Three most important requirements of a chain lubricant:
While properties like external cleanliness may seem important, the fact is
that internal wear of the 112 overloaded, overworked and overlooked
bearings is what destroys chains. A road cyclist, riding first-tier equipment, will typically wear a chain out in as little as 50* hours of use -- often destroying the cassette or chainrings in the process. On a high-end bike, drivetrain wear is the most expensive maintenance cost per mile.
That’s why, when developing Chain-L, we approached is as a bearing-
wear problem and formulated it consistent with our theory of how chains
wear and how best to combat it. We then road tested with racers,
messengers, shop staff and others; refining it over the span of
almost a year before we began selling to the public in the fall of 2007.
Rather than bore you with sales hype or smoke and mirrors, we prefer to
follow the old adage that the “proof of the pudding is in the eating”
and encourage you to give it a try and see for yourself if Chain-L is
something you should be using.
Strengths: Smooooooth, quiet, does not wash off - ever. If you are not getting exactly that result, you have two left hands and lack opposing thumbs. Just follow the instructions.
Weaknesses: The bottle. Does a dentist work on your fillings with a power drill? Then why use a bottle that spills way too much lube when you need SO LITTLE. Little lube is the key here.
I ditched the bottle. I use an old Joe's lube bottle. The nossle is so fine, the lube only comes out when I warm the lube up a bit - perfect, because it then creeps into the rollers. A tiny drop is enough! I lube/wipe down a section at a time - the outside of the chain stays dry! And the results are amazing. But the bottle sucks.
I bought this lube out of desperation. Chains take a beating in winter. Between the snow/ice/water and the salt on the roads, nothing keeps a chain happy - untill now!
Similar Products Used: Don't get me started.... THE LIES!!!!
Bike Setup: Silverback Storm 29er, Fulcrum UST wheels, XT 2x10, Fox F29RL
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2012
Strengths: long lasting, quiets drive train, clean when used properly
Weaknesses: spendy compared to a lot of other options
I love this stuff. I've been on a quest for nearly thirty years to find the best chain lube and since I've found this I haven't been looking much more. It really lasts and keeps the chain running quietly. I can go quite a while between applications. Harsh conditions require more frequent applications of course, but I might get 4-5 rides before needing to reapply - just hose things down and wipe the chain down, vs some lubes that don't even make it through the ride.
Cleanliness: My chain is as clean or cleaner than it has been with most other lubes. To have it be clean, you need do follow the proper application techniques. If you over do it and don't wipe the chain down well after application, as well as on a regular basis, it it will get dirty. This lube keeps the chain from getting as dirty as others though because it stays put inside the chain. Others keep working their way out of the chain.
Application: I've found the following to work quite well
1) Use a chain catcher to keep the extra lube off of the cassette. Put the chain on the big ring so it is easier to clean the excess off after application.
2) Wipe the chain down well. You may have to do more than this if it is really dirty.
3) Apply just enough to each roller. Work on a few rollers at a time, starting at the derailleur. By the time the lubed section reaches the chainring it should have started to soak in.
4) Once every roller is lubed, use a heat gun to warm the chain as you slowly rotate the cranks backwards. This will accelerate the wicking of the lube into the chain.
5) Wipe the chain down well. Usually I do this with a dry rag, but I've also used a wax based lube (Like Rock n Roll) sprayed on a rag to wipe the chain down. Wipe the chainring down as well.
6) Wipe the chain down often (every ride if conditions require it, but clean road rides don't require this as often). Like above, usually a dry rag is sufficient.
7) Avoid reapplying when it isn't necessary. I like to tend to my bikes and am prone to overlubing, but I find that wiping things down is usually enough. When things get dry and noisy, then I reapply.
I've tried a lot of chain lubes out there and Chain-L is the best. Chain-L isn't a big company backed by big advertising dollars, but it's the best chain lube I've used. I've used ProGold ProLink Chain, TriFlow, Finish Line Dry Teflon, Finish Line Wet, and even DW40.
Chain-L is thick and sticky and stays on the chain. Shifts are silky smooth and the drivetrain is completely silent. The metal to metal contact feeling and sound is almost nonexistent.
Strengths: Works excellent on wet, on hot sand, on mug, on water...
Weaknesses: smells on the first hour...have to take some time to get it hot and lube, but you save more time after...
I have used this Lube on many races; La Ruta in Costa Rica, many river crossings, lots of mud, my friend use to lube every river crossing, and I did not!
