Latest news #10 – Graphene Wax!!

Right, so already coming in are enquries re absoluteBlack graphene wax launch, what do I think, how does it compare to Mspeedwax / Silca Hot melt, their performance claims etc etc.

As always – I don’t like to be too be half arsed about info, so a mini back story first, treading carefully so as not to be sued, again, as over time I think a bigger discussion of manufacturer claims and testing needs to be delved into, and so some little lead ins may help.

You are probably aware if been following ZFC that I was involved pretty heavily involved in testing for the graphene lubricant. I can’t say much as its all under NDA, but the short story is – it tested brilliantly, or I sure as heck wouldn’t stock it, and I concur( for the most part) with most of the performance claims made by AB re the graphene lubricant.

Where things fell apart a bit was there was a lot of “proving” with some other testing that basically all of their main competitor products just also happened to be terrible.

I felt, rather strongly, that the ab graphene lube was clearly able to stand tall on its own merits, ab didn’t need to try to tear down everyone around them to stand taller. However, that was the marketing launch approach they ran with.

And still we see this occurring very aggressively. When Silca launched SS Drip and Hot melt, did you see Mspeedwax or Ceramic Speed or Tru-Tension jumping on every article, forum or post about it to tear silca down – Nope. Did we see a lot of this from AB – yes.  Did you see Silca shooting down all competitors products in their launch? No. Standing tall on their own products performance.

When Ceramic Speed launched UFO Drip V2, did Mspeedwax, Silca, Tru-Tension etc jump on to tear them down? Nope. Did AB….. yes – with some lovely trolling of my FB post, and I only could make it part way through their own websites article on it. Did CS shoot everyone else down during their launch? Nope. Standing tall on their own products performance.

This bit of context is important as whilst not (so far at least that I’ve seen, but I haven’t had time to look deeply) this ab launch seems to have been a bit less aggressive, they couldn’t quite help themselves with sneaking in that friction modifiers such as moly & tungsten disulphide on work in a vacuum and actually increase friction otherwise – rather obviously some very very very smart people who know a lot about these things and have products with proven very low friction and wear will beg to differ.

So the two prong approach is still there – a) Marketing to show how awesome their product is and b) to try and seem even more awesome, tear other great products from their competitors down.

My disagreeing with this approach certainly led to some friction. Ha. Had to get that in there. So I haven’t been involved in testing their wax, but I will get too as soon as I can, like all the others on the list!! In the interim will make some very educated guesses.

  • I have a very high level of confidence the product will perform largely in line with what AB claim.
  • When they attack performance of other products that already have some very solid data behind their performance, I would put that straight into the “that is bullying behaviour and we need less of that in the world” column.
  • But what about wheel energy independent data showing how bad the competitors were? Well – if that data made sense to you, I can’t help you, any more than I can help a flat earther. If it didn’t make sense to you, yeehaa, those neurons of yours are in tune. It didn’t make sense to most others either, and it has made me very busy as numerous manufacturers who were going to use W.E booked with me instead. Hence the rather extensive delays. Refer to point 2.
  • Should I use this wax instead of msw or silca hot melt?

That’s a big question where I will really need to test to answer properly, but here’s my educated guesses;

  • It probably will last a long time per immersive wax vs msw / hot melt.
  • This may suit some especially for very long harsh conditions event.
  • It will be a lot easier to do this vs faffing with an immersive application of their graphene drip lube in plastic bag.
  • There is almost always a double edged sword with lubes – like 99.99% of the time a key strength in one area leads to an offset in another area. Ie outright longevity for mspeedwax / hot melt is not its main brief, part of what keeps these paraffin based wax blends so clean wax after wax after wax is that the paraffin will abrade off, taking contamination with it. Lubricants with very high longevity will tend to gunk up over time / multiple treatments, and so after X re-waxes it is possible that some cleaning intervention may be desirable – things may not look as clean (their graphene lube they even marketed that dirty is the new fast for instance).
  • It isn’t that hard to stay on top of immersive waxing even for very high mileage riders, with mspeedwax or hot melt – just run two chains on rotation etc. I have many many avid riders / racers & entire race teams on this strategy – one chain for mon to fri, one chain for weekend, re-wax both at once on rest day. These riders don’t even get their two training chains to 0.5% before buying a new bike and starting over, and they never had to clean their drive train for 2 years, and this approach ensures you get multiple chains through your cassette – so again unless you have a really long & harsh conditions event coming up – it may be a weigh up of the extra longevity per treatment vs day in day out cleanliness by simply being on top of known super clean immersive waxes. But – that extra longevity will definitely appeal to some, it certainly wont hurt to have another genuinely great product in the market for people to choose from that suits them / their needs.
  • They friggin nail the packaging. Whoever is in their packaging design department, they need a raise. The bottles for ab graphene lube are brilliant, and the images for the wax – if it comes like that – it looks like something you would buy from the beauty products section at a high end department store. Gotta hand it to them, I will be surprised if that packaging alone doesn’t draw more people into the world of immersive waxing, and that in itself will be a very good thing. More immersive waxers = less people wearing out their drivetrain components very quickly = less waste of lovely bike parts – something I’m also rather passionate about. So credit where its due there – NAILING the packaging. If some other companies are not jealous of AB’s packaging right now I will be very surprised.

So – in short – probably a brilliant product, probably notably longer lasting per treatment as claimed, possibly may be notably dirtier / gunk up after a bit vs mspeedwax / silca hot melt, completely disregard their shooting down of competitors to stand taller and lets all hope they tone down on that front one day – they really (like really…) don’t need to do it – shock horror – other top manufacturers are capable of making a genuinely great product too, it shouldn’t be AB against the world, it should be AB contributing to an ever improving lubrication world.

You may be able to tell, I am super anti bullying – not to be a sensitive petal, I just don’t see how it helps anything – there is far too much of it on the ol interweb in general – as we all know – and too little being done about it. I applaud some sites that have taken good measures to moderate comments sections properly, get rid of trolls etc – but sometimes corporations overall can exhibit behaviours / have a culture that is just – not very nice. ie when Specialised tried to take down a little bike store in Canada called Roubaix cycles because they believed they owned the word Roubaix. Despite the fact it’s a town in France. Yep. Thanks to crowd funding and a large public backlash, Roubaix cycles survived an attack from a big company acting the bully. I believe Specialised learnt a big lesson from that situation. I know from my own dealings with AB, that the big smash hammer is kept right within arms length. And I would like to hope that this approach will change, the marketing approach could change to be as classy as their packaging and matching the performance of their product, and the endless trolling to shoot down anyone who has a positive thing to say about one of their competitors comes to a stop – maybe they could put the screen down for a bit and play with their family, go for a bike ride with their friends, or just something a tad more positive and let the performance of their product do the talking.

So there you have it, initial thoughts, some context and a possibly mini personal philosophy lesson, what more could you want on your coffee break!!