By Jove! Two hundred miles on one dose of Fenwicks Stealth Road Bike lube and I'm starting to appreciate what all the fuss is about. It's like none I've used before.
It's probably closest to a light ceramic in terms of serenity and durability but considerably cleaner. That said, getting the best from it requires methodical application.
Fenwicks are justly coy about the exact composition, talking in terms of heightened lubricity that supposedly reduces heat generation, wear and cushioning additives. Reading between the lines, this sounds like Boron Nitride-an extremely powerful, temperature resistant additive, commonly found in high stress manufacturing contexts. Synthetic blends can turn syrupy in cold storage and the Stealth's no exception - easily cured by standing in warm water for sixty seconds or so.
Application is a little more involved than the tip and scoot off, requiring that your chains are super sterile first. Give the stealth a quick shake, unscrew the cap and drop a tiny amount of the silvery prep on every link, holding a rag beneath to collect any overspill. Rotate the cranks for thirty seconds, allowing it to invade the chain's most intimate regions before leaving an hour or so to cure.
Unlike ceramics, there's no need for a second coat and doing so results in a very sticky mess sixty miles hence. Flicking the pedals rewards with a smooth, silence associated with wet blends but without the stodginess. Taking to the road, it doesn't feel markedly different from competitor brands. Shifts aren't quite as frisky as the waxy, emulsion types but a marked improvement over ceramics.
The biggest talking point is its staying power and cleanliness. Riding for several hours in heavy rain and along flooded roads hasn't made any impression whatsoever - more than can be said of a companions' choice of synthetic motor oil, which had begun the metal on metal symphony in a matter of hours (it's worth noting that motor oils contain swarf flushing detergents designed to be renewed under pressure from the oil pump, thus don't work well on bicycle chains).
It assumes a clean but clearly evident film, resisting dung, silt, mud and all the ruinously gritty stuff without contaminating fingers or clothing when doing any maintenance.
Superb all-conditions road lube that not only lasts but stays clean.
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Make and model: Fenwicks Stealth Road Lube 100ml
Size tested: n/a
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?
"Ideal for all day and everyday use
For the discerning road rider; Fenwick's Stealth Road Bike Chain Lube is exceptionally quite, clean and long lasting. It offers silk-smooth lubrication by deep penetration of chain and linkage components. The heightened lubricity reduces fatigue, heat generation and stretch. Aided by specific cushioning additives, the chain delivers an extremely quiet ride. Corrosion protection is incorporated into the unique air-drying formula". Does exactly what it says on the tin, save for the fact chains don't stretch, they wear.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fenwicks give little away but it seems to be an advanced synthetic formula, probably with Boron nitride and similar ultra durable inhibitors.
Without doubt the cleanest wet type formula I've ever used.
Seems to stay just where its put and a little goes a very long way-you have been warned!
Requires more methodical preparation/application than many but the rewards are well worth it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Get over the initial meticulous preparation/curing times and you'll be rewarded by a synthetic that brings the very best of wet and dry lubes together in a single package. Long, steady winter miles along muddied and sometimes waterlogged lanes have made negligible impression on its staying power, yet it doesn't attract grit or similarly nasty grinding goo.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Seems to genuinely offer the best of dry and wet lubes without their respective shortcomings.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but be patient and apply carefully.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Unreservedly.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
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)