ZEFAL EXTRA WET NANO CERAMIC CHAIN LUBE
120ml (40z) £8.95
Zefal Extra Wet Lube Nano Ceramic Chain Lube promises exceptional durability and greatly reduced friction. Several very wet weeks and several hundred miles later, it appears to deliver on both fronts. Its quick to apply and cleaner running than some traditional gooey favourites. However, expect to give the chain’s side-plates, derailleur cages and jockey wheels a weekly cat-lick to prevent them growing a grotty beard.
Pros: Simple to apply, long lasting and low-friction.
Cons: Still attracts some dirt, Teflon not the kindest components.
OK, so we have a petrochemical blend, which Zefal describe as a ceramic reinforced, Teflon based formula. The nano ceramic component ensures comprehensive coating of the chain’s moving parts; (a) for increased protection (b) reduced friction. In laboratory conditions this blending is supposedly 15% better than wet lubes made solely with Teflon and devised for “variable, or even extreme weather conditions”. Compared with some of the lubes we’ve tested recently, the specification sounds slightly old-fashioned and indeed, Teflon isn’t the most planet, or people friendly additive.
Give intended recipient chains and drivetrain components a thorough de-greasing, using your favourite anti-lube. Next,
give the Ceramic Extra Wet a quick shake, pop the spout and drizzle into each link. The long, precise spout, high viscosity and off-white hue mean a controllable, easy to spot process. Talking of which, it is also quite easy to pop the spout and decant some into a small (20ml) bottle-for touring, or similar endurance rides. Not that topping up has been something I needed to do, for several, predominantly wet weeks.
Flow rate is predictable enough that I’ve got away with applying on the kitchen lino-just keep an old rag/kitchen paper to catch stray spatter as you turn the cranks and wipe the outer plates.
Technically you can now hop on and scoot off, but I’ve tended to leave ours “settling” for a few minutes. While I’d stay away from cleat and locking mechanisms, cables, trailer hitches and other areas that might gum up, it will double as a passable grease substitute on cleat, stem hardware and similar threaded components. A trace in Allen heads will also keep orange taint at bay.
Given the light heavyweight consistency, I was expecting something that would stifle a livelier drivetrain’s charms. Rotate the cranks and its immediate apparent that its coated rollers and pins-better than a very syrupy wet, such as Weldtite TF2 Extreme Wet Lube . However, not a patch on something like Tru Tension Banana Slip Tungsten Wet Lube Nonetheless, my tubby tourer’s transmission still felt quite crisp, clicking through the gears.
Surprising, given my Univega presently runs a matt nickel finish chain, but after 125 soggy miles, there was some obvious migration to the outer links. I simply gave the side-plates a cat lick, repeated weekly. So far, consistency seems very stable, unaffected by temperatures ranging between 1 and 15 degrees.
I’ve managed 495 miles from a single application along predominantly wet (flooded roads), which isn’t necessarily astounding, compared with some blends we’ve used, but a notable improvement over its Pro Wet stablemate and still pretty good going.
Some minor disappointment set in at 295miles, when it seemed to wither away to a thin film. However, a quick touch test revealed a decent coating remained and there’s been no hint of tarnish. In common with some wax types, it tended to transfer to the cassette and reclaimed by the chain, with regular shifting.
The Extra Wet has been cleaner than I was expecting and attracted relatively little gunk during dry spells. Given a week and 125miles in wet, greasy conditions, the chain had cultivated some patina common to winter wet lubes and more than Juice Lubes Viking Juice All Conditions High Performance Chain Oil. However, kept in check, it shouldn’t accumulate too much scuzz. Yep, carry some examination gloves, in case of a rear flat/similar roadside mechanical, but transfer to hands was no worse than its Pro Wet cousin and Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lube . Commuters who can tolerate long curing periods may find Rock 'n' Roll Extreme LV a better bet, in this respect.
£8.95 is somewhat mid-point for wet lubes and there’s a lot of choice, which is good news for consumers. Rock 'n’ Roll Extreme LV is £7.99 and a bit cleaner but can’t quite match the Extra Wet’s outright stoicism. Silkolene Premium Cycle Lube Wet is also £8.99 but for 100ml and requires 30minutes curing. At the other extreme, if miles per application and price are your absolute bottom lines, then Weldtite TF2 Extreme Wet Chain Lube might win your vote.
Ultimately, the Zefal Extra Wet Nano Ceramic Chain Lube is a very competent lube, well suited to wet, wintry conditions. A little goes a long way and its clean by genre standards. (Provided you set aside that minute or so to purge the side-plates, derailleur cages, jockey wheels on a weekly basis.)