First Ride with the new Wolf Tooth WT-1 Chain Lube

Wolf Tooth Components just launched their all-new WT-1 Chain Lube, which is designed to clean, protect, and last up to five times longer than other chain lubes. We had the chance to give it a try prior to launch. Find our first impressions here…

What’s a component manufacturer doing jumping into the chain lube game, you might ask? Minneapolis-based Wolf Tooth Components got its start making chainrings, which is still a large part of the company’s business. “Wolf Tooth has over 300 chainrings with three tooth profiles. Our engineers are experts in chainrings, chain wear, and drivetrain efficiency,” said Wolf Tooth Co-founder Brendan Moore.

The minds at Wolf Tooth are also known to be innovators and tinkerers. So, it makes sense that they try to improve upon something that plays a crucial role in maintaining chainrings and drivetrains. And WT-1 isn’t a typical chain lube. According to Wolf Tooth, it’s technically a “premium synthetic chain lubricant and a drivetrain treatment.” WT-1 is designed to work in all conditions, wet or dry, and clean the chain while improving the drivetrain’s mechanical efficiency. That seems like a lot to ask from a single product, but Wolf Tooth hopes this will allow cyclists to have only one bottle instead of separate dry lube, wet lube, and chain cleaner.

Wolf Tooth WT-1 Chain Lube Review

Wolf Tooth also claims that WT-1 lasts three to five times longer than most other chain lubes. The magic behind this longevity is the amount of lubricant in each bottle. WT-1 Chain Lube is 95% lubricant. Wolf Tooth claims this is a substantial difference from most other chain lubes that are roughly 20-50% lubricant.

The primary characteristic that separates WT-1 from others is its cleaning properties. WT-1 contains a detergent-like additive designed to clean your chain by pushing dirt and debris to the surface where it can be wiped away. According to Wolf Tooth, this works by penetrating all the tiny nooks and crevices between plates, pins, and rollers to bring contaminants to the surface and simplify cleaning the chain. Other lubes can trap grit and grime by sealing it in the chain. Once that process takes place, WT-1 binds to the metal of a chain to protect it and repel these contaminants.

First Use

Funny enough, I wasn’t aware of how this stuff worked prior to using it. In typical me fashion, I hadn’t cleaned my bike in a while and certainly didn’t read the fine print on the bottle. I simply shook it up and applied it as I would any other lube. Regardless, even that was a little different than typical lubes. The bottle has a BB inside that helps mix it up, which is a nice touch, and it has a darker color than many modern lubes, with no odor to speak of. I wiped off the excess and pedaled away. It was pretty clear from the first ride that this wasn’t your ordinary chain lube. On a dry and dusty singletrack ride, it started off silky smooth. But spinning back to my house, I noticed a gritty and grinding sound as I pedaled. On further inspection, there was some serious black grit and grime on the chain, chainring, and cassette. My first thought was that WT-1 wasn’t ideal for dry conditions, until I learned exactly what was happening. I cleaned up the chain and rings with a towel, and applied a little more lube to the chain.

  • Wolf Tooth WT-1 Chain Lube Review
  • Wolf Tooth WT-1 Chain Lube Review

After the second ride, the same scenario played out, although it was slightly less of a mess, as shown above. Again, I wiped it away and cleaned the chainring and pulleys. After the third ride, the chain was significantly cleaner and it still felt nice and lubricated as it shifted and moved, although there was still a little grime. That’s as far as I’ve gotten with it on that particular bike. I’ve used it on two other bikes, as well. One was recently cleaned and WT-1 still brought a little dirt and grime to the surface, but it was far less dramatic.

With that, consider this review to be continued. At this point, I’m intrigued by WT-1 and hope that after a few more rides it’s clean and free of grit. But I haven’t put enough miles on it to give it a proper evaluation. I plan to report back after a couple of weeks of regular use (and a multi-day bikepacking trip). Stay tuned, and in the meantime, find Wolf Tooth’s launch video below, along with details on pricing and availability.

Wolf Tooth WT-1 Chain Lube is available in 2.0 and 0.5 fl oz bottles, sold individually or by the box. They are available today on Wolf Tooth’s website, as listed below:

Also, you can check out Wolf Tooth’s development page with more details on how WT-1 works.

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