WD40 BIKE ALL CONDITIONS LUBE
WD40 Bike All Conditions lube is reckoned “Perfect for riders who love being outdoors in all conditions” and suitable for “Chains, derailleurs, pivot points, cables and shifters”. Net effect, most of the bike’s moving components.
Hmm.....I’m yet to find a lubricant, especially an aerosol type that’s genuinely capable in all these contexts. There are some definite pros here but they’re partially eclipsed by some serious cons.
£6.99 (We’ve seen them heavily discounted online) buys a 250ml aerosol containing a mix of solvent carriers and PTFE. The science behind these is pretty simple; the flammable Butane/Ethanol component traffics the active (PTFE) ingredient to the host surface, priming it for the lube before evaporating. This leaves behind a slippery and seemingly durable film, which has worked a treat on arthritic cables, lock/cleat mechanisms etc.
However, the first problem (and given their enviable track record, WD40 has no excuse) concerned the use of a stubby spout. Even when shaken vigorously for 30 seconds or longer, ours had a tendency to dribble, resulting in sticky patches along the head tube, chain stays; bottom bracket shell and fork crown area.
Assuming you didn’t wipe away that overspray immediately with some clean rag/kitchen paper. Thankfully, the straw can be substituted, which results in a more accurate stream. Bodes well for staying prowess right? Well, for cleats, cables; locks continuously subjected to wet roads, waterlogged lanes and trails-yes, it seems level-pegging with most spray-ons
In a pinch and short of time, I’ve had excellent results on quick release skewers. I initially thought the bigger nozzle might redeem itself when oiling chains. Obviously, those still wearing the factory stuff or similarly heavy-duty wet blend will need a trip through the solvent bath.
Otherwise, it can be applied straight atop relatively clean chains, since those solvents will gobble any residual muck/trace oils, leaving the fresh film behind. Fair dos; chains look really clean and feel reassuringly slick.
However, you’ll need a fairly stout wad of rag to collect that overspray. Since we’re on the subject, neither solvents or PTFE are particularly kind to rubber components, such as seals and can sneak into hubs, suspension parts too, stripping them of much needed grease.
True, this is so with most spray-lubes, but long, thin straws make projection more accurate and controllable.
Admittedly, being a dry formula, I wasn’t expecting it to rack up hundreds of miles from a generous double-up-85 was pretty much tops before that eerily familiar squeak set in. This dipped to 55 when waterlogged lanes and periodic showery rain were thrown into the mix. Contrast that with 125 and 90 respectively from a store branded product, made from similar ingredients and it doesn’t look particularly good value.
The lightweight, low grime, corrosion inhibiting layer comes in handy when putting bikes into seasonal storage. Treat them to a sudsy bike wash blow-over, rinse, then a quick hit of furniture polish. Cables, mechanisms and chains get a quick mothballing-primed and ready when hibernation’s done.
Bottom line, most riders will be better served in the everyday sense by their dry lube and a separate water displacer, which also works out much cheaper in the long run-even if you’re time poor and have several bikes.