Latest news 35 – Factory Grease & Muc-Off!

Well….. dammit  – I didn’t get much done. Unfortunately, I was sick for most of the week!!! (non covid). Total bummer. Getting back on my feet a bit today albeit a bit wiped but will be attacking inbox for the always fun order and enquiry catch up post project weeks!

Thanks in advance as always for patience on mini delay for orders during that week but everything is now sent priority shipping default so final delay vs fast processing and standard shipping will be small.

A quick heads-up reorders leading up to Xmas – Aus post and other courier services are under a lot of pressure and expected to have a rough time of things, and stock is still showing difficulty on a number of lines – so if you definitely want it pre x-mas, don’t leave it too late!! I will be having a 2 week break (first 2 weeks break in 5 years!) to play with the superwifey and mini me over xmas so will be a bit of longer catch up post xmas as well – so ensure it is in before.

Due to this project week bust I will also be taking a little longer to catch up this time as I will be allocating a dedicated hour every day to project work as a bunch of stuff I still want to get completed before xmas, and next project week is not till end Jan 2022.

So what did happen during my mostly horizontal project week……

Factory grease detail review

Finally done – and again it is time to kill this one dead if we can once and for all, and again  – I can’t do it alone – I REALLY need a zero friction army that is going to a) grow a lot by you all spreading the word and sharing and b) holding (respectfully) very poor information to account on media publishing very poor information. I am just one nerdy little guy plugging away from a groovy workshop & test facility. My resources on all fronts including time and marketing are extraordinarily small vs major industry players & long established youtube channels. To start to make any kind of meaningful dent – my most excellent audience is absolutely going to be my key resource – so you can support ZFC a lot by helping grow the audience.

MUC OFF DID MAKE CONTACT – Dialogue has begun.

Previous news update I advised that muc-off had not made contact despite advising on insta they would, and I was concerned that the comment was just for optics.

This concern has now been put to bed, with Muc-Off making contact, looking like they may (MAY) be earnest in open dialogue to discuss a lot of concerns that go back a fair way. I don’t think they will want to go into a lot of the round one questions for clarification I have sent to them that relate to past testing claims, but to me to move forwards I definitely want to have clarification on what has led us to this point.

In short – previous muc-off testing has been worrisome indeed, showing key competitors like UFO to have things like a 10w+ increase in just 4 hours. In a clean lab test.

Logically – to get a 10w+ increase in 4hours one would have to have gone out and ridden for 4hrs in the mud. I have had a number of lubricants efficiency tested with an independent 3rd party (can’t be named unfortunately, but testing was very accurate, they are no longer offering service) and the worst lubricant tested had a 10w increase in over 2000km of testing with contamination.

A 10w + increase in 4 hours in a clean lab test – it simply defies all logic and understanding. Also, for the same test period and load for same lubricant, in my testing there is 0.00 wear – so where is the 10w+ efficiency loss coming from? Stiction increase? Viscous friction increase (2 components that do not cause wear but are the smaller loss components of a lubricant) – not possible. High pressure friction that causes wear is the only component that can be behind such an increase – and yep – you guessed it, that would show up with a correlating wear result.

Myself and others have a pretty good idea on what caused this result, and what caused it (covered in manufacturer testing doc – instructions tab) is pretty concerning re muc-off. I want them to explain to me how I am incorrect with this concern as it is more cultural / behavioral vs technical ability.

Also, we have other marketing behaviors that worry me greatly.

Such as their UV light and UV reactive particles in some of their wet lubricants so one can ensure that one does not miss covering any area ON THE OUTSIDE of the chain. With a wet lubricant.

This is a pretty horrific idea of course. Every particle of dust / contamination sticks on contact with wet lubricants. Hopefully if it wasn’t obvious before, just a quick think on that now – this is pretty obvious.

A critical component behind the best wet lubricants tested to date is that very little of the lubricant is needed INSIDE THE CHAIN to lubricate all parts that need lubrication, and remain as least wet as possible on the outside to attract the lowest amount of contamination. And one is still encouraged to always wipe clean excess lubricant.

The absolute last thing one would ever want to do with a wet lubricant is ensure that all of the OUTSIDE of the chain is covered in wet lubricant. That is just a recipe for the soon to be worlds dirtiest and abrasive chain / drivetrain.

Guess who knew about such things?

Very clever people who know a lot about lubrication developing lubricants for the specific use case being a bicycle chain.

Of which Muc-Off markets they have the best people and testing facilities.

So how on earth would such a recommended behavior possibly be put out to the masses?

My concern is it was simply a nice marketing angle. Many, many cyclists think ah yeah that is a great idea to ensure all of my chain is properly lubricated. They are taking advantage of this, with the outcome being one very dirty and very short lived drivetrain.

At least that is my concern – (and honestly, I just cannot see how they will prove that ensure all of the outside of a chain covered in a WET lubricant is genuinely a great idea – but I am absolutely all ears to be proven wrong and will update accordingly).

There were many others concerns. I hold low odds that this dialogue will last long, but….. let’s see, hopefully I am incorrect and Muc-Off can prove to me they are genuinely doing a lot of great stuff / provide explanations for a lot of what to date has been extremely worrisome behavior.

MUC-OFF Ludicrous AF initial results!!

