SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
MUC-OFF -50C CHAIN LUBE
The Muc-Off –50 Degree C Chain Lube is, as its name suggests, designed to work in bitterly cold conditions. I’m relieved to report that it also performs very well in much warmer, wetter weather and attracts less contaminant than traditional wet lubes.
Pros: Easy to apply, low friction, long lasting and temperature stable.
Cons: Stays wet to touch, so transfers to hands quite easily.
It’s a synthetic, known as Polyalphaolefin, a high viscosity blend that flows well at low temperatures, maintains its properties and low volatility. This would explain this family of lubricants’ popularity within the aircraft industry. Apparently, there’s no PTFE but its versatile enough, recommended for shifters, cables and cleat/similar mechanisms. Any size bottle you like so long as its 50ml. Stingy by some standards but means its easily taken along on tour, or similar endurance rides.
This is very straightforward. In common with old fashioned ISO/mineral oils and Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lube, it can be applied straight to a parched chain
and topped up, as required. Otherwise, strip any other lube using your chosen anti lube.
Best described as a middleweight, give the bottle a quick shake, and drizzle a little into every link. The pipet spout does a good job of regulating flow but in common with similar blends, expect drips and a little fling, when turning the cranks. There’s no funky colour to guide you but the golden hue makes it obvious where you’ve missed a link.
Keep an old clean rag handy to catch drips and excess, wipe the side plates and redistribute to mechanisms, cables, nickel-plated multi tool bits etc. Quick cat-licks aside you are now ready to scoot off, no curing time to speak of.
These characteristics are very similar to the Weldtite TF2 All Weather and Zefal Pro Wet Chain Lube , although the Muc-Off is a bit lighter than the latter. Turning the cranks and its very obviously penetrated the chain’s rollers and bushings. However, shifting is crisp and light, under load and otherwise.
Similar story when a drop’s been applied to lock and cleat mechanisms. Save perhaps for a trace on the jockey wheels, I’d swerve derailleurs but so long as you stick to a drop, shifter paddles and cables seem just fine-no issues with gumming up. A couple of drops into old school single speed/freewheel mechanisms seem to quieten them down quite nicely too. Useful for keeping recessed Allen bolts from tarnishing but too thin to be an effective grease substitute for fasteners.
The –50 tag might imply it will stay put in the most extreme conditions, thankfully I’ve not encountered anything that chill during late summer. However, I’m pleased to report it’s still clinging on, several weeks and 600 mixed terrain miles down the line. There’s been a fair share of rain and waterlogged roads, coupled with two sudsy bucket washes too.
Another similarity with Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather lube is that any displaced oil is reclaimed from the cassette. However, there’s been less ‘fling adorning my Univega’s chainstay. A harsh winter with wet, salty roads may prove more taxing but flooded coastal causeway have made minimal impression to date.
During this time, it has attracted modest amounts of contaminant-dust, stray bits of bovine/horse dung. Grit sems to get floated to the top and flushed away, rather than embedding itself, as can happen with traditional, hell n’ high water wet lubes. I’ve not needed to give side plates anything more than a cursory cat-lick in weeks.
Given it’s essentially a wet lube, it’ll transfer readily to hands, bar wrap and other surfaces. So worth packing some latex examination gloves along for the ride, just in case. Be mindful when carrying bikes, or doing utility runs in smart trousers too.
£6.99 for 50ml is relatively steep - if price is your primary yardstick, especially compared with Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather. Zefal Pro Wet is admittedly slightly heavier and doesn’t purport to perform in the same, frostbite inducing chill but is £5.99 for 120ml . All are easily reapplied and with no curing period. That said, so far, the Muc-Off -50 has proved very durable, whether it will eclipse the others during winter, remains to be seen. (Don't worry, we'll let you know!)
Despite the tag, the Muc-Off-50 lube makes a decent everyday lube. Its durable, not overly dirty and doesn’t make transmissions feel sludgy like some wet blends can. It’s a bit more invasive too, which lends itself better to cleats and other mechanisms. In similar conditions, there’s little separating it and Weldtite TF2 Performance all Weather Lube. However, the Muc-Off doesn’t contain PTFE, which may be enough for some people, but a harsh winter could easily prove the decider.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Versatile and seemingly durable middleweight lube.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH