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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.
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.
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 wiped the chain by spinning it through a rag to 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 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 at times, especially towards the end as we moved into storm season. The Wet Lube has seen some very heavy rain, near flooded roads and also plenty of salt after some frosty mornings. The back lanes are also covered in mud that has been dragged out from the fields.
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.
This 100ml bottle costs £7.99, which is similar to the likes of Fenwicks Wet Weather Chain Lube (£8) which Jim found very impressive when testing it for our sister site off.road.cc.
You can spend a lot more though. Wolf Tooth's WT-1 All Conditions Chain Lube is £19 for just 59ml, although they reckon you can go 400 miles before reapplying it, and Neil agreed.
The Green Oil's cap isn't secure enough for for travelling or bike packing duties. For that, Green Oil sells the 'On Tour' bottle, which is a virtually leakproof 30ml container of Wet Lube that can, obviously, be refilled from this 100ml one.
The Green Oil Wet Lube offers impressive performance, and not just from a smooth-running point of view – it's good, too, from an eco angle. It's also well priced.
Excellent long-lasting lube that keeps faff and mess to a minimum
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Green Oil Wet Chain Lube
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?
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."
I think it's a great lube that is easy to apply and copes well with rubbish weather.
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.
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
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's on par with the Fenwicks mentioned in the review in terms of price and performance. There are many lubes out there that can cost a lot more, such as the Wolf Tooth WT-1.
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 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: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!