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The Tru-Tension BananaSlip Tungsten Wet Lube marries low friction with longevity and cleanliness, and does it with less faff than ceramic blends. However, at £10 for 50ml, it seriously needs to be special – and while it is, it's a marginal gain over considerably cheaper options.
BananaSlip's blend of biodegradable oils contains tungsten disulphide, originally developed by the space industry for a lower friction coefficient than ceramics (up to 40% lower), Teflon (up to 50%) and graphite (up to 60% slipperier).
Allegedly, the tungsten smooths imperfections in metal surfaces, which eventually creates a hard, slippery 'atomic' layer that reduces wear. It's also recommended for shifters, pedals and derailleurs.
Happily, given the cost of this stuff, the nozzle is extremely predictable and you'll be going some to make a mess with it. It's thin enough to give some minor fling when turning the cranks, though, so keep a rag handy if you're indoors on the best carpet...
The cobalt grey colour reminds me of Fenwicks Stealth Road Lube, and means it's immediately obvious if you've missed any spots.
Without sophisticated laboratory testing, comments regarding friction are anecdotal. Nonetheless, from the first few pedal strokes, things feel discernibly smoother. It doesn't feel syrupy or stodgy like many wet lubes.
As the miles rack up, movement feels progressively smoother – and serenely quiet. There's little sign of it migrating to the outer plates and topping up at 400 miles has, to my surprise, seen its friction-cutting properties improve.
It's clean enough to have left no chainring imprints when I'm running with a cross bike, but while I've happily tackled roadside mechanicals barehanded with its dry counterpart, some disposable examination gloves are a good move here.
It seems happy put on top of existing lubes, too, or at least their hastily-wiped remains – there's no hint of a sludgy grinding paste forming.
After 400 miles and a few stormy downpours, I was reassured by the sturdy film that remained. Wash-off during road use is negligible. Similarly, those slick, friction-busting characteristics haven't waned either.
At £10 for 50ml, BananaSlip is expensive. Fenwick's Wet Weather Chain Lube is £8 for 100ml. Rock 'n' Roll Extreme Chain Lubricant comes in at £6.95 for 4oz (around 120ml), and is surprisingly clean and very long-lasting. Meanwhile, Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant remains a firm favourite and is just £3.99 for 100ml.
Mind you, Muc-Off Team Sky Hydrodynamic Lube makes BananaSlip look cheap at £16.00 for 50ml, and while it's good I'd choose BananaSlip over it.
Tru-Tension BananaSlip Tungsten Wet Lube is very good indeed, though it needs to be given the price – and even then, there are some very good alternatives for far less money. If you want the best for your drivetrain, though, here it is.
Extremely expensive but extremely good lube, and genuinely seems to reduce friction
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tru-Tension BananaSlip Tungsten Wet Lube
Size tested: 50 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?
Tru Tension says "Our state-of-the-art, multi-layered Tungsten Wet Lube is a blend of biodegradable oils which penetrate all parts of the chain for a silky-smooth ride. BananaSlip Wet Lube sticks to the surface of the chain for continued lubrication even in the harshest environments. Water and dirt quickly peel away from the surface of the chain as the lubricant strips back contaminants while you ride."
My feelings: it's less syrupy than most, and surprisingly clean for a wet lube.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tru-Tension says this "was originally developed for space projects as a lubricant due to it having a lower coefficient of friction compared with Ceramics, Teflon and Graphite, as well as being more durable. Tungsten smooths out the surface of the metal to minimise surface imperfections, resulting in up to 40% less friction than Ceramics, up to 50% less than Teflon, and up to 60% less than Graphite. Not only is it faster, but it's also more durable, creating an atomic layer on the surface of the chain to reduce wear of the drivetrain and protect moving components."
Less stodgy and cleaner than most wet lubes.
The friction-busting properties become more apparent with subsequent top-ups.
Not particularly messy to re/apply and near-zero curing times. Still transfers quite readily to fingers, though. Therefore, I'd suggest packing some disposable gloves, just in case.
The ticket price is rather high for 50ml.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good – a little goes a long way.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quick and convenient to apply, slick but stays relatively clean.
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?
At £10 for 50ml, BananaSlip is expensive. Fenwick's Wet Weather lube is £8 for 100ml. Rock N' Roll Extreme comes in at £6.95 for 4oz (around 120ml), and is surprisingly clean and very long-lasting. Meanwhile, Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant remains one of my firm favourites and is just £3.99 for 100ml.
Mind you, Muc-Off Team Sky Hydrodynamic Lube costs £16.00 for 50ml, and while it's good I'd choose BananaSlip over it.
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
This works really well, but it's expensive - you can get almost the same results for much less. It's good and a seven.
About the tester
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)