WOLF TOOTH WT-1 ALL CONDITIONS CHAIN LUBE REVIEW
A NEW FAVORITE
Words by Dario DiGiulio
I know, a chain lube review. But Wolf Tooth is historically a company known for their colorful aluminum parts, clever tools, and drivetrain hacks, which makes their foray into lubricants intriguing. They’ve also made some very bold claims about the longevity of their WT-1 All Conditions chain lube, so I put it through the wringer of a foul Bellingham winter to see how it fared.
Wolf Tooth developed this chain lube in tandem with SCC Tech, a specialist in the world of lubricants. WT-1 is touted as an all-conditions lube, with the claim that it will last 3-5 times longer than most other chain lubes on the market. In order to achieve this, the formula binds with the links of the chain, while simultaneously cleaning grit and grime out of the drivetrain thanks to detergents contained within.
The application process is well detailed on their product page, but it’s about as simple as it gets. Put one drop of WT-1 on each roller, cycle the chain 20-30 times, give it a wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove the dirt that’s been pushed out by the detergents in the lube, then go ride. Over the first few rides you should see the grime rising out of the chain, where you can then wipe it clean. Once that has been removed, Wolf Tooth claims you’ll get up to 400 miles of riding before the next application is necessary.
At $18.95 for a 2oz. bottle and $6.95 for a 0.5oz. dropper it’s not cheap, but is it worth it?
I need to preface this test with a disclaimer about just how foul the winter riding in Bellingham can be. While we’re frequently blessed with ideal riding conditions, the downside to that is the persistent rain and subsequent grime that seems to coat everything you take out on trail. As a result, I’ve found that drivetrain components wear much faster here than anywhere else I’ve lived or ridden, mostly due to our very sandy and silty soil. All to say, the WT-1 had its work cut out for it.
I started using Wolf Tooth’s blue goo at the end of last year, right as winter was ramping up and things were getting truly wet. With most lighter-body lubes, I’m lucky to get a full ride out of an application, with most savvy folks carrying a little dropper of lube with them on longer missions in the dark months. After my first few rides with the WT-1 on my chains, I found that I could at least make it one full ride without hearing the dreaded crunch and squeak of a dying drivetrain. Music to my ears.
Over the subsequent months, I’ve continued using it on my daily rides, and seem to be on an application schedule of once every 2-3 rides. It’s not 400 miles, but it’s definitely an improvement. Add to that the cleaning function it serves, and I do think the WT-1 is keeping my drivetrains alive a little bit longer than other alternatives I’ve used.
In terms of comparisons to other products, the things I’ve had most luck within the past are the tried-and-true Dumonde Tech Original, and the wax-based Squirt chain lube. Dumonde lasts well in the wet, is about as unfussy as it gets, and has that nostalgically toxic smell. Squirt is more particular in how you apply it but lasts a remarkably long time in dry conditions and holds up to a good bit of wet weather riding. Overall I think WT-1 has them both beat, both in ease of use and longevity in the nasty winter conditions I’ve been putting it through. Time will tell how it fares when dusty summer trails come back, but ultimately everything does better in those conditions so I’m not too worried.
The 2oz. bottle is great for shop use, and the little 0.5oz. dropper is easy to toss in a pack should you need to apply some silence out in the woods. Both have a nice little touch in the little metal ball bearing inside the bottle to help mix stuff up, and won’t leak in a hip pack after getting rattled around.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Wolf Tooth released their WT-1 chain lube with some pretty hefty claims about longevity and performance, but even in the nastiest conditions I think it proved itself worthy. The gains are relatively small, given just how gritty Bellingham winters can be, but with a 3x improvement in run time, I’ll take anything I can get. This will be my lube of choice until something better comes along.
Price: $6.95 | $18.95