Latest News 30 – Bike Rumour doh and much more

Hey ho everyone who wants to stay low friction, low wear and reduce their maintenance time and solvent use

Hope everyone has been able to get some great cycling despite either weather or apocalypse lockdowns – luckily where Mr low friction lives things have not been too bad on both fronts – but I still count down the  days till end of winter – I am not strong against the cold….. 6 days inclusive till spring….

The main thrust of this editions latest news will be a quick cover of Bike Rumors big article on best lubricants – with a deeper dive to come on You tube vs a big document. But before this news update gets bogged down in that, a few quick updates first;

STOCK!!!

Is really tricky. Many stock lines are such that I get a case in, fill back orders and new orders and so I go from out of stock to in stock to back out of stock within a few days, rinse and repeat. This makes it not feasible to continually go in and update a stack of stock lines out of stock, back in stock, back out of stock – me just no haz the time.

So when you order – if website shows it is in stock but it isn’t – I advise asap if its temporarily out of stock and eta when expecting next shipment in and then prepped and out to you.

On some lines where stock is looking to be out for an unknown time – I will do my best to update to back order only until that stock line is more secure.

Best bet if you need something in the future, order ahead, there may be a delay, and back orders are filled in chronological order so first in best dressed.

I promise im doing my best, im ordering everything all the time but a lot of my own orders are on back order with importers / suppliers.

Apologies in advance if you do order something and there is a bit of a delay – will get to you as soon as can, and if it isn’t soon enough and you can secure elsewhere then of course I can refund immediately. But – most lines keeping delays down to a few days to a week max if temporarily out of stock.

Retail Supreme Leader

It has been the case for awhile that the combination of test + retail workload has now well exceeded my capacity. I have an absolute mountain of test data and performance summaries to get to manufacturers who have contracted testing with zfc, running 3 test machines and tests is very time intensive, on track for prepping circa 3000 chains this year with either msw / hot melt / graphene lube / full race prep, way way behind on updating a stack of documents and guides, detail reviews, and now starting to move content onto you tube.  I cant start work on any of that until the inbox is cleared and all orders and enquiries looked after – and so the mountain keeps building!

A bit overdue but I had to find the right person, and that person has been found! Local race team manager, avid racer himself, and O.G low friction and waxing customer from the very start of ZFC – a legendary man named Damien Vears has commenced training to take over retail side of ZFC.

Starting with processing some orders and then regular easy enquiries and over time the more in depth enquiries – I will start to be able to focus much more time on testing and project side of ZFC, and aside from private testing and data  – get cracking on updating some now outdated documents and guides for website + improve you tube content when I have more than 5 mins to prep for a vid.

The next phase of ZFC begins!

And yes, just in case you were wondering, that is his official job title 😊

Efficiency Testing podcast episode due out soon;

As covered a bit in previous latest news the testing landscape overall has for a long time been a pretty big bowl of spaghetti, with massively conflicting outright efficiency test result numbers for same lubricants being published by Ceramic Speed, Muc off, Wheel Energy, and most recently Allied with Grax.

And it is not like things are a bit out, ie one has say squirt at 4w and one has squirt at 5w (which is still not how it should be), we are talking one will have squirt at 4w and one will have squirt at 8.5w. Sometimes the differences between lubricants from one test lab to another can be over 10w or even over 20w different – which is pretty bonkers, and obviously, someone/s are not testing correctly.

Covering what is happening and why (and why ZFC uses wear correlation vs providing another set of non matching loss numbers) I have felt rather passionately for awhile needed to be covered properly – not just me explaining in a 50 page document, and so it is with huge relief and pleasure that I announce David Rome from Cycling tips came to the rescue, and we recently recorded a podcast with myself and Jason Smith – Founder of Friction Facts – to discuss what the fudge is going on.

So pls stay tuned ZFC & cycling tips to see when podcast is up and live on Cycling tips – I’m biased here, but I think it’s a belter, and just really, really important in my view for as many cyclists as possible to understand what errors are being made in testing and why results are all over the shop, and so how to ensure you are selecting a genuine low friction lubricant that will stay low friction – vs making a decision based on testing that as you will hear explained – has some serious questions to answer – of which when asked – the test bodies cannot / will not answer – which is always a worrysome indication.

Bike Rumour Best chain lube article

Well, they sure put some time and effort into this one as it’s a big article (reminds me of me!) – if only they put some effort into something tangible to sit behind many of the information stated as either fact, or recommended due to X.

There are some parts I agree with, but there are also a lot of errors. A lot. I pointed out just a couple to start with, very diplomatically I might add, but my comment was blocked. Obviously I do not know what I’m talking about.

Honestly the feeling that comes to mind is just a big sigh and a sense of deary me. When are many mainstream media going to learn that you cannot tangibly assess the performance of one of, if not the most critical component of your bike – your chains lubricant – by feel.

What other industry can one state a performance outcome as fact, without a single key metric of its performance being measured or controlled?

Example 1  (I will only do a few examples or this will be a 50 page article itself, I will do a full run though on upcoming you tube vid).

Bike rumour’s best wet conditions chain lube – WD40 Specialist Bike wet chain lube.

How was this rating assessed?

“his Bikerumor staffer spent much of her cyclocross career using this lube for every race and rarely went through more than one chain per season.”

Amazing!

Ok, so – we don’t know where the chain wear was at when she replaced. Was it only at 0.3% wear? Was it at 1.5% wear, which would be pretty bad. How many races was this? Conditions? Maintenance – did she fully clean and re apply, or just re apply over top?

There is absolutely zero key variable control nor wear rate measure.

I haven’t tested this lubricant so I do not know how good it is or is not, but I have used Mspeedwax and I attained 3 cyclocross seasons (winter and summer series) before replacing my race chain at 0.2% wear moving it across to no be my CX bikes training chain. Maybe she is 3 or 5 times more powerful than me? Maybe her contamination a lot harsher. Or both. Or maybe her chain was vastly more worn, in a vastly shorter time, vs my chain.

Honestly to draw a conclusion of best wet conditions lubricant above,  this is no different than say one person with covid takes hydroxychloroquine, does not get noticeably sick from the hydroxychloroquine (didn’t die…) and recovered fairly quickly from covid – therefore hydroxychloroquine is the best treatment for covid.

Cycling media need to do better than this. So, so, so much better than this.

Part of why I started ZFC was I felt it was extremely important the world had a truly independent test facility able to properly assess lubricant performance, to build on the great work started by friction facts, and to provide greater resource and reviews vs what was typical for online publications reviewing lubricants which involved riding lubricant a for a couple of rides and writing up a review that is purely guesswork, often just re-hashing the marketing given to them by the lube mfg, and often very incorrect. You can easily find glowing reviews for the worst known lubricants that absolutely eat your drivetrain in short order.

We are now circa 10 years since frictions facts started, and 5 years since ZFC started, and a lot has been learned in that time, and a lot of knowledge on the basics is able to be accessed by any cyclist anywhere in the world, and – importantly, but those who as part of their job, are writing reviews that cyclists will then be using as a guide.

How can one assess a lubricants performance when all of the key variables behind it are completely not controlled or measured including power, how much contamination introduced when, what type of contamination, how long till re -lube or maintenance interval since contamination introduced and so on.

You do not need to be a scientist or an engineer to know that to objectively assess somethings performance vs another, the key variables in its use case need to be tightly controlled for an accurate comparison result.

I just find it beyond dumbfounding that in 2021, major cycling media is able to put in to print findings about a critical component for your bikes friction and drivetrain lifespan, based on one staff rider riding cx seasons on that lube – and we don’t even know where the chain health was at when replaced – let alone all the key variables that sit behind the chains end lifespan.

