Latest Low friction News #22 + Holidays!

Super sorry it has been a while since last update, barely had time to think!

Would you believe running 3 test machines would take 3 times as much time as running 1. And then 3 times as much data and review work. Who knew.

I have hammered away hard this week to at least get some more data updated as well as more work on revamp of charts and data tables since a) Previous charts became too crowded, b) The block by block breakdown was difficult for many to piece together overall picture.

So new charts and data table consolidate everything much better, and – if you want much more depth, below the new charts will be a downloadable workbook to delve into and nerd out on test results across a number of worksheets.

I haven’t had time to get to a bunch of reviews and im also going to be tweaking the detail review document – I will need to reign in the reviews and have them read a bit better so next reviews will be a bit better format – however the almost up to date data should be on website by Sunday (pls give tonight / tomorrow to get to uploading). I’m typing before upload because I have small little window to pump this doc out before clocking off for mostly my first weeks actual leave in 4 years since starting ZFC. Been a long stretch working hard without a break, plus had the full custom house and workshop build and move – I’m a bit knackered! I need at least one day just solid horizontal on the couch with junk food and Netflix, then lots of fun play dates in hols with mini me and super wifey.

In lieu of detail reports – brief updates on some of latest tests;

Silca Hot melt – Absolutely slayed the testing – excellent treatment lifespan, outstanding contamination resistance of course – it reached end of main test with the lowest wear rate recorded to date by miles.

A question im getting all the time – Hot Melt or MSW – honestly it’s a tricky one – I love msw, I have been using personally for over 100,000km of riding, it is very cheap per bag for the level of awesomeness you get – however the test data is not matching hot melt, but double however – rather quietly msw about 6 months ago rolled out new formula. They have kept quiet – I think in lieu of planning a launch I don’t think im really meant to say much – but the new formula does also switch to tungsten disulphide, so I need to test new formula before to know what the actual gap is now between hot melt and msw. But msw really only came unstuck a bit on the extreme contamination block, whereas hot melt held strong in that block, before that things were very close – you can’t go wrong with either – we are living in great low friction times.

Silca Synergetic – Extremely good – new king of wet lubes displacing NFS, and also the first drip lube to record a 0% wear rate across the first 1000km test block. If you are not into waxing, not into wax / chain coating type lubricants and like a wet lube – Synergetic is it.
Once contamination is introduced, being a wet lube it cant match the immersive waxes or chain coating type lubricants where pretty much dust just bounces off – that’s simply a price you pay for wet lubes so if you ride mtb I would still look towards a top wax / chain coating type lubricant – all you need to do is simply apply a bit more frequently and allow an overnight set, its not hard.

But if you ride road and want a super smooth, super long lasting per treatment, super clean wet lube (assuming you do not over apply) – then yep – all that and a bag of chips.

AB Graphene Wax – Ok so this was a real surprise and not in a good way, and im really bummed about it. Graphene lube is amazing if you can afford it and handle the initial immersive prep / re immersive prep post wet rides (you have to fully clean and reset ANY chain post wet ride if you want it to stay low friction and wear for ANY lubricant – this is where immersive waxing is actually super easy – just pop on pot and turn pot on).

I was very much looking forward to stocking the magnificently packaged ab wax which has lured many to it from sheer looks alone, having a graphene lube and wax bundle – but yep, testing went very poorly. Like, really poorly.
Initial thoughts – I do need to discuss with AB (this is harder than it sounds), however it appears their approach of pliable wax is, in my humble little opinion, flawed.
Whilst the marketing shoots down other harder waxes as being brittle, all and I mean ALL reputable testing backs up what the original friction facts found for high grade paraffin and hence Mspeedwax and UFO wax v1 – the wax quickly polishes to a solid super slippery coating that is simply ultra low friction and contamination resistant.
A pliable wax will not do this. It will be soft. It appears to be too soft to prevent metal on metal wear. The wear rates started very very high, and just went higher as testing continued.

During the test time I have also had a lot of people write in to advise they had tried ab wax and found it to have a very short lifespan before feeling and sounding very dry, and so were going back to mspeedwax / hot melt.

The second part of the testing (single application longevity test) the initial wear rates vs start of main test were near identical – that was a completely different box of graphene wax ( a fresh lot is used for the single application longevity part of the test) – so I didn’t get a bad batch, and I have quite some experience prepping chains for waxing so im quite confident I didn’t stuff up the prep. That would be odd. Indeed.
I will discuss with AB pre detail review – probably – I kind of already know how it will go – stay tuned for a possible launch of shooting down of ZFC’s testing credibility – but………. My test process is extremely robust and backed by a number of the top brains in the industry for years now – it has been scrutinized and passed muster by them with a big green light – so im very confident in the test results, and very sadly they were just really not great.

