Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Chain-L Chain Lube
Half-Assed Product Review


I'm going to do this quick product review then get on to talking briefly about poop and socks and douche bags who annoy me.

The other day at The Shop one of our reps dropped by a sample of a new chain lube from New York, Chain-L "Huile De Chaine". The packaging was simple and austere. It smelled...different, looked different too. Their philosophy is simple as well, and to the point:

Chain-L satisfies what we think are the three most important requirements
of a chain lubricant:

  • Lubrication
  • Lubrication
  • and Lubrication

They push durability and prevention of bearing wear over cleanliness. Right up my alley.

I followed their application instructions to a T. I have never applied chain lube like that before. I laid the thoroughly de-greased chain out on some cardboard and lubed it liberally, letting it soak in for ten minutes or so. The stuff is more viscous than anything I've used, it did, in fact, take a while to soak in.


I wiped the chain down lightly before installation on the bike. The chain felt different too. When I did have it installed I spun the cranks it seemed smoother than usual. Not that I normally scrutinize my drivetrain after lubing my chain. But it was smooth...damn smooth.

To put Chain-L to the test I put the bike on the car and drove for two hours in the rain up to The Pinnacle (to suck it big time) then raced for two hours in the rain and the mud then put the bike back on the car for two more hours in the rain. When I got home I took the bike out back to wash it (my least favorite part of race day). I scrubbed the bike down with hot water and dish detergent, cleaning the crank, cog, and chain thoroughly. At that point I would have normally re-lubed my chain, but in this case I wanted to see what this stuff was made of. They claim no re-lubrication for 1,000 miles at 20MPH (or 20 miles at 1,000MPH) . Might be a while before I hit those kind of numbers on the race bike, so I'll have to get back to you on that. All I know is most lubes would have left the chain squeaking like a sumbitch by the end of a day like that, not this stuff. I was impressed.

Socks. Yesterday before the race, I went to put my lucky awesome socks on. As I pulled the left one on, it tore all to hell at the heel. I was in such an uncharacteristically positive mind-set that I shrugged it off. "Oh, today's gonna be great, never you mind that!" I thought. And that was the first time I was ever wrong in my entire life.


Poop. It was five O'clock yesterday before I was able to "Do My Work". Doing a climby race with something the size of Rich Dillen (even at climbing weight) percolating inside of you is not ideal.

Douche Bags. This one is for Meg A, who shared the link for this article about endangered jerky bike mechanics. Something all bike mechanics have dealt with at some point (I'm sure this one isn't just typical of bike shop customers) is the "I just had my bike in for thing A which is obviously the cause of problem B". To the mechanic it is incredibly obvious that it is absolutely impossible that the two are related. It makes it all the more ridiculous when the accuser uses their own insane and made up vernacular to describe what's going on.

"Um, hi. I just had my bike in to have the pedal bar replaced an now my...speed thingy isn't working". As I cleaned the contacts with emery cloth and checked the proximity of the wheel magnet and the speed sensor (which did the trick), I asked "So what did you have replaced again?" (because I just had to know what a "Pedal Bar" was). "That thing", points to crankarm. "Oh, of course". I politely explained why his computer wasn't working, smiling all the while and sent him on his way.

"Oh, boy, sleep! That's where I'm a viking!".

I think Ralph Wiggum said that.

"Oh boy blogging! That's where I'm still a snarky-ass-jerk-bike-mechanic!"

I said that.

6 comments:

rick is! said...

thanks to your back pain, I've resurrected my ab/stretching routine I gave up once we moved into the camper. You gave me an early wake up call. hope it's feeling better soon.

Il Bruce said...

Hmmm. I have been spared interacting with jerky bike mechanics for the most part.

The shops I worked at kept it civil for the most part. I have been treated like I knew nothing at a couple shops but only twice were they outright rude. Once was at Wheelworks where I was told that my Mavic wheels I just paid for didn't include the QRs taped to them.

The worst was at International. Years before some of the current staff was out of nappies. I was test riding a Lemond and handed over my bike to get the pedals switched. The fellow with the wrench asked "what's this shit?" within earshot. He was unfamiliar with Campagnolo Chorus parts and dressed me down for riding inferior parts and having ugly brakes.

The older fellow helping me with the bike was mortified.

seth said...

I am totally going to buy some of that lube. I saw it at a shop and was drawn in by the packaging. I am a sucker for pretty things.

zencycle said...

My JBM (jerky bike mechanic) experience - The very first cyclocross race I ever did was at the palmer bike swap the first year they had it, maybe 1995? Anyways, I didn't have a cross bike, but rode my race MTB, a proflex 854 with a newly installed Girvin Elite instead.

I was screwing around with it before the race, and decided to change the little eccentric cam position on the fork. I needed a 4mm hex wrench (or something I didn't have).

I went up to a guy in the pit and asked if he had a 4mm I could use, and he asked why. I told him. He said "that won't change anything". I said "the manual says it changes the angle of travel from curve to a line". He got flustered "Hey pal, I used to work at girvin, I'm telling you it doesn't work that way". I said "ok then" and left.

Later on, while I was racing, I was sucking eggs big time, and almost fell off the bike attempting to remount at the top of that heinous run-up. Girvin boy was there and started laughing at me.

This part will kill ya....

Mike Norton was there, and laid into the guy, told him 'at least he's racing and unless you plan on getting out there shut the hell up.' The JBM was instantly shamed in front of the other spectators, and scurried off. I thanked mike after the race.

solobreak said...

You worked Chanel #5 and Bike Mechanic #2 all into one post. You're one special writer.

Desiree said...

You have got to get Happy Chain chain lube. The best stuff on earth!!! Check it out: www.happychain.net. They rock!