Chamois cream. You either get it, or you don't. If you do, this new Castelli Chamois Dry Lube is really rather good, as good as anything else on the market. It's perfect for increasing comfort in the saddle for your epic rides, and it's easy to apply so you won't make a mess in the bathroom.
The Dry Lube – not to be confused with the stuff you put on a bicycle chain – is part of Castelli's new Linea Pelle cream range, which also includes two types of embrocation and muscle-warming cream. Yes, that's right, the Italian company no longer just makes clothing. It's even doing luggage and saddlebags too.
Each one comes in a typically stylish tube with a dispensing pump button, making it easy to release as much cream as you need, and avoiding accidentally discharging too much. It gives you about a fingertip's worth with easy squeeze, and two squirts are about right to lather up the undercarriage. It's the least messy chamois cream I've ever tested, much easier than those that come in a tub and other tubes.
Castelli has manufactured the cream using natural tea tree oils, which it reckons provides a calming sensation for the skin and reduces friction. Reading the ingredients is, well, you need a degree in chemistry to make head or tail of any of it: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Coco-caprylate, Cetearyl Glucoside... that's just a few of them.
All those mysterious ingredients blend together to form a cream that's wet when it squirms out of the tube, but doesn't feel soggy or greasy once applied, as is often the way with chamois creams. Instead of feeling wet, it dries out quickly to leave a nice protective barrier.
Castelli doesn't make a preference for skin or chamois application, you'll surely have your own preferred method. In case you're wondering, I opt for the direct approach – it's less messy and you hit the right spot every time.
The aim of any chamois cream is to make riding in the saddle more comfortable, and it does this, according to Castelli, by stopping chafing. It also "helps fight infection without turning your chamois into a wet nappy" says the company.
I can quite happily bosh out a 200km ride without any chamois cream, but doing such a ride is made marginally more comfortable with a bit of cream lubricating the shorts padding. Where I find chamois cream really useful is when you're riding every day, sometimes twice a day, when a lot of saddle time can lead to irritation.
This is where a chamois cream provides a nice little comfort boost and prevents chafing from occurring, or – if it has already occurred – provides a nice alleviating effect. It's a good preventative and also a remedy.
All chamois creams do pretty much the same job, but some achieve better results. For Castelli's first attempt, I'm very impressed. It's easy to apply, it isn't messy and it keeps working long into a ride. Everything you want from such a cream.
The price, £15.99 for a 100ml tube, is on the high side, and is more expensive than my go-to chamois cream, the rather excellent Sportique Century Riding Cream. That comes in at £9.99 for a 100ml tube, and it's also available in a 180ml size for £14.99.
A very nice chamois cream with easy application
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Linea Pelle Chamois Dry Lube
Size tested: 100ml
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?
Castelli says: "Castelli Linea Pelle Chamois Dry Lube - A whole new direction in Chamois Creams this offering from Castelli goes on wet but dries instantly to leave a clean, slippy, breathable, antibacterial layer on your skin. It stops chaffing and helps fight infection without turning your chamois into a wet nappy."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Goes on wet but dries instantly for maximum comfort
Hygienic dispensing pump
For the ultimate in comfort and performance just like our shorts
Dry formula skin lube, non-greasy, durable
Allows skin to breathe.
Contains natural tea tree oil.
Apply directly to skin or to the seat pad.
It does indeed go on wet but feels dry once applied, and provides good long-distance comfort boost. Ideal for daily cyclists when chafing can occur.
It's not an essential, but it does provide a nice boost in comfort, either ahead of a long ride or if you've got a bit of irritation going on down below.
It's a bit overpriced.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Delivers comfort without sogginess, and the pump action tube is as easy to apply as toothpaste to a toothbrush.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Super-easy to apply, no mess.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Each squirt doesn't deliver that much cream, so you'll need a couple of squirts to see you right.
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 score
A very good chamois cream, as good as the best I've tested, but it's a little pricey and that keeps it from scoring 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.