And my testing is matching user feedback, so that’s a couple of ducks in row (just like what I had with muc off hydrodynamic and nano which were horrific – many wrote in to advise they threw bottle away after first couple of applications as never could it be believed a chain could become so filthy and gritty so fast).

Interestingly in their product info they don’t make any amazing low friction claims like they did with graphene lube, nor any friction testing etc – just a shoot down of other waxes vs revolutionary new pliable wax – but there is not a lot of substance back its actual performance aside from being pliable and pliable is apparently awesome. So I will be looking for some solid data from them that backs pliable being awesome vs what we know re existing top immersive waxes.

I can also tell you it definitely is not any cleaner / less flakes than mspeedwax or hot melt. It is just as flakey, and it is a much dirtier wax. If you have to change a rear wheel puncture, you will have dirty fingers – something you do not have when you do so with mspeedwax or hot melt.

New single Application longevity testing.

I think I mentioned this before however the original test was a bit of rushed tack on to the very main test which was where I focused all my energy on ensuring that test process was nailed. However it proved insufficient to be of much use to guide decisions on will x lube last for x event, so a much more comprehensive and accurate single application longevity test protocol has commenced – data at the moment is a bit sparse as I need to re-test all lubricants worthy of testing, I am keeping one of my 3 machines reserved for this so I shall be catching up on that over next 6 months, but some data is up already and more will keep being added as I plow on, then will move to testing some other lubricants on my hot list.

The other two test machines are already fully booked for 2021 with private testing – however with luck if testing goes well typically the NDA is ripped up and full detail review and data release done, so hopefully will get some more good public data from this private testing if the lubricants test super well. If they don’t test as well as hoped, typically obviously the NDA stays in place and manufacturer never talks to me again (kidding. Sort of. Some take the test data and use to improve and come back, some never talk to me again 😊).

As always – apologies for time its taking to get data up and reviews done its just been super ultra mega premium flat out on all fronts, im putting in the big days and there are stack of document updates and new documents I need to get too to help reduce the number of common enquires which take time to answer – I will get there, and I will do my very very best to ensure everything is worth the wait.

Lastly as always thanks for your support – one thing that has come up a bit also is some sites are already way undercutting RRP on some products I sell – Little ZFC just cannot do that. At RRp there is normally around 30% margin – of which I need to pay GST, and income tax, and I decent amount goes back into testing projects, and I spend a lot of time resources on this side of the business – selling products to literally make circa $1 to $3 profit on a $50 to $100 sale – that may work for the high volume online stores, its not possible for a boutique specialist store like zfc that relies on the retail side of business to cover cost and time of the testing side of the business.

RRP’s are set by manufacturers so that the importer can set a w/sale price that leaves them enough margin to make some profit, and then the retailer can sell at rrp and make circa 30% margin to keep the lights on. No one is making killing on selling a bottle of lube or a bag of wax or a chain at RRP – so yup, whilst undercutting RRP is great for consumers – just know that little ZFC cant undercut the RRP, its just not worth the time to do the admin and shipping and handle enquiries and do all the testing to make $1 to $3 profit per lube / wax / chain sale.

My pricing on pre prepped chains however is world beating because of my rather extraordinary efficiency of recycling back solvents via distillers greatly reducing prep cost. Genius. And I run the distillers on free solar power.

K that will do!! Have lots of great riding, stay safe, stay low friction – inbox and phone will be closed to orders and enquiries starting now – mad catch up will start Monday 19th April! I do love my work but I must say that yep, after 4 years of plugging away from start up to holy batman work levels – I am looking forward to a mini recharge, its been a lot of work, but – on the plus side ZFC has gone from nothing to the worlds most referenced and trusted independent lubricant and chain testing resource globally – my hobby project has succeeded well beyond initial thoughts expectations – so the theory of testing to find and stock the genuine best products only and back it with the best support and service I can – it seems there was something to that little business vision, and I take much personal satisfaction in doing work that genuinely saves more and more cyclists around the world from prematurely abrading through their drivetrain, highlighting manufacturers bringing genuinely great products to market, and holding terrible products vs claims to account.

I look forward to plowing ever forward on all fronts after my mini recharge, but again, ZFC would not be successful without the great support of return patronage and the organic growth from positive sharing of ZFC to cycling buddies – so sincerely many thanks to all who have supported ZFC in many ways from whenever you found out ZFC existed, you have made a difference by enabling the business model to be successful – so I get to keep on nerding out testing and we all get to keep learning what brilliant, meh or shite.

Sorry – I cant even wrap up a thanks in less than about 500words. You tube. Totally going to look into you tube on week off….

Till next update
Mr Low Friction.
(excuse typo’s typed in a hurry)