Things you were afraid to ask - lubricant.

A little time ago I posted a small review of a wet ride chain lubricant, stating how I loved it. Naturally that was the last time I used it, and I'm now back to good old Squirt, a wax based summer lube.

It's the winter. Temperatures are hovering near zero degrees Celsius now. It's muddy out there. So how come I'm back to using a summer lube then? Well quite frankly Squirt is my favourite bike lubricant. Sure it disappears on a wet ride, and in the cold the wax provides an added transmission loss. But I've yet to find anything that lasts more than 20 miles no matter what the brand.

I've heard good things about Rock "N" Roll, and I've used it a few times but it just didn't do it for me. I could hear and feel sand entering my chain, and it's not pleasant that grunching noise you get between gear changes. Indeed I'd say I was grossly put off the stuff. Yet lots of people love this stuff. [Wow! Conclusive report there; some like it, some don't.]

Finish Line Ceramic wet lube - used a couple of times then ditched. It worked in a way, but I hated the way my transmission looked, all black and kind of sandy.

White Lightning wet ride. Used once, ditched forever. Can't even remember why, but it must have been horrible as I never went back to it.

Essentially I think all of the above are road bike lubricants being maketed for off-road use. None seem suitable to me, in a very unscientific and subjective way.

Squirt wins it for me every single time. You just have to be careful as to application. Putting it on just prior to a ride doesn't work, as neither does trying to apply it to a cold bike, so it has to be done indoors. It doesn't like a dirty chain. The lube and bike both need to be warm - and yes, seriously OCD behaviour here. In the summer one application a day before a ride is fine. For the winter I go to two minimum, usually three applications. Just apply a drop to each roller. Gradually it builds up to the point where the links are stiff [had to get that word into a discussion about wet ride lubricants didn't I?]. I find that it lasts a good 20 miles then. And to be frank, beyond 20 miles in the winter I couldn't give a toss what happens to my bike as by then everything is screwed.

And cleaning it off is a doddle involving warm water.

For me Squirt wins every single time.

Oh and don't be tempted using motorcycle lubricants. I used one that contained graphite and sticky stuff before. My chain broke within 100m as it was all glued together.

WD40 is a cleaning solvent, so don't go there.

Quite a few cheapo Halford's winter lubes do actually work, but your cleaning regime goes through the sky as they leave a big mess behind. If you don't mind the mess, they're fine. My mate swears by them, applying a good dose just prior to a ride. But then he never cleans his bike, ever. Somehow his bike works just as well after all this abuse as mine does being pampered to death.

So, Squirt for the semi-OCD crowd, cheapo sticky oil for those that just want to ride. Don't faff with the fancy other lubricants.

2/7/2012: Update.

The only negative with Squirt for me being that it builds up into a black paste that not only looks horrid, but that getes everywhere in the hub. My Hope Pro II started to make some horrid noises recently so I took it apart to see what gives. The pawls were all cacked up in solidified, black Squirt lubricant. I'm guessing that tiny droplets worked their way into the mechanism - your hub gets warm enough in use to melt the wax, but if you stop it solidifies. In the solid state the lube was holding water in the pawls and had rusted the springs away. Some had snapped, but for the main they were just being held closed meaning often my efforts were being transferred via a single pawl, hence the stress noises.

So, I like Squirt but if you use it, strip your hub down every so often as it will be horrid inside.

Oh and apologies for the Hot Asian Babes advert that comes up with this posting - blame the product name Squirt itself! Not my bloomin' fault that one.