BAT CHAIN LUBE
Wax chain lubes get the thumbs up from a lot of cyclists for the summer months. BAT Chain Lube is from southern Africa, so one would be tempted to say that sunshine was its element. Overall, I’ve found it to be surprisingly durable, but has the usual prep and curing issues for the get up and go rider.
Pros: more viscose than some, durable for its genre.
Cons: lengthy prep and curing times.
BAT Chain Lube is a wax type lube for your chain. As ever, wax types can be a bit fussier than others with longer curing time needed for the wax to penetrate and for a barrier to dirt and grime. A water-based carrier delivers the synthetic wax, which is designed to be long-lasting but flexible. Most wax types scab off when the dirt penetrates – they are meant to – but the BAT aims to remain clean and tidy.
Wax types, in my experience, do best when the chain is thoroughly cleansed thoroughly.
BAT do not give much away, but keep it out of reach of unwary hands, and take the usual precautions when dealing with potions.
This is not one for the get-up-and-go cyclist. Firstly, clean the chain to as surgical a standard as you can manage, and clean once more. I rid the chain of remnants of an old winter wet lube with Muc-Off’s Drive Train Cleaner, a good wipe, rinse,
and leaving it to air dry for a couple of hours. I then ran it through the process again.
Shake the bottle with vigour to ensure a good mix. Apply onto the rollers. A clean, white liquid leaves little doubt as to any missing links. I rotated the pedals backward for a single coverage. BAT then suggest using a cloth or fingers to smooth the wax over the plates and links. Although not s runny as some water delivered waxes, the fluid is runnier than most oil lubes, so don’t squeeze too strongly or angle the nozzle too steeply. The good news is that you can easily retrieve spillage from the stays and apply it with your fingers. By the way, the first application was with the temperature in the mid-teens. Second application was with the temperature in the mid-twenties. Viscosity remained the same.
Three to four hours curing time is not unusual with wax lubes. Frankly, many wax enthusiasts will leave it overnight. However, I left hours for a minimum recommended three – at least, for the first test.
Well, as one would hope, the drive train ran smoothly and silently from the off. Changing gear felt very slick, more so than the previous hefty old wet lube (Chain L High Mileage – which, by the way, has other merits, especially over winter). In fact, running has been silent.
I’d expect a wax type to transfer less easily to hands and clothing – along with associated grunge – than a winter wet lube. However, whilst you might not notice much in the way of waxy deposits, do remember to wash your hands after smoothing the potion around the chain.
Hitting the country lanes after a couple of days of rain, actively seeing out some muddier spots, failed to attract anything much in the way of dirt, or, at least, flung it off before inspecting the chain thirty miles later.
Equally, there’s been little scabbing-off, which is a common feature of wax lubes. That could come down to preparation, but let’s give some credit to BAT, too – maybe they’ve got the mix just right. It may also explain the superior durability, compared to some waxes. Equally, things have not looked pristine after a couple of hundred miles: fair enough – and wipe-over (after taking the photo) certainly improved things.
Well, ideal conditions or not, I’ve managed 315 miles (first run) and 320 (second run). Giving a top up has added an extra hundred or so. Heavy rain (not unknown in a British summer) reduces life considerably, but it has not been as disastrous as some prophets suggested. Moreover, it can be topped-up without a big clean (just give the chain time to dry).
When temperatures hit the mid-twenties centigrade plus, some waxes can become very messy and even begin to melt away. This has not been the case with the Bat Wax, even when left in the sun trap all afternoon.
Bat Chain Lube is very much at the lower price point, despite its many qualities. Zefal Extra Dry Chain Wax benefits form shorter curing times, so may be a better bet for touring or commuting. However, it has not been as durable, in our experience. It comes in around the same price bracket.
Tru Tension Banana Slip All Weather Lube may not be quite as all-weather as it suggests, but it is more stoical than just about any other wax-type lube we have tested (SKS Lube Your Chain excepted). It comes in around two and a half times the price, compared to the BAT.
Even give the ideal conditions during which I tested the BAT Wax, it has proved more durable and cleaner than other wax lubes – and a good many others. The curing times may be a little long for those who like to be up and out, but are by no means unusual for more sophisticated lubes. There’s no denying, too, that it is a very nice price.