Not so secret oil.

IMG_3942 The secret oil that I’ve been testing now has a name, and quite a swanky one at that; Wickens & Soderstrom No.5 Drive Train Lube. It has to be, without a shadow of a doubt, the out and out best chain-lube I have ever used. Back in my MTB days I tried an awful lot of different sorts, but would always end up going back to a dry spray on lube made by Finish Line. Once on, and once set, it’s consistency appeared to be the closest to what came on the Shimano chains (I primarily used) to begin with. Wet, dry, wax, from every brand that you can think of. Nothing would come close to this stuff. But then, overnight, I didn’t like it any more. I don’t know whether it changed, or I did, but we definitely parted company. Now, jumping forward to my roadie days at first I just plumped for the first dry type lube I picked off the shelf in the shop. I’d not ridden properly in years, I wasn’t really that fussy any more, and had no personal preference. However, as I rode more and the amount of miles that I would ride in one go, I became far more discerning. Again I started upon a quest to find the ultimate oil; one that would keep the drivetrain running as smoothly, cleanly, and silently for as long as possible. I came really close with a ceramic oil, and thought that I had cracked it, but then I came across something completely by accident. I was brow-beaten into buying a KMC by my colleagues at Ubyk, and was told to wipe off all the packing grease before I used it. I didn’t. I’d never heard of such nonsense. I fitted the chain, and put in quite a lot of miles before realising that I had done absolutely nothing to the chain since fitting it. Granted, I had only ridden in the dry (for reasons previously explained) but the condition of it was still amazing; pretty clean, pretty silent, so I left it. I left it pretty much as long as I could before having to eventually clean it and apply the ceramic lube that I liked. Afterwards however I was then pretty disappointed as to how often I had to the reapply the oil. I’m not shy when it comes to bike-maintaince, the rest of the bike is lovingly cleaned and buffed with a dedicated soft micro-fibre cloth after ever ride. But I was bummed out by how often it required the chain needed oiling. So, whenever I then replaced the chain I would try and push just how long I could go without oiling it. My colleagues thought it was hilarious, my boss James though was right there with me. I did however struggle to answer when customers asked me what I use on my chain, as I couldn’t try and advocate my maintenance regime and encourage our customers to do the same. Plus, we had oil to sell. However, in December we had a mysterious package turn up at the shop with some tyre-sealent in it and a small bottle of clear liquid. The clear liquid came with a pipet, and didn’t really look or feel like oil at all. After talking to the people who sent it, James handed me the bottle and told me that I had to use it. It being winter I applied it to the chain on my winter bike. The chain is relatively new, but the cassette, chainrings, and mechs are well used so I was never expecting it to run silently or smooth. I had become accustomed to the fact that that bike was now noisy. Upon the first ride out though I discovered that the bike wasn’t noisy at all, this lube; the secret oil, had silenced my winter bike. Not only that, but it stayed silent and clean. And when it came to reapply the oil after 230ish miles of winter riding, it was an absolute breeze to clean. This stuff was amazing. The only reason that I was calling it secret was that at that time it still didn’t have a name. But now it does, No.5 by Wickens & Soderstrom. I highly recommend that you buy some. Despite the fact that I was given a sample the photo above is mine that I’ve bought, just to ensure that I don’t run out. If you like your drivetrains silent, smooth, and clean, then this is definitely for you.

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