Latest Low friction News #23 !

Hey ho hope everyone is travelling super well, silky smooth and low friction!

A quick reminder that ZFC inbox will closed re processing orders and enquiries next week as I am on my next dedicated project week and will make as many inroads as I can into;

  • Brief non NDA breaching review of AB graphene lube
  • Detail review of Silca Hot Melt (spoiler alert – it slayed it – it is on top of all blocks re low wear now however MSW have updated their formula so I need to re-test MSW when I can as the current gap between hot melt and msw will not be accurate vs their new formula – the battle of the immersive wax giants is on).
  • Detail review of Silca Synergetic – Spoiler alert – top wet lube.
  • Detail review of AB graphene Wax – Spoiler alert and flagged previously – this tested very poorly – am in discussions – of sorts – with lead scientist of AB – but again thankyou to many all over the world who have taken the time to write to me re their experience with AB wax – this has been very helpful to have them on file when discussing with AB and gives less ability for them to call my testing faulty. Which would be odd considering how happy they were with my testing for graphene lube.

If I complete the above list in the week it will be a miracle, but I need to plough through as much of that as possible as Im getting too far behind.

Last project week I completed the main revamp of the way the test data is presented and greatly expanded cost to run modelling based on the wear rate data and for road & offroad groupsets & riding conditions – that took up most of the last project week as was a pretty big re-work, now that that has been done this project week I can concentrate on catching up on detail reviews.

Testing continues apace with now 3 test machines running – 2 of them are fully booked for private tests for probably all of 2021, but good news is already one of the tests the manufacturer has greenlighted full public review of the product and test data, so that means we get to know all about another product and I have another data set in the benchmark / league table. It really helps when manufacturers green light private tests to go public, and is a good sign re the manufacturer being genuine re their product. Hopefully a good number of the private tests this year end up performing well enough that the manufacturer is happy to tear up NDA and greenlight a full public release and review.

The third machine i am currently using to catch up on re testing in the vastly improved single application longevity tests – Smoove is on test at the moment and so I hope to have that lubes data added to the table on lubricant test page by end of next week, then onto the next one!

SILCA DIAMOND POLISHED RACE CHAINS – ZFC thoughts

You may have seen recent release by Silca of diamond slurry polished chains where silca claims to be hitting near the 2w loss mark – if you missed it – link to release article below on cycling tips;

https://cyclingtips.com/2021/04/silcas-pre-waxed-diamond-polished-chains/

The common questions are mostly themed around wouldn’t such polishing remove / damage the chains low friction coating / other wear resistant treatments such as chromium carbide plating on pins etc.

The short answer is yes.

What will be key with such a chain should you purchase one (tricky – stock) will be to ensure that for its use you do not push the wax treatments lifespan.

As long as all parts of the chain are sliding on a solid super slippery coating of wax, it doesn’t matter if the metals low friction coating is removed or wear resistant treatments removed – the chain metal simply is not coming into play.

However, if the treatment lifespan is pushed – normally on a chain any airborne dust that has penetrated and been pressed into set coating of wax and now starts to get a shot at abrading against chain metal – a high quality chain has a couple of defense lines against wear – the first being the chains low friction coating (which may be a nickel ptfe later or zinc alloy layer etc), and beneath that is a chains wear resistant treatments such as chromium platings.

Both of those would be compromised by the diamond slurry break in, so the key would be to ensure race event is within the treatment lifespan, and to re-wax early. If pushed – then more accelerated wear of the chain and higher friction would occur vs a non diamond polished chain that has low friction and wear resistant defense layers intact.

I have field test extensively as well as control tested very frequent re-waxing of chain, and have already confirmed that if you re wax very frequently (ie every 100km ish), that simply the chain metal never comes into play, all parts remain sliding on a solid coating of super slippery wax.

Aside from double application rate test for msw, I also field tested on main training bike re-waxing every circa 100km for 5000km. Wear on chain after 5000km both elongation measure and digital chain wear checker was 0.00. In short, if you re-waxed with msw or hot melt every 100km, you would for all intense & purposes have a lifetime chain.

Exactly how far one may push a diamond prepped hot melt race chain I will look into advising should I stock them – but if you do manage to purchase take the claimed treatment lifespan and knock a good 25% off it for safety would be my general advice at the moment.

