Our Family Bike Guy, Henry, is back with two mini-reviews on some popular products we gave him to test.
Mini-reviews: Why am I writing mini-reviews all of a sudden I hear you ask. Well the answer my blog reading friends is quite simple: there is only so much I can write about chain lube, gloves and energy bars before I either start to repeat myself or you get bored and go somewhere else.
Mini-review 1: TF2 Extreme Wet synthetic lubricant.
Now, before I delve into that TF2 lube review I want to just clarify some [common] confusion about lubricant, grease and water displacer. A lubricant, either wet or dry (I’ll get to the difference in a minute) is lighter and less ‘sticky’ than grease and is designed to minimise friction in exposed moving parts like a chain. A grease is a ‘heavy’ substance that typically has to be applied directly rather than dripped and is designed to reduce friction in high load high heat moving parts like the bearings in your bottom bracket or hubs. A water displacer or teflon spray, like WD40 or GT85, is aerosol based and lightweight that can be used to clean as well as displace water from moving parts. These sprays are useful but should not be used in place of a proper chain lube and if used excessively can flush out grease and lube from your drive chain and bearings, the results of which aren’t much fun!
Wet vs Dry lube.
This is a very confusing distinction for those new to bike maintenance as both types of lubes are in fact liquid and therefore both wet! What the descriptions are really referring to is what happens after the lube is applied. Basically, a wet lube will stay wet once on your chain. A dry lube utilises a wax component that is supposed protect your chain by preventing dirt from adhering to it and yes, you guessed it, dry lube dries (to an extent) after application.
The right lube to use is entirely dependent upon the type of riding you do and the kind of conditions you normally ride in. Again, in general terms, a wet lube is best for muddy, wet or winter conditions and a dry lube for summer and dusty conditions. Ideally, if you ride all year round in a variety of conditions you should have both in your maintenance kit.
Wet Lubricant from TF2
TF2’s wet lube does a great job. It goes on easily, stays on in wet conditions and keeps the drive chain moving nicely. As it is a wet lube, if you ride in dry dusty conditions you’ll find your chain will be very dirty and gloopy after a ride. This would be a good time to switch to a dry lube or get into the habit of cleaning your chain properly after each ride and then re-lubricating. In fact, one thing I did find out was that applying TF2 Extreme to an already dirty chain wasn’t a good idea. The dirt prevented the lube from adhering properly and it then splatters all over your frame and legs when you next ride!
So, as long as you apply TF2 to a clean(ed) chain it works great and I’d definitely recommend it.
Mini-review 2: Altura Progel fingerless gloves. s.r.p £19.99
Cycling fingerless glove from Altura
If you are enjoying a bit of road riding this summer (I use that word in the broadest possible sense) or you are getting into road riding then a decent pair of fingerless gloves is definitely worth investing in. Why, you might ask. Well, there are two main reasons to buy this type of glove. The first is the gel padding on the palm. Road riding is tough on the whole body but especially on the main contact points of the bum, hands and feet. A good pair of padded shorts are essential to protect one’s derrière and likewise good padded gloves help to reduce vibration fatigue in the wrists and arms. The gel pads in these Altura gloves are located on the main load bearing points around the peripheral of the palm and are quite thick without being cumbersome.
Gel pads on palm of Altura Progel glove
I noticed an instant increase in riding comfort with these gloves. The other benefit, is the fingerless construction. No fingers helps to keep your hands cool and avoid a build up of perspiration. They also mean there’s no interference with brakes or shifter levers, which is something I’ve encountered with a full glove.
The tops of the Altura Progel glove are a single skin of lycra that is both comfortable and cool. I probably shouldn’t have gone for the white version as they are bit trick to keep clean but they matched my bike better so I’ll just have to put up with that!
For the price, I felt these gloves were great value, providing excellent levels of comfort. I’ve ridden around 200 miles wearing these gloves and they are not showing any sign of wear.
Written by Henry Aarvold, Family Bike Guy
No monetary payment was received for this review. Both products tested were kept by the reviewer.