Ok I did get to finish Ludicrous AF test, I thought it might take a long time as needs a 24hr set after each application.

Test ended up being much shorter than expected as yet again, their top lubricant exceeded wear rate allowance by the end of block 2 (so 1 x clean block, and 1 x dry contamination block).

This is a very, very poor test result to abraded chain through to wear rate allowance in such a very short time, and compared to lubricants that make it all the way to the end of block 6 – which are subjected to a much harsher contamination block in block 4 (wet contamination), as well as the extreme contamination block 6…… To say it has fallen short of marketing is yet again probably one of the biggest understatements I have typed all year. And it is nearly the end of the year.

Some of the top lubricants tested this year have reached end of block 6 – extreme contamination, using only a fraction of the wear allowance, so vs using all of it just to get to end of block 2 – that is a huge concern.

I haven’t had time to plug the numbers in from the running sheet yet, but I am pretty confident will have a perfect trifecta of by far the 3 worst lubricants ever to go through the zfc test will be Muc-Off’s 3 top lubricants. 2 of which (nano and ludicrous AF) are very very expensive (circa $90 aud per 50ml bottle).

This result is of course another of the concerns raised with Muc-Off.

As were the results for Nano / hydro for which to date no input re the ZFC test results have been received.

Again I fear this new step into finally getting some dialogue and ultimately some understanding of what the heck is going on with Muc-Off’s marketing vs reality may be short lived. I typed as diplomatically as I could at the time, but there was no way to avoid a number of hard questions or not very easy to put forwards marketing vs reality concerns. They may be very offended / not want to answer such things, and dialogue ends as soon as it began – at the end of the day they don’t really have much to worry about re ZFC – they can spend whatever millions they like marketing around whatever concerns I raise, and they will easily win with 99% of cycling demographic who see’s their marketing.

(Unless of course ZFC audience really ups the engagement ante on product / company concerns as well as ensuring they grow the audience by getting cycling friends on board with ZFC knowledge resources).

Summary – very confusingly still despite the years of development under supposedly the world’s most advance testing – on the simple but extremely robust ZFC test protocol (used by many major manufacturers I might add…), Ludicrous AF performed extremely poorly with very high chain wear the start, which again became quite murderous to one’s chain (and of course that means the rest of your drivetrain) as soon as contamination is introduced.

This will be very interesting. Stay tuned. But my advice until and if I ever understand what is going on with M-O’s lubricants would be to avoid at all costs for the love of low friction and your drivetrains lifespan. $90 a bottle for what appears to still – 3rd top lube release iteration in – deliver very high wear rates – which means it simply cannot be low friction by mine and many other much smarter than me industry heavyweights. The laws of physics are pretty darn strong on some fronts. Fast wear of steel components = Friction – simple as that.

MUC-OFF Ludicrous AF – rolling out Ultrasonic application across dealers!

Being the worlds greatest cycling marketing machine, Muc-Off have again taken a big, bold and very clever step of upping the anti with Ludricous AF launch, offering dealers who will exclusively sell Muc-Off lubricants some flash looking ultrasonics in beautiful display cases, staff training etc, so now you can more easily pay some big bucks to ensure proper penetration of – at the time of writing and until Muc-Off can explain otherwise – an extremely concerning product.

They really are a marketing powerhouse. Their marketing is so polished, refined and convincing, that the huge majority – literally 99%+ of cyclists who read Muc-Off marketing, will be convinced hook, line and sinker. Until my test results are proven to be incorrect (and many other concerns raised), Muc-Off remain a company of extreme concern in the drivetrain space – how many countless tens of thousands of drivetrains per year are sent to an early grave by such marketing is hard to put a remotely tangible number on.

This news release probably isn’t helpful to the dialogue with Muc-Off – but my first duty is to report results and facts as I know them from the worlds most robust independent testing.

Right – that will do!

Share / follow / like / subscribe – all that stuff – we have a mission to save as many drivetrains around the world from early deaths to achieve to a greater level every passing week.  Cyclists trying to work out who to believe from marketing claims is an extremely difficult task indeed – until they know about ZFC then things become a whole lot easier 😊

And remember – CLEAN OFF FACTORY GREASE!!! AND DO NOT PAY HUGE $$ for Muc-Off lubricants at this time until, if ever, further understanding of extremely high wear rate results is understood.

Trust me, I have way, way, way more than enough work to do vs any battling with a behemoth like Muc-Off. If their top lubricants proved to be amazing, I would of course be stocking and recommending in a heartbeat, selling pre-prepped etc. That would by far, by oh so much, be the much preferred outcome – making good revenue for selling a great product in the full knowledge of happy customers about to enjoy a super low friction product and very long drivetrain lifespan. My goodness how I wish their products remotely matched the marketing, I would be merrily selling and it would grand times for everyone.

It is simply not the reality, and here I will be, likely investing countless hours dealing, possibly battling – against a market powerhouse of which I have 0.01% chance of achieving any worthwhile outcome. But, we must deal with the realities presented to us, to do otherwise, is, well, just not ethical, moral – add whatever you like. We spend so much of our lives at work, to me personally, I cannot do it unless I am working towards something genuinely worthwhile.

Stay safe out there, and stay low friction!