Is the theory of what this is doing valid?

There are some comments around already debunking what he is doing with surface roughness as it would vary as different parts the chain have different hardness etc – however personally I take such supposed “expert” comments with a pretty big grain of salt. The harder parts of the chain are also under the highest wear load during break in – so will wear the brunt of the diamond polishing.

From chats with josh he has been working on this for at least a couple of years (he first talked about it quite excitedly at least circa two years during low friction catch up), and he is not a dumb guy, significant R&D has gone into this.

We already know that some chains are fast out of the box as are more or less in a super broken in state (ie Dura ace chains), and some chains are really really really slow as have super tight tolerance between roller and inner plate shoulder which is great for adding some outright longevity, but not so great for efficiency (ie sram eagle and axs road chains).

Already those of us who prep highest level race chains vary initial break in depending on what chain is being prepped. A dura ace chain requires a short break in run. Chains with what I would call a perfect tolerance (YBN / Campy) require a medium length break in. If someone has to race on a sram chain, then they require a  very very long break in.

In short, yes – there is definitely something to what is being done here – there is a cost to outright longevity of the chain, there is a be careful clause from me re ensure do not push treatment lifespan as you have no low friction defenses anymore once wax is too thin, but for those looking for race chains at the bleeding edge – these look exciting – and I have already requested for CS Denmark research lab to test to get a second set of data outside of silca’s.

But so far from silca in the lube space, Super Secret drip is a brilliant drip lube. Hot melt slayed it. Synergetic has taken numero uno wet lube spot – I will be surprised if this release is a miss re main claims – but I will update CS results if I a) get them and b) am allowed to (I don’t own their test data so not all of the testing data I get I can publicly talk about if for various corporate reasons they wish it not to be publicly released).  Ie – it could be it tests well off claims and they are in discussions with josh re difference between his test machine results and theirs and so everything is under wraps until discrepancy solved. Or it could be that it does come out at 2w and they don’t want to release that its faster than their UFO chains. That kinda stuff  😊.

YBN CHAINS

You will note in the article that Silca are also offering the prep in the relatively little known (VS the big 3 + kmc) YBN chains which are the numero uno chain overall recommended by ZFC since the beginning – and if you have heard a number of recent marginal gains podcasts – you will have heard the impressive performance of YBN chains noted there as well.

It is great to see this smaller player of most excellent chains getting highlighted in more mainstream circles now – there are a number of reasons why they have been the numero uno recommended chain, in short they are;

  • Very fast
  • Able to achieve a very fast chain without resorting to starting 20% worn like Dura ace / Ultegra
  • Remain very fast for a longer window
  • Have a very high quality dha chromium carbide hardening treatment on pins AND rollers – the vast majority of even high end chains only treat pins. Rollers worn loose and flopping all over inner plate shoulders does impact efficiency longer term
  • Their patented low friction coating bonds well with top know waxes and chain coating type lubricants meaning a longer time per treatment in the silky smooth zone before starting to feel and sound noticeably dry.

YBN have been extremely popular on ZFC site outselling other chains at least 10 to 1, and having prepped and sold over 4000 of them now – nearly 2000 last year alone as knowledge of ZFC existence continues to grow, and im running at about a 99.999% super happy customer experience rate with them who stay with ybn for future purchases vs going back to one of the big 3 or kmc. It is great to see that a company such as silca have also tested and found same performance properties above as what was discovered way back in original low friction days which is why MSpeedwax moved to them immediately upon starting.

Keeping up with stock is tricky, and supplier is having difficulty too. I have just ordered all of the remaining gold and silver the supplier has- they are very nice and let me know when running low so I can buy all that is remaining 😊  on top of my usual weekly cases coming in,  but this will likely not last until they are re-stocked, I should be ok on black and oil slick until they re-stock,  Titaniums 11spd I have two gold left then that’s it until about August / September.

Anyhoo hope the above helps re initial thoughts of what is a fairly groovy product release in the world of low friction – will of course update with more when and if I can!

Thanks as always and stay low friction next week whilst I attack the keyboard HARD to catch up on detail reviews.