It just doesn’t seem that tenacious
Jumping on the bandwagon in mountain biking, so when Finish Line sent some of its new e-bike Chain Lube I was more than a little sceptical.
The reason for dedicated e-lube is because most e-bikes typically add at least 250 watts to the normal rider input, and this extra power and torque, means the chain experiences much higher rate of wear. I’ve not been able to get any info from Shimano or SRAM about what this typically is, but both those companies do apply special coatings to their e-bike chains to reduce it. Nevertheless, e-bike chains still wear quickly, which is why Finish Line has developed a lube specific targeted at e-bikes.
I’ve not done anything particularly scientific when testing this lube – I’ve just been riding my e-bike until the chain either became noisy, or felt dry, and then re-applying it, with a full clean and degrease every third ride.
Finish Line says you need two or three applications to build up sufficient lubricant, but it should then deliver up to 200 miles per application. Unfortunately, I haven’t found that to be the case. In fact, I’ve had to use this lube every ride and, if I could do it mid-ride, I would have done that too. It just doesn’t seem that tenacious and I think there are a couple of reasons for that — we’ve had some of the wettest conditions on record this winter in the UK, and the lube is semi-dry, meaning it’s pretty thin and I’ve just burnt through it. Finish Line says carrier used in this lube has a very low surface tension, which makes it easier to apply and also helps remove surface grime, but it admits the lube is not nearly as oily and as viscous as a wet lube. As something that needs to work all year round, I totally get why it has a semi-dry formula, but I think if you’re riding in wet conditions you need a wet lube. On an e-bike I’d also prioritise durability over efficiency.
On the positive side, I’ve been testing the lube with Finish Line’s No Drip Chain Luber. You can’t back pedal an e-bike to apply lube like normal, but you can use the Chain Luber to rub it along the chain and then let it soak in. At £7.99 for an empty bottle it’s a little expensive but it does work.