It might seem rather strange that there’s a product that caters equally for the lazy, the forgetful and the racer. Generally, racers aren’t lazy and forgetful people don’t race … as they usually forget to enter. So, what could this all encompassing product be? I hear you mumble … Chain lube that’s what but seemingly, not just any old chain lube.
|Only a 15ml bottle but you don’t need much, so it should last quite a while.|
Cycle Star’s Nano particle lubricant isn’t like most lubricants; it might look similar and it might even feel just like any other oil but the clever bit, is the bit you can’t see. Inside the synthetic ‘carrier’ oil are lots and lots of incredibly hard, nano sized balls. They’re produced to such a fine tolerance and are so small, that they will happily sit between two metal surfaces producing a highly effective form of lubrication. I like to think of it as adding tiny rollers between all the moving parts of the chain and the oily bit is just a way of getting it there.
The claims are fairly impressive with Cycle Star reporting 300+ miles between applications in ‘normal’ conditions and up to 1000 miles of silent, smooth running if conditions are favourable – which I assume means dry. The Nano lube comes in either a 15ml or 30ml bottle with an application pipette in the lid which makes it look more medical than cycle. However, application is straightforward, simply start with a clean, dry chain. Hold the tip of the pipette gently against the chain and rotate the cranks. If you come from the ‘more the merrier’ camp and your chain resembles the Exxon Valdez, then take heed – don’t go mad because (a) there’s no need and (b) you can’t afford to. Once you’re satisfied that your chain has a sufficient layer, spin the thing through the gears a few times, wipe of any excess and you’re good to go. Apparently, the lubrication properties of the ‘Nano balls’ are so good, that you should actually feel a difference in how smooth your drive-train feels.
If you’re the kind of rider who forgets to regularly lube their chain, one who can’t be bothered or the type who’s trying to cover 500 miles as quickly as possible, the benefits should be fairly obvious. At this exact moment, my chain is sitting peacefully in the ultrasonic cleaner and as soon as it’s squeaky clean, I shall apply some CS lube and then completely ignore my chain for the next few weeks … I’ll report back in due course.
Cycle Star lube costs £19.99 for 15ml and is available from Gone Biking Mad
Perception – we probably all like to think that we’re perceptive, it’s a trait that appears to add value and substance to our character. Being perceptive isn’t the same as being wise. Wisdom is generally the combined result of experience and listening rather than talking … wisdom embraces the truth and nothing else but perception’s far sneakier. It can be a highly useful tool but it can also twist any lie we tell ourselves, mistake we make or momentary lapse of clarity and transform it into absolute fact … your perception is your truth.
What’s all that got to do with chain lube? Maybe more than you initially think … if the chain on your bike had a light covering of rust or appeared to have a coating of caramelised sheep poop with a hazelnut topping, what would you think? Would you (a) think that your chain was fine and ready for a 200km excursion or would (b) your perception set the alarm bells ringing and have you reaching for the brushes and cleaner? If you answered ‘a’ then you should be ashamed, very ashamed and when your chain snaps on some bleak hillside way past bedtime, it’ll serve you right. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the correct answer was ‘b’ because your perception says that any chain that looks like that, must be suffering and can’t possibly be lubricated.
|Still running smoothly but your perception says, NO.|
I’m in no doubt that Cycle Star lube works. There’s a noticeable difference in shifting once applied and the drivetrain in general feels smoother – BUT – I can’t tell quite how long those properties last for. Sorry – but my highly developed mechanical sympathy and sense driven perception, simply haven’t allowed me to ride beyond 400km without cleaning the chain. Whilst I’m fairly confident that deep inside the rollers and plates of my chain all is slippery and well, its outward appearance would have you think otherwise. I believe it’s a superb lube and I believe the claims made for it but I don’t believe it’s a lube for year round UK conditions. Whether it’s the sparse application or the nature of the thin carrier oil I’m unsure but it offers virtually no protection to the outer surface of the chain and regardless of the truth, your perception will take that as evidence of it not working. In a dry and perhaps cleaner environment, it might be the perfect lubricant but here, it’s probably best left for race days … the search continues.