Quick example 2 (this one will be quicker)

They state graphene lube “Like other wax lubes, it coats the chain in a dry layer that sheds crud for you.”

Now graphene lube is a brilliant lubricant, but – it does not shed crud like a chain coating type lubricant (mspeedwax, hot melt, silca ss drip, ufo drip etc). It acts like a wax emulsion lubricant like squirt / Smoove – which is part of why it has great single treatment longevity, but such lubricants achieve this by NOT being abraded off by contamination.

What actually happens is the contamination is pressed into the set coating that is plastic type / paste type state, and from there it is land locked in the set lubricant until you remove it.

Ok, like I mentioned, I could go on for about 50 pages, but I will go over the article in depth and cover the main common errors – which are the same common errors many other publications make when reviewing lubricants – which is that they base findings on ZERO tangible measures, there is ZERO control of key variables that impact a lubricants performance and chain lifespan, they are heavily influenced by marketing material to make up the lack of tangibly  assessed data of their own, and the findings are apt to be as accurate as throwing darts blindfolded onto a dartboard with lubricant labels stuck on it.

On top of other major media like GMBN listing the number one mistake cyclists make with their chains is to remove factory grease (sponsored content by kmc marketing that their factory grease being great – it isn’t, and for the love of your drivetrain do not leave any factory grease on chain, remove it, and use a proven top lubricant) – it is clear ZFC / me – I am not going to run out of work anytime soon.

I do not yet know how to get major media to do a better job, and they need to do a better job as cyclists take this information and then quite possibly go and quickly ruin their drivetrain in short order.

It has been absolutely brilliant to have Cycling Tips help get correct messaging across (albeit – not all on CT staff are singing from the same song sheet, but they do better than most with at least half the media facing staff on board with what is best and why) – but overall – wish me luck. Over time, as ZFC continues to grow as THE trusted independent resource with ACTUAL ROBUST TESTED FACTS on lubricant performance, hopefully more major media will use the information resources at hand to produce more accurate content.

We need to move past the days where one rider riding a lube, with no measures, can state as fact X lube is the best wet lube or whatever category they are assessing – it is just beyond illogical that this is still occurring, it literally just about fries my logic circuits when I read such content.

I will be reaching out to bike rumour. Wish me luck. Should be fun. I will update – hopefully on the you tube vid covering the article.

Testing updates

Run a bit long so super quick here – last months have been heavily testing for Rex Lubes, Revo Lubes and mspeedwax for their latest formula. Results for all three have been going extremely well, so for Revo and Rex they have been happy for NDA to be put aside and start to talk about their test results, full detail reviews should be forthcoming (within less than 6 months all going well with Retail Supreme Leader up and running), but quick bites at the moment – they have all tested extremely well – Rex Black Diamond and Revolubes more especially in the road use case – as always there are going to be inherent limitations with wet lubricants attracting contamination in offroad use – but for road riding some really exciting results there especially in single application longevity. When I get some spare neurons and finish wrapping up testing (just putting some final mixes / formulas through the machines) will be seriously considering ZFC stocking both Revo and Rex if the numbers make sense – but even if ZFC does not stock – they are heavily in the recommended category, and will be close competition with synergetic.

MSW new formula I havent crunched the numbers yet from running sheet but just rough calcs it is well ahead of original formula and so in wear test correlation will be pretty close match results vs hot melt.

Will be updating main data on lubricant test page as soon as wrapped up and as soon as I get a moment to do so.

Till then, stay low friction, stay safe, stay warm (or cool if on other side of world), and perhaps add some comments to bike rumour re proper tested information resources since my VERY diplomatic comment was blocked. Like Allied with grax, I think the sheer effort invested – having basic errors pointed out hurts, and we are all human, I don’t think they want to publicly have an “oh shit… that was dumb….” Moment. Since I can’t highlight it for them at the moment, perhaps you can (respectfully of course).