A few posts ago I mentioned that I’d just received a sample bottle of Green Oil’s new White dry chain wax to test, and I promised that I’d report back after a few weeks of usage. So here I am, a few weeks later, reporting back.
I’ve been intrigued by chain waxing for a while, ever since reading about it in an old Bridgestone catalogue. In the catalogue, Grant Petersen describes the process of removing the chain, degreasing, melting paraffin wax in a pan on the stove, dropping the chain in, coating, removing and allowing it to dry before refitting it to the bike.
Now I’m a huge Petersen fan and a sucker for quasi-magical processes like that, but I have to admit it seems like a time consuming way to lube your chain. (If you’re hell bent on the old-school method download the 1992 Bridgestone Catalogue and learn all manner of timeless bicycle lore). Secondly, the lingering odour of paraffin wax in the kitchen is unlikely to go down well with my co-habitants and the use of a petroleum based wax just seals the deal.
So the introduction to the market of a plant-based wax dissolved in plant-based ethanol, which goes on wet and dries quickly, without requiring any use of stoves, pots, pans or magical incantations is naturally something for me to get unhealthily excited about.
Before I applied the new lube, I needed to start on a level playing field so I thoroughly degreased my chain using a chain cleaning device and some citrus based degreaser, rinsed and then thoroughly dried the chain with a old rag until it shone like jewellery.
Once the chain was full dry, I methodically dripped a liberal drop of wax lube onto each roller, watching the lube, which is very runny when wet, penetrate deep into each link. I continued this process until I got back to where I started from. The instructions on the side of the reuseable bottle state that you should allow at least seven (not six or eight) minutes to allow the wax to fully dry. Being a belt and braces sort of chap who carries two inner tubes and backup lighting with him at all times, I allowed the wax to dry overnight before testing the bike on the morning commute.
I’m pleased to report that in the morning I was greeted with a dry, still and quiet day, which allowed me to listen out for any chain noise. Indeed, the chain was remarkably silent and upon inspection at the end of the day, the chain had retained its jewel-like appearance.
However, as the saying goes, one dry day’s riding maketh not a full chain lubricant test. So I continued to schlep about for the rest of the week on dry days, wet days and one day plying the muddy lanes and gritty bridleways around Ladybower Reservoir. Good news is that the chain remained silent, even after the mistreatment of getting a through dousing with no post-ride wipe down. It’s still impressively clean too. In fact, this very morning something unplanned occurred which proved just how clean my chain remains – I accidentally dropped a white t shirt that had been airing on the banister rail above the bike. The t-shirt plummeted in slow motion down into the hallway below, landing, according to the unbending rules of Murphy’s Law, on the upper run of the chain.
I scurried downstairs imagining a ruined t-shirt (which belonged to my wife) and thought I’d have some explaining to do. But when I plucked the garment off the chain, there was not a mark to be seen. Impressive indeed. In fact, when I reapplied the lube this morning, there was no need to degrease the chain at all, just a thorough wipe-down was required before adding more lube; a good thing in my opinion, because too frequent degreasing can strip lube out of the inner surfaces on the rollers, where it’s hard for many lubes to penetrate.
The only compromise I can see here is that dry wax may not offer the same level of rust-protection as a ‘wet’ oil. However, this is easily overcome by wiping down the chain with a rag after a wet ride – a practice that I’d encourage anyway. That aside, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this product to anyone who’s sick and tired of suffering The Greasy Cuff or filthy hands when putting back on an errant chain. The product’s green credentials only add to its merits. Everything is plant-derived and the company prides itself on recycling, re-use, low carbon footprint and all that jazz.
Verdict: Good job Green Oil – Highly recommended.
Here’s Green Oil’s quirky but informative site. It’s a nice place to be.