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Short and sweet: In my opinion, Rock ’n’ Roll makes the best bicycle chain lubes out there. I’ve used the blue Extreme for four years and it keeps my chain both clean and lubricated. So that’s the one I’m using on my 5-year trip as well. There's also a red Rock'N'Roll Absolute Dry and Gold for in-between, but Extreme seems to be best when the weather isn’t great - which is quite often on tour.

If you’ve never heard of it before, the first thing you need to know is that Rock'n'Roll lubes are not oil. They're a synthetic lubrication with a gel membrane. That means there are differences with how you apply it, and it genuinely does clean and lubricate the chain at the same time. Plus it’s not sticky, so you won’t end up with nearly as much mud and other gunk slowing down your drivetrain.

Rock'n'Roll Extreme and the refill bottle, ready for action

 

How to apply Rock’n’Roll Extreme

Step 1: Take out the bottle. Fill the small one from the bigger one if necessary. The large one is just for refills. You use the small bottle for the actual work.

Step 2: If you see that white stuff (that's the grease) on the bottom, shake until it’s completely mixed in. This is also important before refills. Otherwise you'll end up with the wrong mixtures in both bottles.

Step 3: Put the bike on the fastest gear - smallest cog on the rear, biggest in the front. Make sure you can spin the pedals without obstructions.

This is where the chain should be positioned in the rear cogset.

This is where the chain should be positioned in the rear cogset.

Step 4: While turning the pedal backwards, apply the lube generously on the chain over the rear cog. Not just a drop for each link, but squirt on the whole chain. Do this until it’s dripping with the stuff.

"Don't be cheap", say the official instructions. A few drops won't do it.

"Don't be cheap", say the official instructions. A few drops won't do it.

Step 5: Turn the pedal backwards fast for a few seconds, so that the lube fully penetrates the inside of the links.

Step 6: Clean the chain with a rag. Be thorough, clean it as well as you can. When touring, I don’t necessarily have access to rags, so I use kitchen towels instead. I also lay them under the chain while applying the lube, so it doesn't drip on the ground.

The chain should end up looking almost as good as new!

The chain should end up looking almost as good as new!

On tour I do this about once a week or so, depending on how much I'm riding. If it rains, I may apply more often. If the chain is making any sound I know it's time to re-lubricate soon.

I'm sure there are alternatives that need less frequent care, but the benefit of having a clean chain easily outweigh the time spent reapplying. With a clean chain the performance is better, there's much less wear and tear on the drivetrain, and I suppose the psychological aspect counts as well.

I don't see any other chain lube replacing this one during my round-the-world trip.

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