Titan Dessert on the morocco desert, lots of sand!! and the chain is only lubed on the inside, just clean with a rag aver day, this was a 6 day stage race, and 700 kms! lube every 2 day after the race...
Transportugal Race, 1200 kms, the lube worked again very well,
I even use this one on my road bike every 500 kms, very good product..
Similar Products Used: white lighting, clean and epic, and many more
Bike Setup: epic s works 29", schmolke seat post, handlebar, extralite stem, carbon ti chainrings, xtr, and magura 8 brakes.
colnago eps, campy, ciamillo gravitas and lightweight wheels
a Cross Country Rider
from Baltimore, MD, USA
Date Reviewed: November 14, 2011
Strengths: Quiet running, long lasting, water resistant, reduced maintenance, small amount needed per chain, easy to apply, wicks inside the rollers, dependable after crossing streams
Weaknesses: Attacts dirt, but after stream crossings wet chains pick up dust regardless of lube used.
This is a back to basics chain lube of a heavy mineral oil type with friction modifiers. Think of it as a heavy duty lube similar to that of automotive use. Chains are under extreme pressure and need a heavy duty oil that stays inside the rollers. Thinner lubes allow more metal to metal contact. The thicker lube tends to occupy the gaps between roller and side plates so the dirt is mostly on the outside of the chain. Just wipe off the outside before each ride. I usually get 8 or so rides of about 13 miles each with 6 or so stream crossings before I decide to clean and re-lube. There is no rust on the chain with Chain-L. Lighter lubes resulted in a dirty chain also and required lubing and wiping and re-lubing after every ride.
Similar Products Used: Prolink, Icewax, Triflow, Dupont Teflon spray
Bike Setup: Fisher HiFi Pro
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2011
Strengths: Durable and fuss free. Great for commuter bikes dealing with rain, snow and mud.
Weaknesses: Time consuming application, but well worth the wait.
Excellent Product. Follow the directions and you won't be dissapointed. I'm a maintenance geek, but the chain is now one component that I don't have to lose sleep over. Yeah, I was skeptical about this stuff, but it's been the best lube I've put on my mountain bike and commuter bike that I don't have to fuss with. I still wipe my chain from time to time, and clean my cassette and chainrings to help extend the life of my components, but the nice thing about this lube is that you don’t have to worry about it wearing off in the middle of your ride (b/c of muddy conditions or rain).
Similar Products Used: Rock'n'Roll Extreme, Pro-Gold, Pedros, Finish Line Wet, Squirt.
Bike Setup: 1999 Litespeed Obed, Chris King hub, headset, bottom bracket, Thomson stem & post, SRAM X0, Avid Black Ops levers with BB7 160mm front & Black Ops Ultimate V-Brakes. Manitou 100mm Minute MRD ABS+
Strengths: Holds on to your chain like no other lube
Lubes for a long time, even in the worst conditions
Weaknesses: Smells bad, but I only care when I leave my biek in the car
This is by far the best lube I have ever used and I'll never use anything else. We had a very muddy summer this year and often it rained in races, this lube has kept my chains lubed in all these foul conditions and then some. I used it on all my mountain bikes and my GFs as well. Going to some endurance races in the next weeks, I won't leave without it!
Similar Products Used: Name it I probably tried it. My 2nd best lube would be Finish Line wet though.
a Weekend Warrior
from Millbrae, CA
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2011
Strengths: I have used this lube in sand, dust, mud, creek-crossing and it keeps going. Minimal re-lube required and it keeps the drive-train ultra quite and smooth.
Weaknesses: The only potential weakness is the initial application process, but the extra 10 minutes is a small price to pay for a smooth, clean, long-lasting drivetrain
Simply the best lube for your bike. I was concerned that it would be messier than the dry lubes I had previously been using for summer conditions, but found the complete opposite to be the case. Since you only need to apply it very infrequently and wipe off the excess, there is very little lube on the outside of the chain to collect dirt. The majority of the lube stays IN the chain, doing what is suppose to do. I've found that my drive-chain stays noticably cleaner with significantly less effort than require with other lubes. Chain-L is simply the best chain-lube I've used. Invest the extra 10 minutes upfront to apply it according to the directions and you'll be rewarded mile after mile after mile. Not to mention, the price cannot be beat!
Similar Products Used: Dumonde Tech, White Lightning, Boeshield, Prolink, Finish Line, Pedros Syn Lube, Pedros Ice Lube, Philwood, etc....
Bike Setup: Intense Tracer VP, Zion 853EBB, Cervelo R3SL
a Cross Country Rider
from Laguna Beach Ca USA
Date Reviewed: May 20, 2011
Strengths: Works super well!!! Quiets the chain ALOT and the shifting improved tremendously.
Weaknesses: Its a bit messy- but you know what, anything that works as well as this- I will accept some mess as it is a mtn bike anyhow..
This is a superb product!!! I have used prolink for years- and after trying Chain-L no way I could go back to anything else.. Its really that good. Not to mention the fols at Chain-L are so nice they make the experience very pleasing. Whoever switches to Chain-L will be beyond happy!!!
Strengths: Last a LONG time, works well even when the chain is filthy
I really like the Chain-L lube. It requires a little more work to lube the chain than normal but not enough to sway my decision to use it. It seems to last a LOT longer than Prolink and Finishline and the chain is a lot quieter. A quick wipe of the chain after a ride to remove the dirt and it's good to go no need to reapply lube every 100 or so miles. I did an SS race in very dry and dusty conditions and though me, the bike, and the chain were all white from the dust the chain was quiet and still pulled smooth as if it were still fresh lubed. The really noticeable thing I like is when riding on the road and cruising at 95-100 cadence, the sound of the chain is almost quiet but the sound you can hear is like a "well oiled machine" just smoothly operating. The even cooler part, after 400 miles it's still making this sound with no extra lube added. Previously I was lubing my road chain ever 100-150miles. A little added upfront maintenance time applying the lube makes up for time down the road by not having to lube the chain so often.
Similar Products Used: You name it, I've tried about everything else on the market and a few that weren't.
Bike Setup: Tallboy. Weights about 25 lbs ... a lot less than my wife ... but not as pretty.
a Cross Country Rider
from Phoenix, AZ
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2011
Strengths: quiet, long lasting, clean, smooths out your transmission
I ride 4-6 times per week in the very dry and dusty Phoenix desert. I am always looking for the next best thing, especially if it is going to extend the life of my bike.
After Francis offered the free sample here on MTB a few years back, I have been a believer in ChainL. My chain is much quieter than anything else I have used, my chain feels like it has some sort of "dampening" to it when I accelerate or shift. Rather than getting a clunking feel, the bike is smooth. My bike shifts much better for longer.
I recently tried a few brands of Bar and Chain oil and came away unimpressed. The lube worked great for one ride, but then my chain would get louder, and shifting performance would drop. I typically get 3-4 rides on ChainL, and could probably get more, but I tend to be on the safe side and overlube.
I have a great system for application. I remove the chain from the bike, wipe it down quick, put one drop on each link and wait about an hour. Wipe the chain down, throw it back on and pedal the bike. Wipe the chain down again and I am all set. By taking the chain off the bike, my pulleys, chainrings, and cassette stay exceptionally clean with no buildup. I think for many people this is a turn off, however, I simply find the application only takes a few minutes and I do it once for several rides.
I like the stuff so much, i just ordered 3 more bottles. At $12 it is a steal, and will last me for quite some time.
Strengths: Great lube in all conditions, very little dust accummulation, does not gunk up if appleid right. kept chain lubed through insane winter riding conditions-snow, ice, rain, salt, mud. I lube about once every 3 months!!
Weaknesses: viscocity makes it a little hard to apply but I prefer lubing off the bike in a baggy. I place the lubed chain-in-bag on my radiator to bring the viscocity down a notch. helps to move the oil into all the surfaces. smells like motor oil. cant use this on cables and other components
This lube has made my life so much easier. I am a repeat customer now for over 2 years. Not only do my own drivetrains remain lubed and clean but my wife and kids' bikes do not require constant attention. I love it. The only problem is I am worried they will go out of business because I use so little lube that I cannot imagine they can stay in business!! A trial will cost you $4!!!
Similar Products Used: triflow, pedros, castrol, t-9, finish line (used to be my favorite), ice wax.....
Bike Setup: Main ride custom waltworks 29er 80mm Fox, with Daves speeddream wheels, King hubs, BB, Headset SLX 1x9, carbon post and bar. also Niner air9 carbon, rip 9, os black buck and perfect storm fatbike
a Cross Country Rider
from Rhode Island
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2011
Strengths: Quiet, well lubed drive train.
Weaknesses: Smell, application process is like disecting an animal. Process of applying is not worth it at all. Attracts dirt like a magnet, makes a black thick mess all over your gears.
Not worth the hassle, although it will last a long time.