Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Chamois Creme Shootout.

I am a proponent of chamois creme. I try to leave the product tests to the magazines, but this topic is something very dear to my heart. "Main-taint-ance" and Dave Z puts it. For me it is one of those items I do not know how I rode without it. I know that sounds trite, and has most likely been mentioned in 1/2 of the chamois shootouts around the English speaking world, but hey. Prepare to go on a journey. A journey of taint projection from the evils of friction, saddle sores, and swamp ass. In the following paragraphs I will methodically break down and rate 4 of my favorite cremes to decide which is the ideal chamois creme.
Assos Chamois Creme
The grand-daddy of them all. I am not sure if this is the first creme out there on the market, but it was the first one I had tried, and the gateway drug to my chamois creme habit. Maybe it was the Scandinavian model (no not the dude) that persuaded me? maybe I was just a broke college kid and this was the only piece of Assos I could afford? Either way I forked over my 20 dollars and got a 4 oz tub. The rest is history. This stuff was even pulled from the US shelves a while back because the FDA got all pissed off at the list of ingredients, or how they were displayed. Whatever. Lets rate it.
Scent: Despite its origins not really Euro, just sort of clean and slightly medicinal. Used to be white, but now has a slight blue tint to it.
Texture: Creamy but thick and semi slick. Not greasy. I have been told by certain purveyors of this product that the secret ingredient is in fact baby seals. That would explain why this stuff is so delightful to apply.
Tingle: The first time you use this you will feel like you just applied Icy Hot by accident. Subsequent use will lesson the effect, leaving you yearning for the burning.
Staying power: Assos lasts very well. I have found it to stay active the longest, especially in wet conditions, of any creme I have tried. This is my go to creme for the high traffic areas.
Healing Power: Doesn't seem to help existing sores.

Mad Alchemy Pro Plus Chamois Cream
I actually just got this one in the mail the other day. Lauren is a big user of the female version. How can you not love a company that hand addresses boxes for its orders. I also had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Pete at NAHMBS and he seemed like a very nice guy. Price is a bit lower than the others too which is surprising since they presumably do not have the economies of scale the bigger guys do. I feel like "love" is the secret ingredient in this one, and honestly, who doen't need some love down there... perhaps I have said to much.
Scent: Smells so good you might try to eat it. Like lemons with a candy coating. Love it. All of their products smell edible.
Texture: Thick, Sticky. A little thinner than assos
Tingle: No tingle.
Staying power: Goes on and stays put. Have not tested in the rain yet, but I would be willing to say it would be good to go.
Healing Power: Not yet tested on the evil sores.

With a name like that, well its got to be good... What makes this one different? reigning PRO Time Trial champ Dave Zabriskie is the mad man behind this one. It has tea tree oil in it, which has some nice "anti bad stuff that gives you saddle sores" effects. Look at the packaging. I mean just read the directions. You get points in my book for that.
Scent: It smells like tea tree oil. In my mid that's a good thing. Kind of Euro, but not all the way.
Texture: Slippery, a tad thin. comes in the squeeze tube this may have something to do with it.
Tingle: Definite tingle. on par with Assos, maybe stronger.
Staying Power: I feel this is where DZNuts falls short. Seems to take a lot of product to get the desired effect. If you use a "normal" amount it doesn't last as long as I would like. I find myself using this one on super high traffic areas to supplement another brand.
Healing Power: God like. this stuff takes down existing saddle sores like a rapid spider monkey would take down an elderly woman at a zoo. Its just that good. A little more quiet than the monkey though.

I actually ended up buying and using this one when Assos was on its FDA induced hiatus. one plus is for the price point, they give you an extra 2oz than everyone else.
Scent: About as Euro as it gets. I cant even describe it in text. There's some crazy herb action going on, some peppermint goodness. It just smells PRO. best part if you are riding in a group, you can smell it wafting around.
Texture: Creamy, thicker than DZ Nuts, thinner than Assos/ Mad Alchemy. Its in the middle of the spectrum.
Tingle: Moderate to light
Staying Power: Good, not great but good. Takes a decent amount to get the desired effect, but it stays in place well. Rain seems to wash it out a bit.
Healing Power: As I revealed before, DZ wins this round, but this stuff works pretty well afterwards on the chafing front. Not my go to choice for sores though.

Conclusions: I never learned the lesson that more is not always better so here is what I do. I use a mixture of 2 or 3 different types. Yes I know, that's really OCD. But it works and I really don't like saddle sores. I also ride a lot and it took me a while to figure out what works for me with the greatest chance of success. I find myself keeping the Assos around the most. It lasts the longest and its easy to obtain. DZ Nuts has been my go to healer or for times when I have a spot or too that are felling a bit worn. I use Sportique just because it is one of the top 5 PRO smells on the planet and its good filler. I really like this new Mad Alchemy stuff though. I will have to give it some more use and see how it holds up. There you have it folks, a glimpse into my twisted, obsessive little world. Thanks for reading
Just for Fat Marc. A quick word on Chamois Buttr. Heres the reason I don't include it in my list of favorites. Its mineral oil based. I will rub a lot of weird stuff on my body in the name of looking PRO and going fast, but chain lube/ brake fluid is not one of those things. Unless somebody can prove it gives me a few watts at LT, then I'll buy it by the gallon. Despite the whole petro oil base, I find its staying power is also lesser than the products listed above. It is far far cheaper though, and that is a plus.


Fatmarc Vanderbacon said...

wow. way more than I ever wanted to know about chamois creme. Good info. What are you thoughts on Chamois Buttr... that's been my steady go to for years... Pete from Mad Alchemy is rad, have used his embrocation before...good stuff


Anonymous said...

highly recommend Body Glide. Body Glide combined with Gore Xenon Bibs have solved my "problems".

And with bad humidity, some sores require monistat. Takes care of the fungus better than anything else.