Silca Synergetic – The Ultimate Chain Lube
7 September 2021
By Tom Ballard
In creating the Silca Synergetic chain lube, the brand set out to develop the world’s fastest, quietest, longest lasting oil-based chain lube. Here’s how they succeeded.
Silca’s Synergetic chain lube already has plenty of accolades. In the press, road.cc recently gave the product a rare 10/10 review calling it a “Truly exceptional, clean and quiet lube that could save you far more than it costs”. Meanwhile, Zero Friction Cycling's extensive 45-page PDF report concluded that Silca Synergetic is the “Fastest wet lubricant known, super clean, super low wear”.
The plaudits are well earned, with each application lasting around 800km on the road or around 250km on dusty, gritty gravel. That means each bottle could give over 19,000km of clean, quiet lubrication on tarmac or over 12,000km on gravel.
So, how does Silca Synergetic lube work? Being based in the United States’ motorsport-central city – Minneapolis – Silca is always looking to bring the precision of motor racing to cycling. By experimenting with different motor oils, Silca hit the jackpot by combining two racecar engine oil additives – WS2 (nano scale tungsten disulfide) and ZDDP. While each added alone to oil can reduce wear friction by 10 to 15%, the combination reduced friction by half and wear by a massive 95%.
It’s this synergistic effect that gave the lube its name, the two additives working together to produce a durable tribofilm which forms a highly lubricious solid on metal surfaces. This creates a lubricating and wear surface to protect your drivetrain.
The above image shows testing on E52100 bearing steel pins which were subjected to wear against a spinning ring as per ASTM G77 test protocols. Or, in English, Silca tested the wear of different lubricants by putting a spinning ring against bits of metal. The results speak for themselves, the WS2 and ZDDP combo taking the win by a clear margin.
Synergetic was the fastest oil-based lubricant Silca has ever tested, its results of losing only 4.9 watts at 250 watt input giving the lube an incredible 98.1% efficiency. But that counts for little if the lube doesn’t stay put.
Silca Synergetic gets top marks here too, that almost alchemical additive combination so strongly attracting that even fully submerging a chain in water won’t displace it. That gives it the durability needed for riding in all conditions.
The fact such a small amount is required per application – hence the medical-grade Luer Lock precision applicator tip – not only makes the small bottle last for thousands of kilometres of riding, it also keeps your drivetrain astonishingly clean.
It’s the wear reduction that really reveals the lube’s value proposition though. By using such an effective lubricant that reduces wear to a staggering degree, a chain that might normally last 3,500km can go on for many times that. It’ll also be protecting your cassette and chainrings into the bargain meaning fewer expensive replacements.
Silca Synergetic has become a must-have for riders in the Saddleback office, applied to our combined army of hardworking gravel steeds, swift road bikes, slippery TT rigs and PUSH-pimped MTBs. Long application intervals and no rookie chainring marks on the calf? Yes please.
Check out the video below for a deep dive from Silca's Josh Poertner. Or head over to our Silca Chain Lubes guide to learn more about the brand's wax-based lubricants.