ZFC Testing Page

Zero Friction Cycling (Australia), considered to be the most independent and robust chain lube testing facility, uses both - in house controlled tests and field-testing, as well as data from the most accurate test labs around the world, to determine very best in class products. For more info on ZFC's services, visit zerofrictioncycling.com.au

 
Testing Revolubes

ZFC Single Application Longevity test (S.A.L.) proved Revolubes to be the market leader and new benchmark in cycling:

 

ZFC's SAL test results (Dry road conditions) - comparison of top tested lubes.

About the test

The ZFC's Single Application Longevity Test (SAL), aims to determine real world's distance ridden with a single lubricant's application. The test is in fact 3 separate tests to cover the main questions being received by ZFC and manufacturers with regard to how long their lubricant will last in various conditions – this gives consumers a better idea if the lubricant will be suitable for a particular event.  
Full test brief available here.

Test Sequences:

Part 1 – Clean – This test is a good indication of longevity for dry road races.

The chain is cleaned from factory grease, and lubricant is applied ULTRASONICALLY. Check measures are completed every 150km. Test runs 100km of flat simulation and 50km of hill simulation. Part 1 test concludes when chain has worn 0.1mm from net start measure.

Part 2 – Dry Contamination – This test is a good indication of a lubricant’s performance for gravel events and dry MTB events.

The chain is re lubricated via ultrasonic application, and follows the same test protocol as in part 1, however 5 grams of contamination is added at start as well as at end of every 150km hill & flat simulation set. Part 2 test concludes when the chain has worn 0.1mm from wear measure taken at the end of Part 1.

Part 3 – Extreme contamination - This test is a good indication of a lubricant’s performance in very harsh conditions, events such as very wet and muddy Gravel / MTB / CX racing.

The chain is ultrasonically cleaned and then lubricant ultrasonically applied. Same test protocol as per parts 1 & 2 however 1000ml of water and 10 grams of dry contamination added at start and at end of each 150km flat and hill simulation set. Part 3 test concludes when the chain has worn 0.1mm from wear measure taken at the end of Part 2.
 
Measuring chain wear - Chains are measured in 7 separate sections with digital chain checker accurate to 0.01mm. The average of the 7 measures is used to determine the wear measure for that check. Chains are checked initially after being fully cleaned of factory grease to get an initial tolerance measure, and then wear is measured at the end of each block. 0.5mm is classed as 100% wear, so every 0.01mm is 2% wear.

It is possible that a chain may record a negative wear result if the thickness of a lubricant and any accumulated contamination is greater than any net wear of the chain in that block, as the initial tolerance check is done on a perfectly clean chain. A maximum variance of 0.15mm between highest and lowest measure is allowed, above which the test is considered invalid due to uneven wear performance of the chain.

The total wear recorded for a given measure checkpoint will be the average of the 7 measures, so variances within this range will have little overall impact to the average, giving us a very accurate start, finish, and checkpoint measures for each chain during the test.
 
Contamination – Sandy loam is used as this is a good mix of sand, silt, and clay. Contamination will also be introduced both dry and wet at determined intervals vs just wet, as different lubricants handle dry or wet contamination with varying ability.
 
Flat vs Hill Simulations – The chains run on a calibrated smart trainer (Tacx Flux) at alternating intervals to simulate flat riding and hill climb. If just run on the flat all the time, the km’s clock up too quickly. Most riders ride up hills to some degree so having intervals where the chain is still subjected to 250w load, but km’s clocking up slowly delivers an overall average speed for the test of around 29km/h.

It also allows rotating through more cogs on the cassette and between small and big chain rings for longer wear rates on test components. Flat simulation intervals will be on cogs 4, 5 and 6 on large chain ring. Hill simulation will be on cogs 1,2 and 3 on small chain ring.
 
Results interpretation - Despite the test being 250w, which is greater than most average training rides, the smooth nature of the machine run seems to deliver much longer treatment lifespans vs real riding where the sinusoidal loading of pedalling action delivers much greater peak forces even for the same avg. power, and the environment - like riding your ergo - has less airborne contamination. 

Therefore, ZFC suggests real world results treatment lifespan at approx. 1/3rd of wear jump point km's attained on test machine. Note ZFC is always conservative regarding treatment lifespans - real world results will vary depending on your power, riding style, environment - conservative estimate is best as a guide just in case.

 

Revolubes showed very little wear, even as the kms continued on and on. There was no “jump point” in wear with Revolubes in dry road test. Jump points are more common with waxes / chain coating type lubricants where they remain very low friction and wear until the coating is worn through and then a significant ramp in friction and wear. Wet lubricants offering good treatment longevity often will not demonstrate a clear jump point, just keep clocking in a low wear rate every check measure all the way from check measure one to end of test.
 
This was the case with Revolubes, with it demonstrating very low wear, typically 1 to 2% only every check measure across the dry road test. The test for this block stops at 2250km (150km check measure intervals) and Revolubes had only recorded 12.0% wear out of an allowed 20% wear allowance (of the recommended 0.5% wear replacement mark for chains).

As such the final figure recorded is simply a straight extrapolation of that figure – it may have had a jump point at some stage be it 2500 km or 3000km however, ZFC has to cut the tests off at that point or testing would simply take forever.

The test has been repeated for Revolubes being applied with pipette applicator instead of an immersive soak. Both results barely differ, confirming  Revolubes' great penetration features, which actually eliminate the need for immersive application.


Conclusions:

  • Re-apply Revolubes every 800km - 1100 km or 500mls - 700mls - wear-free range.
  • Perform a deep clean every 3 applications.
  • Immersive application has very little adventage over a drop per link application.
     

Dry Gravel/MTB/CX also went extremely well and adds some valuable insight compared to the wear rate recorded in dry contamination block 2 of the main test. In short, the overall wear rate for the first 1050km of this test was 7.74%, whereas in the main test, Revolubes recorded 18.3% for the 1000km block.
 
It is clear that with Revolubes being such an extremely long-lasting lubricant, the standard re-lube intervals in the main test protocol (200km - 400 km of machine ride) do more harm than good, likely transporting more contamination from outside chain into the chain.

With such a long-lasting application, it is clear (and in the main test ZFC did note that the chain was wetter and more dirty than desirable and that this may be due to over application on the standard re application intervals), that Revolubes should be reapplied at much longer intervals in real world riding both on road and if one was to use off-road.

More care will still need to be taken to re-lube for those riding off-road, to ensure contamination is not transported inside from the chain's surface. Unfortunately, even wiping the chain can easily press contamination inside between a roller and inner plate links, and then the re-lube brings this contamination deeper into the chain. For this reason, immersive clean or pressure washer rinse is advisory.


Conclusions:
  • Re-apply Revolubes every 350km - 450km (220mls - 280mls) - wear-free range.
  • Use small amounts of Revolube and wipe of any excess.
  • Perform a deep clean before each application.
  • Adding small amounts of Revolubes Chain Grease to the lube, can further extend the wear-free range and washout resistance.

The extreme contamination sequence has shown that the Revolubes' advantage for Road - thin formula minimizing stiction and internal drag, therefore saving Watts, requires some enhancement to provide additional isolation and prevent external contamination to penetrate chain links in wet and muddy off-road conditions. 

Note that the chain used for the test has been pre-worn during Dry Road and Dry MTB parts of the test, having larger clearances which are easier for dirt and dust to penetrate.

The seal-off effect is achieved by mixing Revolubes Chain Lube & Chain Grease together and applying the paste in between the side plates and rollers connections. This alone doubles the wear-free distance, covering your bike for the whole day event.

Conclusions:

  • Re-apply Revolubes off-road Mix every 100km - 125km (60mls - 80mls) - wear-free range.
  • Perform a deep, immersive clean or pressure washer rinse before each application.