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Chain lube? It’s not the stuff of dreams is it? Even the geekiest amongst us probably wouldn’t place chain lube high on the list of interesting topics but maybe we should. Is chain lube not the very elixir of life, a last line of defence against a cruel and savage world, hell-bent on rusty destruction … or is it just oil? Whatever your view, I’d happily wager £3.72 that each and every person reading this has at one time bought some and that some of you have even remembered to use it on occasion. If you’re the type of rider who (a) has an uncontrollable compulsion to congratulate themselves with a whoop and a high-five at the foot of each and every descent and (b) is convinced that a 2 hour ride does constitute an ‘epic’ requiring intravenous Lucozade, then you may as well simply keep using whatever lube you presently favour or the one that comes with the most free stickers. Those of a different persuasion, may see the benefit in using something that’s a little bit – longer lasting. 

Is Smoove Lube the perfect drivetrain accompaniment for the longer distance cyclist? The same claims have been made by others before, yet usually they left us stranded and squeaking 2 miles from the gates of the promised land. In an effort to find out whether Smoove Lube is the true messiah, I armed Karl with a bottle and sent him out to do what he does … I can assure you, no whooping was used in the course of his testing.

Please allow me to explain. I normally use Muc-Off wet lube for my chain, I’ve tried many of the other brands as well but generally, I use Muc-Off .. I’m happy with it. It lubes my chain. I go for a ride. I get wet and muddy. Get home and wash my bike (okay not every time) and then re-lube my chain. The chain always looks gritty and dirty but my drivetrain generally runs quietly. This is okay for evening and weekend rides all year round. Unfortunately, on longer rides after a day of hard riding, the drivetrain reminds me with grinding noises that it’s time for a re-lube. Fine, I carry lube on the bike for this well known preventive maintenance task. Problem is in the middle of a independent time trial or 24 hour race this is time lost and weight gained on the bike, not very TLS (take less stuff). Along came Smoove through my letter box. Stu had warned me he was sending a present but not to get too excited. Someone sending me a present is going to get me excited. Was I right to get excited? Yes 

125ml bottle. It should last you quite a long time.

To start off, this isn’t a wipe down chain, lube chain and wipe off excess kind of lube. It requires a bit more attention to detail. First off you need to clean the chain, like really clean it (you might as well clean the cassette and chainrings whilst you’re at it). I used paraffin (I’ve got a lovely old primus paraffin stove so borrowed some of the fuel from that, you don’t need to have a paraffin stove to do this but I’m just giving you some justification for another purchase). Then the chain needs drying completely, hanging over the radiator for the night is what I did. Put the chain back on the bike and lube the chain with Smoove Lube. This needs to be left to set for a minimum of 1 hour but ideally the manufacturer recommends 24 hours. I was in a rush so went for the 1 hour mark, always enjoy riding more than faffing. 

So how did it perform? Well to let you know I started using this in September time, when in the peak district it’s already the rainy season (most of the year is to be honest). The ‘Peak’ is well known for its destructive nature of drivetrains and so far it has seemed to be working extremely well.  How do I know this you ask? My drivetrain has maintained a reassuring silence, and without the usual black gritty pickup after every ride (this is a major plus when taking the rear wheel off, dirty hands less dirty). So after testing for a few rides without re-lubing on mine and the wife’s bike, I decided to give it some real testing, the Bearbones 200! I prepared the chain as before, applied the lube and went out for a 200 (225km, thanks Stu) ride. 

No re-lubing required during the ride. All the other BB200’s had necessitated a stop for ‘maintenance’ but this time the chain stayed clean and quiet, just like all politicians should. I came home after the ride, didn’t clean the bike (told you I don’t always clean it) and then went out for another ride the following weekend, risky I know. I didn’t go far but I went to an area which I know is boggy and had lots and lots of long wet grass to wipe the smile of that Smoove Lubes face! It didn’t work, still came back all nice and quiet. To be honest I haven’t re-lubed any of the chains out of noisy necessity yet but just out of sheer guilt of feeling like I wasn’t maintaining them properly.   

I like milk, this looks like milk … but really doesn’t taste as good

I am happy with Smoove Lube? To say I’m impressed is probably an understatement. I thought it would be hard to review a product that was to all intends and purpose just a chain lube. One downside is it’s very runny, like water runny, so don’t lube the chain on the kitchen floor (learn from my mistakes) although it’s easy to clean up and just looks like tubeless sealant, especially on your clothes!!! If you do spill some don’t worry too much, you get loads in a bottle.   

In summary, using smoove lube does require a bit more patience and planning upfront but overall you’ll save lots of time out on the trail which is where it counts … Come on Stu, your BB200 routes need far more bogs and tussocks to wipe the smile off this Smoove operator!!!! 

A big thank you to Karl for testing. Smoove is available directly from Cyclorise and a large 125ml bottle will cost you £13.99.


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