ZEFAL PRO DRY LUBE

120ml  £5.99

The Zefal Pro Dry Lube, is, as the name implies, designed for dry, summery conditions. Conditions where wet lubes can feel a bit syrupy, and crucially attract gritty, drivetrain wrecking grot. Its quick curing, low on friction and big on  drivetrain cleanliness. Clear advantages for milder weather. Miles per application rival several others, including Finish Line Dry. However, more sophisticated, longer lasting formulas will give these a run for your hard-earned.

Pros: Quick curing, low friction, clean.

Cons: Super runny, oily texture transfers readily to hands and clothing. 

Science bit

This is a petrochemical blend, with the usual warnings i.e. store and apply carefully, fatal if swallowed etc. Unlike its wax counterpart, which is formulated to “flake” when laden with grit and similar contaminant, the Pro Dry is designed to attract minimal dirt, dust and similar particles. The super-runny consistency infiltrates the chain’s moving parts and cures to a light, yet still tangible barrier. 

Application 2.75/5

It’s very quick, and relatively easy to apply, but the low (super runny) viscosity means its potentially very messy, too. Don’t chance a cheeky top-up in the kitchen! We all know the drill by now. Strip chains of any existing lube (including the factory stuff, if appropriate) and dry the links.

Give the bottle a quick shake, grab a clean rag and hold this beneath the chain to capture overspill. In common with the wax, caught quickly, this can be salvaged redistributed to pivot points, or used to mask unsealed brightwork e.g. electroplated frame tubes, quick release skewers, trailer hitch mechanisms etc. The invasive nature means it’s quite effective at loosening slightly arthritic fasteners/cleats being obvious candidates. 

Curing times will vary, depending on temperature, but within ten minutes. Great if your mates are popping round for a ride and you’ve just noticed the chain looking thirsty. Handy for touring and similar endurance events, too. 

Lubrication 3.75/5

Once cured, spin the cranks and marvel at how responsive the chain feels-not quite zero friction, but noticeably lower than the wax. I gave my bikes two light coats, leaving two minutes between each.

From the outset, my Univega’s transmission felt more responsive, shifts (especially those under load) a notch snappier. This pronounced lack of friction was also very palpable on my fixed gear builds. In terms of versatility, wet lubes are better choices for protecting recessed Allen heads from corrosion.

I’d never consider using it as a grease substitute, on cleats, rack mounts, either. Nonetheless, a drop works a treat on the usual suspects-control cables, brake pivots jockey wheels, cleat and locking mechanisms.    

 

Cleanliness 2.7/5

Good,- at least during dry conditions Aside from some very faint freckling along the side-plates and atop the rollers, there’s been no call to wipe the chain-at any point. “Masked” surfaces, such as electroplated ends have also cultivated a grimy patina but we’re talking a very thin, and moreover, useful protective layer. 

Transfer to hands and clothing, say when carrying bikes, or tending a rear wheel flat, was surprisingly easy.  I usually pack a pair of examination gloves, to avoid additional clean-up, or contaminating light coloured fabrics.

Nonetheless, it's something to bear in mind. especially if you commute in office smarts.

Durability 2.75/5

This very much depends on context. I’ve returned 225 miles per single-coat application, during a consistently arid spell of road riding.

Competitive with other “barely there” blends. Adding light, showery rainfall and this dropped to 165. More persistent rain, with thundery interludes licked chains bare, within 80 miles (even allowing for my two-coat system). However, jockey wheels, pivot points and cleat mechanisms still boasted a tangible, slippery, squeak-free layer.

Dry weather-dusty trails and unmade roads are its forte and I was grateful for the lack of accumulated grot. Add moist foliage, long grass and similar variables into the mix and this took a hit - 70miles before the metal on metal tinkling started. On the plus-side, the Pro-Dry is quickly, and easily replenished. More practical than some, for long group rides and indeed, summer touring.

Value 2.75/5

Again, depends on how you measure things. In terms of ticket price, £5.99 is mid- point, for this genre of traditional "summer" lube.  Finish Line Dry  is more expensive, for similar quantities (£7.99 rrp) and overall there’s not much to choose between them, either in terms of convenience, or quality of lubrication.

Silkolene Premium Dry Lube has returned a much higher mileage per application (although last summer was particularly hot, and arid). £8.99 for 100ml, it’s also, almost double the Zefal Pro Dry’s rrp, and requires a longer curing period, evening the score a little. Joe’s No Flats Eco Nano Dry Lube  also cruised past the 400 mile mark in really arid conditions but again, is more expensive.

Conclusion

Horses for courses. Riders seeking a super clean, ultra-low friction oily lube for arid summer days, or competitive riding, should take a closer look. It can be quickly reapplied too, which might offer an advantage, should a tour, or sportive turn unexpectedly wet. However, the latest generation of ceramic formulas are arguably better choices, if you're prioritising rider and drivetrain cleanliness.

Verdict: 3.25/5 Decent summer lube but there are more durable and cleaner options.

Michael Stenning

www.zefal.com (this link takes you to a different website for which we cannot be held responsible)

PUBLISHED JUNE 2019

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