By Ed Pavelka
- Best damn chain lube we’ve used, period
- Smell seems strong to some users
Price: $7.50 for 4-oz. bottle
Source: website, catalogs, bike shops
How obtained: cold cash
RBR advertiser: no
Tested: 10,000+ miles
It seems a little silly to wax poetic about a chain lube, but this stuff is so good we think you’ll like it as much as we do.
There’s a lot of positive ProLink buzz out there. Almost everyone who has tried it or reviewed it likes it. Uncle Al Ardizone, who’s been in the bike biz for more than 30 years and has probably used every lube to come down the pike, thinks so highly of ProLink that he actually gives a bottle to dubious customers. He knows they’ll be back to buy some. He’s been right every time.
At a suggested retail of $7.50 for the 4-oz. bottle, ProLink is a bit more expensive than most other lubes. But we’re still talking pocket change. The cost may actually even out over time because this lube does not readily wear away or wash off, which means fewer applications are necessary. Says the Unc, “It lasts longer than any lube we’ve ever used.”
The easiest way to switch over to ProLink is simply to apply it to your current chain. (That’s assuming it’s not coated with gummy sludge. If it is, clean it first.) By wetting the links thoroughly, old lube will be loosened and the chain can be wiped clean. Not clean enough? Do it again. And maybe a third time following a ride or two.
Warning from Uncle Al: “You must follow the application instructions if you want this stuff to work at its best. If you throw it on the chain just before you ride, it’ll attract dirt like any wet substance. Plan ahead and you’ll be amazed.”
Is It Hype if It’s True?
ProLink is billed as a “metal friction reducer.” It comes with a lot of hype, claiming benefits like smoother, quieter shifting; preventing corrosion; repelling moisture; shedding dirt. But the thing is, our experience says it’s all true. The drivetrain stays clean — not as squeaky clean as with a dry lube like White Lightning, but it won’t make a mess on your pristine road machine.
ProLink is thin so it penetrates. It doesn’t get thick in cold temperatures. It keeps lubing pretty darn well in the rain for as light as it is.
When you put ProLink on your chain after a ride and let it sit overnight, the next day the chain is relatively dry. Wipe it down with a clean rag, then head out. The drivetrain spins so easily that you almost feel like you can use one gear higher.
It gets better. On his own and customers” bikes, Uncle Al has noticed that ProLink reduces friction and wear to the point where chains and cogs seem to last longer. He can’t provide U.N. verification for that, but he believes it’s true.
By the way, we also love the refillable, 0.25-oz. ProGold Luber. This nifty $5 item looks like a hypodermic syringe, but without the plunger. You insert the long needle-like tip into cable housings or anyplace you want a touch of ProLink lube, then gently squeeze the sides of the tube. With it, you can put a drop into the tightest places. Because ProLink doesn’t gets tacky, this is a long-lasting way to enhance shifting and braking.
Real Roadie Feedback
- The downside I’ve found is that I store my bike in my office at work, and ProLink reeks like an oil refinery. I added some patchouli oil to the bottle, and now my office reeks like a hippy oil refinery. — Joe B.
- OK, perhaps I got a bad bottle of ProLink. I hated the stuff!
The first thing I noticed is it has a really strong solvent smell. The second thing I noticed is, the solvent quickly bled through a few layers of newspaper and into the floor.
I had been using White Lightning. Perhaps putting ProLink over that was a mistake. Whatever, drivetrain noise increased and shifting deteriorated. I seemed to need to reapply after 100 miles or less, contrasted with 200 miles or so for WL.
Going directly back to WL was a mistake as well. WL will react with the residual ProLink. The result is rather like tar.
I am far happier with Pedro’s Ice Wax and Boeshield T9 than with White Lightning, WL Race Day (junk — it precipitates and becomes unusable), or ProLink. — Richard M.
- I’ve had good experience with ProLink, and recently learned another of its benefits. Many chain lubricants are volatile petroleum-based products that airlines won’t allow in carry-on baggage. ProLink’s label indicates an environment-friendly composition that suggests acceptability to airlines, which I confirmed with the manufacturer. So, if you’re flying to a ride or race and want to bring some of your favorite chain lube along, ProLink fits the bill. — Sherrill S.