Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Squirt wax-based chain lube product review

Clean is beautiful !!

Eleven years ago I tried White Lightening chain lube. It went on clean looked to be the real deal. After just a few minutes of riding my drive train looked like I had ridden through an ocean of volcanic ash. I cleaned and re-applied and had the same result. To keep this brief I will simply tell you the same bottle is sitting in my garage at this moment. I quickly stopped using it.

Maintenance Prophet Lennard Zinn has proclaimed ProLink Gold to be the magic stuff and my limited testing of alternatives has given me no cause to doubt his proclamation. I have used it and turned on numerous friends to the wonderful liquid. I’ve tried Tri-flow, assorted lubes from Pedro’s, and the Rock and Roll stuff. For super wet conditions I may use some Pedro’s synthetic, otherwise I’m sticking with ProLink Gold.

At a cross race last season my teammate Kevin, with whom I share occasional tool and bike porn, pointed to a clean chain and told me of a new wonder lube. It is called “Squirt” and is made in South Africa. His chain looked clean compared to his rear cassette and I was curious. He said it was a wax based lube and I was predictably doubtful. Kevin has proven time and again to be knowledgeable, so I decided I would try it.

A few weeks later I obtained a small bottle and after dutifully cleaning my chain, cassette and rings, I gave it a try. Following the instructions I shook the bottle like crazy before applying, and dutifully dripped some on each link.

I reapplied the wax lube after a wet ride and had not yet formed an opinion. My next ride was long and wet and after I returned I decided to remove the chain so I could floss the cassette with a clean rag without the chain in the way.

The chain was gooey as if it had been lubed with bacon fat. Specifically it looked like bacon fat with dirt seasoning. The chain looked filthy and felt stiff. I didn’t have any frozen links, but it felt like the chain I pulled off a 1974 old Schwinn LeTour that sat idle for thirty years.

I cleaned the chain and put on some ProLink Gold. Then I repeated this process because it still looked dirty. Finally satisfied, I turned to the cassette. I flossed and flossed. I scrubbed with a brush and citrus degreaser. It still looked dirty. More flossing.

Nine years ago I regularly got schooled on rides by a guy named Felix. He road Campy equipped Italian bike with an eight speed cassette that was always black and dirty. I vowed never to let any bike get that dirty. My cassette was “Felix dirty.”

I pulled the wheel off and kept at it. I knew the cassette was silver in color and was determined to work until I saw that color again. Floss, brush, douse with degreaser, floss and repeat and repeat. Then on to the chainrings..

I’ve got half a bottle of Squirt you can have for cheap. And I’ll throw in the White Lightening as a bonus. If someone is reading this and can share some positive words about wax-based lubes, please tell me what I’m missing. Really.

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