Green Oil's Wet Chain Lube is an exceptionally good barrier against water, dirt and corrosion, seriously reduces maintenance and won't turn the planet into an unliveable wasteland. The price is good and the applicator is well designed. There's really nothing not to like.
- Pros: Attracts minimal dirt, stays on even after washing, lasts ages
- Cons: The recycled bottle's a bit of an ugly colour...?
The most striking thing about Green Oil is the bold claim that one application lasts 125 miles, or even more. To be quite frank, I didn't believe it. Rural roads can be hell on drivetrains even during the summer, and none of the wet, dry, ceramic or wax lubes I've tried have ever come close to a mileage like that. Especially not in winter, where rides regularly end with a bike looking like it's been stolen from a cyclo-cross race.
To test the claim, I cleaned the chain and applied lube as instructed – one spin round from quicklink to quicklink and it was done. A quick buzz through a rag took the excess off. I didn't add a drop more for 130 miles.
After almost every ride I hosed (not pressure washed) everything thoroughly with clean water, though I did avoid getting other cleaning products near the lube. I also wiped the chain by spinning it through a rag, both to dry it and remove blackened goop from the sideplates. Though I felt that was necessary, Green Oil is noticeably less sticky and grime-loving than many wet lubes, and the build-up was nowhere near as bad as some.
It has a slightly matt sheen and (after a while) an almost snotty, semi-dry consistency that really is tenacious, yet it's remarkably resistant to contaminating so badly you have to strip it all off and reapply it. A welcome knock-on effect is that you get through a lot less degreaser as well.
Even after 100 miles, I could leave the washed-down bike a couple of days, come back and spin the cranks backwards without problems. With many lubes you'd find the chain skipping and clacking as stiffened-up links struggled to bend, and you might well find rust spots too. No corrosion here.
All this makes Green Oil's Wet Lube particularly good for commuter bikes, gravel bikes, or road bikes on multi-hour rides through the worst conditions.
This impressive tenacity is said to be thanks to N-Toc, which sounds like a rapper but is in fact a refined plant extract with similar long-chain molecules to petrochemicals. Obviously, there are no petrochemicals, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) – the stuff that makes Teflon, GT-85 and many chain lubes so slippery – in Green Oil at all.
The entire product is super-eco-friendly. It's totally biodegradable, packaged in recycled plastic, and your bottle can be refilled at a small (10-20p) discount by selected bike shop dealers. Even the ingredients are sustainably sourced, so Green Oil isn't simply passing the ecological impact up the supply chain.
To be clear, this test was harsh. Conditions were frequently awful, with heavy snow, road salt drying in spatters as high as the handlebars, drifts of grit from fresh potholes, and whole fields dragged from the hills by meltwater and dumped like murder victims in the road. You're unlikely to encounter worse.
Green Oil recommends really slathering the chain if there's snow about (to protect against the road salt), but I didn't like the blackened result of the excess, or the fine grit it presumably held. Keeping it thin by wiping (especially the side plates) did not cause any issues.
Outside of a test I'd clean and re-apply this lube more frequently, though that's down to my own (possibly excessive) mechanical sympathy rather than any sign it's necessary. I've suffered no untoward noises, shifting or drag problems with nothing more than a few crank spins through a dry rag.
Pedros Syn Lube does a similarly good job of staying stuck without gluing every passing shard of grit to your chain, but at £8.99 it's almost a third more expensive per 100ml. It also lacks Green Oil's eco credentials.
Excellent long-lasting lube that keeps faff and mess to a minimum
road.cc test report
Make and model: Green Oil Wet Chain Lube 100ml
Size tested: 100ml
Tell us what the product is for
Green Oil says:
- Prevents rust
- Lasts over 125 miles per application
Green Oil chain lube was developed in 2007, and is the country's if not the World's first biodegradable bike chain lube. It lasts in excess of 125 miles on the chain per application and has won a wealth of awards - from environmentalists and the bike industry based purely on performance.
Green Oil Wet Chain Lube has an easy to use and much immitated 'snap cap'. Simply twist and pull off in one go. It has a fantastic long nozzle, easy to get into hard to reach areas.
Green Oil Wet Chain Lube now contains N-Toc, a special refined plant extract to increase durability, increasing the length of time between applications.
Green Oil can also be used for cables, brake leavers, bike locks and for other lube applications. It's versatile.
We don't want to encourage too much flying - climate change being a problem of course, but if you do need to take a plane you an take Green Oil with you. Green Oil is within the 100ml fluid limit, so you can even take it in your hand luggage (for a cheeky bit of on plane bike maintenance perhaps!).
Why use chain oil?
A chain can be over 99% efficient in transfering energy from your pedaling to kinetic energy to drive the bike forward.
Friction occurs between links, and lubricating the chain reduces this - increasing efficiency.
Also, your bike chain is exposed to the elements: water + steel = rust.
Rust = reduced efficiency.
Rust and wear due to friction of course make cycling more difficult, but also reduce the life of your bike chain. Green Oil chain lube reduces both, extending the life of your chain and reducing friction, for a smoother ride.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Green Oil:
How is Green Oil green?
Other chain lubes out there contain PTFE and petrochemicals. They don't even bother with proper recycling information! This is crazy, as every fluid used on a bike ends up in the environment, and usually on a mechanic's hands. And your hands, and in your garden. Most street drains lead to rivers too.
- PTFE creates a carcinogen in its production.
- PTFE accumulates in the food chain, after your bike chain. We don't use PTFE
- Petrochemicals often do harm in the environment and aquatic life
We therefore don't use PTFE or petrochemicals, only natural ingredients.
Green Oil Wet Chain Lube is 100% biodegradable.
We don't use palm oil - all our ingredients are sustainably sourced. We use plant based ingredients, natural molecules with similar long chain molecules to those found in petrochemicals. The mixture used is sticky enough to stay on the chain, but not so sticky excess dirt sticks to it.
Every Green Oil bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic - so don't be surprised if the bottle is a curious colour!
We also provide 5 litre cans of Green Oil Wet Chain Lube to selected bike shops and workshops. This aids the re-filling of bottles, and reduces packaging. Each comes with a giant hand pump, making re-filling easy.
The holding box design is based on an old Schweppes bottle deposit box found in a skip outside a pub, which was renovated and we still have in the office today! These holding boxes are made from British reclaimed pallet wood.
A little goes (literally) a long way, while you also save money on degreaser.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lubricates and protects without attracting too much dirt. Outstanding longevity.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Green Oil is very vocal about this being eco-friendly, but isn't using it to push an inferior product.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It says on the label you can't drink it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Absolutely
Use this box to explain your overall score
It goes on easily, stays remarkably clean and needs nothing but the odd wipe to last multiple bad-weather rides and washes. Plus it's not going to poison anything – it's exactly what you need from a chain lube.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking