OXFORD MINT 365 CYCLE LUBE
Oxford Mint Cycle 365 Lube is an everyday all-year round petrochemical based potion. Mixed in are some “special additives” to convert it to a half-way house between wet and dry lube. Whilst you’d expect some compromises, it’s performed very nicely over six months. Mind you, this is a competitive field, but, as so often is the case, Oxford’s stuff hits the spot pretty much as you’d hope it would. This is part of their Mint range of products, so look out for things like their Mint Degreaser, too.
Pros: does the job
Cons: some others give greater mileage.
One hundred percent biodegradable is the Oxford claim, though petrochemical based: synthetic ‘tuned’ chemicals, possibly. Beyond that you can’t expect them to go too far.
Let’s be clear, all-year-round lubes rarely take on the season or weather specific potions. On the other hand, things are not always predictable! So, for general riding, especially commuting and utility riding, they can be quite alluring – not to mention on a lengthy tour in a British summer.
As ever, give the chain a really good clean. Most chain lubes are not mutually amicable, but it does your chain good anyway. In this case, A dose of Oxford’s Mint Degreaser, and a thorough wipe over saw things as clean as an old chain of mine is likely to get.
The 365 is far from the runniest, though I have found it on the runnier side: so, apply at a gentle angle. I went for three, gentle, rotations- worth, cleaning up a few drips from the chain-stay. The green tint was less evident on the chain that in the bottle, so keep an eye out for consistent coverage.
There’s no curing time, but ours was left for anything between two minutes and twenty hours, with little apparent impact on performance. Equally, applying in warmer weather has made things a little runnier, in my opinion, but barely noticeable.
Gear changes and chain motion have felt smooth, though not exceptionally so. Giving a top-up without thorough cleaning, does not seem to have gunged things up, either: a definite plus for those who like to get moving.
Though I have used it on a brake cable or two, pivot points, and other odds and ends, it isn’t any more a replacement for grease than most lubes. It is toward the runnier end of the lube market, so best not for cleats that are likely to come into the contact with the best shag-pile. Mind you, perfectly serviceable in a crisis.
Fine late summer weather saw a single application go for some 275 miles – a friend topped 300, just. When things turned distinctly wet in November, I was fearful for the second application. Heavy rain on the commute and regular dips into bottom bracket deep flood water provided a tough old challenge. 100 miles in things looked a bit sparse, but the death rattle did not sound, and closer inspection showed the 365 hanging on in there. At this point, had I not wished to test it to the death, I’d have given the chain a wipe with an oily rag and re-applied.
Eventually, it gave out after a particularly good dousing, with around 150 miles on the clock. I think that is pretty creditable, even heroic, for this type of lube. Having the bottle in the pannier pocket, I gave it a quick going-over, re-applied, and pedalled smoothly on.
During application, getting a few drops on hands is barely noticeable, but as ever, try and keep it off clothing.
Out and about, after a few trips down semi-flooded country lanes and through the proverbial linear dung- heap that appears on the way to milking at the local farm, things have taken on a distinctly grim patina. Looking carefully though, this was surface dirt, larger stuff had been washed away. When things have dried up, it has remained pretty clean, though far from spotless. That’s pretty much the best that can be hoped for with lubes at this price point.
Silkolene’s Premium Everyday Cycle Lube comes in around 8.99, for 50ml less. In fairness, it has the edge, especially if you are heading off-road. Similarly, Boeshield T-9 is pricier, but has cleaner and protectant functions, too Rock ‘n’ Roll LV is pricier and less convenient, but Michael’s topped 400 miles on a single dose. TF2 All Condition, is cheaper - just, and available in workshop quantities for the big fleet owner; it has also delivered higher mileage, whilst lacking any green credentials.
This is another product that maintains Oxford’s reputation for products that do the job effectively, but with few frills. Testing conditions vary as much as products, and, in that sense, lubes can be hard to compare. The 150 miles in conditions that would have had Noah reaching for his hammer and nails, convinced me that this was a lube to stick in the pannier when on tour. This is a good, no frills all-year round lube.