Latest news 33 – So many things in the land of low friction!

Hey ho sorry been a bit of a span since last update, whoa things have been busy on all fronts. This update starts boring then gets more exciting 😊

First – the plan to have a retail manager didn’t work, so after handing over that side of business, it then had to be handed back to me – sincere apologies if you suffered a mini service delay or missing order during that time. Twas a bugger. I’m having a rest before I consider a take 2 as attempt 1 was taxing.

Changes to service timeframes

As little zfc has grown a tad past its planned hobby business size – it has no longer become possible to get to orders and enquiries within 24hrs.

All orders will now be shipped priority as default, and expect a 3 to 5 business day process time for orders and enquiry. This should have orders still arrive in a similar time frame to process within 24hrs and sending standard shipping.

This is in line with many online stores that take a few business days to process, pack and ship – and where possible I will of course beat the above time frames – but be aware just in case (and website will be updated to advise shortly).

I still need to have dedicated project weeks to catch up on test data and reports back to clients / updating test data / detail reviews for website – I simply need solid work block days to get this type of work done vs trying to jump in and out between orders and enquiries, that just makes both inefficient & can lead to silly errors – this work simply needs proper focus blocks.

Order and enquiry process times will be a bit longer than above post project weeks but I go hard to catch when back online.

ENQUIRIES

Enquiry volumes are getting tricky! Tis a tough one for me as on the one side I’ve always enjoyed and taken pride in answering enquiries to a better level than anywhere else in the world, on the other side there are just only so many hours in the day and orders have to go out, lots of chains have to be prepped, test machines have to be kept running.

I have been working hard to ensure that the vast majority of general enquiries are covered in the online resources on website and the first rounds you tube vids. I need to pretty please ask if you can check those resources first, and if you cannot find answer you need, then don’t hesitate to zing your enquiry in.

For enquiries about waxing you do now need to state in the email title that you have read the wax zen master guide and Wax FAQ guide, but still have a question. ZFC has become very synonymous with immersive waxing globally (woohoo! – mostly 😊) but waxing is actually a farily small part of what ZFC does overall. The number of enquiries each day from around the globe on waxing– where almost always the question is covered in the online guides – alas it is just eating hours each day I then cannot use to get to other enquiries and orders, testing & chain prepping. I simply need those hours each day to ensure worlds best service support to enquiries that are not a waxing FAQ

I have also recently just uploaded a chain prep / cleaning FAQ guide as well as Master Link FAQ, as most times if an enquiry is not about waxing, it is about chain cleaning or master links.

Pls refer to those guides first, as well as waxing FAQ if you have a waxing question – and then if still stuck – again don’t hesitate to send enquiry in. If majority of people currently sending enquiries in refer to the online resources first, I will have the time I need to properly support any enquiries that fall outside of what the online resources cover. As little ZFC continues to grow without some positive step changes to enquiry volumes, pretty soon that would be all I would be doing and testing and processing orders would grind to a halt, or testing and orders can go out but I wouldn’t have any time to answer any enquiries – so the above + you tube vids is step 1 to ramping up efficiency in this area.

 

ZFC YOU TUBE CHANNEL

The main goal for this channel initially has been to help with general enquires and the basics on chain maintenance and waxing. Recently uploaded the waxing FAQ, and it was over 1hr 30 mins long!! And that is the FREQUENTLY asked questions!!

A quick note for immersive waxing. 99% of immersive waxing once chain prepped (or you have bought pre prepped) – it is pop chain off bike, pop chain onto wax in SLOW COOKER (NOT RICE COOKER) turn switch from off to low, swish whenever when wax is melted, hang to set, break wax link bond and re-install chain before next ride. ZFC you tube vids episode 4 part 1 & 2 demonstrate how easy this is. The vast majority of waxing enquiries people are trying to way over complicate things. Again for 99% of cyclists, the above is all you need to do, and it is all extremely easy – once you have done your first couple of re-waxings you are off and running. Also just follow Master link FAQ guide if not sure what is best master link option for your chain. The waxing FAQ guide covers the rest of questions that should come up.

