it’s been wet, I grab my chain in my hand and slide it up and down, then show my clean palm. Then I grab the chain of one of the guys that says his lube keeps his chain clean and do the same. I have to go and wash my hand with soap and hot water but it’s worth the “you’re full of shit” moment.

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I used RnR Gold until I discovered wax. Short version:

  1. Molten Speed Wax immersive if you want the best.
  2. Smoove or Silca Super Secret wax drip lubes if you don’t want to remove your chain for immersion.

Very long version: Dave Rome’s guide on CT and the source material at ZeroFrictionCycling

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Just bought a new Dura Ace chain to test out the Silca Synergetic lube.

I have put the new chain through a degreaser (just normal bike degreaser in a bucket for half an hour), got dry and then applied one drop to each link. Have let it sit overnight, about to do my first indoor ride this morning.

It came out thicker from the bottle than I thought, really interesting stuff.

I’ll report back how it goes

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Previously used Squirt which I still use on gravel bike until supplies wear out. It’s pretty durable, even in the wet, but does gunk up into black tacky stuff.

Now I use Ceramicspeed UFO lube (2.0 version which is priced within reason). Runs clean and is reputedly efficient. It’s not a wet lube, and if I do a long rainy ride I clean and reapply.

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You didn’t mention working the chain between lube application and drying. Can we assume you did it but didn’t mention it or did you skip that step?

Sorry, yes, I spun the cranks backwards 12 times after applying and wiped off the excess

I have thoroughly tested Synergetic Wet Lube which I bought directly from Silca shortly after they released it and Josh promoted it in a video showing the impressive result it delivered in a test on a lube testing machine. I applied Synergetic to new Sram XX1 (11s) chains which I thoroughly degreased before. Then tested it on a rain / winter road bike with fenders, a gravel bike, a road bike without fenders and a mountain bike.
I tried as little lube as recommended, much more, then a lot, because it always failed to keep the chain lubricated especially during wet rides, but also during dryish high intensity three hour gravel bike rides.
The positive result of half a year of testing (around 6,000 km): I never tested another wet lube before which left the chain so clean.
That result is probably related to the negative result: I never tested another wet lube with which chain wear progressed so quickly. Simply due to the fact that after three hours of riding there was no more lube on / in the chain. So no wonder it stayed so clean.
There are surely a lot of wet lubes on the market which are much worse than Synergetic. But whenever I tested one of those I quickly ended the test when the chains started running dry and squeaking. So I did not ride those long enough to come up with a chain wear per km value.
With Synergetic though I could literally see the chain wear increase with each ride on my KMC digital chain checker which I zero on a new degreased and dried chain of the same type.
I replace chains when the wear reaches 0.40 mm over the 8 links which that chain checker measures. That equals 0,4% wear. With my usual wet lube I get around 8.000 km out of an XX1 chain on my regular road bike which is also ridden in the rain but not in heavy winter rain as I have a fender bike for that use case. I stopped the test of Silca Synergetic when I was approaching 0.30 mm on my regular road bike after only 2,000 km. At that point I had already stopped using it on the other bikes listed above which I often use in sloppier conditions or where the chain load is higher due to smaller chain rings and steep climbs just because their chains were quite often dry and noisy before the end of those rides.
It might serve riders well who only do road rides of moderate length and with moderate intensity in dry conditions. Those will probably like that it requires only little chain cleaning compared to other wet lubes and then some quick re-lubeing.
For any other type of riding I would not recommend it even it was much less expensive.
Maybe Silca has changed something about it in the meantime? Maybe my two bottles were part of the first batch which they also found to underperform? I don’t know.
For what it’s worth: My favorite chain lube was Chain-L (sadly no longer in production). Since I couldn’t buy that one anymore I’m using Lubcon Turmofluid 40B, which I would really recommend although it might be hard to come by outside of Europe.

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I’ve moved from RnR Gold about 5 years ago to Squirt and never looked back. About 2 years ago I moved from Squirt to Molten Speed Wax and it was another level up, #gamechanger. Here are the 5 main benefits i found moving to immersive hot wax along with a good drip wax as back up.

  1. Fast: Lower fiction = free watts
  2. Clean: Degreasing a bike is the only thing I don’t like about bike maintenance. And this is pretty much a necessity for all drip on lubes I’ve used even the wax based ones. A chain with factory grease removed and hot melt wax treatment keeps your bike so clean that a simple frame wipe with a cloth and occasionally bathing the chain in boiling water is all you need.
  3. Quite: No one’s likes a noisy dive chain. I can’t even remember what mine sounds like.
  4. Saves money: With lower friction comes less wear on those expensive chains, chainrings and cassettes, if your running a top end drivechain Red, Dura Ace or Super Record it will save you thousands over the course of your cycling career.
  5. Saves time. Yes you heard me, it saves time. While the original set up is a little more involved it is still less effort than degreasing a drive train once. With a hot melt wax drive train it takes me less than 5 minutes to clean my bike and way less faff. Degreasing is not just a time suck it’s messy and zero fun. Waxing my chain takes me less than 4 minutes of effort once a week, 30 seconds for set up and clean up, 2 minutes to agitate the chain once the wax hit’s 90 degrees C (This takes approximately 20-30 but I just put a timer on and go to something else) 1 minutes to prep the dry chain and put it back on the bike.

NB: I’m running SRAM red and reuse my quick links, i currently replace my quick links every 2 months and haven’t had any issues.

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Interesting feedback. Thanks.

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Bang! Totally agree

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First ride on the trainer was pretty positive. Drivetrain was very quiet.

I realise that new Shimano chains are always pretty quiet at the beginning though.

So the proof won’t be until after a few rides and applications of the Synergetic.

Yes strict Synergetic convert here. Will never use anything else tbh.

Get an ultegra chain. Zfc numbers on dura ace chain wear are spot on. I’m using 1170s with synergetic until ultegra chains are available

I’m convinced it accelerates wear

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Any thoughts on ceramicspeed ufo v2?

My main interest in this lube is that it’s supposedly non toxic, so I can wash it off down a regular drain here in the United States.

Happy to hear recommendations for any other non toxic lubes as well.

This is a common understanding, but not necessarily accurate. it comes up a lot with products like Simple Green, as well.

Note that once you use it on a drivetrain and it becomes contaminated or dirty, then you really can’t just wash it down a drain because it now contains other substances / particles which are not necessarily environmentally friendly.

This is true of every wax based lube that I’m aware of… no pfas or other environmentally hazardous chemicals. At this point, I’ve dumped gallons of water with Silca Super Secret melted off into it in the flowerbed without it killing so much as a petal and I’d expect the same of UFO or any other wax based lube. Wet lubes tend to be worse in general but even there most are moving away from toxic chemicals…

With a wax based lube, there’s no need to wash with anything other than boiling water… and, outside of a lube that already contains toxic chemicals that you’re washing off, the only thing your drivetrain would have in it to release into the environment is what you’ve picked up from the environment.