White Lightning Clean Ride wax lube has as much to offer ’cross bikes and winter hacks as summer playthings. As its name implies, it both lubricates and purges grit and grime from the drivetrain, minimising maintenance and helping prevent premature component wear.
Clean Ride’s formula is broadly similar to other wax lubes. The petroleum distillates and PTFE lubricate outer and inner surfaces of the chain, while the boron nitride improves longevity and inhibits corrosion.
To use it, you first need to clean and degrease the chain and dry it thoroughly. Then you drizzle Clean Ride over every link. Keep plenty of kitchen towel handy as it pours liberally from the spout, coating not only the chain but the rear tyre and flooring if you’re not careful. It cures to a milky white, ready-to-ride state in around 15 minutes. Treated chains have whispered up and down close and wide ratio cassettes, feeling brisker than those coated in traditional oils.
I stopped to inspect the chain 40 miles into an 80-mile loop. Waterlogged roads had turned the wax from milky white to a flaky sludge brown but the lubricant properties remained intact. While stream crossings and some saturated bridle path didn’t leave my chain feeling arthritic, more liberal helpings of Clean Ride would be prudent for those regularly cycling in damp, muddy environments.
Longevity is tricky to quantify, as it will depend on riding style and conditions. I managed 120 miles between top-ups. The drivetrain components stayed markedly cleaner, with muck and congealed wax localised to the outer jockey wheels.
The four-ounce bottle easily fits jersey pockets or seatpacks so might appeal to tourers or audax riders who don’t mind re-lubricating the chain more frequently. That said, wet lubes remain the superior option for persistently wet rides or bikes with hub, fixed and singlespeed transmissions rather than cassettes.
Decent wax lube that keeps drivetrains pristine but requires more frequent and careful application than wet lubes.
road.cc test report
Make and model: White Lightning Clean Ride wax lube
Size tested: 4oz
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?
Clean Ride™ is Cycling's Only Self-Cleaning Lubricant
Clean Ride literally sheds dirt & grime while you ride, keeping your bike running smoothly.
"Clean Ride sets up as a dry wax film. There is no oily film to attract abrasive contaminants, so your chain and gears will perform better and last 2 to 3 times longer. Clean Ride's self-cleaning action is activated by any dirt, grit or grime that finds it's way onto your chain or parts. Small particles of the outer wax structure will flake off, taking the dirt, grime or grit with it. This begins the cycle of 'self-cleaning'. Clean Ride is a unique, wax-based lubricant, so it is important to start with a clean chain. For optimum 'self-cleaning' performance, do not mix Clean Ride with oil based lubricants. The dirtier the ride, the more active the shedding action. So to this extent, Clean Ride will require more frequent re-application after dirtier rides. When Clean Ride is used regularly and properly, you'll rarely have to clean your chain again. So, while your buddies are cleaning their chains, you'll be applying a fresh shot of Clean Ride and heading out for yet another great ride!".
Perhaps slightly over-sold but broadly speaking, accurate.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if cleanliness was their main priority
About the tester
Age: 37 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)