Dealing with codswallop!

Thanks to customers / followers who alerted me to a video by GMBN tech on chains that contained some rather ……… poor………. Information.

Over the last few years little ZFC has worked hard on independent testing, jumping into the void left by Friction Facts and looking to further the pioneering work done by Jason Smith and FF by expanding the testing protocol to include contamination and assess the main claims by lubricants such as “repels, dirt dust and grime”,  and “cleans as it lubes” etc.

The testing process is very robust, and has been used over the last couple of years by a number of the biggest manufacturers to benchmark their lubricants performance during development phase.

One aspect that I thought had really been well covered and established fact however for nearly a decade now is that the first thing you should do with a chain is CLEAN OFF THE FACTORY GREASE.

However, thanks to GMBN, its time to revisit this properly, since they recently released a tech you tube vid (Sponsored by KMC) saying to leave factory grease on. Dear me.

I sometimes forget not everyone thinks about lubes and friction all day and so what seems bleedingly obvious to me and has been well covered by very smart industry leaders like Jason smith, Josh poertner, and numerous excellent articles on cycling tips – if you have missed it, let me clarify for you;

DO NOT RIDE CHAIN WITH FACTORY GREASE – clean off as soon as you can and apply a TOP LUBRICANT CHOICE (Mspeedwax, Silca hot melt of super secret drip, tru tension tungsten all weather or race, UFO, Smoove).


Factory grease is for packing. It is;

  1. Very high efficiency loss in lab tests vs the top know lubricant choices
  2. The real killer – it is a CONTAMINATION MAGNET, and will very quickly become a nice abrasive paste when ridden outside.
  3. This is triply so in mtb world which is the audience the video is targeted at.
  4. You cannot apply any of the top lubricant choices over the top of factory grease, instead of forming a low friction chain coating bonded to clean clear chain metal, you are adding a top lubricant over top of a greasy gunky crap made for packing.
  5. The difference in drive train wear & lifespan for those on a top lubricant vs keeping factory grease on will be many many (MANY) times greater. And your drive train will be many many many times cleaner.

Point e) is what really gets my goat with this stuff. My favorite aspect of ZFC is that every cyclist of any demographic I get onto a top lubricant choice vs a powerfully marketed but crap lubricant choice is another cyclist who is not burning through chains, cassettes and chain rings at a prodigious rate.

The cost to run difference, especially for those running decent level groupsets, can be quite enormous, especially if one is an avid rider. Literally in can be over a thousand dollars a year difference in running costs JUST FROM LUBRICANT CHOICE.

We all have a discretionary amount of budget to spend on our cycling. Would you rather put that money towards that new set of glasses or helmet you coveted, or wheel upgrade, or cycling holiday, or did you want to blow it eating through your drive train components at an easily avoidable rate?

And it’s just darn wasteful. Cycling Tips recently released a great podcast having a look into just how green (or not) cycling is, and some of the industry changes taking place to make cycling greener. You can make cycling greener by not running liquid sandpaper masquerading as your chain lubricant and drastically reducing your drivetrain parts wear.

Why would GMBN release such information?

That is great question, and I encourage as many of you who have the time to ask exactly that in the comments. Im only one very little enterprise, but the power of the masses has proven it can and does change poor behaviour from some big players who frankly should be doing better.

In my personal opinion, there is no excuse for putting out such poor information, that he hasn’t even bothered to fact check at even a basic level. Its not like he doesn’t have decades of experience here – how has he missed all of the information re lubricant testing and factory grease.

Obviously, it was sponsored by KMC, and it seems clear that because the message KMC wanted him to present was to leave their factory grease on because it is great – but it would be sad if GMBN sells out their subscribers to shite drive train wear to make some more $$. There is a huge amount of miss information in there re not being able to get lubes penetrate as deeply, cleaning factory grease may allow contamination to penetrate more easily etc – my goodness.

Be aware that KMC have shown they are more about marketing that honest to goodness product information at times. Take their very expensive DLC (diamond like coating) chains. This diamond like hardness coating is applied externally after chain is constructed, so you have zero diamond like hardness on chain components that matter for chain wear (internally on pin, inner plate link bore, inner plate link shoulders, roller bore – all of which are the parts that wear causing chain elongation). You instead have diamond like hardness on the outside of the chain were it matters not one bit, or if it does make a difference, it is so incredibly tiny that we would need the resources of CERN to detect a difference vs a competitor chain (trust me, its zero).

This is KMC stepping in with marketing ahead of facts again, but this time it is something that will cost viewers who take on board this information in good faith with very poor drive train wear rates vs top lubricant choices, and shame on GMBN for taking the $$ and promoting such information.

So, please do not run chains with factory grease, clean off and run a proven top lubricant choice, and if you can be bothered – let gmbn know in comments section that they should be doing better.

If you do – do so diplomatically – don’t go hambini on him, the world has enough extremism we need less swearing and abuse on the ol interweb and more respectful, factual discussion – but letting GMBN know that was pretty poor – maybe they wont sell out their subscribers so readily in future.

Again, every person who moves from a terrible lubricant choice to a great lubricant choice is another cyclist being saved from terrible drivetrain wear rates. This, much more so than saving a few watts on race day, is the real driver behind the countless hours of testing and information being done at ZFC.

Poor darts. Remember – please if you do comment – RESPECTFULLY, even if you are as fired up as me about it. Respectfully will also have a much greater chance of positive change.

If you read this, my thanks, and spread the word so your friends know, and lets save as many drive trains as possible from premature death, you worked hard to buy those parts – a little bit of proper knowledge goes a long way indeed.