You may have started to notice waxed and powdered race chains being used in the Pro Peleton? And for good reason. When it comes to drive train friction your oiled chain is a friction monster. Why?
I dare you to take the dust seals off all of your bearings and ride them for 500 – 1000km like this. How smooth do you think they will be running after that? You know they would be running in a lot of grit, perform terribly, and wear out quickly. And yet you probably haven’t thought twice about what happens with your completely exposed oiled chain picking up a huge amount of dust and road grime in a very short time.
And your chain performs so much mechanical work. Whilst your bearings turn lazily in a sealed environment, your chain is performing anywhere from around 12,500 to 25,000 link articulations a minute whilst pedalling! Each articulation has 4 contact points of friction – Between the pin and the roller, between the inner and outer plates on both sides, and between the roller and Chain ring / cassette / jockey wheel etc. So only about 50,000 to 100,000 pieces of mechanical movement per minute whilst pedalling!
Do you want that happening in a grinding paste, or the lowest friction chain lubrication on the market that stays ultra low friction for the lifespan of the treatment?
It is very likely that right now your chain is contributing far more friction whilst pedalling along than the rest of all of your components combined (front and rear wheel bearings, bottom bracket, jockey wheels, and pedals). It is actually likely to be around DOUBLE the friction of everything else combined!
Compared to your oiled chain, at 250 watts load you can expect at least 2 to 6 watts of free speed from friction savings. That is A LOT from one easy to swap component!!
But that is just a start. Friction Facts testing has shown that chain friction increases in an almost linear fashion to rider output. So by 400 watts the difference is in the 4-8 watt range. Imagine what the gaps start to get to by the time we are talking 500 to 600 watt power climbs / attacks / surges etc. Imagine the gap in a 1000 watt to 1500 watt sprint?