Latest news 34 – Lubricant choice matrix, test updates – Mspeedwax new  formula, detail reviews.

Righto just ploughing into dedicated project week, before I start quick updates on a few fronts then will hopefully update again post project week.

Remember that inbox is closed for this week then will take me a bit of time to catch up next week so apologies as always for mini service delay but the project weeks each month are critical to keep up with the other part of zfc – and most enquiries now should be able to be answered via the online resources / you tube vids as have been chipping away at improving those resources from FAQ’s I receive each day from around the world.

Lubricant Choice Matrix

Over time as the number of lubricant products ZFC is stocking has expanded as more great products have been found through testing in main lubricant choice options (wet, wax, chain coating, immersive waxing), it is becoming more difficult for cyclists to figure out which product is the best one for them.

I do of course have the best and most detailed product information – but.. whilst that’s great on one side, it is can also be a fair bit of info to wade through from one product to another to work out which one you think is the best fit for your riding and maintenance level.

As such despite being monumentally behind on detail reviews and some data on testing, job one will be to get up and going v1 of lubricant choice matrix, where lubricants offered (or likely soon to be offered due to test results) – the key attributes / strengths / weaknesses / etc will be listed in a matrix ranked from Tier 1 (highest level performance / ease of maintenance) to Tier 5 (lowest level performance / ease of maintenance).

Ie a lubricant might be tier 1 for dry road riding (ie silca synergetic) but ranked as Tier 2 or 3 for offroad riding as wet lubricants and the world of dirt and dust is simply a miss match choice – go with a chain coating type lubricant that has very high dust resistance vs dust sticking on contact which is simply impossible to avoid with a wet lubricant.

But some in that category are very easy to maintain as have no penetration issues / easy to remove, some are more difficult to remove and need some work to negate penetration issues. If your type of riding needs only periodic maintenance – ie only ever dry riding – then will rank ok, but if you need to maintain frequently (ie frequent wet riding) then harder to clean and re lube lubricants will be ranked lower in that field even if their performance during a wet ride itself is high.

So all key aspects covered in the testing and reviews of lubricants will be split out into columns and ranked for that specific performance / maintenance level across those Tier 1 to 5 rankings.

Then all you have to do is look at your riding find the lubricant in the matrix that has tier 1 or tier 2 rankings in those conditions / maintenance – and that is likely to be your best happiest option delivering a very long lasting drivetrain for your cycling, with easy maintenance, and with an always lovely clean drivetrain.

REMEMBER post wet riding YOU WILL PAY THE PIPER one way or another. Water brings contamination right through chain where even for 100% solid lubircants, it is pressed into set coatings. The top waxes have some ability to self clean (at cost of treatment lifespan) but in large part what is brought in by water is not going anywhere unless you remove it. Adding 0.1ml of lubricant per link does near zero flush cleaning you are just temporarily improving ratio of lubricant to contamination, a ratio that will continue to degrade with further harsh conditions riding.

So you do have to choose – bung on more top lubricant but pay the piper in wear rate due to leaving abrasive contamination in, or re-setting the contamination by flush cleaning chain and re-lubing. Some lubricants this is very easy, some it is not – so if you ride a lot in harsh conditions taking into account the maintenance aspect of the lubricant is really just, as if not, more important as the performance of the lubricant itself – if it is a bugger to reset contamination – then you will have a high wear situation.

Again you either pay the piper with a bit of time post wet rides to re-set contamination, in which case choosing a lubricant where that is easy REALLY helps, or you pay the piper in friction and wear if you just add more lube on top of old heavily contaminated lube.

I will do my best to draw up a matrix that steps everything out concisely (not my strong point) and easily. It may take me a few cracks so expect some revisions – but look out for v1 soon, and it will then be updated as testing adds more knowledge on key lubricants.

If a lubricant has been tested by ZFC (lubricant test page) but it is not on the matrix, then it is an overall average or poor lubricant and not worth cluttering the matrix with. Only lubricants ZFC recommends due to proven performance will be on the matrix.

Detail reviews have to be a bit less detailed.

Alas due to rather scary lubricant review backlog and maxed out workload on all fronts, the detail reviews will have to be dialed back to a mildly more sane level of detail. The initial template I based on like a DC rainmaker style but will be implementing a new template that still covers the key info and will still be VASTLY more detailed and accurate a lubricant review that one will find anywhere – however it will need to be shortened a lot.

This will probably be met with cheers from 99% of ZFC followers but doh from the most likeminded nerdy 1%!!

Alas there are limits to hours in the day and now with 3 test machines and 3 tests always running I am falling very far behind on the detail reviews for the lubricants tested so changes must be made where I can punch them out faster and in a more efficient but still very effective format.

Again this format may vary over upcoming reviews as I continue to refine to cover key information but more efficiently.

