How to make your drivetrain last longer

Alex Paton talks to Adam Kerin from Zero Friction Cycling to find out how you can extend the life of your components, saving money in the long run

ClockUpdated 17:30, Sunday 3rd March 2024. Published 13:30, Sunday 3rd March 2024

On his recent trip to Australia GCN’s Alex Paton popped in to see Zero Friction Cycling (ZFC) a company dedicated to testing and investigating everything to do with bike drivetrains.

Through testing a plethora of lubricants and chain treatments ZFC has been able to delve into the world of drivetrain durability. It is well known that there is a significant difference between a good chain lubricant and a bad one in terms of drivetrain efficiency. Something less well-known is that how you choose to lubricate your chain can have a significant difference in its longevity.

A chain lubricant's main purpose is to reduce the friction between the links and rollers as well as preventing corrosion. If you have ever gone for a ride in the rain and after a while the chain made some unsavoury noises this is because all of the lubricant has been stripped out of the chain and the resulting noise is the byproduct of the friction in the system.

Exactly how a lubricant works can vary from product to product and from type to type. A poor chain lubricant although capable of reducing drivetrain friction can also massively accelerate chain wear. As we ride, small amounts of dirt and grit get flicked up from our tyres, the wind or passing vehicles. Some poorly performing lubricants can attract the debris embedding it into the surface of the lubricant. Throughout a ride, this can start to act as a grinding paste with the small fragments of grit acting as an abrasive on the chain and the other drivetrain components.

Through its research, ZFC has found that the difference between a premium high-performance lubricant and a poorly performing one can affect the overall lifespan of a chain by a factor of 10. This represents a significant discernible difference in drivetrain life simply based on the lubricant that you use. With this in mind spending three or four times more on a high-quality lubricant can quickly pay dividends.

To find out exactly how you can capitalise on these potential cost savings watch this video interview and learn how you can look after your drivetrain in the best possible way.

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