SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
Muc-Off All Weather Chain Lube
The Muc-Off All Weather Chain Lube promises to be the one lube that will perform well in all contexts. A big boast that’s begging for contradiction. It won’t rival a stout wet lube during winter’s worst, nor can you just top up and scoot off again. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its staying power and relative cleanliness through a wintry January.
Pros: Low friction, attracts modest amounts of dirt/grime, controllable flow rate, surprisingly durable.
Cons: Can be topped up in emergency but really requires stripping before applying fresh, several hours curing time will not suit everyone.
I can’t tell you a great deal about its chemical alchemy- try as I might, Muc-Off remained graciously tight lipped. I am told The All Weather is a high-performance, fully biodegradable synthetic employing pressure additives so it will stay put, rain or shine, on or off road. It’s designed to penetrate deep within the chain, providing a low friction, water, dirt, and fling repelling layer.
Muc-Off also recommends it for other, more generic lubrication-cables, pedals, cleats/mechanisms, jockey wheels etc too, which is welcome. A pipette type spout adds credence to this narrative. There are two sizes, the 120ml and a 50ml (£6), which might prove a better choice if you’re not sure or like to run wet and dry lubes for more specific conditions.
Get intended drivetrains dinner plate clean using your preferred anti-lube, dry thoroughly. Don’t cheat, tickle those cages, jockey wheels and really get between the cassette and rings. Now, while the flow rate is controllable and seemingly unaffected by temperature variance, I wouldn’t be playing smart floor roulette.
Whatever your preference, keep a clean rag hovering beneath. Give the bottle a good, thirty second shake, pop the spout and drip into every link. Give the cranks a few turns, catch any excess. Delivered carefully, I’ve found it unnecessary to give side plates an obligatory cat-lick. Now leave it curing for 3-4 hours. I tend to leave most lubes with a wait-time overnight but in the interests of thorough testing, I’ve gone the 3-hour route, with good results-even in minus 2. Provided you’ve been thorough with your prep, it will cure to an amber tinted glaze.
We received ours at the end of December. I’ve run ours throughout January and early February, in temperatures between –6 and +8. Salt, sleet and intermittent wintry rain being the baselines. I’ve also done a blend of road, commuting and mixed terrain exploring.
I’d describe the All-Weather Chain Lube as a middleweight. Spin the cranks and you can feel it’s reached all the moving parts, yet doesn’t feel stodgy, so shouldn’t compromise the crisp, snappy nature of higher end groupsets.
Talking of which, pressure additives are generally thought to improve performance under load- tandems, laden tourers, velomobiles on long climbs for example. Trailer trundling behind, I’ve had to take decisive clicks downwards when the gradient’s turned brutally steep. No issues, lack of refinement etc.
Much the same serene story with my fixed gear winter trainer’s cheap but cheerful KMC chain, and in similar contexts. True to claims, cured properly, fling has been conspicuous by its absence. Cables have also responded well to a drop (and I do mean just that), staying sweet and slick without getting gummed up and requiring a blast of maintenance spray.
Ditto jockey wheels, cleat and trailer hitch mechanisms, which are all in the firing lane of soggy filth. A few drops silenced two slightly noisy freewheels, without need for top up several weeks later. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover how well its kept corrosion at bay, given three weeks constant exposure to icy, gritted roads. Sure, there’s been some very faint freckling along a few side plates and pins, but I stress faint.
In these contexts, I’ve returned 500 miles from a single application. Not amazing, compared with some, though still impressive, given the conditions and all-weather tag. By that point, it became a little filmy but was still holding back the familiar metal-on-metal tinkling, which wasn’t audible, even under load and when climbing. When it comes to stripping and re-lubing, Muc-Off suggests applying some of their protectant spray as a primer to the lube.
My first helping, though not liberal was slightly heavier than my second and this was very telling in the pace at which it attracted grime.
After 250 miles, the generally shiny cassette was wearing an oily calling card, complete with particles of grit, dung and similar contaminant. Patina was also telling on the side-plates but hardly a rats’ nest. Despite this, it tended to remain on the chain, rather than transferring to hands - I'd been free of flats at this point but was switching back and forth between trekking and spiked tyres a few times.
On milder days, when I’d switched to ¾ lengths, I didn’t succumb to any chain ring calf branding - even when tackling twisty bridlepath, or carrying the bike through more technical sections which was similarly appreciated. On balance, I’d probably keep some mechanics/disposable examination gloves in my luggage, especially on a commute but otherwise, not essential.
Staying with this, should the chain start showing serious signs of contaminant, you can’t just purge the top layers and drizzle some more lube on. A deep-down degreasing of chain and cassette’s needed. (Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion Degreaser .
£1200 is arguably mid-point. Weldtite All Weather Lube with Teflon is £5.99 for 100ml. Indeed, it remains a strong favourite of mine. Its quick to apply, no hanging about waiting for it to cure, and copes well with wet, grotty conditions. However, it attracts more grime than the Muc-Off and Teflon isn’t the most planet-friendly ingredients.
Juice Lubes Viking Juice All Conditions Chain Oil is £9.99 for 130ml, which is a bit cheaper than the 120ml Muc-Off (£12.00) but while its relatively clean and offers low friction, be prepared to apply more often. Staying prowess takes a hit when things turn adverse.
Rock & Roll Gold LV Chain Lube is now £10.96 for 40zs is clean running and surprisingly durable. However, it can be a little messy to apply and long curing times could also prove a deal-breaker.
Making a lube that will perform well in all weathers is a tall order and there are usually some compromises. The Muc Off All Weather Lube is a good effort and has surprised me with its relative durability and cleanliness. Even when exposed to salty, gritty January roads and lanes, it hasn’t vanished, or turned into a transmission chewing paste. It shouldn’t do nasty things to woodland and aquatic life either. However, while not alone in this respect, the need to strip and reapply (rather than top-up) and longer curing times puts a slight dent in the All-Weather’s appeal.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Decent all-rounder but less convenient to reapply than some competitors.
Muc-Off UK - Bike & Motorbike | Cleaning | Lube | Tubeless
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2023
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH