Green Oil Wet Chain Lube is a winter weight prep claimed to mimic PTFE-infused brews but substituting environmentally dubious petrochemicals for plant extracts. Overall performance is pretty good compared with simpler wet oils, and it stands up reasonably well against foul weather. That said, it also collects dirt, and similarly priced petrochemical examples still trump it in terms of miles per application.
Green Oil was understandably reticent to give much away, but would tell me the lubricant was derived from a mixture of 'crop, fruit and leaf based oils taken from numerous plants'. N-tox is its brand of fixing agent, preventing it from being washed away with the first big puddle.
As with other chain preps, recipient chains need to be surgically clean, and the bottle given a liberal shake before twisting the spout and drizzling into every link.
Ironically enough, it emerges from the spout a rich honey colour – just like middle weight ISO/Teflon types – and with four or five revolutions of the crank, is almost indistinguishable from them. There's no hanging around waiting for it to cure either.
Green Oil also recommends it for cables, locks and other mechanisms. Broadly speaking, I'd agree, and have had great results with cleat mechanisms, and as a grease substitute on mudguard, carrier and bottle cage fasteners. However, a word of caution when it comes to cables. A quick trace around the stops/ferrules stops water ingress, but resist the temptation to pop some on inner wires, derailleur springs and pivot points – these will only gum up, requiring intensive shots of water displacer.
Responsiveness is somewhere between a heavyweight Teflon and the thinner end of the wet lube zodiac: slick but without feeling syrupy, and it has clung convincingly to electroplated and stainless chains alike.
Several weeks spent traversing wet, gritty back roads and bridleways have confirmed its staying prowess, and as long as I avoided shallow river crossings, I've consistently achieved the claimed 125 miles per application.
The 100ml container slips conveniently into wedge packs or jersey pockets, and topping up is simply a matter of wiping the links with a rag, adding a drop to every link, and scooting off. As with other wet lubes, weekly wiping of chains, jockey wheels and derailleur cages is recommended, and it transfers to hands/clothing rather easily too.
Ultimately, some shop branded wet brews might trump it in terms of longevity and outright value for money, but Green Oil Wet remains a reasonably capable, kinder alternative for road and less intensive cross/trail duties.
Capable wet lube that's kind to user and environment alike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Green Oil Wet Chain Lube
Size tested: 100ml
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From Green Oil:
- Prevents rust
Green Oil chain lube was developed in 2007, and is the country's if not the World's first biodegradable bike chain lube. It lasts in excess of 100 miles on the chain per application (depending on conditions) and has won a wealth of awards - from environmentalists and the bike industry alike.
Green Oil has an easy to use 'snap cap'. Simply twist and pull off in one go. It has a fantastic long nozzle, easy to get to hard to reach areas.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Green Oil says:
"Green Oil chain lube now contains N-Toc, a special refined plant extract to increase durability, increasing the length of time between applications.
Green Oil can also be used for cables, brake leavers, bike locks and for other lube applications. Its versatile."
Surprisingly stocky formula that mimics more basic petrochemicals in terms of characteristics.
Does exactly what it says on the bottle and will genuinely return the stated 125 miles per application, even in some foul conditions.
Not bad, even in some very testing conditions, but more basic petrochemical wet types will last a good bit longer.
100ml tube is easily stowed in a wedge pack or jersey pocket.
Pleasant to use and easy to apply, but remember to wipe the excess and chain's outer plates on a weekly basis to prevent it becoming a gungy grinding paste.
Ultimately, if price is your only yardstick, then simple 10w/40 motor oil will achieve higher miles per application. However, Green Oil Wet doesn't contain anything nasty and is still reasonably stout.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, Green Oil Wet lube has impressed me with its blend of simplicity, smoothness and staying prowess. Mimicking more traditional wet lubes in terms of consistency, it has returned a genuine 125 miles per application despite regular exposure to flooded roads and heavy rain. Aside from stripping chains of pre-existing lube first time, it is extremely convenient to reapply. It will also double as a handy grease substitute for fasteners and the container size is tour friendly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatile, easy to apply, decent staying prowess; a little goes surprisingly far.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Like all wet lubes, it does attract dirt, which will evolve into a grinding paste when left unchecked and also transfers to hands when fixing punctures/other roadside mechanicals.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a decent alternative to traditional wet lubes, but attracts more contaminant in comparable contexts. Improved cleanliness and existing staying prowess would earn it a 7 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)