DIRT DOC CHAIN LUBE
Dirt Doc Chain Lube is an old school petrochemical aerosol lube that may downgrade your eco-credibility, but does a good job of what it is intended to do. As a spray, I’ve found it particularly convenient for quick starts. Whilst it is described as a lube, it hasn’t done a bad job of kicking out the remnants of the occupying lube, too. Whilst it is not the neatest, it certainly seems to be quick and effective.
Cons: quite profligate on application.
Dirt Doc Chain Lube includes PTFE and makes few concessions to the world of eco-credibility. An aerosol -type spray, it should be suitable for all moving parts, but I’ve found it less so for cleats and such like. In that sense it is ideal for all elements of the transmission. It is designed to be effective in all weather conditions, repel water, and, as you’d hope, extend the life of your chain.
Take the usual precautions; keep it away from eyes, mouths, pets, children, and, watercourses – amongst other things. Stick to the bike chain and other moving parts.
As ever, this is best following a through removal of the previous inhabitant of the chain. Having said that, I often resort to spray lubes when in the need of a rapid getaway, so I’ve tested on both cleansed and unclean chains.
Shake well and fire away using the plastic tube spray enthusiasts are so familiar with. Foaming up, as it does,
there’s little chance of missing a link. I gave the chain three rotations to ensure thorough coverage, but, on reflection, this may have been a little wasteful.
There’s a good deal of run off and, even with a careful aim, the spray endangered braking surfaces. This isn’t uncommon with sprays, but the Dirt Doc seemed more vigorous than some. Turning the front wheel and applying to the chain as it ran round the big ring seemed to keep the spray away from rotors and rims.
Wipe the residue away – after the lube has had a moment or two to penetrate the link. It seems to do this pretty rapidly. There’s no curing time, and things seem to function right from the get-go.
It has done quite a good job of cleaning residue off the chain when reapplied.
Running was immediately very, very smooth. OK, I’d expect a rapid impact from a spray-on type. Even so, this did seem a touch slicker than some I’ve tried. Accumulating a black patina after 140 miles has seemed to have no effect on this. Shifting has remained fine, too, although a flick with a brush around the jockey wheels may have helped. Things started to feel a little jolty when pedalling and changing gear after some 220 miles, before a second dose became vital at about 260.
Testing conditions have been, on the whole, favourable to cleanliness; generally dry, with occasional heavy downpours. Multi-surface riding has been order of the day. 140 miles in and, it has to be said, that the chain has gone from metallic grey to gunge black. Even so, this is very much surface dirt, with larger invaders seemingly flung away. The latter are easy enough to wipe off. There were a couple of days of continuous heavy rain; I was pleasantly surprised to find that attacking bits of mud and muck had been repelled.
In the context of general cleanliness, dirt is readily transferred to fingers and clothes, but there’s has not really been that much of it – so usual precautions should suffice.
I’d usually be running a wet lube, such as Silkolene’s Bike Lube Premium Wet through April and May, in the UK. So, I was not overly optimistic about the survival of a spray type. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. OK, I’ve given the chain a good dose. First time round I got 260 miles before the death rattle
(although things had been getting a bit lumpy when changing gear form 220 miles on). Second time round, in wetter weather, 250 miles saw the lube depleted. That is above what I’d expect from a spray. Certainly, the likes of WD40 All Conditions Lube did not match that (although it is a little cheaper).
Putting the above together, you have a lube that is convenient and, in my opinion, very effective for a spray-type. I’ve used it on the transmission of my hack commuter. Although it is designed for moving parts, I used to help prise loose seized bolts when servicing a trailer hitch. Whilst a quick squirt helped in that context, I’d steer clear if there’s likely to be contact with sensitive area etc. (For example, a viscose lube probably won’t drip onto the nice new patio if you are careful; however accurately you aim, the Dirt Doc Lube almost certainly will. This has resulted in a slapped-wrist and a banning of bike-fettling on said patio.)
A shot onto cables, jockey wheels, and other spots, such as cleat mechs, has not gone amiss. It has acted as a cleaner, too, at a push: but that’s the solvents, I guess, rather than the lube.
Motorex Dry Power is considerably more expensive and did match the mileage. Having said that, it is really aimed at the MTB and downhill market, rather than the general cyclist. There are a number of other spray types about, including some that work as cleaners and polishes, too: Zefal’s All In One Spray, for example, or Boeshield T-9 Lube and Protectant. Needless to say, these are more expensive.
A convenient, easy to use, and – no offence meant – surprisingly durable lube. It does what it says, and does it well, without reaching the heights of more technical potions. Good for get up and go riders, more eager to hit the road than lube up the bike the night before.