Great Package, Great Lube?
Circa 2001--We had the opportunity recently to start using Campagnolo's home-brewed chain lube, so we thought we'd let you know how our road test is
Actually, we first thought of putting the lube on this site when we opened the package (from our good friends at
Branford Bike). As any cyclist knows, there's a plethora of lubes out their, ranging from good ol' 3-in-1 oil to synthetic lubes to a whole raft of so-called "dry" lubes. And most of those are good products--we've used most of them, and they all seem to perform their basic job (keeping the chain parts sliding instead of sticking) pretty well.
So what does Campagnolo do differently? Well, it starts the package. This is one classy way to put oil in a can--check out the photo.
The lube arrives in a bright white container, with the familiar Campy logo
and text in English and Italian. Inside, the lube is in another,
nested white container; the little tube that helps put the lube in the
right place fits into a neat little spot next to the aerosol can.
All in all, it's head and shoulders above the packaging for any other
product out there (although some makers, like Pedros, might cringe at the
overuse of plastic, and the non-recyclable aerosol can).
The folks at Branford Bike recommend the use of a
"wet" lube like Campagnolo's "Lubrificante." The
theory goes that a lube that stays wet will be able to protect all of the
chain's parts by flowing to where it's needed. A "dry"
lube like White Lightning, goes the theory, can't flow, so it can't
protect as well. Great theory.
In practice, it means that this stuff really flows.
And flows. And flows. And when it flows off the chain, it
sprays. And splatters. We put on a generous amount (no
instructions come with the lube, so we guessed about the amount),
got on the bike, and rode it for a few days (not constantly--just a few
rides!). When we checked the bike, we were in for a shock. The
back end of our bike looked like we'd been riding through an oil
slick. The chain was a deep black color (unlike the clean, silver
color we had become used to seeing), the rim was sprayed with oil--even
the frame bore the spatters of our wayward lube. It took a while to
clean up the mess.
Since then, we've been more careful to heed the advice of
Tim at Branford Bike, and wipe down the chain after every ride.
We've also cut down on the amount we use. The chain still runs very
quietly (one of the first things we noticed when we started using
Lubrificante), but the oil slick has mostly disappeared. (Quick
tip: Whatever lube you use, a quick wipedown with a WD40-soaked rag
will do wonders.) We're getting used to the slightly higher
One last item: smell. This stuff smells
really rank. When I first used it, I was struck by the very heavy,
thick oil smell. You can almost smell the old dinosaurs that fell in
the swamp back in the Jurassic to make the ooze that Campy refined their
lubricant from. Even when the bike is hanging on the wall rack, you
can catch a whiff now and then. Don't use this for cologne (unless
you're dating a Campagnolo fanatic or a dinosaur).
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