Review: Wickens & Soderstrom Grease and Lube
Wickens & Soderstrom are a new entrant to the bike market, making a range of bike maintenance lubricants and greases to keep things running smoothly. I’ve been using the No.5 Drivetrain Lubricant and the No.2 HL Grease for the past couple of months, and it’s been doing a sterling job!
I’ll start with the HL (high load) grease first of all. It’s a thick white grease, similar in looks and texture to sudacrem (parents will know). It’s a high load, high performance, hydroscopic grease designed for professional use – and to that extent It’s been used around the bottom bracket of the Squid during build and also on the pedals of both bikes.
Hydroscopic means that should water find a way in, then it is kept away from the components surface and is instead absorbed by the grease (thanks Google & Wikipedia), this in turn helps prevent rust and a knackering of componentry.
Does it work? Well pedals have been removed and reseated a few times – it’s how I get my kicks – and so far all is smooth as silk. In use it’s very thick, again like sudacrem, so any on your hands will need a good rubbing to get off, on an aesthetic level it is slightly nicer to have pale hands from the residue than dirty grimy hands!
At around £24 for a 142ml pot it’s certainly not cheap, but it’s holding its own and should last a good few years of usage before needing a new pot.
The other lubricant is the No.5 Drivetrain Lubricant, which has been getting some thorough usage as well – got to love the autumn and winter rains!
It’s quite a thin lubricant, pouring from the bottle easily – but the liquidity is deceiving, as good results come from very little. It holds up well to rain, but will get rinsed off if the weather is too foul – but that’s pretty much standard for most chain lubes in severe weather.
Against moisture it does a sterling job though, with the chain staying rust free even after leaving it outside after a wet ride (it was all for scientific testing not out of laziness you see!). The next mornings ride was again noise-free and smoothly turning.
It was also reasonably resistant to clagging up, not getting too grimy on the first ride.
There’s always a fine line to balance with chain lubes, how much sticking power to the chain do you want traded-ff against how much the lube will pick up and retain dirt from the road. I think that No.5 walks that line well, even on British country lanes.
And the price? well again it’s quite expensive, coming in around £14 for 125ml, but like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t need significant quantities to get a decent result, and barring really foul weather it does a good job of protecting your chain.
Wickens & Soderstrom are setting the price high for their products, and anecdotally I’ve started to see them around a bit more at independent bike shops and the feedback I’ve heard has been good! It’s designed and made in Britain, for the British weather, and I think this attention and the ultimate level of performance warrants the extra few quid of expense.