Mini Review post completion of Mspeedwax new formula test

I have just wrapped up testing of new formula for Mspeedwax and whilst I still have to update the data on website with the Single application longevity results, the data from main test is up, and summary results from test are;

  • New formula is a significant improvement vs original formula with basically 1/3 total wear by end of main test, so notably lower wear in dry contamination, wet contamination and extreme contamination blocks.
  • Vs Hot melt the results are within measurement tolerance.
  • Treatment application longevity is around double original formula, like hot melt there would be extremely few events that would beyond treatment application to go flag to flag, or extremely few training rides where treatment longevity will be an issue – you would have to be one heck of an intrepid cyclist to stress treatment lifespan in a training ride.
  • Mspeedwax have removed PTFE from formula and moved to tungsten disulphide as main friction modifier, there are others – but secret.
  • Due to low cost of a bag of mspeedwax that will easily last most circa 10,000km of road cycling and 3000 to 5000km of offroad cycling, coupled with extremely, extremely low wear rates – Mspeedwax new formula moves back into number one spot on league table for lowest overall cost to run a drivetrain per 10,000km. The more expensive your drivetrain, the more important this metric is to your lubricant choice (as well as parts availability). The difference between top lubricants on the table and average lubricants is well over 1k per year for ROAD cycling, and much more for more harsh conditions cycling. What do you want to spend your money on? That new helmet, kit, shoes, glasses, – all easily covered just in the running cost difference in 10,000km of road cycling. Or a big chunk towards that new set of wheels or cycling holiday. Or you can blow it on abrading through your drivetrain components. I know what I prefer to spend my money on!!!
  • Immersive waxing with top known waxes is (and likely to remain) unchallenged by drip lubricants. Immersive waxing simply has the unassailable advantage that every re-wax does a brilliant near perfect re-set of any contamination in chain, and all parts of chain are re-coated in a 100% solid super slippery wax basically leaving chain metal out of the equation for X km’s or hours post re-wax. Especially if you avoid constantly pushing treatment lifespans and err on re-waxing well within treatment lifespan – chain and drivetrain parts longevity simply has to be experienced to be believed.

Even the very best drip lubricants – chain is operating completely exposed so contamination over time is inevitable, and adding circa 0.1ml of lubricant per link over top of old coating can only do so much vs a nice hot spa bath in 400 to 500ml of 100% amazing lubricant.

  • The top immersive waxes are the easiest to reset contamination post harsh conditions rides – just re-wax. This may seem like a hassle, until you compare it to pumping 3 litres of solvent through your chain to reset the vast majority of drip lubricants post harsh conditions rides. Which takes a Shipton more time and expense vs the ease of popping chain off, into a pot, and turning pot from off to low to melt wax, swish later whenever it is melted & hang to set, break wax link bond and pop back on bike before next ride. 4 to 5 mins total labour time, no solvents needed, chain re set back to amazing, and unbeatable low wear rates.
  • Even some of my favourite tech podcasts (cycling tips nerd alert) have some on there that are anti waxing as think it is an enormous hassle for really not much benefit vs dripping on more lubricant. Trust me, from the world most exhaustive and robust independent testing, they are simply very, very wrong. Immersive waxing is extremely easy, and the wear rate advantages are very large vs the huge majority of lubricants ESPECIALLY if you often ride in harsh conditions. It is not a small advantage for racers for key race events, it is a huge wear rate advantage for all cyclists for very little effort
  • Refer to ZFC you tube video’s episode 3 and 4 to see maintenance difference and just how easy immersive waxing is. So many other channels show immersive waxing as a laborious process. It is not. Follow the waxing demonstrated by ZFC.
  • You will not DIY yourself to remotely comparable wax to mspeedwax or hot melt. It is not just getting some paraffin and bunging in some friction modifiers. The base wax is a blend of waxes to achieve something quite amazing. Most DIY waxers go very wrong by using a crap base, so no matter what you add, it is putting lipstick on a pig. If the wax has a lot of impurities (soy / palm oil) and mineral oil content which is what you will get with candles / hardware / ebay etc wax – it will be slow and quickly gunky / higher wear. You may in fact DIY wax yourself to a lubricant that beats a number of off the shelf meh lubricants sold, but you will not get remotely close to mspeedwax or hot melt. NOT even in the same country as the same where the ballpark is located.

We can see from mspeedwax overall near tripling its performance in total wear rate and doubling its performance in treatment longevity vs original formula just how critical the base wax blend is and just how much R&D resources goes into the base wax blend – and then there is getting the friction modifiers perfected with that wax base.

There are so many grades of how hard or soft paraffin wax is (just look at a lab supply website for some lab grade paraffin, you have oodles of grades to choose from). If it too soft, you will likely see the issues that came up in testing with AbsoluteBlack Graphenwax that demonstrated very high wear and very poor longevity (something confirmed by many cyclists around the world – but please not AB completely disagree with ZFC testing and review and postulations re Graphenwax. I’m biased here of course, but the ZFC test is extremely robust and proven, and there is just no getting around the wear rates. Fast wear rate of hardened metal parts flat out = high friction and poor performance).

