Dumonde Tech Chain LubeJan Heine
When I was racing on fender-less bikes, chain lube was an important topic here in the wet Pacific Northwest. Back then, it was generally accepted that Dumonde Tech was by far the best lube. It was the only one that allowed you to complete a rainy ride without the chain squeaking loudly in protest at the end.
Riding with fenders that keep the road spray off my drivetrain means I usually lube my chain once, when I install it, and then don’t have to think about it ever again. So my last bottle of Dumonde Tech lasted a long, long time. When it ran out, I figured I’d try something new.
There are many lubes now that claim to save a few watts under laboratory conditions. If you race on the track or are preparing your bike for a 10 km time trial, that may be useful. For the rest of us, what we want from a chain lube is that it keeps the chain from squeaking!
I bought several chain lubes, but they all disappointed. One didn’t even last the short (rainy) ride back from the bike shop. Before I got home, the newly-lubed chain was already squeaking! Then I asked Lael Wilcox for some chain lube, the night before we started our ride on the Oregon Outback last spring. I know she’s very particular about keep her chain running smoothly – she applies lube almost every time she stops during a long race! To my surprise, she handed me a bottle of Dumonde Tech. “It’s the only stuff that works,” she said.
So we decided to add Dumonde Tech’s superior lube to our program. The new ‘Pro-X’ has fewer volatile organic compounds (VOC), so it’s safe to airship, and it doesn’t smell as much. (The old stuff was something you really wanted to use only outside!) There are two versions. The Lite has a lighter concentration of polymers and is intended for dry conditions. The Regular is for all other riding.
Back in the day, we used Dumonde Tech like regular chain lube – we just applied it on top of whatever lube was on the chain already. Used that way, it already worked better than anything else, but Dumonde recommends degreasing the chain before the first application. The idea is that the bearing surfaces of the chain links are coated with the polymers in the lube, forming a durable plating. I did that for my Oregon Outback FKT ride a month ago: Degrease the chain, apply the lube (I used the Lite), wipe off, and go for a ride immediately. (Re-applications, if needed, don’t require degreasing the chain again.)
Did it work? The chain remained quiet and smooth for more than 400 km of fast riding on dusty roads (without fenders this time). Only when I splashed through the river crossings in the Ochoco Mountains did the chain become dry. By the end of the ride, it was squeaking a little. So while Dumonde Tech works better than other lubes, even it will be defeated when you submerge the chain in water. I also put the Regular on my (fender-less) Firefly, and it’s worked great on many foggy and muddy rides here in the Cascade Mountains. It seems that degreasing the chain first does improve the performance of Dumonde Tech’s chain lube further.
Looking through Dumonde’s program, I also noticed their Freehub Oil. I haven’t had much luck finding a good lube for my freewheels. I’ve tried a ‘tenacious’ oil, but it was so gummy that the freewheel pawls didn’t engage properly after a while. Sewing machine oil wasn’t any better – apparently it turns into resin after a while. I haven’t used Dumonde’s freehub oil yet, but it looks promising.
Dumonde Tech chain lube and freehub oil are now available in our Tools section.
Photo credit: Rugile Kaladyte (Photo 2)