FINISH LINE 1-STEP CLEANER & LUBRICANT
4ozs (120ml) £ 11.99
The Finish Line 1 Step Cleaner and Lubricant is a surprisingly versatile two-in one product. Designed primarily for chains, it is also very versatile, working a treat on gummed up mechanisms and sticky cables.
That said, while better value than its aerosol variant, the super runny consistency demands careful application - outside. It transfers remarkably easily, to hands and clothing, too. This may be a deal-breaker if you commute in smart, pale coloured trousers.
Pros: Convenient, low friction and surprisingly versatile.
Cons: Potentially messy, requires more frequent reapplication than ceramic, or traditional wet lubes.
Little surprise to learn it’s a petrochemical formula, with some very stern warnings about ingestion on the bottle. For these reasons, I’ve applied ours outside, on an old, designated concrete area, away from waterways, plants and pets. Finish line confirmed it contained rust and corrosion inhibitors that “provide ultimate protection in extreme conditions including coastal salt air”.
Two in one products, in my experience tend to perform one role better than the other. In theory, you simply drizzle it carefully into the chain and the solvent components strip the remnants of sticky, gritty stuff. In practice and depending on pre-existing lubricant, this often requires clean rag assistance.
Particularly so when chains have been fed ceramic and wet lubes, including TF2 Extreme Wet, Finish Line Cross Country Wet Lube, and Nasty Lube Siberian Chain Lube. That said, it’ll shift middleweight PTFE and waxy types convincingly.
However, you’ll still need the rag, handy to catch the overspill. The strong solvent component also means its very flammable, so keep away from anyone rolling a crafty fag and sources of ignition.
The 4oz bottle is easier to control than its 6oz aerosol counterpart, but still demands concentration. For less taxing, summery conditions, a single coat and quick cat-lick is all you’ll need. This distinctly changeable March and April we’ve has demanded two helpings. If you’re going this route, leave the wiping ritual and simply drizzle on a second coat. This will cure in a matter of minutes, quicker in very arid conditions - certainly by time you’ve popped the lube back in its designated cupboard. It assumes a tacky state, reminiscent of the post-cleaning, petrol-diesel mix used by pro mechanics back in the 1980s.
Since the lubricant penetrates so comprehensively, drivetrains feel lubricated and friction-free, from the off.
For these reasons, I’ve added a quick drop to cleat mechanisms and cable inners with similarly rewards. The aerosol version is even more invasive, and will also serve as a penetrant, freeing slightly arthritic (not royally seized/stuck) contact points.
Coming from heavier duty ceramic/wet lubes, the 1-Step cleaner and lubricant is very low friction. From the first few pedal strokes, drivetrains feel incredibly responsive and shifts super-frisky. Tested through a wet and taxing March/April, its stayed put, although not on par with the wet and ceramic blends we’ve been testing recently.
However, subjected to daily rides along waterlogged, coastal lanes and in heavy rain, I’ve still clocked up 170 miles from a single (two coat application).
During drier spells, this has been closer to 240, which is pretty good, for a lube at the lighter end of the middleweight scale.
Though lacking the staying prowess of stodgier wet lubes, it doesn’t attract anywhere near the same level of contaminant either. The higher solvent ratio means it remains relatively wet to touch, so transfers to hands (and trousers) more readily.
Calves boasting the chain ring print, might be a badge of honour when you’ve been out on the crosser with your mates for a couple of hours. Not cool on office smarts - something to consider if you’re commuting in civvies - especially if you’re carrying your bike upstairs or need to tend a roadside mechanical.
This consistency has proved a winner on control cables, keeping moisture out and movement super slick. Literally a drop is all you’ll need. Same goes for locks and cleat mechanisms
Control cables are still on their first serving, although locks and cleats have been replenished twice in six weeks. Topping up is ultra-convenient too. The solvent pretty much dissolves any minor grot on contact.
Convenience is the main draw here and like most convenience products, this is reflected in the price, although we have seen it quite generously discounted online. 1-Step Cleaner and Lubricant could save premature and expensive component wear, if you’re short on time, or less fastidious.
Something like Rock 'n' Roll Absolute Dry is not only cheaper but has much greater staying prowess. Even in more challenging conditions. It also works well on cables and genuinely dry to touch, so transfer to hands and clothing is minimal. Downside is the comparatively long curing period.