To hard and the paraffin is too brittle and also suffers very poor lifespan as it is too easily chipped off the surface.

The development behind Mspeedwax is a lot of resources by very smart and suitable qualified people.

You will not match it buy buying X paraffin from X place and bunging in some friction modifiers. I know DIY is tempting, I love to tinker of course and love to fix vs replace, but make no mistake, your chain lubricant is you bikes most important component as it is responsible for how much it is going to cost you or save you to run, and the $$ difference amounts are far from trivial. And if you race, then your chain lubricant is the big, huge low hanging fruit of friction savings by making the right choice.

Oh so many try DIY waxing from the oh so many DIY waxing you tube video’s, all of which are sadly terrible making my life much more difficult.

One should DIY wax to the same level as you DIY your engine oil for your car.

  • There are many very good reasons why ZFC overall recommends immersive waxing with a proven top wax (not a crap wax – there are some of those out there…) as number one option. I do not do so out of choice – immersive waxing support takes up 99% of my enquiry & support time. Selling a bottle of lubricant is a hundred times easier.

But the results are irrefutable, as is the simple logic behind the results for immersive waxing. It is number one for a couple of key reasons that at this time really are not able to be contested by lubricants from a bottle for day in day out low friction and wear. For a single event on a well prepped chain, sure – some drip lubricants are just as if not a tiny bit faster. But what happens over the next 5 re lubes. Or the next 10. Or the next 100. A drip lubricant cannot compare over time to immersive waxing due to the near perfect contamination reset and re-coating of all parts of chain, and excess wax on cogs / rings is very wear protective vs a build up of say a gritty abrasive wet lube excess where all the interactions with teeth are just abrading vs super slippery interaction.

Sorry – ran long again – but it is hard to do a mini review of a top wax product without a mini re-hash of just WHY immersive waxing is king. ESPECIALLY for those who often ride in harsh conditions – it is a common misconception that if you often ride in the wet then waxing is not for you, you should run a good wet lubricant.

Why? What does one think happens to their wet lubricant during that ride? Do you think it stays low friction for next ride? If the answer is no (which it is), how are you going to re-set it? Is how you are going to re set contamination in chain going to be easier than simply popping chain into a pot and melting wax? Again – the answer is no.

Yes you do have to re-wax chain post wet ride, so if you ride a lot in wet, simply run multiple chains. If you ride a lot in the wet, you would be buying a new chain soon anyway, so just pre buy your next chain, or two, and run multiple. This also ensures you get multiple chains through cassette vs just one run long – very easy to do riding a lot in harsh conditions. 3 chains to cassette is much cheaper than one chain to a cassette, more so again when those 3 chains are lasting 3, 5 or 10 times as long depending on a few things.

If you don’t have time to re-wax post wet ride before next days ride, pop one chain off, wrap in microfibre cloth which will protect from oxidation for a few days (salted roads ) to a week ish (unsalted roads), then re-wax 2 or 3 chains at once.

So easy, so much time saving and cost saving vs solvent flush cleaning, and oh so much wear saving vs if you aren’t waxing and are not solvent flush cleaning.

So it is a big misconception – it is just different way of operating – when most of cycling demographic is used to riding, wiping chain and dripping on more lube – moving to immersive waxing can take a bit to get head around this different way of operating, but the cost and wear and no solvent needed benefits are just so much greater, it is definitely worth looking at properly, and pay little attention to naysayers who are not across the ZFC test and cost to run data which empirically proves them very incorrect.

It is best to go with recommendations from proven results from the worlds most robust independent testing, vs ah it such a hassle and makes little difference from people who have fossilized their thought patterns in place. Stay up to date, keep learning, ensure your logic pathways are working, keep your noodle flexible and not fossilized 😊

So there you go, mini review, a why you should look at immersive waxing re hash, a misconception myth busting, and some minor philosophy guidance all in one!!

Latest video getting into more interesting stuff!!!

Episode 9 should be up (and hopefully fixed by time read this – it had an error where it left out demonstration of dry contamination on wet lubricant chain). This episode I start to go into the ZFC test itself, why I chose the test methodology I use, the issues with some other testing, some detail on the test blocks and intervals, demonstrating adding contamination etc – I get a lot of enquiries re the actual test so this will be handy to hopefully have up.

Remember the full test brief can be found by clicking on the link on lubricant test page – the full detail of ZFC test protocol has always been completely open – but I think many will find video more entertaining than one of my mini novella’s.

Remember to please like, subsribe and share – over time we need to build up ZFC to be the number one reference vs the many much longer established channels pumping out info that really is pulled from dark places that should be followed, or is sponsored content pushing crap (ie leave factory grease on…..).

Right – off to take the red pill and start work on the matrix!