WHITE LIGHTNING CRYSTAL HIGH PERFORMANCE GREASE

Long Term (2 year) Test 100g £ 9.99

White Lightning Crystal High Performance Clear grease is probably the most tenacious blend I have used to date.

Rather like Muc-Off Bio Grease, without knowing all the ingredients, we’ll have to take eco-friendly, biodegradable credentials at face value.

I can tell you it’s a waterproof-as-you’ll get, two-part system. “Polymer base oils” provide the lubrication and are held in place by an aluminium based thickener. As you’d expect from a space-age formula, it is harmless to carbon fibre/composites, rubberised components titanium and metals of different parentage. 

Crystal emerges from the spout as a firm, clear gel, closer to that of clear bathroom mastic sealant than grease. It doesn’t stain, or easily transfer to clothes/surfaces either, which is a boon if you like working on bikes from the comfort of your kitchen.  Theory goes; this cleanliness is actually so mechanics can gauge bearing or similar component health at a glance and supposedly prevents contaminant sticking. 

Ours was the 100ml squeezable, gun-friendly tube for easy, fuss free application. I’ve built eight bikes and reckon there’s enough for another 10. Perfect for precise delivery to bearings, smaller threaded components including stem and mudguard bolts but there’s also a workshop friendly 16oz tub. 

A thin layer is all that’s required on quill stems and seatposts, or you’ll run the risk of them creeping inside the frame as you ride. Mudguards or not, all of my bikes sporting rear facing seat collar slots wear a protective boot made from cast off inner tube. This is to prevent water and ingress thrown up from the rear wheel sneaking inside the frame.

Even budget butyl remains unaffected by the grease, so no surprise that seals and yes, rubbery suspension stuff seems very happy. By contrast, I’ve been relatively cavalier when it comes to donning gloves and haven’t experienced any dryness, or skin irritation to date.

      

Though Crystal will soften slightly, it seems otherwise unaffected by extremes of temperature and has remained plentiful when components were stripped for inspection 6, 12, 18 and 24 months later. Even after several salty winters, fixed sprockets spun free from hub threads with relative ease.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how much still clung to headset and unsealed cup and cone hub bearings. Superficial grime aside, a set of ancient Campagnolo Athena showed no sign of ingress, let alone need for replenishment 18 months in. Regular garden hose rinse-offs have made negligible impression on its integrity but predictably, jet washing strips in seconds.

So where’s the rub? Well, maybe a team mechanic stripping bikes after every race will be able to spot component health at a-glance. However, framesets treated internally with oily preserves, turned the crystal a murky brown/black after a month or so. Most of us have longer service intervals, so won’t reap the same benefit.

Verdict: 4.25/5 Not perfect but definitely the best grease I’ve used to date.

Michael Stenning

http://www.whitelightningco.com/products/grease/crystal-grease

PUBLISHED JANUARY 2017

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