Reviewed by Garrett Hubbard
So you’re reading a product review of chain lube. Welcome to the 8th level of bike nerdom. Chain lube is actually really important to me. Here’s why, when I use the right lube and keep my drive train clean, I get thousands of miles out of it. If you’re interested in getting lots of miles out of that expensive 11x or 12x cassette, then read on. If you want the synopsis, jump to the bottom.
In the world of chain lubes: You gotta give to get.
The “wetter” a chain lube is, the longer is usually lasts, but it attracts more grime in most conditions. The “drier” it is, the less grime it attracts but it needs to be applied more often in most conditions.
There is a whole range of chain lubes in the sticky to dry spectrum. Pick your poison. Less lubing, less work and short lived drive trains or more lubing, more work, and longer lasting drive trains. I’ve chosen the latter for the past 20 years.
I’ve been using Rock-N-Roll chain lubes (and greases) since I tried their product at their booth for a N.O.R.B.A. race at Lake Tahoe in the late 90’s. It wowed me with its lack of friction as compared to the waxy lube I used prior (White Lightning anyone?). All Rock “N” Roll lubes I’ve tried (Blue, Gold, now Holy Cow) are on the “cleaner” end of the lube spectrum. They all work on the same principal. There is a carrier liquid for the lube that brings the lubrication solid between the rollers and the pins. It also cleans a bit, too. The carrier liquid then evaporates leaving only the lube.
For the past 5 years or so, I’ve been running the “Gold” lube which is a “goldilocks” of the Rock “N” Roll lubes that works pretty well in all conditions. They do have a dry lube, and they do have a wet lube but I have liked the gold for the balance of cleanliness and how long it lasted. Usually about 30 miles before I wanted to clean and apply more. Well, the new “Holy Cow” lube seems live in that “goldilocks” space of lubes, but it seems to last longer. I’ve gone through a full bottle of it and I seem to get 40+ miles out of it before I want to apply more.
Garrett’s Pro tips for chain lube (deviates from instructions on bottle, but keeps things cleaner)
1. Clean chain before applying lube. I put my hand in a towel (paper or cloth) and hold my fingers below the chain and thumb on top of the chain and apply pressure while I spin the cranks backwards. I spin until I stop seeing much of any black on the towel I then use a Park Tool GearClean(R) to scrape off grime from cassette teeth, jockey wheels, and the entire cassette.
2. Lay down newspaper to catch excess drippings before application.
3. Spin your cranks backwards until your powerlink or quick link is about to touch your chain ring on the lower portion of chain. Apply two drops per link, or until you see a drop of excess come off, and move to the next link closer to the derailleur. Note the last link lubed and spin cranks backward until that link almost touches the ring. Repeat until you’ve gone around the entire chain (reached the power link in my case).
4. Spin your cranks backward about 20 times to work it in.
5. Repeat chain cleaning method from step 1. More dirt will come off. This stuff cleans as it lubes. You cannot wipe off too much lube because the surface you’re lubricating is inside the chain.
6. Let sit for 3 hrs before riding.
7. Wipe off after a ride or two.
8. Repeat these steps after 40 ish miles or when the chain starts to sound dry (noisy). More frequently if you ride in rain or ride in really dry conditions. ALWAYS lube your chain after washing your bike or if it’s on the car rack while driving and raining.
The bottom line.
I’m a big fan of Rock’N’Roll chain lube. It’s clean, low friction, and when applied frequently, it helps my drive train remain quiet and last a very long time (I replace my chain frequently and I get thousands of miles on a cassette). The new Holy Cow lube is an improvement upon their already good “Gold” lube I used to use. Mojo Cycling almost usually has the Gold and lots of the Holy Cow chain lube. Give ‘em a call to check in before you pop by. As always, if you see a Gravitas Racing rider on the trail, we’ll give you a sticker for 10% off any product (including bikes) at Mojo Cycling.
Is this lube for me?
If you want a cleaner drive train and you’re willing to spend 5 minutes every 40-50 miles, then you’ll be quite happy with this lube.