September 13, 2010

Gear review: Chain-L

I don’t normally “review” the latest and greatest gear here. The glossies do a great job of trying to sell stuff, so I usually only vent about stuff that totally sucks. Whining is generally my forte, you see.

But every once in a while something works well enough that I’m impressed (and surprised) and this is one of those times. For what it’s worth, the Chain-L guys don’t know I’m posting this, and they didn’t give me anything (not even free product, darn it!) to say nice things about them.

So I’ve always been a dry-lube kinda guy. Finish Line dry, usually. I’ve come to expect that I have to re-lube the chain after pretty much every decent length ride, or it’ll start sounding (and pedaling) like crap. On the plus side, it’s relatively clean, but on the minus side, I never clean my bikes, so my chains end up filthy anyway – and require lots of lubing. And if a ride has a lot of stream crossings… well, the chain sounds pretty darn bad by the end, usually.

Enter the Chain-L (www.chain-l.com/). I saw a small ad in BRAIN and ordered a $4 sample bottle (which I’ve lubed about 5 chains with over the last month) on a whim. I put it on pretty much all my bikes, and god, it’s messy. Lots of wiping the chain back down (after waiting 15 minutes to let the lube soak into the bearings), and I can’t say the drivetrain looks great.

But sheesh, I’ve got at least 250 miles on my dually over the last month (about 120 of that in the last 3 days) in all kinds of dusty/muddy/dirty conditions (with plenty of creek crossings) around Boulder and Winter Park. I’ve wiped the dirt off the chain a few times, but other than that, I haven’t touched it – and it runs smooth and quiet, as if it had just been lubed. Totally rad.

So anyway, give it a try. The sample size (which, if you’re careful, is easily good for 5-6 chains) is only $4. If you hate it, all you’ve lost is enough to buy a decent pint of beer. Oh, and you’ll have a pretty messy chain, so if you’re a neat freak, keep that in mind.

Anyone want a quart of Finish Line dry lube? Cheap?