The Zefal Pro Wet Lube Biodegradable is a middleweight formula, designed to stay put during more changeable weathers. Price is favourable and it seems reasonably clean. It's also very convenient to apply, which is a definite draw for commuting, touring and general riding.
- Pros: Simple, reasonably durable and relatively clean
- Cons: Temperamental 'child proof' cap
Looking at the packaging's all-weather theme, I wasn't surprised to discover it's a blend of oils. Now, biodegradable isn't the first word I'd associate with this kind of lubricant. However, modern synthetic esters are manufactured from carbolic acids and alcohols, components that can be tuned to provide almost unlimited structural and performance possibilities. So, you can have oils that work at low temperatures, with excellent lubrication and staying prowess, while still being biodegradable.
Zefal told me, "This lubricant is not soluble in water and remains to a large extent in the upper layers of soil, where there is biodegradation. With the term synthetic ester, we indicate the lubricating bases produced through a synthesis process starting from vegetable oil with particular characteristics and selected alcohols/polyalcohols."
Application is as straightforward as it gets, really. Use your favourite lube stripper on recipient chains, ensuring they're super-sterile and dry. Give the Zefal Pro Wet Lube a quick shake, undo the top and deliver a drop into every link. I say straightforward, but there's a definite knack to releasing the child-resistant cap. These are found on other Zefal lubes and are very secure, safeguarding against curious fingers and accidental spillages.
The thin spout ensures a very controllable flow rate. It emerges completely clear, yet easily visible. Though definitely wet, in the classic sense, it's not particularly sticky. That combination of viscosity and spout design avoids all but the most cursory wipes afterward.
I spun the cranks a couple of times, to ensure even penetration, but otherwise you're ready to scoot off. Perfect for those Monday mornings when you've slept through the alarm.
The lower (runnier) viscosity means it's a better bet than some stockier wet lubes, when tending to sticky cleat/locking mechanisms, sealing cable inners, or silencing noisy freewheels, though there are better grease substitutes for mudguard/carrier/cleat fasteners.
From the first few pedal strokes, there's that familiar, cushioned 'swoosh' but without that slightly syrupy feel, synonymous with some.
Given the relatively dry season (before the June deluge!), I wasn't surprised to get 300 miles from a single, sparing application on my fixed gear winter/trainer. However, salty coastal causeways and intense downpours had more impact compared with Weldtite TF2 Extreme Wet and Finish Line Cross Country Wet lubes.
I'd been running its wax sibling on my tubby tourer for several weeks previously. Switching to the Wet, and tackling overgrown bridlepaths/disused railway lines, long damp grass, the wet clung on, attracting less grime than the other brands discussed.
However, after 125 miles off-road, I needed to top up the Zefal, whereas the Finish Line was still going strong (albeit requiring more frequent wiping of the side plates).
Exposed to dry and dusty stuff, following extensive road resurfacing, I was surprised by how little contaminant it attracted. Sure, I gave the outer plates a cursory cat-lick every 10 days, or so. Nonetheless, to date, it hasn't cultivated that familiar gungy beard, in changeable conditions.
Similarly, gritty transmission-chewing contaminant was conspicuous by its absence. Off-road, with a mix of mud, damp and dust, there was some obvious build up, but nothing alarming. Sticking to asphalt, we're talking a thin, freckly patina.
To some extent, the sky's the limit when it comes to lube. Leaving chainsaw and motor oils out of the equation, you can pick up decent store branded wet lubes for around three quid, but we also have Muc-Off Wet Lube with an rrp of £7.99 for 120ml, and Finish Line Cross Country Wet Lubricant for £7.49.
At £4.99, the Zefal nestles somewhere around the mid-point. Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant with Teflon is around £3.99 for 100ml and, in my experience, offers very similar standards of performance.
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by the Zefal lube. It's a cleaner-running middleweight formula, which performs well in most contexts. It offers more bite than generic mineral oil/PTFE types, but despite the name, durability doesn't match that of some heavy-duty favourites.
Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant just pips it for me, while those looking towards hell 'n' high water durability are better served by TF2 Extreme Wet or Finish Line Cross Country Wet.
Well-balanced wet lube for general riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Pro Wet Lube
Size tested: 120ml
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?
Zefal says, "Pro Wet Lube (formerly Pro Lube #9603) is a long-lasting high-performance lubricant adapted to extreme weather conditions. Made from synthetic esters and anti-corrosive additives, its highly water-resistant formula offers metal parts lasting protection against rust and wear. This lubricant biodegrades quickly, ensures smooth drivetrain function and reduces the occasional noises occurring over long-distance rides."
It's a capable and convenient middleweight wet lubricant for general riding, and cleaner running though less stoical than some stodgier blends.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
More fluid pedalling and a quieter drivetrain.
Anti-corrosive properties, prolonging the life of the componentry.
DRIP-REGULATION SAFETY CAP
Biodegradable came as a surprise but indeed it is (more than 90% within 21 days).
Has performed well in most conditions. Less tenacious than some wet lubes, it's also cleaner and less stodgy, which for me is a better fit for general riding.
Generally good as an all-rounder, but I suspect its Extra Wet sibling and similarly heavy duty competitors may have an edge in terms of longevity. Especially off road and through harsher winter contexts.
Overall, it's above average, when everything is taken into account. There are some cheaper, store branded lubes giving change from £3. However, there are several pour 'n' go formulas costing a good bit more.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Zefal Pro wet is a relatively durable middleweight wet lube that offers a decent balance of lubrication and cleanliness, delivering more bite than more basic mineral oil/PTFE mixes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Simple to apply, durable and 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?
You can pick up decent store branded wet lubes for around £3. Muc-Off Wet Lube is £7.99 for 120ml, and Finish Line Cross Country Wet Lubricant £7.49. At £4.99, the Zefal nestles somewhere around the mid-point. Weldtite TF2 Performance All Weather Lubricant with Teflon is around £3.99 for 100ml and, in my experience, offers very similar standards of performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For general riding, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Good middleweight option for general, road-biased riding but not necessarily superior to similarly priced competition.
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, mountain biking
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)