A month ago, I decided to try out Purple Extreme lube on my IRO. I wanted to see whether PE could live up to it's claims, especially in a heavy traffic urban environment. In short PE claims to keep a drivetrain clean, running smoothly and prevent wear...for 400 miles and in all conditions. Here's the skinny:
Preparation and Application
PE's makers stress that it must be applied on an entirely clean drivetrain, or else performance will be diminished. I took the following steps to get my drivetrain prepped:
1) soak chain in mineral spirits for 30 minutes
2) using a flat coarse brush, dipped in mineral spirits I scrubbed the faces of the cog and chainring, wiping off excess as I go
3) using a small round coarse brush dipped in mineral spirits, i scrubbed in between the teeth, to loosen all grime
4) rinse chain and then soak in mineral spirits for another 30 minutes
5) hose everything off and dry.
As I've said in other posts, this sounds a lot more involved than it actually is. The drivetrain was effectively pristine after this
I then applied purple extreme to each rivet while rotating the crank backwards, and then spun the cranks for 60 seconds. A little goes a long way. I then let the lube cure overnight, as is reccommended.
I noticed that the dry lube style was noisier than the Finish Line XC I had used through the winter. I could now hear the chain gently ticking against my cog as it engaged. Otherwise it was smooth - usually I can pick up any ticking in the soles of my road shoes on smooth pavement.
Dirt sand and grime
PE doesn't keep the drivetrain looking like new. However, it does keep it exceptionally clean. Other than little dark marks on the inside and faces of the chainring teeth, there's no buildup. dirt sand and grime are tossed off of the chain readily, and nothing seems to make it's way into the innards of the chain. I no longer am getting marks on my clothes. You can wipe off what little dirt there is at any time, but it doesn't affect performance in any tangible way
This is where PE really shines. It was up against a little snow and a good deal of rain. It almost feels a bit smoother in wet weather, and the chain never gets crunchy or sludgy. If anything, rain cleans the drivetrain, leaving it in a bit better condition. Probably my favorite thing about PE.
I have put on a little over 400 miles on my bike since I first applied PE. It is performing almost well as it did since I first applied it. Over the past 2 days i've noticed it's a tad bit noisier, which I'm taking as a sign that it's dying a warriors death. I honestly did not expect a single application of this stuff to solidly last 400 miles - it looks like grape kool-aid, and the packaging is low key to say the least.
One downside is that it's not widely carried, and it's a bit pricey. You can get it from Purple Extreme's Website or at a handful of online retailers - I got mine off of ebay for $15 shipped.