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Finish Line Wet Lubricant is something of an institution – it's been around a good 20-odd years and still ranks among my favourite foul weather formulas. However, it is facing ever stiffer competition from budget store blends and cleaner-running, though equally tenacious, petrochemical formulas.
Finish Line is relatively coy composition-wise, describing it as being a blend of high viscosity synthetic oils, water repelling polymers and advanced anti-wear additives. A little goes a very long way.
Having purged recipient chains of any existing lubricant, give the bottle a quick shake and drizzle a little on every link. Pour rate is extremely predictable. Get it right and there's almost no need for a clean rag once-over, especially in cold weather. Milder temperatures call for a quick wipe of the side-plates before scooting off, but otherwise, worries about fling and spatter have been academic. Dribbling a drop or two into old fashioned/singlespeed freewheels keeps them serene too.
Its clingy persona means the Wet lube doubles as a really nifty grease substitute or corrosion inhibitor on fasteners, cantilever posts, hub cones, Allen heads and other small, plated parts that can turn furry given a few rides along, wet, salty roads. A trace where exposed cables meet the ferrules shuts Mother Nature out, though I do mean just a trace, otherwise they'll gum up alarmingly quickly; ditto locks and similar mechanisms.
Back to chains and there's no doubting the lubricant properties, although shifts tend to feel a little syrupy compared with lighter formulas. Long, steady miles with occasional scenic detours through long grass and dirt roads have made minimal impact on its tenure. I'm still on the initial application, three weeks and 300 miles hence.
It does attract dirt faster than most. Long-term experience with previous versions suggests riders on a tarmac-only diet may find a trace on each link provides sufficient lubrication, while attracting less dirt. Be prepared to top up fortnightly though. I'd also suggest that store-branded staples aren't that far behind for road-biased riding.
I tend to wipe jockey wheels, side plates, mech cages and rings on a weekly basis when using BTwin's bargain basement wet weather lubricant. Putting this into context in comparable conditions – salty coastal causeways, waterlogged B roads littered with all manner of crap etc – I've found it necessary to cleanse the Finish Line every two or three outings.
Since it stays wet, transfer to hands and clothes are almost unavoidable when tackling punctures, or carrying bikes. Not a good look if you've just arrived at the office in cream trousers. (Rock 'n' Roll Extreme chain lubricant has curing time against it, but contaminant/transfer and friction are negligible by comparison. Longer term use suggests staying prowess is also neck and neck.)
Ultimately, Finish Line Wet remains a good bet for riders of all disciplines who are in need of a really stodgy lube that can cope with hell and, indeed, high water.
Very stout lube for the foulest weather, but facing stiff competition
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Finish Line Wet Lubricant
Size tested: 4oz/120ml
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?
Finish Line says: "WET Lube is typically recommended for extreme conditions. Formulated with high viscosity synthetic oils, water repelling polymers, and advanced anti-wear additives. WET Lube is Finish Line's strongest, longest lasting and most water resistant lubricant. WET Lube goes on wet, and stays wet, to provide maximum drivetrain smoothness, extremely quiet rides, and ultimate rust protection in the harshest of environments.
"If you use WET Lube for riding off-road or in dry climates, be sure to wipe the excess from parts to minimize the attraction of dirt and grime. Since 1994, when WET Lube was first introduced, it has become the preferred lubricant for many professional on and off-road teams around the world.
"Use WET Lube when you ride hard and long. Proven performance for 100-plus mile rides, muddy off-road conditions, long rainy commutes, and foggy salt-air coastal climates. A heavier, wet-style lubricant that requires a little more attention to drivetrain cleanliness, but delivers the ultimate in lubricity and protection."
I broadly agree, although it faces stiff competition from cleaner-running formulas that deliver similar performance but are much lower maintenance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Formulated with "high viscosity synthetic oils, water repelling polymers, and advanced anti-wear additives".
Tenacious, gooey formula that goes a very long way, so use sparingly.
Very long-lived but attracts more dirt than many, so apply sparingly and give links, jockey wheels and side plates a weekly wipe over to remove grit and grime.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Something of an institution, Finish Line Wet Lubricant remains a very good option for winter riding, road or otherwise. So long as you are willing to regularly clean any residual gunk from the transmission, it will work out extremely cheap. It also doubles as a very useful grease substitute on fasteners and similar small components. However, it faces increasingly stiff competition from cleaner chain-specific blends that require longer curing times but achieve similar miles per application.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatile and tenacious.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Attracts more dirt than some contemporary formulas.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted a versatile lube but were prepared to clean their transmissions more frequently.
Use this box to explain your score
Remains a very capable lube but faces stiff competition from much cleaner, though similarly long-lived, petrochemical formulas. Those who only ride on the road might find budget ISO/mineral oils more appealing.
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)