Campagnolo's Lubrificante--
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 going.

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. Click for a larger version  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 maintenance.

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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