Most enquiries are generated by having seen a different you tube video on waxing of which there are plenty that have NFI what they are talking about, and alas too much time is going into countering BS info from other sources. If it is about immersive waxing and the info isn’t from ZFC / Mspeedwax or Silca – on the main I can only recommend to disregard it, it will just confuse or lead you astray with info and wax blends pulled out of their… places that sun does not reach.

Re the first upload of chain prep FAQ and Waxing FAQ vids – apologies I decided at short notice to introduce my new retail supreme leader (which as per start of latest news – no longer here..) but despite camera showing his volume pick up was fine, it turned out – it wasn’t.

Those video’s have been re-uploaded with the questions subtitled. This wont help if you are just listening vs watching, but if you can’t make out a question, treat it like an episode of Jeopardy – the answer I’m rambling on with will soon have you figuring out what the question was 😊

 

TESTING UPDATES

As always a lot of test work going on that isn’t immediately visible.

I am about to wrap up the testing for Mspeedwax new formula, just need to finish last part of single application longevity testing and then update website with that data and then complete detail review.

In short – hot melt had taken quite a lead over original formula Msw, but they had been working on new formula for a long time with lots of very clever people, and there are significant improvements in the results of new formula vs original in both overall wear rates and treatment longevity. In my testing mspeedwax and hot melt are now neck and neck – stay tuned for full detail review release (running just a tad behind – well, a lot behind, but short version is it is amazing).

I have also been doing lots and lots and lots of testing for Revolubes and overall they have a brilliant product – working with them on a final formula that negates some of the rather intensive application instructions of the original formula – but pre detail review – overall Revolubes is definitely a product ZFC recommends as an absolute top level wet lubricant.

And also similar re testing for REX lubes– I must admit based on wend wax experience (which is one of the dodgiest lubricant products ever released) (for legal reasons, this is my opinion and not stated as fact 😉). * I will put a Wend footnote in update to summarize why.

Rex domestique (their base level product) tested overall quite impressively, but their Black diamond product set a new single application longevity record by quite a margin – handily beating previous leader which was absoluteBlack Graphenlube.

When combined with their Race day spray, Rex Black diamond has demonstrated the an extremely high level of dry dust contamination resistance, so for offroad riders – Black diamond + race day spray which effects a chemical change making the wet lubricant into solid coating – that is really something with again recording by far longest single application longevity result in dry contamination block testing.

Based on the results from doing a lot of single application longevity tests and everyone getting a bit excited, Rex Black Diamond and Race Day spray has just commenced testing through the main test protocol – but S.A.L test results should be up on website now, and ZFC is strongly (STRONGLY) looking at stocking once main test is complete providing no surprises there. I will also be looking at stocking Revolubes once assess final formula mix.

 

LUDICROUS AF – Testing of the latest lubricant from to date the scariest company every to produce lubricant products (in my opinion not stated as fact) has also just commenced. To date Muc-offs previous top lubricants remain by absolute miles the worst lubricants ZFC has ever tested – they both just ATE chains like a cutting fluid – whilst at the same time they had THE MOST OVER THE TOP and inaccurate (in my opinion) marketing possible. It is worth taking the time to have a look at the ZFC test results for hydro and nano….)

It was brilliant to see on many of the muc off launch articles a lot of people commenting that they are not going to touch it until it is tested by ZFC.

Honestly – it is people power that is going to hold companies / poor articles / poor video’s to account – so the more that call out concerns – the more positive change will be in effect – I am going to ramble on this more in a future update – it is really important, and it is now really starting to make a positive difference.

Muc-off commented on Instagram post to ZFC that they are working on a global testing standard and would like to work with ZFC as well re this. I replied that of course that would be great and can the applicable person at muc-off pls make contact via email

I have not received an email from them.

My belief at this time is that the comment was for optics only. They have not answered a single one of my questions re their testing to date, or questions re product launch data and ZFC test results for Hydro / Nano. I highly doubt there will be any positive interaction (or any interaction) re Ludicrous AF testing and the future of testing overall which as per the podcast recently with cycling tips – it is a bowl of spaghetti with different manufacturers and test labs around the world attaining massively different efficiency results for the same lubricant.

