TRU TENSION BANANA SLIP TUNGSTEN ALL WEATHER LUBE
Long Term (5 month) 50ml £10.00
The Tru Tension Banana Slip Tungsten All Weather Lube apparently brings space ace lubrication to cycling. It also promises all-weather durability, silky smooth running and extended component life. I’ve been particularly impressed by its cleanliness, rapid curing times and low friction.
Pros: Does pretty much everything it promises. Pretty durable, too.
Cons: Not quite all weather, pricey.
Though described as a wax, it flows like an emulsion. Tru Tension say its water resistant and fully biodegradable. Whereas lubes have traditionally used PTFE and more recently, ceramics as a default friction modifier, Tungsten we’re told, is greatly superior. Another major deviation from waxes, and indeed, a lot of ceramic preps is that it cures in minutes, not hours. Being a cutting-edge formulation, that’s all I can tell you about its chemical makeup.
This is remarkably straightforward and honestly took me by surprise. That is, after I’d discovered we only get 50ml for £10. Why then the big bottle? Well, apparently, the blend needs room to mix properly. Having got drivetrains surgically clean, give the bottle a vigorous shake for 30-60 seconds, pop the spout and drizzle into every link. Add a spot to jockey wheels and pivot points, if you like/as appropriate.
It’s good practice to keep a clean rag hovering beneath the chain to catch any overspill but I was genuinely surprised by how little-literally a splash. A far cry from the pigeon spatter that often follows a wax lube. Curing times are reckoned to be between 5 and 10 minutes. I’ve not needed to replenish often but air temperatures between 28 and 5 degrees had no impact upon this. Perfect for impromptu rides, roadside top-ups on endurance rides, tours etc.
Fully cured, it assumes a clear glaze and I was immediately struck by how slick and yet light the formula felt. Admittedly, first time round I’d just fitted a new chain to my tubby tourer but the formula sneaks deep into the rollers and pins. Serene swoosh, slick shifting and minimal friction. Not quite as frisky as super runny dry weather lubes, such Zefal Pro Dry as Pro Gold Pro Link .
It’s also a bit pricey for cleat/similar mechanisms, but it’s kept entry/release super snappy. I wasn’t surprised and frankly, hoped to get past the 325-mile mark on the first application. Weather-wise it was a mix of dry and moderately wet, with the occasional, unexpected flooded coastal road for good measure. By this point, a thin film, remained but it was time to top-up.
A much drier spell and I passed 550 miles before top-up time came calling-again, I’d had a few very wet rides and some persistently drizzly spells during this time. Ok, not earth-shattering compared with a middleweight wet type, such as Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant, which has returned over 400miles through a decidedly soggy November. Nonetheless, impressive by wax/emulsion standards. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the filmy residue didn’t allow the links to tarnish, as traditional paraffin-based waxes do.
In this respect, it excels. Cured, its completely dry to touch and does not transfer to hands, or clothing. Takers the mess out of roadside punctures/fettling, or when carrying bikes up flights of stairs etc. In terms of transmission grot, its minimal but do expect the odd grain of peppery looking grit/similar during wetter periods. So far, there’s been no call to give the side plates a cat-lick. Talking of which, I’ve been able to top up - drizzle on without any prior prep, which is great for touring/similar applications and (under normal, non-pandemic circumstances) won’t cause a riot, if you’ve done so, on a group outing’s coffee cum comfort break.
There’s no getting away from the fact that £10 is quite steep for 50ml. SKS Lube Your Chain is £12.99 for 75ml: less sophisticated, has a much longer curing time and traps grit in the top layer (to prevent it becoming a grinding paste). However, it stayed put during the snows of 2018. Rock 'n’ Roll Gold LV is £8.50 for 40ozs. It’s also extremely clean and very tenacious in wintry conditions. The gap narrows a bit when the Tru Tension’s miles per application, cleanliness and conveniences are poured into the equation.
There’s some debate as to the all-weather bit and it is relatively pricey, even for a very sophisticated chain lube. Nonetheless, aside from SKS Lube Your Chain, it’s the most stoical, some may say practical wax type blend for everyday riding.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Clean running, convenient and durable by wax stands but a little pricey.
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2020