Let me start by saying this review intimidated me. A lot of the folks over at TwoSpoke.com call me crazy for the on-the-bike punishment I like to inflict on myself, e.g. The Ride of the Immortals and last year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere route. Yeah, those rides are tough. Yes, they hurt… a lot. But I still found myself asking, “Can road riding ever be gnar and can a roadie adequately review Gnar Lube?”
Just in case you think not, I did also slap some on my mountain bike and take it out on several fairly nasty fire road grinds. I put some on a friend’s ‘Cross bike, and I got input from my mountain biking buddy who shredded the local SoCal race scene last summer. If it helps, you can imagine he’s 6’2”, totally ripped, has carried his bike to the summit and ridden down Everest, has hair that’s been bleached by the OC sun, surfs when he’s not riding, and sounds like Keanu Reeves. Quintessential gnar. If that doesn’t add credibility in your opinion, then you won’t be as upset with me if you ever do meet Devin.
First, I’ll cover my experiences with Gnar Lube. We had a very, very dry summer. Therefore, nearly all of my rolling was in dry conditions. I started my testing with Pink Delicacy Dry Lube. It performed flawlessly. My chain was the quietest it has ever been. I’m not great about regular lubrication of my chains. In fact, I usually wait until the chain is complaining a little before adding more lube. With the Gnar, I actually paid more attention to the time between applications. Not only was the chain the quietest it had ever been, it stayed that way for longer intervals as well.
As the days got shorter and the weather got a little more iffy, I decided to try out the all-condition offering from Gnar, Gang Green. Wow, does the green apple scent smell good! But no matter how delicious it smells, even if it reminds you of one of your favorite Jolly Rancher flavors, it is highly recommended that you not ingest it. As luck would have it, I got to test the Gang Green in less than perfect conditions. I got caught in a few rain storms on the road; the type of rain that would instantly wash my previous go-to lube off and require an ASAP reapplication. This was not so with Gnar. In fact, I went several more rides before the chain started to let me know it was getting dry. I was most impressed!
In addition, I added the Gang Green to a neglected mountain bike chain and took it over several gravel-grinders with conditions from dry and dusty to wet and muddy. The Gang Green held its ground against all that was thrown at it. I was quite happy with the performance on the dry, dusty roads as the Gnar showed that it doesn’t simply lubricate the chain by leaving a thick film of lube which would also act as a dirt magnet. Not only did my mountain bike chain stay quiet, it stayed clean. Heck, even the Gnar logo socks seemed to shed dirt.
My California buddy used the dry lube as well for hitting the dusty trails found around SoCal. He also was impressed by the seemingly dust shielding capability of the Gnar. After three plus hours of trail riding, he saw that his chain was the only thing not coated in dirt and dust. He enjoyed the vanilla scent of the Pink Delicacy for its air-freshening effects in both his garage and on the trail. I can also attest that Gang Green lube spilled in a cycling bag is not the worst thing in the world. The bag smelled fantastic!
We added Blue Opal Wet Lube to Mark’s ‘Cross bike about four months ago. It’s only had one reapplication after I borrowed the bike for a fairly muddy fire road ride. Mark has been impressed, and when we were just discussing the pros of Gnar, we were both surprised at how long it’s been since the last application.
However, I think there might be some side-effects to using Gnar, and I believe Mark might have gotten a little too much lube on his fingers the first time he applied it. After using the Gnar Lube, he’s gone from clean-faced and hair so short he could use a bar of soap to wash it, to a full beard and a Bob Ross’esque do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a look that suits him. He’s been complimented by many including one of the cooler than cool mechanics at our LBS. I don’t think the timing of his first use of Gnar and his recent extra hipness is totally coincidence.
When I first opened the box from Gnar, I was greeted with a Teddy bear, a love letter, and a wonderful aroma that smelled of green apples and sweet vanilla. It was obvious that Gnar Lube strives to infuse a big dose of fun in with their products. Their website is quite entertaining as well, even if their videos might get some attached guys in trouble with their significant others. All this might seem gimmicky if the products didn’t work so well. But since they do, these little touches just make it more gnar. gnarlube.com
– Alex (steak sauce)