Wonder lubes come in all colours these days, promising ever longer service intervals but White Lightning Crystal Clear Grease is more interesting than most.
It's a clear, supposedly biodegradable formula designed to resist contamination, theoretically allowing easier diagnosis of component wear and doesn't transfer to other surfaces so that grimy tell-tale handprint on the kitchen light switch could become a distant memory. Better still, it's reckoned to be friendly to all surfaces including carbon fibre and rubberised seals- perfect for the entire fleet.
As might be expected, precise composition is a closely guarded secret but we can reveals it's a two part system with polymer base oils providing the friction reducing nourishment while an aluminium derived thickener ensures it stays put come hell or high water.
Unlike other synthetics, it emerges with a gel like consistency reminiscent of plumbers' mastic that mysteriously turns clear upon contact with the host components regardless of air temperature. Ours was the large squeezable tube with slimline spout allowing precise, controlled application to threaded components such as old fashioned crank bolts, cleats, bottle, mudguard and carrier screws and contact points, minimising wastage/cross contamination.
Nonetheless, I've been flooding pedal, headset and freehub bearings for the last word in buttery smoothness, ignoring the excess so as to monitor its true dirt phobic prowess over several weeks' mixed terrain service. From the outset, bearings feel notably slicker compared with traditional wet/ceramic type lubes, so go sparingly on seatposts and quill stems to prevent their incremental creep inside the frame as you ride.
A comparatively dry test period led me undertake some shallow river riding coupled with bouts of close range hosepipe torture testing. Subsequent strip downs suggests little short term impact although predictably jet-washing dispatched it within 90 seconds, so cross aficionados and other mud mariners should exercise similar levels of post-race caution.
Regular green lane/forest frolics through long grass and dusty trails haven't collected obvious signs of foreign bodies, while budget elastomer suspension bushes seem happy too. Being a synthetic, galvanic corrosion (where aluminium alloy/steel components chemically seize) seems highly improbable but I'm still inclined toward dressing Ti components in a dedicated prep where possible.
Groundbreaking grease with promising longevity, nice to use too
road.cc test report
Make and model: White Lightning Crystal Clear Grease
Size tested: n/a
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?
"· A Different Kind of Bicycle Grease!
· Crystal Clear. Odourless. Non-Staining. Non-toxic. Biodegradable
· White Lightning has developed Crystal Grease for cyclists and mechanics who are simply unwilling to compromise on performance or ecology
· An aluminium-based thickening system makes Crystal Grease 100% water proof, perfect for wet weather road rides or stream crossings on a mountain bike"
Shows great potential and has thus far lived up to the hype, although only time will tell when it comes to rubberised seals/suspension components.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
· Premium hydro-treated base oils deliver smooth bearing lubrication and long-lasting durability
· Crystal Grease will not attack gaskets, seals or carbon fibre
· Crystal will not stain painted surfaces
· Crystal Grease allows mechanics to visually identify wear and contaminate particles
Very impressive to date.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Thus far white lightning Crystal has lived up to its hype being buttery smooth and easy applied without cross contamination woes. However, time will tell as to its neutrality around seals/similarly sophisticated polymers and I'd still wash hands thoroughly after use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easily applied, slick, clean and seemingly economical.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 38 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)