Reverence: Dumonde Tech BCL

Butter your chain with Dumonde Tech

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.

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83 Replies to “Reverence: Dumonde Tech BCL”

  1. I recently discovered I’ve neglected my chain and the 3,000 miles on it have left it old and saggy like a grandmother’s breasts, so it’s time to replace it with a perky virgin. I’ve decided to try an oil lube, Chain-L 5, for this chain. They claim up to 1,000 miles between applications, and the reviews in the RoadBikeRider newsletter were favorable. The Chain-L 5 is going to get a fresh application. I’ll let you know how it holds up. I have high hopes.

  2. Ah, a timely reminder to clean and lube my drivetrain! I was out for a ride this evening (in my new cycling cap, no less) and notice the chain starting to make noise, which annoys the crap out of me.

    My shop recommends Dumonde Tech, so I guess they are really smart.

  3. People, you shouldn’t need reminding to look after your chain, after all that is where the first noises emanate from. Chaoins should never do over 1600km before they;re changed,

  4. Dumonde Tech – maybe I’ll give it a try. Then again, might be hard to sway me from Pedro’s lube – been using it for years. It also makes a nice dessert topping.

    I also clean my chains often. Though at times, with commuting, they stay nasty for days – waiting for the official Wash ‘N’ Lube action over the weekend.

    As far as replacing chains – I don’t. I go for the kill it all, replace it all, scenario. Cassette, chain, and chainrings all at once. Expensive? Yes. But probably no more then dumping $30 on a chain every 1000 miles or so. Plus no skipping or other chain/cassette incompatibility issues due to uneven wear. It all wears out together, no noise – until totally wasted. I get maybe 8000 – 10,000 miles out of it all.

    Both my current road bikes are at that point. Two full sets of replacements. Double ouch.

  5. Buying a chain wear indicator tool (will cost less than 10 bucks) is a far more accurate way to determine when to replace.

  6. @Jarvis
    The chain has been well-maintained and has stayed fairly clean. I tend to follow an every-other-ride or once-a-week lubing regiment depending on weather conditions. I don’t have time for every ride like Frank. I just hadn’t thought about the number of miles I’d put on it until the other day when I realized that it was a large number.

    Replacing every 1,000 miles seems pretty frequent to me.

  7. Not sure where to post this but this is the greatest cycling blog I have come across. You preach real world values that apply to more than just cycling. While I get to grips with THE RULES (money is an issue as I am a student…) I focus on training. Being new to the sport could you teach more about training? Or suggest elsewhere to look in regards to this?

  8. @kishan
    Welcome kishan, and thanks for the kind words. No, we can’t teach you about training, but we can point you towards Rules #5, #6, #10 and #71 for starters. And when in doubt, always fall back on the words of our Prophet; “Ride Lots.”

  9. @frank
    Yep. Though my ritual involves the clean and oil at the end of the ride (to get the grime off as soon as possible). Kneeling at the altar and giving thanks for a good ride while I wipe down the chain and apply the necessary lube. The pre-ride inspection is important, too.

    @Collin @Jarvis

    Most bike shops and chain instructions recommend changing the chain after 1600kms, though good care might be able to extend that a bit. Beyond that, even light wear can start to put strain on your other components and reduce their quality and effectiveness. Maybe insignificantly at first, but that can be a high price to pay if you’re riding some top end stuff (I’m not, but would like to be considered worthy…).

  10. Six months ago, I went into my LBS, not satisfied with my current relationship. There were a lot of “pretty” lubes hanging around, vying for my attention, but I was looking for something more substantial. Then the LBS customer service extrordinaire Velomihottie, knowing my tastes, steered me toward Dumonde Tech. Knowing She was always right about these things, I hooked up with a bottle. Since that first night, I’ve never looked back, though she does get a little dirty, sometimes, for me…

  11. I’ve long been a Finish Line Dry Lube man myself, lube every week or two (when I clean the whole bike). I typically go about 4500km between chains, and I go two chains before I replace the cassette… seems to work for me. Although I just threw a new (Record) chain on a couple weeks ago and have developed a really annoying creak when I put the hammer down… tightened the chain ring bolts, checked skewers, no effect. Going to do a full on deep lube on the chain this afternoon. PoS must be maintained!

  12. @kishan I have a simple training plan which was given to me by a woman over 50 years old who broke the hour in a 40k TT. This is a very good result. Her coach was someone famous and reputable and I really don’t remember his name. Anyway a couple years ago when I was learning php, I put a version of it online. It assumes some basic cycling knowledge, but here it is http://pdxvr.com/training.php

  13. I fancy Rock n’ Roll Gold after most every ride. It cleans and lubes in one process — apply liberally, wipe clean, and re-wipe before the next ride. It takes less than 5 minutes. My Chorus 11 mech has been shiny and silent for a good 3000 km.

  14. I am w/nate, Rock-n-Roll gold is the down and out. I do mine every 100k.

    How does the Dumonde compare frank?? I am always open to new lubes because it just seems everyone i change to is superior to the last, albeit, the Rock-n-Roll gold has been good, it can be out-done.

  15. A 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.

  16. Chains, fuggetaboutit. I’ve learned the hard way and now replace my chain once a year. And I’ve tried dry lubes, motorcycle chain lubes, semi-dry and now I’m using some extremely light something-gold(??), it’s OK but requires frequent reapplication. I’ll try dumonde if I can find it.

    Can I upload a pdf? I’ve got an interesting one on chain wear. What chain last longer, sort of document.

  17. @john

    While interesting, the results are worth very little because how many of us actually ride at 50kph all the time? I’m certainly not Faboo and can’t put out nearly that kind of power. I wonder what the chain wear is for speeds like the 30-35kph at which I normally ride.

    That Connex chains are the best in this figure, and the speed under which the testing occurred was completely unreasonable leads me to believe there’s a serious bias in these results.

  18. Ok, so you folks that lube your chains (har) on almost every ride, do you also degrease the chain first, or just give it a quick wipe with a rag, lube, then wipe the excess off?

    I am but a young Velominatus and need to learn these things from elder disciples. It would seem to me that a simple wipe/lube/wipe would leave all sorts of crap embedded inside the chain, which would continue to wear on your cassette and chain rings. This is why whenever I lube my chain, I do an entire drive train cleaning, which takes me an hour or more to do it properly, thus I don’t do it as often as I should. I want to RIDE, not CLEAN!

  19. mcsqueak :

    I want to RIDE, not CLEAN!

    I must confess I used to feel the same way, but I’ve developed a deeper appreciation not just for the tool but also the ride since I took more time working on the bike. I’ll spare you the Zen comparisons, but they’re there.

    Just back from the LBS, where I got my son a Specialized Hardrock mtb. It’s a nice machine and I’m looking forward to getting out on the trails with him before the rain and snow make that impossible (I won’t contribute to erosion of local trails by riding too late into the season””that should be a rule). But spending some time on Sunday afternoon to clean is going to become a part of our father-son time together, which should be good. Hard ride and then quiet reverence.

    As an aside, while he was testing a variety of bikes, I hopped on a Specialized Tricross to keep him company. They only had a 52 for me to ride (I typically ride a 56), but this thing wanted to take off underneath me””beautiful piece of work, that. 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…

  20. @mcsqueak
    The more often you wipe/lube, the less you have to do a deep cleaning. And the more stuff you wipe off after you lube, the cleaner everything stays. Here in SoCal, we’re lucky weather-wise, so we don’t have to clean as much.

    And if you don’t already do your own wrenching, start. Invest in some basic tools and a stand, get advice from more knowledgeable mates, and treat yourself to more tools with the money you save wrenching your own shit. You’ll hopefully discover that wrenching will help you bond with your steed, make you a better rider, and open up all new topics of conversation on group rides. It will also make you a fanatic about having a perfectly tuned ride. Fun!

  21. @mcsqueak

    As a frequent lube-er — I find I don’t need to degrease. It has the disadvantage of sucking the lube out of the chain. Degreasing is a last resort. The beauty of the regular lube and wipe is that if you find a lube that works the chain won’t get to the point that it needs to be degreased.
    Having said that, if you want to convert to the lube and wipe, and your chain still has life in it, you’ll probably want to give it a thorough degreasing first to remove any built up gunk.

