SKS LUBE YOUR CHAIN
The SKS Lube your chain seems pretty expensive for 75ml and I’m not completely sold on the claims the bijoux bottle is enough for 75 chains, in real world service. That said; I’ve hit 230 miles from a single application and that’s in very harsh, snowy conditions.
Some have suggested the Lube Your Chain is little more than an automotive lube repackaged for cyclists. However, while it has been developed by Becham Lubrication technology, an automotive specialist, the formula is unique and made to SKS’s specification.
Exact, chemical composition is Coca Cola secret. However, SKS head office would tell me it features our old friend, PTFE to minimize friction, while the oils seep deep into the links and rollers, sealing the grot out, so it won’t evolve into a drivetrain gobbling paste.
No solvent component came as a surprise, especially since it emerges from the spout, with a consistency typical of emulsions. Talking of spouts, this delivers the lubricant into the chain and in a very concise, controlled manner. No drips, no wastage, or fling.
Again, this is also very reminiscent of Smoove Universal chain lube and Weldtite TF2 ultra dry wax. Having taken chains through the solvent bath/similar stripping agent, give the bottle a vigorous 30 second shake, ensuring everything has mixed thoroughly.
Pop the lid and press the head, while pressing the roller against the chain links and rotating the cranks fifteen times. Coming from traditional dropper spouts, this took a couple of runs before I’d got this to a fine art.
Nonetheless, while administration was slower, there was minimal, if any excess to wipe away. Unlike the two lubes mentioned, there’s no hanging around waiting for it to cure - you can literally scoot off, which also scores highly on the convenience front.
From the first few pedal strokes, chains also felt like they’d been fed an emulsion, minimal friction, slick silent shifts, yet with a thicker lubricant layer than synonymous with these types.
Run through a very grotty February, I wasn’t surprised by how quickly the creamy lube accumulated a witch's brew of yucky-looking contaminant. Especially, since the first 120 miles covered were aboard my Univega through thick snow and ice.
As the thaw set in and snow gave way to slush, I noticed the lube had migrated from the links, across the cassette, so was reclaimed as I went up and down the gears. Even so, a relatively thick, sticky film, still clung to the links and I cruised through the 200 mile mark on the first helping. I made it through to 230 miles before a very faint, tell-tale tinkling set in.
Pretty good, given Nasty Lube Siberian chain lube only managed 197miles in similarly challenging contexts. I wasn’t completely surprised to discover, I achieved 183 miles on my fixed, running a stainless steel chain. Aside from very sticky wet/ceramic formulas, lubricants have a job adhering to slippery surface, so migrate to the side plates.
Cross contamination and transference to skin and/or clothing, say when removing the rear wheel, or carrying the bike, is less obvious than a more traditional wet lube, such as Weldtite TF2 Extreme Wet chain lubricant. Something to consider, if you commute to work in light coloured trousers. That said, while the SKS and less sophisticated PTFE infused oils can be topped up without recourse to solvent baths (My Univega’s links were bare enough), I’d recommend carrying a Crankalicious K-wipe , or solvent bottle and rag, on a big ride - just in case.
I’ve had similar miles application from Motorex Dry, which also works to the same contaminant-trapping top-layer system and is almost half the asking price.
Nonetheless, I have been pleasantly surprised by the SKS lube your chain. Used sparingly, a little goes a long way and proved far more durable than I was expecting. Especially, compared with other, general purpose, waxy formulas, including Smoove Universal chain lube. We’ll be back in the autumn to see how it compares with some other favourites, in less taxing conditions.