Are you / Muc-off worried re previous history impacting upcoming Ludicrous AF test?

Fear not.  NOTHING impacts on test results and reviews other than the results of the test for the lubricant vs the marketing.  I / ZFC have worked extremely hard to become established as the number 1 trusted independent test facility globally – this cannot happen if any mfg holds concerns re absolute independent objectivity of the testing.

A case point would be absoluteBlack.  Holy batman did we REALLY not get along. So much so that at one point they took legal action against ZFC as I had the gall to question some off their other test claims that – in my opinion – made no sense, as well as the marketing approach of tearing all competitors around them down vs standing tall on the merits of their own product. Emails from AB now go straight to a folder I do not even see. They could have taken further legal action against me for all I know.

And yet here is ZFC stocking graphenlube, with an overall outstanding review for the product (for those whom it suits).

So, regardless of my SEVERE concerns of Muc-off’s behavior overall to date as company on a bunch of fronts – I could type many many pages…. The test results will be the test results, and the product reviewed according to it’s results. To do anything differently would be to kill ZFC’s reputation in a heartbeat. NOTHING impacts on the independence and objectivity of ZFC testing and reviews – it is simply the foundation stone of the entire business.

For those  who have been following ZFC for awhile – this you will already know – so its mostly for peeps who have recently discovered ZFC. Overall trust in information these days on any topic is low. We live in an age where miss information is rife, and online publications / you tube channels by either  advertising $$, or frankly wacky / poorly researched thinking – leading to the current enquiry volume issues I have correcting “I saw this video on waxing from …….” Or, “what do you think of X companies claims on ……. ”.

ZFC is funded by selling the genuine best products discovered via the worlds most robust independent testing, as well as paid private testing by manufacturers to check product performance – and honestly more times than not the results back to those mfg’s are not what they hoped for – it is not pay for a bunch of testing and get a great result here. The ZFC test protocol is extremely difficult as many lubricants just flat out struggle not to absorb abrasive contamination and record high wear rates. Clean lab testing does not represent what happens when you ride outside, nor do typical industry standard tests have any bearing on what is happening with how a lubricant performs in a bicycle chain. If such tests were valid I could complete a  new lubricant test every week vs taking months to complete test over thousands and thousands of km’s.

Summary – despite previous history – if Ludicrous AF tests well / amazing – it will be reviewed as such, and the data will show as such. But…. Based on previous marketing claims vs results – I think one would be wise to wait for the test results before buying. Again, check the results for hydro and nano before you buy Ludicrous AF – no lubricants have become so abrasive so quickly as those two.

 

Allied GRAX

Tested and I need to get to detail review and also do a more detail update & you tube vid re their testing white paper, as well as my own video on testing overall.

The short version – grax tested ok, not as good as Squirt original, or Smoove. I need to test Squirt new formula.

I felt it was too thick, it demonstrated significant initial penetration issues. If I was me, I would apply via immersive after cleaning chain.

Short version of their testing white paper;

In my opinion the testing which was outsourced by Allied to a third party tribology company contained many test errors. Part of the problem was that the company doing the testing to prove GRAX was the best, was the same company that developed the product, so a slight conflict of interest there.

Aside from the error, yet again, of running test under FTT conditions for the entirety of test (refer to cycling tips nerd alert podcast covering this issue),

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5kLrR16b9KpZL3cyhxW41d

another glaring error was made and stated in the white paper – they applied lubricants and commenced the test.

For lubricants like UFO drip, they need a minimum 8 hour set time. So to apply and run test – under FTT test conditions – very shortly it would have been metal on metal, and hence the 26w loss result for UFO drip.

Now would one not question that result before going to print? (especial one with a PHD..)

How on earth is a lubricant going to increase in losses by 26w, in just 1.4hrs, in a clean lab test?!

One would have to go and ride for 1.4hours in a quarry mud bath to try to and get such increases in losses in a chain in that timeframe.

It is obviously, beyond obviously – not possible to attain such loss increases in such a short time for any lubricant in a clean lab test. How the results and test was not then checked before releasing the white paper, it simply blows up all my logic circuits when I try to run that situation through my little noodle.

