Stroll into any bike shop looking for a chain lubricate and prepare to be inundated with numerous choices. From synthetic to ‘biodegradable’ options, picking a lube usually comes down to a recommendation from a shop mechanic or a friend who works on their own bikes. Each year at Interbike there seems to be a new lube making its debut, but is there really any need to change from what already works? This year there was one company bringing a lube to market that maybe worthy of trying something new. Slick Lube of Newark, Delaware has a product line with a laundry list of features, some of which have not appeared in any other chain lubes.
Slick Lube chain lubricants are both bioderived and biodegradable. Their lubes are made from plants and are formulated to exceed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) biobased content guidelines, earning them the honor of being the only bicycle chain lubricate with the USDA biobase certification. All of their lubes have a minimum of 80-percent biobase content all the way up to 96-percent for their ‘Original’ formula.
Along with the being not harmful to the environment, each Slick Lube has a H-1 designation with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) – the organization “Founded in 1944…committed to protecting and improving human health on a global scale.” This designation means that this lubricant is approved for incidental food contact. This doesn’t mean that you can use Slick Lube to cook with, but it is good news for those mechanics who like to massage chain lube into each link by hand. Long term exposure on the skin will not harm them.
Currently Slick Lube is available in three different formulations, each in 4-ounce bottles:
Slick Lube Lite 50 – a viscosity of 50 centipoise (cp) is formulated for dry weather conditions. This lubricant provides the lowest coefficient of friction and the highest chain drive power efficiency. Features superior penetrating qualities and anti-wear additives.
Slick Lube ‘Original’ 100 – a viscosity of 100 cp is formulated for all weather conditions. Our most popular and versatile lubricant that’s perfect for everyday riding conditions on or off the road.
Slick Lube Xtreme 200 – a viscosity of 200 cp is formulated for wet conditions. Our longest lasting lubricant with superior water resistance and durable lubricant-metal adhesion.
There is also a ‘dry’ lube in the works that Slick Lube is promising will adhere to the same standards that they have set for their current line.
One ‘slick’ feature that really needs to be mentioned which will be probably appreciated by shop and home mechanics alike. The formulation of Slick Lube uses a special polymer that eliminates the need for stinky, toxic degreasers. Instead of using chemicals to clean a chain, simply use one of their Slick Wipes (sold separately) to wipe the chain and apply more lube.
Slick Lube was developed by a former DuPont chemical engineer and the ‘science’ behind their products is clear. Information about viscosity, flammability tests, and material safety data sheets (MSDS) are just a clicks away on their website. Slick Lube is working with both brick and mortar shops along with a handful of online retailers to get their product line out to the cycling public. If you are interested in getting your hands on a bottle of this earth-friendly and people-friendly lube, but can’t seem to find it, drop Slick Lube a note and the should be able to hook you up with a retailer. Expect to pay just under $10 for a bottle, just a small price to pay for a lube that is both safe for you and safe for the planet.