A chain lube with very genuine sustainability credentials, Green Oil's Wet Lube is as effective as it is environmentally clean. There are other options out there that last longer, but they are twice as expensive, and this Wet Lube stood up to the tests we threw at it.
Durable in all weathers
For a wet lube, it doesn't attract a lot of dirt
Biodegradable lube in a recycled bottle
Refills available from some bike shops
Some more expensive options last even longer
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Green Oil has a made a name for itself with its sustainable range of lubricants and cleaning products. It's come a long way since the first sample batch was sold in bottles bought from eBay and filled from an old beer tap in 2007.
These days Green Oil produces Dry Chain Wax and Eco Spray Lube, as well as Green Oil Wet Chain Lube. It's the Wet Lube I've been testing over the winter.
Some rival chain lubes use PTFE to help shed dirt from the chain. The trouble is, PTFE doesn't biodegrade, and can't be absorbed and broken down by plants. Green Oil has always been firmly against the use of PTFE (also known by the brand name Teflon) in lubricants, and there are no petrochemicals either. Instead of dead dinosaurs, Green Oil Wet Lube is plant-based (nearly 30 different natural ingredients are used across Green Oil's range). What's more, it's made in the UK.
A number of other brands market their lubricants as biodegradable, although Green Oil argues those claims don't always stack up. Green Oil goes further in its sustainable approach with recycled packaging and the option of refilling bottles of lube from its stockists rather than buying a new one.
Of course, Green Oil's sustainable approach wouldn't count for much if the products didn't perform. Although mostly well received, in the early years, Green Oil had some stick for not preventing rust as well it should. The latest Wet Lube formulation includes N-Toc, a plant-derived anti-oxidant, to answer than criticism.
I can't tell you exactly what N-Toc is made of – "it's a trade secret", says Green Oil. I can tell you that it works.
I've been testing a few lubes over the past few months, and part of the test follows the same routine. I spray the chain with a garden hose to simulate rainy weather, leave the water on the chain for half an hour or so to let it really soak into every nook and cranny of the drivetrain, then go for a ride.
Well, when I did this with Green Oil, it started to rain as soon as I left home. It was steady at first, then properly Biblical, the kind of rain that makes you give up on riding outdoors and sign up to Zwift the moment you get home. Normally I would clean and dry a chain after a wet ride, but to see how well the N-Toc secret ingredient worked I left the chain soaking wet. A day later there was no sign of any rust on the chain at all. There were no stiff links in the chain, and I could turn the cranks with no jumps or jolts.
Some wet lubes cling on to the chain, but dirt clings to the lube. Green Oil is better than most in this respect, with no sign of grit and dirt mixing in with the lubricant to make a thick and abrasive paste.
Value and conclusions
Green Oil says the lube will last 200km+ (124 miles) between applications. I found the chain was still smooth and quiet after over 100 miles. So each £7.99 100ml bottle should keep your chain happy for a good long while.
I tested this lube as part of a five-up grouptest. I did find that the Smoove lube lasted longer, but at £14.99 a bottle, it is almost twice as dear.
Whatever lube you put on your chain, riding a bike is going to be better for the environment that driving a 1.5-tonne metal box. But if you really want to minimise the environmental impact of your cycling, Green Oil is very thorough in its approach. Best of all, you're not compromising on performance – Green Oil Wet Chain Lube is really very good indeed.
Which is the best chain lube? Scores on the doors
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