Monday, September 23, 2019

Guitar Ted Lube-Off: The Contenders (So Far)

Muc-Off "Dry" version of their C3 Ceramic lube. (With UV gizmo)
The weekend was the pits as far as getting any riding in for me. Saturday was sketchy and I had errands. Then on Sunday, it rained a lot of the day and I woke up with a splitting head ache. (No alcohol involved) I have had a mild head cold of late and it kind of kicked into gear Sunday. No matter. It wasn't a great day for riding anyway.

So, in the meantime I dug into maintenance and some projects down in the "Lab" here at Guitar Ted Production's headquarters. One of those tasks was to get the three bikes I had in mind to use for the test set up with the lubes for the new "Guitar Ted Lube-Off" challenge, which I mentioned in the "FN&V" on Friday, of course. So, here we go, the three challengers, the bikes, and news on something that I just became aware of Friday.

Muc Off C3 Ceramic Lube/ Noble Bikes GX5: The new contender, Muc Off, with the C3 Ceramic lube, is on the Noble Bikes GX5 for this test. This bike has a SRAM Force 1X 11 drive train. The chain and the rest of the drive train is in pretty good shape.

Squirt Lube/ Fargo Gen I: The well known Fargo Gen I is the bike I chose to use the Squirt lube on. The drive train on the Fargo Gen I is a 3 X 9 and it is in a pretty worn state, but not out of spec......yet! I am expecting to find that I will need to be upgrading the bike with new parts soon. That said, it has shifted great and I have experienced no issues with it since I began riding this set up this year again.

DuMonde Tech/ Black Mountain Cycles MCD: Finally, the last bike in the test is the BMC MCD, otherwise known as the "Bubblegum Princess". The drive train on this bike is a 2X 11 set up and it has a ton of life left in it yet. This bike started out with DuMonde Tech lubricant and the chain is still the original one I started with last year when the bike was new.

The "Bubblegum Princess", as seen at the Solstice 100 earlier this year.
How The Chains Were Prepared: The BMC MCD was originally set up with DuMonde Tech on a brand new chain by stripping off the stock grease/coating and then applying the DuMonde Tech lube as prescribed by DuMonde Tech. I think I have re-applied a couple of times. DuMonde Tech recommends that when you hear chain noise that you put a drop on each roller and then continue use. So, currently the chain hasn't been lubed in a LONG time but until I hear anymore noises, I am not re-applying lube.

The Muc Off instructions were to strip the chain of any lube and dirt, dry it off, and apply a liberal dosage of the C3 lube to the chain. Muc Off says that it is recommended to let the lube set up for several hours before riding, but I am letting these all sit for a day+ at least, so no worries there. Muc Off also supplies you with what looks like a little key fob/key ring dealie. In reality, this is a tiny UV light emitter. Muc Off advises the end user to use the UV light to see if your lube application got the C3 down into the rollers and pins of your chain.

Muc Off C3 chain lube UV's out to a light blue color, which you can see by using the supplied UV emitter that comes in the box with the lube. 
In the image above you can see how the C3 has penetrated the pin/plate interface somewhat. This is kind of interesting since it seems like 80% of what I put on is......gone. If the UV thing is any indication, that is. Hmmm.... It feels like it has tons of lube on it, but we'll see. I'll get around to talking about the "touch test" in a second......

For the Squirt lube I did a similar clean-dry-lube procedure as I did for the Muc Off. Oh! By the way, I used Muc Off's Bio Chain Degreaser to clean these followed up with a water rinse, according to Muc Off's instructions. Okay, with that out of the way, Squirt recommends one drop of lube per roller, but that it is okay if you go a little bit more liberally than that. I did something toward the "little more liberal" approach. Squirt then recommends that you let the bike sit overnight. I did this.

Touch Test: The "Touch Test" is what I do to see if (a) a chain has any lube on it, and how much, (b) to see the condition of the lube, If it is dirty, and how much "grit" is in it, and (c) to see if the chain is "dry", rusty, or has a lot of friction. So, we can eliminate "c", somewhat, from consideration here, but the other two points are valid to look in to here. The test is performed by taking my index finger tip, "rolling" the rollers of the chain from the side that engages the teeth of the drive train components, and then observing any residue that is left behind on my finger tip. Sometimes I also focus on what the "feel" is, as I roll those rollers, since, as with dry lube, you often don't get any residue off on your finger tip.

Results: Muc Off C3 felt slick, but left no residue on my finger after a day. I did get some after 3 hours. This was a bit of a surprise seeing as how the UV test revealed very little lube there, at least from what I could see. Hmm..... My recommendation would be to let the Muc Off C3 sit overnight after an application. The Squirt Lube felt dry. Like a dry chain, but maybe a bit less friction? No residue to speak of there either. Impressive. Squirt says an application of their standard lube, which is what I am using here, should last up to 6 hours of road riding. (They haven't seen the "roads" I am gonna ride though!) DuMonde Tech generally doesn't feel like anything is on the chain, and after dusting mine off on the BMC, I found this to be true again. No residue after wiping down with a dry cotton cloth.

Okay, Squirt says to go 6 hours before a re-application of their lube, so I think that should make for a good time to check back in on things. That means I have 18 hours of riding to do! Oh! And about that bit of a surprise I mentioned from Friday- I have heard from Grannygear that there is a new lube that someone wants RidingGravel.com to test, so if that comes in time to insert that into this Lube-Off, there will be a fourth contender. Stay tuned......

NOTE:  I was not asked to do this test, and I am doing it out of my own curiosity. There is no "prize" for coming out on top. No sponsorship, no personal connection with Squirt, Muc-Off, or DuMonde tech here.  The products used for this "Lube-Off" came from various events, or were sent to me to try at no charge. I am not being bribed, nor paid for this "Lube-Off", and any thoughts and opinions are only my own. Your results may vary.

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