Review: SCC Slick Chain Lube

SCC Slick is a new chain lube. Photo by Eric Kramer

By Eric Kramer

When my buddy told me he had some new chain lube to try, I brushed it off. After years of trial and error trying to keep my drivetrain running smooth in Utah’s ultra dry conditions, I had a routine that worked.

Then one day I ran out of my usual lube, and since I had that tiny sample bottle of SCC Slick still laying around, I figured it was as good a time as any to try it. Being just a few ounces I figured I’d use it up in a few rides then go back to my usual lube. Fast forward an entire season later and I’m still using that tiny bottle of SCC Slick.

I’ll get to my impressions of the lube, but first, since they are a local company, a little about SCC Tech. SCC Tech was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah by Kevin Van Loon and Len Waldron. The genesis of the formula started many years earlier when Len was in the Army and grew frustrated with the lubes available for use with his rifle. They prevented rust but didn’t lubricate well under heat and pressure and didn’t do anything to prevent buildup and contamination, all things that can lead to a inoperative weapon which, unlike our high-end drivetrains, can be a matter of life and death. Len spent seven years perfecting that formula and came to the realization that it had great potential for bicycles, so he teamed up with Kevin Van Loon who used his 20+ years of cycling racing and industry experience to optimize the formula for the needs of bicycle drivetrains. They named it SCC because it’s designed to run Silent, Clean & Cool.

After applying SCC Slick, I immediately noticed a new level of quiet and frictionless operation. You can apply it by either a single drop on each link or carefully squeezing the bottle while spinning the cranks so each link ends up with a dollop of the blue stuff. Spin the crank a bit, let it settle for at least five minutes minutes, then wipe it down. The chain will feel slick to the touch, hence the name.

SCC Slick has many impressive qualities but the fact that I’m still using that original sample bottle illustrates perhaps its most defining quality: its longevity. My previous routine was to re-apply lube after most rides, but with SCC Slick, I was pleasantly surprised that I could get a week or two of heavy riding with smooth and quiet drivetrain performance.

Not having to apply lube all the time is surprisingly liberating. Just ask Joe Spataro who completed the six day Trans BC Enduro race on a single application of the stuff. Since you can go more rides between applications, you’re a lot less likely to have that sinking feeling at the start of a ride when you realize your chain is dry because you forgot to lube it (which is a pickle since most dry lubes take several hours to dry before you can ride them). If you do want to lube up before a ride, it’s no problem because it only needs five minutes to penetrate and settle.

SCC Slick’s performance in the dry would be enough to make it a standout performer, but where other dry lubes are nearly useless in the wet, SCC Slick performs quite well. Last summer I left the dry dust of Utah for the wet loam of the Pacific Northwest. I rode in driving rain on soaked trails and SCC Slick performed well and clung to the chain.

SCC Slick also acts like a degreaser. You don’t even need to clean your dirty chain before applying it for the first time. Just apply, ride, and your chain will clean itself, especially if you do a quick wipe down after each ride.

SCC Slick may seem expensive for a small bottle, but it’s actually far more cost effective than any lube I’ve ever used before. I use it on my mountain, cross and road bikes, and after a season of heavy riding, I still have some left in that original sample bottle. Everyone I know who has tried SCC Slick has made the switch because it greatly simplifies the cyclist’s most common maintenance task by allowing you to use one lube, sparingly, on any bike, in any condition.

Q and A with the SCC Tech Founder Kevin Van Loon

Without divulging any secret formulas, can you tell us a little about the science behind your lube and why it works the way it does?

SCC SLICK uses 4 major components:

  1. A high-quality synthetic lubricant
  2. A penetrant capable of reaching micro-crevices as small as a millionth of an inch
  3. A detergent that floats contamination previously trapped in the micro-crevices of the chain to the surface to be wiped off post ride.
  4. A dispersant that prevents re-adherence of contamination

We then incorporated a special addictive that both binds the 4 major components together and also has an affinity for metal (think of it as a chemical magnet), which helps SCC SLICK to adhere to the chain evenly, consistently and for longer periods of time.

This combination allows SCC SLICK to work its way deeper into your chain, resulting in improved performance over time. As one SCC SLICK user said; “3 rides in is when you start to see the real magic happen”.

Do you have any additional suggestions for how to apply it?

Applying SCC SLICK is not complicated, but it is different and can be summed up as:

Apply a small drop of SCC SLICK to each chain link, wait five minutes then proceed to wipe the chain thoroughly. Then following the first 3 to 5 rides, without reapplying, wipe the chain thoroughly.

We recommend reapplying every 25 hours of ride time, even if the chain seems to be running silent and smooth. We recommend this because noise prevention is only one aspect of what SCC SLICK does, its protective and lubricating properties do tend to fatigue, so to keep that smooth chain feeling going we’ve found it’s best to re-apply approximately every 25 hrs or in the instance you notice a decrease in performance or noise.

What’s it like starting a new company in the cycling industry? Any advice for someone thinking about jumping in?

It’s been fun, challenging and a lot of hard work. I personally love cycling and the cycling lifestyle and I firmly believe everyone should make riding a bike part of their regular lifestyle routine, so for me I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to branch out and meet others who feel the same way throughout all the different sub groups of the cycling community. My advice to others is to be sure your capable of obsessing over every little thing that has to do with your product / service that comes to market be and be willing to recognize mistakes and come up with a process to recognize and reconcile, so you’re able to move past setbacks as quickly as possible. Personally the big thing I had to recognize was the importance of valuing people and relationships. As difficult as it might be to ask for you’re going to need it, so it important to demonstrate appreciation and gratitude, because those individuals offering up their help sure aren’t doing it for the money.

Before. Photo by Dustin Ott
Applying SCC Slick. Photo by Dustion Ott
After. Photo by Dustin Ott
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