Smoove's solution was the most expensive of the bunch in our five lube grouptest. However, it proved to be exceptionally effective, resulting in seemingly endless miles of quiet transmission. Our only caveat is that this is not a lube for the impatient rider, you'll need to pay attention to the instructions to get the most from this product.
Doesn't attract dirt
Lasts longer than other wax lubes
Needs careful chain prep to get the best from it
A couple of winters ago I went into my local bike shop to buy wet chain lube for my road bike. "Wet lube?" said the helpful guy behind the counter. "You don't want that. You want this!"
He sold me a bottle of wax-based Squirt, and it's been my go-to lubricant ever since. James Stout reviewed Squirt for CW in 2020, and it scored 4.5 stars.
So after a few years and many miles as a Squirt fan, I was intrigued to try Smoove. It's another wax-based lubricant, but Smoove won't necessarily welcome the comparison. Smoove is, the South Arican makers promise, different from the likes of Squirt, White Lightning, and other wax lubricants.
According to the spiel, Smoove combines the best of a good wax lube with the benefits of an oil-based lube. It promises to be a smooth-running lubricant that doesn't attract dirt, but which lasts for mile after mile.
To get the most from Smoove, you need to put in a little effort. It's a fussy lube when it comes to the cleanliness of the chain and getting the amount of lubricant just so, but the same is true of other wax lubes.
Before you let Smoove anywhere near the chain, every link has to be spotlessly clean and dry. Rush this bit and the lubricant won't penetrate the links properly.
Unsurprisingly, Smoove recommends its own Smoove Prep chain degreaser, which you can buy in a £14.99 bottle that's good for 10 applications. Smoove recommends using its own measure as shown on the side of the bottle, rather than the fill line on your chain-cleaning device. I wasn't convinced – it really didn't look like there was enough degreaser – but it did the job.
I rinsed the chain with water, then dried it thoroughly. Next, Smoove was applied to the inside of the chain, with enough liquid to span between the pins. The bottle has a narrow, pipette-like opening that makes it simple to control how much Smoove goes on each link. Finally, I span the chain backwards around 20 times to work the liquid into the chain.
Then I waited. Smoove reckons an hour is enough, but overnight is better. So I left the chain for a good 12 hours or so. I resisted the urge to wipe away any excess as I usually would, trusting that the people at Smoove know their own product.
On the first ride the chain stayed quiet, and shifted smoothly. And so it has been for ride after ride. The chain has lost the shiny clean look, but it's a dull grey rather than oily black or covered in crusty gloop as it might have become if I'd used a wet lube.
I'm now up to 150 miles on the original application, including rides in all weather and a deliberate 20-second soaking of the chain with a garden hose to see if I could shift it. That was 50 miles ago, and the chain is still smooth and quiet.
We've heard of riders going much further than this without needing to apply more lubricant, but the review deadline is pressing...
For me, this is where Smoove scores over Squirt. Both make great chain lubes, but Smoove seems more resistant to wet weather, going further between applications.
Value and conclusions
I tested this lube against four others. Costing £14.99 for a 125ml bottle, Smoove was by far the most expensive of the bunch. However, when you consider how durable it is, one 125ml bottle will go an awfully long way.
Compared to a good wet lube like Fenwick's All Conditions, Smoove take a bit more effort to apply. But it's hard to argue with the results. There's not a lot to choose between Smoove and its rival Squirt, but I'd say better longevity in wet weather gives Smoove the edge.
Which is the best chain lube? Scores on the doors
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David Motton is a freelance journalist and presenter specialising in motoring and cycling. David's cycling reviews, features and news stories have been published in Cycling Plus, Pro Cycling, Bikeradar.com and in mainstream newspapers such as The Sunday Times and The Telegraph. As a motoring journalist, he has contributed to Autocar, WhatCar?, Practical Caravan and more.
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