Green Oil is from the UK and does exactly what it says on the tin, it is 'green oil.' Where most lubricants and cleaners are petroleum based and use many different man-made chemicals for varying applications, Green Oil products are 100% plant-based and PTFE free. All the products are made in the UK, use recycled bottles, and are 100% biodegradable. There's lots of interesting information on www.green-oil.net
Green Oil Range
• Bike-specific range of cleaners and lubricants
• Recycled containers
• PTFE free
• Petrochemical free
• 100% biodegradable
• Made in the UK
• Price: £2.39–£9.99 / $3–$12.80 USD (approx.)
Green Oil is not quite good enough to drink, but it's not far off.Is it really Green, or just a marketing exercise?
In this modern world (that we have done a good job of messing up so far) there are more and more brands who claim to be 'green,' 'natural,' 'eco,' or 'biodegradable,' often-times as a marketing exercise. After conversing with Simon Nash, the brand's creator, reading all of his website and watching his great videos, it seems that Green Oil do care and try to counter every negative possible outcome:
• All bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic - 'recycled' is the key word as it means the bottles are
made from recycled material, recyclable only means it can
be recycled, when in reality most of it ends up in the landfill.
• Green Oil refunds customers 20 pence in cash for every bottle returned for re-use. In some countries, this is standard practice for many glass and plastic bottles, but in Europe, there are few programs of this type.
• Supplying retailers with 5L trade packs (stored in a recycled crate made from pallets) to refill customers bottles and offer a 20p discount to re-fillers.
• Zero use of any petroleum or chemical products.
• Full recycling information is printed on every product
• All products are 100% biodegradable.*
* But, most of the other products I buy say "biodegradable" on the packet, what's the difference?
I'm not saying that all other products are not 100% biodegradable, but the following video from Green Oil shows a good example of how products only need to be 60% biodegradable to use the logo and wording:Products and Performance
Green Oil were kind enough to send me a range of products including Wet Chain Lube and Dry Chain Wax, Ecogrease, GreenClean Bike Cleaner, Clean Chain Degreaser Jelly and an Eco Rag.
The Clean Chain Degreaser Jelly is designed to be super sticky, like jelly, where many degreasers are a thin liquid that mostly runs off the product that needs cleaning. The Jelly does a good job of removing grime, can be diluted with one litre of water to become general bike cleaner and has a lovely, orangey scent. £4.99
The Wet Chain Lube worked well for up to 50-70km of mountain biking in medium wet/dry conditions. The packaging suggests it should last up to 200km, but I think this would only be possible during a smooth road ride, not for the rigours of off-road riding. £6.99
The Dry Chain Wax didn't seem to last a very long period on my downhill or eMTB, but would survive 20-30kms in dry conditions before needing a top up, it attracted virtually zero dirt and left the drivetrain clean ready for the next application. £7.99
Then I visited my Local Shop...
Probably Pinkbike's most boring product photo of all time. The Eco Rag is, well, it's made from chopped up jumpers that aren't deemed saleable from charity clothing collections. Performance is similar to any other rag or old t-shirt (my standard rag is an old towel) and can be washed. A greener option than throwaway paper towels. £4.99
So the Green Oil website is firing all this propaganda at me about other brands being toxic, and I'm here thinking "it can't be that bad?"
So I headed to the local bike shop, armed with my phone and grabbed some candid- shots of the products in the shop. Every single product had a warning label. This is not a name-and-shame exercise, simply an observation of other products and the warnings adhered to their products by law. Here's a selection of what I found:
The four products above all seem to suggest they are going contribute to one or more of the following: burning down your garage and melting your carbon frame into an unusable blob, make your lungs explode, and/or in the words of a famous Ozzy YouTube blogger, "Send your local fish to destination f***ed,"
as the winter wetness washes away your lube and works its way into your local fisheries. Hold on, don't some people want to eat
those fish? Errr...
The product on the left contains PTFE, which is arguably a carcinogen. To use a bike spray involves spraying it onto your bike, and inevitably into the air, likely inside your garage or by a bike mechanic in an enclosed workshop. Some mechanics might use this kind of product every day. Make sure you are not planning on breathing at the same time, though, as you may die. "Arrggh, you bloody eco-warriors are always worried about dying, it's not that bad, I've died loads of times – ohhhh, you mean fatal death, err yeah that IS bad."
More death and fire...
Itchy skin, more burning and dead fish, it's almost a one-stop Piri-Piri BBQ in an aerosol can.
Every time you wash your bike or ride it in wet conditions, whatever you sprayed or applied to it is going to work its way into the planet. Some people don't care about sustainability in mountain biking, but for anybody who enjoys nature, it should be a consideration before there is nothing left to enjoy. If you don't care about the environment, you might consider caring about yourself.
After using the Green Oil products for months, it just makes me think "Why does the other stuff even exist?"Pinkbike's Take: