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Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lube is a super-clean-running formula designed primarily for the drier months, but several very soggy weeks suggest it's one of the most tenacious. By my reckoning it's well worth trying if you didn't mind reapplying it a little more frequently than your typical everyday middleweight.
Unlike most dry/wax types, this doesn't scab off and evict contaminant as you ride, but is designed not to collect grot in the first instance. Chains should always be purged of any existing lubricant, although the rich solvent mixture will strip the Extreme and Gold siblings without needing to go the chain bath route.
After remembering to drizzle into the chain from the cassette (rather than drip into every link, these aren't oils in the traditionally accepted sense), whizz the cranks a few revolutions and then wipe the chain and jockey wheels sparkling with some kitchen towel or clean rag.
Using a sensible flow rate means that, unless you're really cack-handed, rear wheels and flooring won't be the main beneficiaries. Leave it curing for at least four hours and you're ready to ride.
Friction is extremely low, and transmissions feel crisp and silent. Staying prowess is surprisingly good by the standards of the genre – I've managed 170 miles per application during January and February, which is a good deal better than most super-dry competition during the height of summer. As long as you've been fastidious in removing any trace of existing lubricant before applying, grot is virtually non-existent.
Unlike its siblings, Absolute Dry wasn't my first choice for the fixer and I wouldn't dream of using it for cyclo-cross or trail duties – Extreme is a better bet, on account of its staying prowess. That said, its cleanliness keeps weekly drivetrain maintenance to a minimum and makes it extremely convenient when tackling roadside mechanicals, since grime doesn't easily transfer to hands or clothing.
The light, minimal-friction formula makes excellent transition to control cables and pivot points too, keeping them lubricated but with no risk of gumming up. Bargain basement store-branded cable sets without PTFE coated liners or similar friction-busting potions showed particular improvement after being fed a few drops.
Although roadside replenishment hasn't been necessary, the 16fl oz container is small enough to slip inside bigger wedge packs, or jersey pockets, making it all the more convenient for touring. In a pinch, it can be applied without observing curing times, which puts a dent in miles per reapplication but could prove handy in audax and similar endurance events.
Compared with some super-clean, durable favourites costing considerably more, Absolute Dry is also an absolute bargain. However, those looking for a four-seasons, stay-put though still clean-running formula are probably best served by Rock n Roll's Gold counterpart.
Surprisingly versatile and stout dry lube and a bit of a bargain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rock n Roll Absolute Dry Chain Lubricant
Size tested: 4oz/117 ml
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?
Rock n Roll says:
"ABSOLUTE DRY CHAIN LUBE
"This is a super clean chain lube, in fact, this lube is not a self-cleaning lube, it simply picks up little or no dirt. For road bikes only.
"Available in 4 or 16 oz."
Proving much tougher than traditional dry formulas.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Highly flammable film-based dry lube with potent solvent formula. Applied in exactly the same fashion as the extreme and gold formulas (will also strip these, and vice-versa) without any need for brushing on degreasers or chasing chains through the solvent bath first.
Generally excellent and a vast improvement on most super-clean formulas in more testing conditions.
Good overall but excellent for a super-clean formula.
Requires more frequent reapplication than its siblings, but streets ahead of other lightweight/fair-weather formulas.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, so long as you've thoroughly stripped chains of existing formulas, it remains extremely clean and surprisingly durable despite a soggy January test period. It's also the most versatile of this family, making a useful transition to pivot points and cables too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cleanliness, low friction and versatility.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Requires more frequent reapplication than most middleweight formulas, but is easily the most usable dry lubricant I've tested to date.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Not perfect, but easily the most convincing dry lubricant for everyday riding.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike 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, mountain biking
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)