  22. @kishan

    Not sure where to post this but this is the greatest cycling blog I have come across. You preach real world values that apply to more than just cycling. While I get to grips with THE RULES (money is an issue as I am a student…) I focus on training. Being new to the sport could you teach more about training? Or suggest elsewhere to look in regards to this?

    Is it hot in here, or am I blushing? As Brett hinted at, we don’t really write much about actually training, or actually being good a riding a bike. I mean, we are good at riding bikes, but it really came about more by accident than anything else, just through falling in love with the machines, focusing on making sure we look good all the time, and mimic the Pros whenever in doubt.

    As it happens, we really don’t in any way regulate what the conversation shapes into here – and we happen to have a load of members in our community who can help you out, like Michael. We even have nutrition experts in our ranks, so you’ll be well handled by the community. Just chuck some specific questions up, and I’m sure you’ll get some helpful answers. If no one response, just post it again somewhere else – we get some posting traffic going sometimes and not everyone catches all of them.

    So, welcome aboard, and fire away!

  23. @sgt

    Although I just threw a new (Record) chain on a couple weeks ago and have developed a really annoying creak when I put the hammer down… tightened the chain ring bolts, checked skewers, no effect.

    Check your cassette as well – I routinely take it apart and clean the grit from between the sets of cogs, and make sure it’s nice and tights. This can definitely lead to a difficult-to-diagnose creaking sound.

    There is nothing more maddening than noise coming from your bike while riding. Noise = energy loss = not forward momentum = not all suffering making bike go faster

  24. @sgt, @mcsqueak
    Sqt really has it nailed here, regular cleaning keeps things in great order, and prevents too much buildup of any problems.

    I also do a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning with the cyclone. Admittedly, it’s distressingly phallic, but it’s also amazingly effective. A few times a year, I buy the expensive Park degreaser which really, REALLY cleaning the fuck out of it.

    I was getting worried about my chaine after about 5000ks on it and brought it into the shop to check it (I should just buy the tool, but I like the excuse to have a “reason” to go to the shop and talk to my boys) and there was virtually no wear on it.

    An ounce of prevention.

    Aside from that – @John’s got the ticket. Replace your chain before it wears out, and you don’t have to also replace your expensive cassette.

  25. @Steampunk

    Just back from the LBS, where I got my son a Specialized Hardrock mtb. It’s a nice machine and I’m looking forward to getting out on the trails with him before the rain and snow make that impossible

    Wow, the first bike I bought with my own money was a Hard Rock. I still have it – or at least my parents do. It’s an amazing bike, a bit heavy, but an amazing bike.

    But spending some time on Sunday afternoon to clean is going to become a part of our father-son time together, which should be good. Hard ride and then quiet reverence.

    This is what my dad – my cycling sensei – and I did as well. Just, please, when your son overtightens the bolt on your new Campag MTB group (they made one, briefly) and strips it – go easy on him, ok?

    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.

  26. After reading this, I’ve done some further reading on the chain-cleaning subject and it really shows how many pig-ignorant lazy bastards there are out there. And that highlights the point of this site which is about showing people how things should be done.

    I’ve always done a fairly good job of chain-cleaning and care, but I have still learnt a few things. Such as putting the lube on the inside of the chain, which attracts less than lubing the outer. That hot water is probably better than bikewash/degreaser things and that there doesn’t seem to be one best way of doing things.

    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.

  27. I heartily commend your thoughts on the principles of silence. I, too, am a religious cleaner and oiler of chains. I revel in the directness of action that a well lubed drivechain facilitates between legs and tyre. The gentle hum of wide bladed spokes, the rasp of breath and NOTHING else, quintessence of an early morning thrash.

    Which is why I am at my wits end with the never ending creakfest that is my bottom bracket at the moment. A wise man once said, every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin to slit throats….Much longer, it’s axe meets carbon and I shan’t be held responsible.

  28. 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?

  29. @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…

  30. @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.

  31. @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…

  32. @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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. @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!

  36. @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.

  37. @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.

  38. @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?

  39. 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.

  40. @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.

  41. @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.

  42. @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.

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