BOESHIELD T-9 BICYCLE LUBE & PROTECTANT
Bottle 4 fl oz (118ml) Spray 4oz (113g) £13.99
Boeshield is a trademark belonging to Boeing. Given that heritage, a water dispersant and lube should be good. In fact, the blurb adds “cleaning” to the more usual “lubes & protects.” Even better, it “repels dirt and dust.” Furthermore, it should stay put for “hundreds of miles” as it is waterproof. It comes in a plastic dropper liquid version or as an aerosol spray. Whilst, it has a lot to live up to, there’s much to be said for it.
Pros: clean and tidy, easy application.
Cons: Likely to flake (as you'd expect) but does not seem to interfere with function.
We’d not expect too much detail, but the T-9 is a “unique solvent and paraffin wax” formula. Drying to a film on the chain, it works by deep penetration of chain rollers, or other parts, dispersing moisture, and drying to an external wax barrier. Things can get to look rather flaky, in my experience, on the surface, but, deep down, they continue to work. This is something of a characteristic of this type of lube. However, generally topping up is easy enough.
The manufacturer points out that it isn’t child, or, presumably, pet, friendly. Fundamentally, a petroleum base requires sensible precautions; don’t swallow it, and use in a ventilated area, being the basics. Those with strong eco-credentials will need to look elsewhere.
Needless to say, clean the chain of dirt and the remnants of old lube, unless you've already been using the T-9.
Coming in a familiar style of squeezable plastic bottle with pin-prick nozzle, accurate application is easy. Although it is not especially viscose, flow is not overly fast – the nozzle opening is quite small. Certainly, it’s more viscose than some.
A gentle squeeze is enough for a drop onto each link. Having said that, I gave the first chain a generous dose – I was cleaning and re-lubing the tandem – without any wastage. So, I experimented with a little less on the timing chain.
T-9 is clear, so spotting any missed links is far form easy. However, there was little waste to wipe away. On the other hand, applying to cables, calliper and derailleur mechs, spoke nipples etc., is very precise. It is also suggested for use inside the frame.
Aerosol spray application is best done through the plastic tube – if you haven’t lost it somewhere. Generally, I’d go for the liquid on chain. On the other hand, for larger areas, such use as a frame protectant, or awkward to get at spots, the spray has obvious advantages.
Two hours curing time puts it outside even the most relaxed get-up-and-go cyclist’s orbit, but is not a deal-breaker for the more disciplined fettler. Having said that, a good set is important to get the best out of each application.
Testing has been during a period of predominately dry weather with periods of heavy prolonged drizzle and occasional heavy showers. Needless to say, the usual mix of gunge and muck has been discovered down the country lanes.
Larger lumps of detritus have dropped away easily, and although there’s been a patina of grime, that, too has gone with a wipe. Roadside inspection has left a waxy, light grease on the fingers. Barely noticeable compared to much gungier old school potions such as the mile-munching Chain L. Equally, you don’t want it on your trouser leg when heading for work, though you’d have to be eagle eyed to spot it, unless badly contaminated.
After a hundred miles of mixed surface riding - including the usual dairy-herd deposits - the chain took on a flaky, almost crusty, appearance, including a little discolouration, although detritus free. There’d been no suggestion of the metallic death rattle, and smooth running was maintained for around three hundred miles more. Whilst that kind of distance is not unusual, it has been surprisingly tenacious in a downpour or two. I’d expect, with care that it could go further. As a dry preparation, it seems to have some of the tenacity of a wet lube.
On the other hand, as it works as a cleaner, re-application periodically is tempting, even when things still feel good.
Dotting cleats, cables, and mechs has worked well. Wiping away and excess has tidied up mechs, too. Having said that, I’d generally go for something a little heavier on hard-working bikes.
Gear changes and chain roll have felt fine.
Performance as cleaner and protectant 3.75/5
A little seems to go a long way, so to avoid too much spillage, I’ve applied lightly and wiped away excess. Spraying some into the frame was all neat enough, whilst coverage with either spray or a wipe with liquid on exposed metal is, has been economical. A wipe with a cloth has been needed, but there’s not much wastage.
Of course, when working with the frame, blocking orifices before injecting, and rotating the frame after, are de riguer.
There’s no ill-effect on chrome, so keeping out the elements on flakier bits until the pennies are saved to get the job re-done, seems to have had salutary impact over several weeks of mixed weather riding. Having said that, this is not a precise science.
Mutli-function as lube, protectant, and cleaner is not unique. Good old GT85 All Purpose Lubricant,and WD40, are both multi-functional. However, Boeshield T-9 does have the edge on cleanliness and durability as a chain lube.
Squirt Long Lasting Dry Chain Lube is about the same price, and may have the edge in slickness. However, that would be arguable. Weldtite’s TF2 Ceramic Chain Lube offers many of the qualities of Boeshield T-9, with a cheaper RRP. On the other hand, I’ve seen Boeshield T-9 on a well-known internet bike store for as little as £9.99 (at the time of writing). At that price it is excellent value, in my view, especially given its varied applications.
Longevity of frame protection is tricky. In any case, all need topping up every now and again – especially on hard-working all-year hacks. For me, it is a secondary function for the T-9. I used almost all of the 4oz spray on a single frame. A bit profligate, maybe. Hpwever, Framesaver is £18.93 (imported from US), and like Pro Gold Steel Frame Protector (£12.99 for a 6 oz aerosol) will treat several frames. Corrosion Block AC50 is £14.99 for 12fl oz, but also requires annual reapplication.
I have found Boeshield T-9 easy to use. Slick running, relatively clean, good on components, multi-functional. A good one to take on tour, where a bit of a clean and re-lube from a single bottle is distinctly handy. Equally, it comes in at a very fair price in a competitive market. I’d not go so far as to say it is a lazy cyclist’s lube, but re-application without cleaning and resistance to water, does seem to encourage a relaxed attitude. Just remember to leave it to set overnight if you have an early start.