Reverence: Dumonde Tech BCL

Reverence: Dumonde Tech BCL

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We met by chance, or so it seems. I suppose there really is no such thing as “chance”. I was ready for it, and it was there. I wasn’t really looking but, you see, it had been a while since I’d been happy.  I’d even strayed about some, trying a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing really filled the void I felt within. But Love is a real thing and it can belong to each of us; we just have to be willing to see and we need the courage to grasp it while we can.

My chain and I share a tumultuous relationship. Mostly, we get along just fine, but my demands are high and it is but a simple thing. There are times when it simply doesn’t behave as I’d like. Not only do I expect it to shift properly and propel my bike without impeding my forward progress more than I already do myself, but I expect it to be absolutely silent, only allowing it a triumphant chirp when coaxed onto an adjacent cog.

In my quest to observe the Principle of Silence, I tune my drivetrain and bike more often than is reasonable, often when it requires neither tuning nor cleaning.  But I do it anyway, and it feels good. Few things delight me as much as hearing the hum of the back wheel as it spins on the stand, my left hand spinning the drive-side pedal while my right hand pushes the levers on the shifters while watching the chain skip flawlessly from one cog to the next. A daily ritual, I never – under any circumstances – throw my leg over a bike without first cleaning at least the chain.  I find it is unbecoming of a Velominatus to ride a soiled machine; we are not barbarians, after all.

You need to know all this in order to understand what I will say next. I have experimented with synthetic lubes and with waxes, and none are the equal of an oil-based product.  Sure, oil attracts more road grit, but for those of us who clean our chains every day, that hardly matters. More importantly, it’s lubricating qualities are far superior to the synthetics. As for providing a solid platform for the Principle of Silence, no product I’ve come across has managed to rival the noise-dampening qualities of Dumonde Tech BCL, made right here in Seattle, no less.  All it requires is a single drop on each link and chain noise virtually disappears.  If you are lucky enough to ride well-tuned Campagnolo mechs, you’ll find that the only sound you hear is the hiss of your wheels cutting through the breeze. And, in my case, that of belabored breathing.

When first we met, I was skeptical.  I’d been hurt in the past and I needed assurances that it wouldn’t happen again. The bottle caught my eye as it stood coyly on its shelf. I picked it up and discretely read the label which said all the right things – a bit about low friction and a bit re-applying only when chain noise becomes audible. I took the first step, and it has rewarded me with silence.

And, dare I say, it smells strangely pleasant.

// Reverence

  1. Jarvis :Personally, as a tree-hugging hippy type I’ll try to stay away from oil-based lubes and solvent degreasers though, especially as the outside drain is a surface-water only that ends in the river about 500m away.

    I’m in the same boat, and use a soy-based lube, which works fine, but it also necessitates a mandatory wipe-down and clean after each ride in order to ensure that build-up doesn’t totally gunk up the chain. To that end, I’m always looking for a better green product; has anyone tried Dumonde’s bio-green lubricant?

  2. @frank
    Interesting connection, there: I told him this was the last bike I’d be buying for him (translation: take care of it).

    Just, please, when your sun overtightens the bolt on your new Campag MTB group (they made one, briefly) and strips it – go easy on him, ok?

    After all the Star Wars references, we’re on to Back to the Future, now?

    I got back to the shop and asked if they would trade it for my son. Sadly, see above, I came home with son and bike for him rather than new cross bike for me. C’est la vie…

    Nice try on Rule #11, but it seems you were foiled. Keep trying.

    He’s 13, and has grown about 15cm since January; who wants a kid who eats you out of house and home? We also had a Rule #25 moment as we rolled out of the LBS for the test ride. The four wheels under us were far more valuable than the four we drove to the shop. The temptation to keep on going was certainly there…

  3. @Joe
    Forgive me if this is stating the obvious but is your hollowtech spindle cranked all the way tight as well as the BB? I was getting some creaking out of my FSA cranks and really needed to torque down the spindle nut. I find it surprising how much torque those things need.

  4. @Marko – you may be in the zone. I’m somewhat ‘Bad Cadel’ when it comes to fingertip cranking skills around carbon products. However, I’ve been adhering strongly to the tenets of 3d Fitness this lunch so I might just go home and give that sucka hell…

  5. @Joe
    My thought is the splines would bottom out before ever putting pressure on your carbone. I was apprehensive as well for the same reason but when I cranked the fuckers (cranks) down the creak went away. Mine was only doing it under higher power (climbing, sprinting) and not regular spinning. As long as you’re at it pull the spindle out, clean, and regrease. Just a theory but it may be the case.

  6. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the sneaky little secret to making things easier in the chain cleaning department. The Connex Quick-Link. Taking the chain off to clean/lube it makes things WAY easier. It really makes cleaning the cogs and rings easier too.

    As well as the rest of the bike – I have two nails on a crossbeam of the overhang out my back door. I hook two bungee cords off of them and then hang my bike by the saddle and stem from them and it makes a proper hosing/cleaning a snap and having the chain off gives piece of mind that the chain is not scraping around on my carbon chain stays and BB area.

  7. and mimic the Pros

    It’s funny you should say that Frank. When I was BMX racing my saving grace was that I had an awesome gate. I wasn’t the fastest guy or the best jumper but I could hang with most Pros down the first straight. How I developed such a good “snap” was by mimicking these same Pros. I watched videos and saw that all the momentum was directed at throwing the hips into the handlebars and everything else fell into place. Now that I’m all about the road bike I do the same thing. What are the Pros doing? It has really helped with my climbing technique (hand position, slight upper body bob, etc.) and I think I look pretty smooth (which is the important thing innit?) when hammering on the flats.

    Just remember; it’s not how fast you go, it’s how good you look doing it. And let me tell you darling, You look marvelous!

  8. @Cyclops

    I use a Pedro’s Chain Keeper so that I can clean and lube with the rear wheel off. And good call on the cassette/free hub body, Frank. I’ll check it tonight. Doing a 2-day, 250k club ride this weekend, can’t be creaking!

  9. @cyclops: I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the sneaky little secret to making things easier in the chain cleaning department. The Connex Quick-Link. Taking the chain off to clean/lube it makes things WAY easier. It really makes cleaning the cogs and rings easier too.

    Yeah, I used to do that. Putting the chain in the cutlery basket of the dishwasher and running it through a wash cycle was an awesome way of degreasing… the thing fucking GLEAMED when it came out, until…. err… the dishwasher broke and I had another ‘that fucking bike’ conversation with the wife. I still maintain it wasn’t my fault the thing packed up and leaked all over the (wooden) kitchen floor. Bloody plumber sided with her – waste pipe clogged yada yada yada. Tsk.

  10. @Steampunk @sgt @nate @frank and others:

    Thanks for the suggestions. My nice road bike is only about six months old, and I only have approximately 2,400 km on it, so I haven’t really had to do any wrenching on it because nothing has gone wrong (yet).

    I should purchase a stand though, because it would make cleaning a whole lot easier. Or perhaps I’ll do as others have done and just hang some ropes from the ceiling of my patio (I have no garage where I live currently).

    I’ll also start wiping and re-lubing the chain after every ride, because that would take mere moments.

  11. @roadslave

    How do you turn your dishwasher in to a snow blower?

    Give her a shovel.

  12. @Campy-nati–

    Any tips on this sitch: My rear mech (Chourus 11) gets a bit noisy when in big ring and middle cogs. Small and large cogs run quiet. Cleaning, derailleur adjustment and removing, cleaning and reinstalling the cassette haven’t fixed. I’m thinking the jockey wheel bearings need an overhaul. Any other thoughts?

  13. Sounds like a little cable tension adjustment is needed or you could try the “B” screw

  14. Good stuff, Frank. I also clean the chain, wash it well with water, dry and re-lube after every ride. Here in Northern Scotland, it’s not uncommon to find rock salt/grit on some roads even at this time of year, left over from the winter, and if the chain is wet and you leave it uncleaned for just one day, the dreaded rust attacks. For a while I used Purple Extreme – perhaps the thinnest and lightest lube imaginable, then went over to White Lightening Dry. I’m not a fan of thicker, oily lubes, as they attract too much grit. I’d be interested to know what lubes the pro teams use.

    I have another question: To lube or not to lube the jockey wheel bearings? I don’t lube.

  15. @Nate

    I agree with Cyclops, check the B tension screw. Also the bearings in the casette may be a bit off, pulling on the small and big cog will keep the casette pulling on one end of the bearings, pulling in the middle could allow one of the bearing sets to ‘float’ a bit. You’d be surprised where noises come from vs. where we hear them from. When I turned wrenches at a LBS, we had a Litespeed come in that creaked from the bb and we went over it again and again added teflon tape etc. Only to figure out it was the headset.

    Now I too am off to figure where my latest creak is coming from.

  16. @Jarvis, @Steampunk

    Jarvis :Personally, as a tree-hugging hippy type I’ll try to stay away from oil-based lubes and solvent degreasers though, especially as the outside drain is a surface-water only that ends in the river about 500m away.

    I’m in the same boat, and use a soy-based lube, which works fine, but it also necessitates a mandatory wipe-down and clean after each ride in order to ensure that build-up doesn’t totally gunk up the chain.

    Do you fucking pussies also ride hemp chains?

    Seriously, though, I also try to use all bio-degradeable cleaning stuff, but never considered the actual lube itself could be bad. That seems really dumb of me. So, to that end, I will saunter off to the LBS in flip-flops and flowers in my hair and try out the Dumonde Tech green option. Now look what you’ve done.

  17. @roadslave
    Mate, the fact that you put your fucking chain in the dishwasher along with your dishware makes me fucking laugh my ass off. And your attitude toward the “fucking bike conversation” has me in tears. Well done, mate. Well fucking done.

    Our basement sink clogged a few weeks back. I blamed tree roots. As the plumber was cleaning it out, the overwhelming smell of not shit, but of CHAIN SOLVENT emanated into the room. Fuck, I was glad my lady wasn’t home at the time.

  18. @mcsqueak

    I should purchase a stand though, because it would make cleaning a whole lot easier. Or perhaps I’ll do as others have done and just hang some ropes from the ceiling of my patio (I have no garage where I live currently).

    If it works, it works, but it does sway quite a bit and causes some challenges that way. If you can afford it, get a good stand. And good tools. The best you can afford. After all, they will be working on your beloved cycle.

  19. michael :

    @Nate

    Now I too am off to figure where my latest creak is coming from.

    Dear God, what have I done?

  20. @Nate
    I had the same issue on my Velomihottie’s bike. With campy, it’s amazing how loose the chain cable tension should be, I make mine as loose as I can and still be able to snap it into the next bigger cog when I shift. A little too much tension will give noise in the middle cogs. 10 speed – and Merckx forbid – 11 speed, really demans a very precise cable tension.

  21. @michael
    In Campy at least, those B-Tension screws really only help in the biggest cog; on the other cogs, it makes little difference. Again, I keep mine very loose.

  22. My carbon Ibis developed a weird creak riding home last night. Within 10 crank revolutions of the new noise – the rear derailleur blew off with a busted hanger.

    Damn strange – guessing the aluminum hanger was creaking on it’s death bed, then expired. Freaky.

    A few pics of the destruction: http://yoeddy.blogspot.com/2010/10/snap-goes-hanger.html

  23. @Cyclops– thanks I’ll give that a try.

    @frank– is that chain tension or shift cable tension? I think you mean shift cable tension.

    @michael– cassette bearings (never heard of those!) or do you mean jockey wheel bearings?

    Thanks and hear’s to quiet riding this weekend.

  24. frank :

    Do you fucking pussies also ride hemp chains?

    Of course not. I braid together my organically shampooed leg hair after I’ve shaved it at the beginning of the season and use that. Farming hemp is unsustainable. Flip flops? WTF? Don’t you mean Birkenstocks? And singing “Listen (Shhh) to what the flower people say.”

    Nate :

    Thanks and hear’s to quiet riding this weekend.

    This is my favorite typo/pun of the year!

  25. @Dan O
    Brutal!! Wow. It’s good to see that you’re still doing right by the knee-warmers/cap look as demo’d in the “steel” link. Nice.

    @Nate
    Indeed – cable tension. Sorry, and corrected. Good catch.

  26. Roadslave :

    A ride after which I don’t clean my entire drive train, degreaser and relube is a ride incomplete…

    Ditto. I have a mason jar, and a gallon of paint thinner. A couple ounces, stir stir. Shake, shake, and five minutes later my chain is clean! I understand that petrochemicals can alter the metallurgic properties of a chain, but for as quiet as my SRAM drivetrain is; it is absolutely worth the risk. After I dry it off, and remove any left over stuff, I use Boeshield. This shit is grand.

    Of course when you clean your entire drivetrain after every ride, it typically doesn’t matter what you use…

  27. @wvcycling
    Ah, Boesheild. Another good Seattle product- Jim swears by it. I bought bottle on his authority. Jim got himself a free bottle of Beosheild out of the deal as it doesn’t compare to Dumond TECH. Especially given your ruthless approach to chain cleansing which I admire in it’s wholesale committal to the cratf, I suggest you try it out. I mean, you’re made for a genuine lube: obviously a fanatic and obviously gives fuck-all for the environment.

  28. O Velominati!

    Neglect the initial chain degreasing at thy peril! For failure to sufficiently clean the factory scum will thwart thy subsequent lubing rituals, and render null the Principle of Silence!

    PS Creak solved…

  29. @sgt
    Excellent point! My Merckx, this cannot be overstated! The only time to apply actual grease to a chain is when you are riding Flanders or Roubaix and it’s raining. And only then if you’ve already degreased the factory slime off, relubed with Dumonde TECH, and wish to keep the water and grit out (grease will form an impermeable barrier).

    I’m guessing at this stage that after the race you will also want to chuck the chain, but thats no matter provided you just put your arms in the air in the Velodrome.

  30. @Nate,

    The hub runs on bearings, the casette body (not the cogs) run on bearings that turn when you are coasting – or the bearings that the casette body runs on when the bike is stationary and you are backpedaling.

    Boeshield will STINK your house up. At least it used to about 15 years ago. Use it in the garage and for Christ’s sake, don’t ever use it inside the car. You will never get rid of the smell.

  31. michael :

    @Nate,

    Boeshield will STINK your house up.

    I don’t do bike stuff in my house, I have a separate place appropriated for such rituals, but hey, I love the smell of Boeshield… The drip kind, not the spray kind.

    And don’t even dare say I’m some kind of lube huffing velo-junkie.

  32. @Steampunk
    I wish I could say it was intentional.

    @michael
    Thanks got it.

  33. The factory grease is best left on until it needs to be cleaned, it’s good stuff.

    @frank
    no I don’t ride hemp chairs, I make my own chairs out of pieces of wood I salvage from skips and punctured inner-tubes…

    Let us know how the eco-lube goes

  34. @frank
    I definitely cut a corner, hoping a quick rub with degreaser on a rag and a lube would do it when I put the chain on last week. My full maintenance was running long, and my runner wife (who disdains any pre-exercise regimen more time consuming than tying one’s shoes) was standing by tapping her dainty foot… Today I went full bore with the Park chain cleaner and full concentrate Eco-satanic degreaser, followed by a rinse, dry, and full lube, and then verified PoS compliance with a couple of big ring hill repeats (in flip flops, then Sidi’s to ensure the shoes weren’t creaking), followed by a full bike cleaning and relube. Success!

    PS I find it slightly disturbing that a thread about proper lubing can generate 67 posts, but I’m figuring out that we’re a sick bunch…

  35. ProLink ProGold – there is no other lube for clean and quiet drivetrains that shift as the maker intended. It does require frequent reapplication, but the only cleaning you’ll ever need to do is quickly wiping it down every now and then. I’ve used it on MTBs at Worlds and road bikes in tours and World Cups and in all climactic conditions and I swear by it…

  36. I’ve tried that Chain-L Lube that What’s his name sent me, but I have yet to review it due to lack of positive things to say about it. Only condition I could imagine using it is when there is snow on the ground. On both of my road bikes, after applying and wiping off excess, I still had all of these stringy lines of sticky lube on my rims, chain/seat stays, and seat post. Yes, it sounds like I put too much, but I swear I removed the excess before riding. The lube is like chainsaw oil :o

  37. The value of a clean chain was driven home yesterday as I crossed the street. My chain jammed in the derailleur and promptly snapped, sending me flying into the road. Fortunately the nearest car was distant and stopped in time.

    Lessons learned: always wear gloves, even on a short roll to coffee. Don’t leave a metal wallet in your pocket. Run a thorough safety check before each ride (and learn more about bike maintenance).

    Strangely, I had a full drivetrain cleaning done by the LBS two weeks ago.

  38. @Oli Brooke-White
    Yep, have been a fan for a long time. In fact, I had a Reverence piece ready to run on it, but I guess another blurb about chain lube isn’t needed now!

    I first saw Pro Link in Tasmania on a road tour, the local shop swore by it and I was amazed how it actually cleaned my chain as I applied and wiped it off. Maybe a little bit underpowered for really wet MTB conditions, but amazing for the road bike. Have been trying Pedros ChainJ on the MTB, and it’s very good too. But the Chorus will be getting the Pro Link love…

  39. I give the Pro Link a huge thumbs up as well. Apply and wipe every ride and you are set.

    For the absolute best and least expensive degreaser….. diesel. Buy it by the gallon for less than three bucks. Hundreds of pro mechanics can’t be wrong.

  40. @Oli Brooke-White, @Brett, @pakrat
    Gents, take from the guy who switched from ProLink: Dumonde Tech is a world apart. I used the ProLink as well, and Saul at SpeedyReedy swears by it – good enough for me, right! Well, as described, I stumbled onto Dumonde Tech and it’s way quieter and runs smoother. Try it. For you Aussies & Kiwis, I’ll happily ship a bottle or two out to you to try out.

  41. @Geoffrey Grosenbach
    That sounds awful. A snapped chain – that is about as bad as it gets. Absolutely, always check all critical items before a ride. A well-maintained bike can be checked in less than 5 minutes; brakes, headset, bars, saddle/post, wheel skewers, etc. Scary stuff, that.

  42. @various

    Thanks for the tips. I implemented them last night and am pleased to report that on today’s ride I had near-perfect compliance with the principal of silence.

  43. Gonna give this goop a try. My LBS doesn’t stock this, but I found it on Ebay for $6.95 w/free shipping.

  44. Wow, cleaning your chain before every ride. That is dedication. Most days I’m too eager to get out and ride to do anything but pull a bike off the hook and head out.

    I usually clean and relube on Saturdays or Sundays, whichever day I do less riding. I rotate a few bikes so this means there aren’t too many miles on any one non-pristine chain.

  45. I use finish line ceramic wet lube and have been very happy with it.

  46. Could not agree more. I use it myself and we also use it here at Branford Bike. Thumbs up to the regular chain cleaning!!

  47. 1600Km per change? That’ll be about a month and a half between changes…

  48. just wanted to second the dumonde tech lube. gave it a try after running into this article a while back. works great and smells fantastic! i’m going to try the green variant once this bottle is out. my chain maintenance seems to be the same as described, by the way: wipe down gently between rides (preferably a couple hours later, after dinner and with beer in hand) and re-lube once the chain starts to make noise any louder than the blissful song of it humming through the rear derailleur, echo-ing off of parked cars, mailboxes and concrete barriers.

    also, regarding creaks… i recently developed an annoying creak coming from the BB area. specifically at the 5-6 o’clock position on my drive side crank when climbing. i’d recently gotten new bottle cages and heard they could cause this; riding without for a few minutes ruled that out. moving on, i removed, greased and tightened the chain ring bolts; no joy. pedals had been changed out recently as well; these were removed, re-lubed and re-tightened yet the problem persisted. finally, i tried the obvious solution i’d feared: pull the crank set and re-grease the BB area. with BB30, this was actually incredibly easy and required no more than a 10mm hex key, a gentle tap from a rubber mallet, grease and about ten minutes of my time. the creak is absolutely gone. guessing some damp winter rides on bike #1 washed some of the grease away. anyway lesson is: pulling a BB30 crank is easy and i should have tried this first.

  49. @Roadslave525A ride after which I don’t clean my entire drive train, degreaser and relube is a ride incomplete… It leaves me unsatisfied, irritable, wretched. Sitting there with my pint of post-ride recovery carbs in my V-chalice, cleaning each cog on my rear mech with an old tea towel and degreaser, degreasing the chain, then reassembling is a pleasure of which I’ll never tire… I’ve recently switched from finish line wet to dry… But I shall now try and source some dumonde… Is it available in the UK?Frank, agree on Campag… Shimano components wear out… Campag ones wear in… A timeless classic, as true as The Principle of Silence. There it is.Is it available in UK? Google doesn’t find much.

  50. @meursault

    Nice to hear that you’re looking after your bike however degreasing the chain after each ride is not very smart.Clean chain looks wonderful I know but chain degreased often will not last for long.Rub the outside plates of the chain in the clean rag and re-lube.Wipe off excess.When the chain gets a bit more dirty and it’s time for a bigger cleaning overlube it slightly and go for a ride.While riding all the dirt from inside the rollers will surface on top and then when you get home again rub the chain into a clean cloth/rag.This way what stays inside between the rollers is a lube/oil rather than degreaser.Once you learn this method cleaning the chain will be easier and your chain will last long.

    You can find dumonde on ebay,some shops will ship to uk so search ebay.

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