SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
JUICE LUBES VIKING ALL CONDITION HIGH PERFORMANCE CHAIN OIL
Juice Lubes Viking Juice All Conditions High Performance Chain Oil is described as “built to pillage deep into your chain, conquering dust, rust and shady shifting. The Viking is tough – it’ll stay put longer than any of our lubes to guarantee less workshop time, less rust, less missed shifts and a longer lasting chain.” I’d describe it as an interesting middleweight blend that does some things very well. However, there are longer lasting middleweights commanding less cash.
Pros: Low friction, penetrates deep and cures fast.
Cons: Messier than some to apply, middling durability.
OK, so it’s a petrochemical formula, with the usual warnings-flammable, harmful to aquatic life and potentially fatal, if swallowed. So, store and use carefully. It comprises of a potent solvent carrier, which is designed to traffic the formula deep into the chain. This then evaporates, leaving a clean to touch lubricant layer behind. Now, it also uses “extreme pressure additives” to cope with “heavy loads”. The sort produced by e-bikes, and, arguably beasts of burden, tandems etc.
No better, no worse than a wealth of similar preps with a high solvent content - including the Rock N’ Roll family of lubes. Like these, its reliant on the host chains being surgically clean first. Grab some clean rag and keep it hovering beneath as you drizzle a little into every link.
Juice Lubes recommends between 2 and 4 coats, leaving 5 minutes curing between them. Its brewed to remain stable, thus unaffected by temperature variances. Its certainly remained lively in temperatures between 10C and 1C, and each layer has cured within 5 minutes.
I’ve tended to redistribute overspill captured within the rag. Cables, jockey wheels and pivot points being the most obvious candidates. Aside from observing curing times, a quick cursory wipe of the side plates, you can pretty much scoot off. This also lends it better to touring and endurance riding. Assuming you can time top-us to coincide with rest/café stops.
The solvent content and middleweight lubricant are super invasive, which is a good thing. Give the cranks a quick turn and friction is minimal but there’s a definite cushioned refinement, too. This translates well to cables, sticky mechanisms-trailer hitches and locks, reticent cleat hardware too.
Now, I’ve tested ours on my Univega and fixed gear winter/trainer. Shifting up and down, under load-winching myself and occasionally my laden Yak homage up sudden gradients changes feel crisp and prompt. As for the fixed, its chain felt a little friskier, especially when powering away in stop-go traffic, or grinding up a climb.
Not quite as refined as some stodgier PTFE infused middleweights, or indeed waxes, such as Muc-Off dry wax (albeit in hot weather) but with the four coatings, plenty to ease things along smoothly. The former is what’s needed for noisy freewheels and impromptu grease substitutes. Nonetheless, even when worn to a filmy state, the lubricant properties cling on. Something I discovered, riding primarily in the dark.
It's certainly clean by middleweight standards. Transfer to hands is less pronounced than Zefal Pro Dry Lube,too. I’ve had to tend to a rear flat without too much clean up. So long as you’ve given the chain’s side plates a periodic cat-lick, smart trousers shouldn’t get an unwelcome calling card.
Given 80 wet miles, my Univega’s chain and cassette, and jockey wheels were sporting a grey, slimy looking surface layer. One that really clung on. Grit and contaminant were refreshingly little and what there was of it, seemed to settle within the outer layer, rather than evolving into a grinding paste. Curiously, there was a fair bit of fling on my fixed’s chainstays, despite observing the same curing periods.
Careful application is key to getting the best from it. Even allowing for the monsoon conditions and flooded roads, initial impressions were a little disappointing. Relative to the blurb and other middleweights, in comparable conditions.
Our first helping reached 131 mixed terrain miles before it had been reduced to a thin film and a few tell-tale freckles popped up on the rollers. Its worth noting that I’d been along some very wet coastal roads and I had also given the bike two sudsy bucket washes and rinses during this period.
By this point, I chose to strip the coated cassette, since, unlike waxes, the chain doesn’t reclaim the excess with shifting. This residue was reassuringly stubborn, requiring a liberal helping of their Dirt Juice Hero Drivetrain Degreaser. True to claims, there’s no need to be overly precious about the chain. Give the side-plates a quick purge, if circumstances permit, otherwise, simply top up and wait a few minutes before scooting off.
Second time around, I managed 195 miles. Good compared with a basic ISO/PTFE blend, or an everyday lube, such as Finish Line 1 Step Cleaner & Lubricant in these waterlogged contexts, but disappointing, alongside something like Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant or Crankalicious Science Friction Ceramic Lube .
£9.95 is not cheap, nor is it particularly outlandish. However, middling compared with Rock N’ Roll Extreme LV (£7.99) , Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant (£3.99), or Crankalicious Science Friction (£10) when miles per application are worked into the equation.
In fairness, I have subjected the Viking Juice to some seriously wet and challenging conditions. Contexts where an old school, syrupy wet lube such as Weldtite TF2 Extreme Wet Chain Lube or Chain L High Mileage Formula Chain Oil would be more obvious choices. However, given the hype, I was disappointed by the middling durability. Objectively, it’s not poor and if you need to top-up by the roadside, the Viking Juice cures quickly and doesn’t require much prep.
Verdict: 3/5 Decent enough all-rounder but less stoical than I was expecting.
PUBLISHED JANUARY 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH