Dumonde Tech Lube
Mon, 12/15/2008 – 10:52am by schmalz
By Mark Alden
Almost every year at Interbike some mad scientist looking guy thrusts a chain lube sample into my hand proclaiming it to be the best lube known to mankind. Usually these guys are in closet sized booths sandwiched between companies that make strange products like performance enhancing shampoo and sad and lonely looking guys who have one stem displayed on a black cloth covered pedestal. For the most part I find that these lubes are no better and are usually worse than lubes that are already available.
So at last years Interbike when I got my sample of Dumonde Tech lube I put it in my pocket and promptly forgot about it. That is until about mid-season I ran out of the stuff that I was currently using and remembered that I had the Dumonde Tech sample buried in my toolbox.
I followed the directions on the bottle (fully degreased and dried the chain) and applied the lube about 2 weeks before the Tokeneke road race. During the weeks before Tokeneke I rode about 300 miles and during the race we were rained on enough for my clothing and shoes to get soaked. I then rode another full week before the chain started to sound dry. It became clear that this was no ordinary lube so I decided to do a little research.
I called Dumonde Tech to find out more (and to see if I could score some more samples). I got Andy Devol on the phone and he gave me the rundown on their products (and more samples – yeah). Dumonde Tech uses what they call a liquid plastic plating that bonds to the chain and can’t be washed off with water. The people behind Dumonde Tech are primarily motorcycle guys and develop oils and lubes that can handle the rigors of Bonneville salt flat top speed records (they have quite a few). It was suggested that they use the technology from their motorcycle chain lube and develop a lube for bicycles and in the mid-nineties Dumonde Tech Original and Lite chain lubes were born. The Original is probably best suited to off-road conditions and the light for road or dry off-road conditions.
So how does it work? Following the companies directions it is hands down the best chain lube that I have ever used. Once your chain is degreased and dry you apply a small drop on each roller, spin the chain around few times then wipe off the excess. To maximize the performance of the lube it helps to wipe down the chain after the first few rides. I’m not talking about a time consuming effort here. Just wrap a rag around the chain and spin the crank backwards a few times. Initially you will see some oily residue on the chain but after you wipe the chain down a few times that residue just about disappears once the plastic coating sets in. The first thing I noticed when using this lube is how astoundingly quiet the chain is. In fact Dumonde says to only reapply when you can hear the chain. Their suggestion is that you should only hear the wind and your tires when riding. At first I constantly found myself fighting the urge to put more lube on my chain. I couldn’t believe that after 400 or so miles my chain was still quiet. Now I just wait until I can hear the chain which on average is around 400-500 miles. Another cool thing is that once you lube your chain with this stuff you never need to use a degreaser or solvent (which will break down the plastic coating) on your chain again. If I want to thoroughly clean my chain I run it though my Park chain cleaner with water. Then once the chain is dry apply a tiny drop to each roller. The bottom line is that if you follow the directions you are rewarded with a lube has the benefits of both dry and wet lubes and lasts way longer than anything else that I have tried. Using this chain lube takes a little more work initially but once the plastic coating sets in I only had to wipe off surface grime occasionally. This makes Dumonde Tech a pretty good lube for most of us who are lazy when it comes to cleaning.
Dumonde claims to be environmentally sensitive. Not through the ingredients of their lube but from a carbon footprint stance. I can see their point. Since so little is used per application and an application lasts for a long time, overall less lube and containers are produced. Also the lube doesn’t fling off the chain into the environment. These properties also make the lube a good value. Even if you ride a lot it’s amazing how long a bottle will last. I’ve used other lubes that cost less per ounce but only last a fraction of the time. They also make a 100% plant based lube called G10 which I will touch on later. On a side note to illustrate Dumonde’s engineering ability Andy from Dumonde told me about a test that a company that rents chain saws conducted on their 2 stoke premix oil. After hours of use the spark arrester screen on the saws running with the Dumonde oil had no oily residue on them whereas the saws running with standard premix oil were blackened. In addition running cleaner the engines ran cooler and more efficiently. Maybe they should get together with the creators of the Saw movies for a “green” Saw 10.
So if the environmental reasons above are not enough for you Dumonde makes a 100% plant based biodegradable chain lube called G10. I have been testing the G10 for about 2 months now and am very impressed by its performance. So much so that I would choose it over any other chain lube that I have previously used (other than Dumonde Lite). While not as clean or durable as Dumonde Lite the G10 behaves in a somewhat similar manner as the Lite. After the first few rides I did notice that the chain was a little more wet and black when compared to Dumonde Tech Lite. However, after a few rides the lube starts to set in by taking on a slightly tacky feel that doesn’t attract too much grit and the chain starts to stay much cleaner. The amazing thing is how long the G10 lasts and how quiet your chain is. I wiped down the chain over and over again but the chain stayed lubed and quiet. I don’t know how they managed to get theses properties out of a plant based lube. Maybe they cook the stuff up in a witch’s cauldron. The other plant based lubes that I have used were messy, didn’t last long and fly of the chain. On Average I was getting about 300 miles out of an application – this includes several rides on nasty wet roads littered with leafy debris.
I don’t think that I have ever seen an ad for Dumonde Tech and it’s not in a lot of shops, but there seems to be a cult following with this stuff. When I was rifling through my messenger bag during a Shimano tech seminar at Interbike a fellow mechanic spotted my Dumonde Tech samples and asked with a wry smile if they were giving samples away. He told me that it was the best chain lube out there and I agreed.