Latest News #19 – Back to the inbox after project week!

Hi all you low friction (or soon to be low friction) peeps out there, thanks for standing by for a week as I ripped into urgent project work, I will commence processing orders and inbox enquires starting Monday 8th – I hope to be caught up with inbox by COB Tuesday whereby normal super service levels will resume 😊 

Pls note next project week will be Monday 1st March to Sunday 7th March.

Twas a very interesting project week – alas I didn’t get through a fraction of planned urgent work due to a bunch of fun probs arising, the week just zoomed by.

I lost Monday to closing inbox from weekend plus contractors fixing new house issues.

Tuesday I started on building new test machines, spent most of morning buying hardware and the afternoon building new test bench to mount two trainers, as well as completed one mount with adjustable legs for one of the motors & gear boxes.

Wednesday the fun began. Did you know (I didn’t!) that your crank spindles are hardened to a frankly almost unbelievable level?!  On attempting to drill 6mm hole for coupling pin (to connect crank spindle to gearbox) through crank spindle number 1, ones normal high speed steel drill bit lasted about 10 secs before it was completely blunt, and had barely made a scratch on crank spindle. 2 more drill bits followed – barely even a mark, and zero start of any hole.


For the first test machine, I had the crank spindle hole drilled by an engineering firm and they said they had some issues as spindle was hardened, and charged me a fortune. I thought I was thoroughly ripped off as could have bought my own drill press for the cost of drilling this hole. Hence at new workshop I bought my own drill press.

So – off I go to local hardware store and bought the highest level drill bits you can get commercially from tool stores- tungsten cobalt drill bits for drilling through hardened steel.

They only had two in stock, and after going through those two bits over about 30 mins hard work on drill press, I was about 1mm into one side of spindle. It is like drilling into plate of case hardened armour!!

Trips to a few hardware stores spending $400 buying out all 3, 4 & 6mm tungsten cobalt drill bits in stock so I could start with pilot holes and work up.

By end of Wednesday, I had drilled through first spindle. Fook me. I got better at it by Thursday by finding best drill speed and also regularly swapping bits so no bit gets very hot, and drilled 2nd hole in 2nd crank spindle in under an hour.

Alas – the holes pre drilled in the l95 couplings were too far inboard, and did not reach over the spindle holes. Ah fook me. They were ok to drill but very thick, but drilled through two couplings close to end, one fit on spare crank I had with gxp spindle, other crank with bb 30 spindle still not able to line up, so had to drill through that spindle again as close as possible to the end of spindle. Now it fit, but now with other bits and pieces coming up during the day such as machining a different hanger to fit spare frame I had that was missing hanger – that was the day.

To get the new test machines up and running I still needed to make another motor and gearbox mount, fork mounts for bench, and to cable up both bikes so can shift rear derailleur. Balls. I had expected drilling spindles to be an hour job, it turned out to be a 2 day job. Sheezus.

So test machine builds parked, started on urgent data work – top priority atm is detail review for UFO Drip v2, but prior to starting that as current graphs are getting too clogged, before adding more data I need to revamp existing graphs focusing on greatly expanded cost to run modelling for lubricants, and the block by block wear data will be in a data table, so I started on that but it’s a bit time consuming and only made it part way through before again – that was the day done. Then spent a fair whack on weekend prepping chains ready for filling the last weeks orders.

Alas finished dedicated project week 1 sans having two more test machines up and running nor any shiny new cool data for you to look at, will chip away again when I can after inbox catch up, and the be back at it ensuring machines up and running by end of next project week starting 1st march.

I have a huge test list already for 2021, so stay tuned a lot of awesome info will be coming, and the expanded cost to run modelling for higher tier groupset, gravel and extreme conditions riding will be not too far away I hope, and the new much improved single application longevity test data will be trickled out as I get those tests completed so we have better information on what lube for what event.

Updating FAQ, lubricant choice matrix, top friction hints and tips guide, top maintenance hints and tips guide all still on the urgent to do list when I can / next project weeks.

Thanks again for your patience, many groovy things coming, first project week didn’t quite achieve what I hoped thanks to the discovery that our crank spindles would in fact make most excellent bullet proof vests / tank armour.

But to learn is to stay young!!  😉  Sorry if anyone needed a drill bit for hardened steel within a 20km radius of ZFC HQ – if your hardware store had bare shelves, that was me.

And on the plus side, I get to mentally delete the file where I thought the engineering company ripped me off when drilling first test machines crank spindle. I now know they probably went through a $150 worth of drill bits and much labour time!

Hope you all had a groovy week of riding, and if you have placed an order or enquiry over last week I shall be updating your Monday / Tuesday with answers / tracking numbers.

Thanks and another update soon to address another high profile silly friction furfy by a major media publication. Need to get the facts straight to all so you all can then help get the facts straight with your cycling buddies, and as many as possible make great lubricant choice and save a shipload of friction and wear & $$$ .

I envisage that one day when a major publication releases clearly incorrect info that will lead cyclists down a path of likely high friction and high parts wear that many many informed cyclists will quickly jump on comments and correct them for me. I will keep chipping away until that day – its starting now and gathering momentum – keep up the great work everyone – I don’t get much time to respond to social media but when I do get to check I cant tell you how much it helps every time someone jumps in with a respectful and factual response to incorrect info re lubricant / factory grease / waxing etc based on information from sources you can trust such as Friction Facts / ZFC / Marginal Gains. I am just one (very busy!) nerdy cyclist, together we are a low friction legion saving drive trains the world over.

Right – time to get ready to actually ride a bike! Big races coming and training has been a little on the low side!