Honestly feel pretty sorry for Allied – they are in my opinion a great little company who make some bloody brilliant bikes, and they genuinely wanted to release a brilliant product – and not having the expertise to develop in house (most bike companies don’t have pHD chemists on staff), so they took what would appear to be correct steps by outsourcing this to a qualified 3rd party – all moves and thinking that makes sense.

The problems arose simply from a) the company proving their lubricants performance was the same company that developed it, and b) The test the tribology company developed had many many HUGE GLARING flaws (in my opinion), and if they were not already obvious (such as applying a lubricant as per mfg instructions, the issues with long time FTT test intervals) – then the results the testing spat out should have instantly had them looking into wtf is going on. I just cannot believe they went to print with that white paper, and I feel sorry for Allied re the entire situation and money spent to develop grax, which whilst it is at least a good lubricant, it is – based on ZFC’s extremely robust testing, well short of a market leading product.

I had some initial correspondence with Allied and the 3rd party tribology company as well as nice long skype call, but – things hit a brick wall fairly quickly. Regardless of the clear evidence and logic against the testing – the 3rd party company simply cannot admit any fault of would be in for a big refund request from Allied, and this leaves Allied stuck in the middle of do they believe 3rd party experts or the concerns being presented to them by ZFC. Again it is a bugger of a situation as I can see that Allied genuinely took what they believed would be all the right steps and investment re bringing a genuinely brilliant product to market to match the level of their genuinely brilliant bikes. It saddens me to a see a truly brilliant little company doing brilliant things end up stuck in this situation – but, we all have key learning moments in our lives – for Allied it would be next time do not have the fox guard the hen house.

K – Stay tuned and stay low friction!

(I hope to get another low friction update out soon, I need to deal with a few recent rather terrible lubricant testing reviews as well as *#!&ing Factory Grease!!  Factory grease is like a zombie apocalypse, it just will not die !! I now need to aim for the head/s that keep reviving the FG zombie apocalypse to try and kill it once and for all. Stay tuned this will be interesting indeed. 

* WEND WAX footnote.

Initially marketed as “just rub wax on chain and have a race ready chain in seconds”

The laws of physics remained stable, and surprise surprise, if you rub a solid lubricant on the outside of your chain, you have a solid lubricant on the outside of your chain. You have no lubrication inside your chain. Test one the chain sounded and wore at same rate as a stripped clean chain, chain was unrideable and past wear mark before end of block 1.

On contacting wend, they advised “Oh not all chains are equal, you must need the advanced application technique – you need to dissolve the wax in with out special wax off solvent!” (I was using an ultegra chain which is control test chain.

This worked, but it tested very, very averagely.

And now one is mixing their own wax lube in a faffy multi step process. You can just buy way better wax lubes that are already mixed for you! (Smoove / Squirt / SS drip / Ufo / Tru-Tension Tungsten all weather to name a few).

Then they released the rub on wax in colours and the market went wild. This really disappointed me, I really thought that hopefully by now the market was a bit more clever than to be sucked in by such a gimmick – I was wrong.

To get a colored wend wax chain, you need to;

  • Rub on wend wax.
  • Dissolve it in with their solvent so you have some actual lubricant inside your chain. This will ruin the colour. Allow the solvent to dry
  • Rub on another coating of wend wax to get your colored chain.
  • Have a colored chain for about 5 mins of riding.
  • Have an absolute mess of a way over waxed and gunked up drivetrain.
  • Wend sets similar to concrete – it is a super tough clean.
  • It is not fast.
  • Why. Why would anyone buy this product.

The rub on wax and color is clearly taking advantage of a marketing angle, period. As a lubricant, it makes ZERO sense. Maybe 50 years ago it’s performance wld have been not terrible vs other market options. But compared  to the wax lubricant options you have available to you today. It is a marketing product first and foremost to make wend a lot of money from people who believe the marketing and get taken in by the gimmick. I feel very very sorry for all those cyclists and their drivetrains.  

In my opinion 😊