Dumonde Tech G-10 Bio-Green Chain Lubricant
Winter is always a good time to test out bike lubes. Lots of grit, ice, rain, salt, and snow out to pelt the bike and seep into the chain pins, plates, and rollers. Because of the crud that gets coated on our bike, we clean it more in the winter. Not so much after a sub-freezing day on the roads, but even that leaves our bike covered in a fine salt dust and we always wonder if that dust gets inside the chain as well. Washing the bike after every ride doesn't seem like the smartest thing, even if we're using gentle soap on the bike. If nothing else, it's too time consuming, and, as daily riders, the reduction in chain and bike life is probably negligible considering how much we ride.
So winter it is for the road test of the Dumonde G10 Bio-Green chain lubricant. Dumonde makes two popular bike lubes, Dumonde Original and Dumonde Lite. We reviewed both. We liked them. Went on easy, lasted a long time, survived repeated washings with soapy water. Dumonde calls terms these two lubes "dry," though we have a hard time agreeing with that. The only criticism is that they kept the chain looking a bit dirtier than we prefer. While this wasn't aesthetically pleasing, and did come off occasionally on our hands, the residue didn't appear to pick up dirt.
Dumonde specializes in oils for motor sports, and their bike lubes are an outgrowth of that work. G10 is their biodegradable line. Bio-Green is the chain lube in that line -- and the first product they've released. It is considered a "wet" lube. It is supposed to be made from 100% biodegradable products. It comes in a recyclable container (#2 HDPE), the color is green, and it has a light citrus scent.
So we washed our bike, let it air dry, applied the lube, wiped off the excess, let the chain air dry overnight, applied Simple Green degreaser to a rag, wiped the exterior plates, and rode. We were warned that Bio-Green might not last as long as Lite or Original, and might be a bit messier.
We're happy to report that the warnings were wrong. On both counts. We found the lube to last pretty much as long as their Lite lasted. In our case, we first applied it at the end of November, and didn't reapply until late January. Our riding schedule wasn't as heavy as it was in other months, but we did our share of riding in the yuck and wet, and cleaned the bike aplenty. As for the cleanliness, it hasn't been terribly clean, but we never found the other Dumonde lubes any cleaner. Cleaning the exterior plates with degreaser, biodegradable degreaser seemed to keep the chain, cogs, and chain rings a bit cleaner with no seeming reduction in performance.
It is good at what it is supposed to do. Keeping the chain from running on naked metal.
The one negative of anything that gets labeled "green," is the extra thinking about the product that the consumer often goes through. Is the product really better for the environment? Does the production thereof create even more greenhouse gases than the use? Does the production despoil the environment more than the use? How adverse is the effect on the environment in the first place?
Listen to the car industry long enough, and you'll start to reluctantly believe that electricity production is the only culprit in greenhouse gas production worth worrying about. Listen to the coal industry long enough, and you'll start to reluctantly believe that cows are the only culprits worth worrying about. So, then people turn to ethanol, because they figure we only need to modify the gas engine paradigm, not make a radical change. Only problem is it seems ethanol takes more energy to make than it can generate. The ethanol debate is dominated by agribusiness with serious lifting by auto makers and even with them putting a nice gloss on ethanol as fuel, evidence points to it being inefficient and unsustainable. An article in a recent Wired called such confusion the "disinformation revolution," and the point of it is to get you not to care.
There are answers out there, even if they're hard to find. We like reading Slate's Green Lantern column for this reason. But, as with many things in the bike world, chain lube is too small an item for the world to get worked up over, or even bother examining.
We're about cycling, so it falls to us to examine. Something that is biodegradable breaks down "into carbon dioxide, water and biomass within a reasonable amount of time in the natural environment," states Wikianswers. The term 'biodegradable' however has no legal enforcement or definition. Therefore, the term has been used loosely by some manufacturers," continues the entry. We've been trying to find an official, governmental, regulatable answer to what makes something biodegradable. Haven't found one yet. The people at Dumonde say anything that is comprised of 51% biodegradable matter can be called biodegradable. They point this out because they say their lube is 100% biodegradable.
We can't tell you how bad your current lube is. We can't tell you how much better, if at all, Dumonde's Bio-Green lube is. We find this a pity.We don't know why Dumonde has anything invested in smoke when they should be offering light. We don't know what happens to the PTFE (acronym for the substance known by the Teflon brand name) that was on our chain goes when it washes off, we don't know what happens with the "liquid plastic" of the older Dumonde stuff. We don't know what happens to paraffin or Tri-Flow or WD-40. However the stuff was made, wherever that stuff goes, and whatever it gets in to would probably be better without it, and the environment would probably be better without it as well. Maybe it is a small effect, but we'd like to know the effect is doing good. The mystery does nobody any favors.
If we're choosing between Dumonde Bio-Green and Lite, Bio-Green gets the nod. Works as well, and it seems like it should be easier on the environment. We wish we could say more.