Juice Lubes Viking Juice is marketed as an all-conditions lubricant, supposedly developed in response to Marcus Backstedt's lament about his chain sounding rough during Paris-Roubaix. After several weeks of use, I still have mixed feelings.
It's another ultra-runny, super-flammable-smelling prep that must only be applied to chains stripped bare of any existing lube, in well-ventilated areas with a rag hovering beneath.
Following this to the letter, the watery blue fluid literally races from the spout, invading the links and rollers in true Viking fashion. Rags were similarly sodden, so I'd recommend wringing them into the links – recycling as subsequent coats, rather than letting it go to waste.
Double-ups are the most common modus operandi but given comments from other seasoned riders and Juice's own claims that four coats is permissible, I took the latter route.
Curing time is literally minutes, rather than hours – great for final pre-race preparation – and friction is absolutely minimal. It works quite well on pivot point/adjuster screws too, but is too thin for jockey wheels or cleat/similar mechanisms. Once the solvent carrier evaporates, chains sport a glossy glaze.
The first 60 miles spent commuting along damp roads and through intermittent, heavy rain were pretty encouraging – no squeaks, no grit/grot, no cleaning required. This song of serenity remained unchanged during outings of 80 miles or so too.
Transference to hands and clothing is virtually non-existent, whether tackling a flat by the roadside, shouldering, or just popping bikes sans wheels in the boot of a car.
However, longevity is decidedly poor in comparison with other, cheaper potions marketed as all-conditions. Despite my generous delivery, I was topping up by the roadside at 160 miles. Putting this into context, in comparable autumn weather, others returned around 200 miles before chains needed topping up.
Experience with the barely-there low viscosity brews saw me stuffing an old sock in the wedge pack, minimising mess/wastage, but by this stage – even with careful deployment – I was nearly halfway through the bottle!
Bottom line, this is an extremely clean-running lube, well suited to bikes racking up the miles in dry to moderate conditions. However, modest staying power in wet weather was not what I was expecting from one promising to withstand Paris-Roubaix.
Extremely clean, low-friction option for mild to moderate conditions but hasn't lived up to expectations
Make and model: Juice Lubes Viking Juice
Size tested: 130ml
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?
Juice Lubes says: "Viking Juice is an advanced chain lube designed to work well in wet and dry conditions. It will remain in the chain for a much longer period than conventional lubes, increasing chain life. Originally designed with Magnus Backstedt, to last the entire Paris-Roubaix race and keep him smiling!"
Not bad if you wanted a super-clean summer lube with some staying power in a moderately wet autumn/mid spring, but performance has been disappointing overall.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Juice Lubes says: "Viking Juice is very runny, so take care not to open the valve too much otherwise it will end up on the floor!
"For top performance, chain must be thoroughly degreased (Use Dirt Juice Super Gnarl for this!) Apply up to 4 layers of Viking Juice , allowing at least 2 minutes between each layer for the lube to penetrate and 'set-up' correctly.
"Ideally you would apply Viking Juice after you have cleaned your bike having finished a ride. This would give the chain lube the maximum amount of time to set up properly giving maximum performance on your next ride and stopping any corrosion occurring in the meantime."
Very smooth and clean transmission but underwhelmed by the longevity.
Messy but relatively quick to re/apply.
Expensive, even compared with very similarly sophisticated most-conditions preps.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I had high hopes for the Viking Juice, but while I can see some potential if you competed over shorter distances, I've been disappointed by the overall staying power. Other all-weather formulas seem better buys for winter training or audax type distances, even if they collect a little more dirt.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very clean and slick, quite long-lasting in fair to moderate weather too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Longevity, relative to claims, is my biggest bugbear.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? On balance, no.
Use this box to explain your score
By no means a bad lube in itself but hasn't met my criteria for an all-conditions formula and is relatively expensive.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)