OXFORD MINT CYCLE DRY LUBE
Also available in a 75ml version, at £3.99, Oxford Mint Cycle Dry Lube is just part of their extensive range of products for bike maintenance and cleaning. I’ve been pretty impressed by the Mint range, so was not surprised to find that this fitted the bill very nicely, with one or two minor gripes.
Cons: runnier than some, so apply with care.
Wax lubes penetrate deep into the chain, but leave a protective film. This can flake off, though Oxford offer a formula designed to reduce such ‘fling.’ This seems to work nicely. The recommendation to wear eye-protection when applying suggests that you should take care. Just follow sensible precautions.
Needless to say, give the chain a good clean, before shaking the bottle heartily (you’ll see the cloudy liquid become uniform) and getting started. Nothing unusual about the dropper nozzle, which screws off. The cream coloured liquid may look like organic salad cream, but it is quite runny compared to some waxy types. Consistency is more akin to Silkolene’s Premium Dry Lube, although, to my mind, a tad thicker. On the other hand, Boeshield’s T-9 is the same species, but seems more viscose than the Mint Dry Lube.
Avoid waste with only a gentle tilt during application. Although coloured, it does not really remain visible for long after contact, so first time round I gave the chain a couple of full rotations.
Post application, wipe away any drops that have ended up on the frame and rims. There’s no recommended curing time, so I plumped for ten minutes, in which time it had dried to a film. Smooth to the touch, no tackiness, and looking good. On the other hand, second time round, I left it for half an hour. Durability was much extended – though see below for change in the weather. Curing may take longer in colder, wetter weather.
A dot on stubborn cleats and cables will do no harm, but it is no substitute for grease or more viscose oils.
Summery weather brought dust and dirt aplenty to the local lanes and towpaths. The inevitable dirty patina accrued, as it does with most dry lubes in my experience, after seventy miles or so. No harm done. Lacking the glutinous accumulations common with wet lubes, there’s limited danger to nice clean trousers. Mind you, avoiding contact is best. Don’t expect top escape clean-handed after replacing an errant chain, though dirt has been dispersed by with baby wipes, or a quick wash.
First dose was destroyed in a few days of summer downpours, making just 95 miles. Not really fair to judge a dry lube in such conditions, so a reapplication was followed by decidedly dry lube weather. Max, so far, has been 252 miles from a good coating to the tinkling of death. Not exceptional for lubes of this type, but fair enough. Giving the bottle to a friend, he went for a more generous coating – three chain rotations – and is heading for 290 miles.
Ridding chain of superficial dirt has only required a good wipe with an old rag. I’ve happily added a new coat without the full clean. Slapped-wrist from purists, no doubt, but practical when out and about on tour, or getting-going without fuss.
Boeshield T-9 is a wax lube and, in my experience, has outdone the Mint Dry Lube for mileage, but comes in at nearly twice the price for less.
TF2 Ultra Dry Wax is a little pricier, but has the edge on durability and ‘stickability’ in the wet. On the other hand, curing time is around four hours. Smoove Universal is costlier but is a better bet for year-round use. However, Oxford Mint Dry scores on price and more rapid curing time.
Zefal’s Extra Dry Chain Wax comes in around the same price per ml.
In a very competitive market place Oxford’s Mint Dry Lube scores well on price and flexibility. I’d take it on a summer road tour, or give the chain a quick coating before breakfast for a speedy departure. It is not keen on the wet, but relative cleanliness makes it easy to reapply. Higher spec formulas may be more durable, especially for mixed-surface mileage when the weather is not guaranteed, but they will cost you more.