SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
TRU TENSION BANANA SLIP TUNGSTEN WET LUBE
50ml £10 Long Term (6month) Test
Tru Tension Banana Tungsten Slip Wet Lube is a high tech, biodegradable blend, and one that’s generally cleaner than most wet formulas and seems to hang on in all but the wettest, waterlogged roads. However, despite some definite plus points, it is expensive, relative to the technical gains.
Pros: Long lasting, quick curing and relatively clean.
Cons: Expensive, compared with other, durable wet formulas.
The big ticket here is a component called Tungsten Disulphide, which originated within the space industry and designed for low friction. Its reckoned 40% lower than ceramics, 50% lower than Teflon and wait for it, 60% lower than Graphite.
Theory goes the Tungsten component smooths out imperfections in metal surfaces, which when applied regularly, evolves into a hard, slippery “atomic” wear reducing coating. In common with its all weather sibling, its also recommended for other transmission components-pedals, derailleurs, shifters and cables. So why the huge bottle then? Well, that’s so the chemicals have enough room to move, mixing properly before being applied.
Users of traditional wet lubes will be pleased to know its pretty much drizzle and go. However, rather like ceramics and other sophisticated blends, recipient drivetrains need a thorough, almost surgical cleaning first. From here, give the bottle a vigorous 30 second shake to blend the components. Then pops the spot and drizzle into each link.
Leave curing 5minutes and then you’re more or less ready to go. More or less? Well, you might need to wipe any excess from the outer plates. With practice, its possible to time the flow just right, so this hasn’t been necessary. It also seems unaffected by variance in temperature. Once cured it assumes a grey hue, reminiscent of some favourite ceramics.
I was expecting something special, given the build up and true to form, it is much friskier than traditional wet and indeed, some ceramic formulas I’ve used long term. This was apparent, from the outset and true to manufacturer claims, improves with subsequent applications/top-ups. Shifting was not quite as snappy as it’s All Weather Sibling and indeed, some of the lighter petrochemical formulas, including Pro Gold Pro Link and Zefal Pro Dry , However, still reassuringly crisp and quick.
This is very good, although really stodgy wet blends will give it a run for your hard-earned. First time round, conditions were mixed and flooded coastal roads finally licked the lions’ share at 450 miles. A quick cat lick to remove any residual gunk and you can just drizzle again. Doing so, rewarded with a tangible improvement in the friction as promised.
Not breath-taking but certainly apparent. This theme remained the same, although I’m not suggesting this will be infinite, or rival some of the super thin petrochemical, dry types. Subsequent helpings in similar and indeed, through a more intensely wet autumn have lasted 550 and 600 miles. I should stress that I have not added thicker coats during these periods.
Good, given we’re talking waterlogged lanes, and compared with Zefal Pro Wet. However, a more intense formula, such as Weldtite TF2 Extreme Wet has returned nearly double this, in quite challenging conditions. Similarly Chain L High Mileage Bicycle Chain Lube has topped The Tru Tension during the depths of winter.
Here’s where the Tru Tension turns the tables on those discussed. It does collect some superficial grime-stray hedge clippings floating along the puddles, little bits of grit and the odd bit of mud.
However, most tends to fall off, rather than get embedded and evolve into that grinding paste. In common with some waxy formulas, it also tends to coat the cassette but again, this seems to have a mothballing effect and the chain doesn’t reclaim and redistribute it.
From time to time, I’ve wiped the chain’s side-plates but, on a day-to-day basis, left it be. To touch, its tacky and some residual lube will transfer. Less of an issue when carrying the bike but keep those examination gloves in your wedge pack.
£10 for 50ml is at the steeper end of things. There are much cheaper, stoical lubes. Chain L High Mileage comes in at £7.95 for 4ozs. Rock 'n’ Roll Extreme is cleaner and very stoical - £7.95 for 4ozs, however, its curing time may be a deal-breaker for some. However, for my money, I’d still chose the Tru Tension over Muc-Off Hydrodynamic .
Ultimately, there are a lot of decent wet lubes out there for a lot less. That’s not to say the Tru Tension Banana Slip Wet doesn’t have a lot going for it. If you are looking for something stoical, less stodgy and relatively clean (thus reducing maintenance intervals) then well worth a closer look. However, there are much cheaper options if hell 'n’ high water staying prowess are top priorities.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Sophisticated, durable and relatively clean-but pricey.
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH