7 Amazing Chain Friction Facts

The Simple Bike Tips That Could Instantly Save You 78 Seconds Per Hour

I recently went for a run with my friend Lee Piercy, who’s an age-group world duathlon champion. I was intrigued when he told me that he no longer uses a front derailleur because it reduces friction and saves him several watts. He suggested I check out a website called Friction-Facts.com for more information – and that’s exactly what I did.

Friction Facts is a third-party independent testing facility in the US, whose goal is to provide cyclists and triathletes with the tools to maximise their top speed with proper component selection. Their formula is simple. Using the most efficient components = a faster ride = a better finish time.

I downloaded a Friction Facts in-depth report package and it taught me a lot. For example, did you know that something as simple as changing your chain lube can instantly give you 4 watts of “free” power? Not bad eh? It would probably take you a month of hard training to get that same result.

In this blog, I’ll give you seven ways to save watts and gain speed according to Friction Facts research…

7 Tips From The Friction Facts Research Facility

1. Choose Your Chain Lube Carefully

Use a top-performing chain lubricant. Test results show a 4+ watt efficiency difference between the most efficient and least efficient chain lubes. The top-performing lubes are:

1. Molten Speed Wax
2. Squirt Lube
3. Lilly Lube
4. Rock n Roll Extreme

2. Consider An Oversized Derailleur Pulley* System

*Sometimes called ‘jockey wheels’ in the UK

The Berner oversized ceramic pulley system saves 2.95 watts when compared to a standard derailleur cage with poor-performing 11 tooth pulleys. The Berner system specifically saves 1.75 watts when compared to a standard short cage Dura-Ace derailleur. The watt-savings seen with the Berner system is due to the larger-sized pulleys, high-efficiency ceramic bearings, and lighter coil spring force resulting in lighter cage tension.

3. Improved 11 Tooth Pulley Systems

If you would prefer to keep your existing 11 tooth rear derailleur cage, simply upgrade the 11 tooth pulleys. Test results show a 1.34-watt efficiency difference between the most efficient and least efficient 11 tooth pulleys.

The top performing 11 tooth pulleys are:

1. CeramicSpeed
2. Tiso Ceramic
3. Enduro Zero
4. Hawk Racing
5. TACX ceramic

4. Upgrade Your Grease

Replace factory-provided bearing grease with high-performance grease, such as CeramicSpeed TT Grease or Finish Line Extreme Fluoro Grease, at a 25% fill level in the hub and bottom bracket bearings.

5. Boost Your Bottom Bracket

Upgrade to a top-performing bottom bracket. Test results show a 1.8-watt efficiency difference across a sample of 35 bottom brackets.

Top-performing bottom brackets manufacturers are:
1. Gold Race
2. Enduro
3. C-Bear
4. Hawk Racing
5. CeramicSpeed

6. Use a Top Performing Chain.

Test results show a 1.5-watt efficiency difference between chain manufacturers, tested with the same chain lube.

Consistent top-performing chains are:
1. Shimano Dura-Ace 11 speed
2. Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed

Note: Some chains may not be cross-compatible with drive-trains of different manufacturers.

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7. Choose Your Pedals Carefully

Test results show a 1.2-watt efficiency difference in pedals.

The top-performing pedals are:

1. Crank Brothers
2. Mavic
3. Speedplay

For lots more simple watt-boosting tips and in-depth friction advice (saving you up to 21 watts or 78 seconds per hour) check out Friction-Facts.com.

Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)
Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)

Phil is a recognised endurance expert who founded MyProCoach in 2010 to offer smart training plans that still leave quality time for your family, friends & career - complete with highly-rated coach support (he has sold over 40,000 so far). Learn more here!

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