Silca Chain Lube Guide
By Stan Portus – 16 December 2020
Silca’s chain lubes will help your bike run smoother, faster, and for longer. Using technology borrowed from Indy Car and F1 Silca’s new range of bike chain lubes is as cutting edge as it comes. But it also has some old-fashioned elbow grease and coming together behind it too.
Over the last year and a half, Silca has been in the process of developing and releasing three new bike chain lubricants. The lubricants mark Silca’s leading contribution to what some have called the “golden era of lubes”, thanks to developments in wax-based lubricants and breakthroughs in chemical research, and have surpassed the competition in independent testing from Zero Friction.
There is something here for everyone: from the dedicated Time Trialist that’s looking to save every watt possible, to the rider that rides every day and needs a lube that’s going to stand up to hours and hours in the saddle between sessions of bike TLC.
Find out more about what’s behind the Silca’s new lubes and which is the one for you below.
Silca Super Secret Chain Lube
Silca launched the first of its three new lubes in Spring this year. The Silca Super Secret Chain Lube came at a weird time in the middle of a global lockdown but the reason for launching it when Silca did was simple.
The lube had been in development for over a year and many businesses local to Silca were involved in its production from the US chemical supplier, to the bottle manufacturer, to the people who made labels just down the road from Silca’s Indianapolis HQ.
Launching it in the Spring was a way of helping keep everyone in the supply chain rolling at a very difficult time. It was all hands-on-deck too. Josh Poertner, Silca CEO, was bottling the lubes himself and his signature adorned the “Bottled by” label on the first batch. He also took to his driveway to explain how to best to apply the lube and prep your chain beforehand.
The wax-based solution delivers the speed and smooth running of a hot-wax dipped chain with the ease of a drip on lube. It did this by combining highly slippy Tungsten disulphide nano platelets with an air-drying liquid wax formula, which Poertner had been introduced to by his friends in Indy Car.
The Super Secret Chain Lube was an immediate success. Zero Friction’s testing of the lube found that it is the first and only drip-based wax lube to fully penetrate a chain and it recorded the lowest wear ever of any lube in the first three blocks of testing.
Silca Secret Chain Blend Hot Melt Wax
Silca followed the release of the Super Secret Chain Lube with the Secret Chain Blend Hot Melt Wax, which has already claimed Grand Tour stage victories in a season that didn't look like it was going to happen but delivered some amazing racing.
The Hot Melt Wax brings the same solution as the Super Secret drip lube but in a format suitable for hot wax dipped chains for riders that prefer to go to those extra lengths to ensure the smoothest running drive train.
Consisting of highly refined laboratory grade paraffin and a high concentration of three sizes of Tungsten disulphide the blend not only acts as a lubricant but changes the service of the chain. Filling any crevices of the metal with the highly lubricious and wear-resistant Tungsten disulphide, the Secret Chain Blend will get faster over time with repeated waxing.
Silca Synergetic Lube
Most recently Silca has released the third piece of the Silca lube puzzle, the Synergetic Drip Lube. The oil-based lube uses the most advanced lubricant technology, that was originally developed in Formula 1, to virtually eliminate friction and wear on metal components. This is all without the extra work involved in deep cleaning and drying needed for wax-based lubricants making it ideal for people who want to minimise time at the work stand.
Silca’s in house testing proved the Synergetic Lube to be 98.1% efficient losing only 4.9 watts with a 250 watt input, making it the most fastest oil-based lube available. It achieves this feat in part thanks to the same Tungsten disulphide nanoplatelets as used in Silca’s other lubes, but it also has a second secret chemical which Silca won’t disclose that makes it really excel. Individually both chemicals reduce friction by about 10% but combined and under pressure they reduce friction by 80 – 90%. A synergetic relationship that gives the lube its name.
The lube really excels however when it comes to durability, reducing wear on components by 95% compared to other oil-based lubes.
The Tungsten disulphide particles are combined with a ZDDP anti-wear additive. This creates a durable tribofilm which reduce wear by 95% when compared to other oils. This film at the metal’s surface is strongly attracted to itself, so it remains exceptionally waterproof and protective, even when fully submerged in water.
From the image below you can see the test results gathered by Silca from running the Synergetic lube on an ASTM oil testing machine compared to other oil-based lubricants.
After two minutes running the machine with 600Nm of force applied between a roller bearing and a spinning metal wheel, with only the different lubes between them, you can see that there is significantly less wear on the roller bearing used for the Synergetic lube than the other lubes. This result blew the team at Silca away and you can see Josh Poertner repeat the test and explain a little bit more about tribofilms on YouTube.
The Synergetic lube is also virtually maintenance-free itself. Once applied to a dry and clean chain, there is no drying time, you will only need to re-lube after 500+ miles, and there are 12,000+ miles per bottle.
Zero Friction are currently testing the Synergetic Lube and we can’t wait to see the results.