Oval chainring makers AbsoluteBlack have an all-new GRAPHENlube wax-based, drip-on chain lube that they claim beats everything else currently on the market in almost all performance characteristics. They call the graphene-infused, liquid wax lube, the “world’s fastest” and “longest-lasting”, but it’s still easy to apply, and yes… it is absolutely black when it dries on your chain…

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube

AbsoluteBlack’s foray into chain lube has been two years of R&D and several patents along the way, working with a couple of ProTour road racing teams to develop the absolute best lube on the market. The result is the first hydrocarbon-based (meaning wax) lube infused with low-friction wonder-material Graphene, to deliver not only low drivetrain drag, but also surprising durability and consistent performance over time.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube
c. absoluteBLACK

Everybody wants less drivetrain drag, and faster chain lube sounds like a great idea. But often that has meant tradeoffs – difficult or inconvenient application like soaking a chain in hot wax, low durability that washes off in the first hint of a wet road, or even short term race-day only performance gains that quickly are lost after a couple hundred kms.

AbsoluteBlack describes it as a “hydrocarbon-based water emulsion, containing graphene that exhibits extraordinary durability at single application whilst maintaining impressively low friction for a prolonged period of time in both wet and dry conditions.” It’s also said to be free of any potentially harmful solvents. It goes on easy as a liquid, then hardens to “almost solid when it dries on the chain” after about 2 hours. That makes it quite resistant to water washing it away, but also keeps it from being contaminated as you ride.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube

“The end result is a lubricant that on a single application will hold sub 5 Watts of frictional losses over 900km distance. We have created essentially a new category of performance lubricants.”

So is GRAPHENlube really faster?

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube
Graph1. Power Loss vs distance travelled among different lubricants. Results from an independent, single lube application, double blind test where the test chains were appropriately prepared by Zero Friction Cycling then numbered and sent directly to Wheel Energy company to conduct a friction test at 250W resistance, 100rpm cadence, 40km/h speed, 25deg C

AbsoluteBlack says their new lube “gives you ‘free’ power regardless the conditions.” (Scroll down to see how much it will actually cost you!) So how do we know? They sent the lube to be independently tested by the University of Science & Technology in Krakow, Poland and ZFC (Zero Friction Cycling) to see how it stood up to the competition. The first university test shows how it might not have the absolutely lowest friction at the outset, but greatly outperforms over time with a single application (so you should get your money’s worth out of even the little bottle).

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube
Graph2. Pin-on-disc test showing tribological properties of friction and wear. Independent study conducted by University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland according to ISO 20808:2016 norms at 25deg C and 25% humidity. Each test was repeated 3 times.

Then, looking to eliminate the variability of friction from one chain to the next, the university used a ISO “pin-on-disc” test to try to isolate the levels of friction & wear over the hypothetical 300km life span of the test.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube
Graph3. Profilometer readings from Graph2 results for double coated samples.

Then you can see representation of the analyzed disc surface after the test, comparing the GraphenLube to the CeramicSpeed equivalent – where Absolute Black’s lube resulted in much less pronounced wear on the disc.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube
Graph4. Test conducted by ZFC showing the chain % wear in various riding conditions. Every block represents 1000km. Test is done according to ZFC own standardized process. The test is stopped when accumulation of wear reaches 100% (cumulatively from all blocks). The GRAPHENlube in this test was an early prototype version.

Finally, they went to ZFC for a cycling-specific test of how the GraphenLube would perform in a real range of riding conditions. This was said to be an early prototype of Absolute Black’s new lube, and even then it pretty much bested everything except Molten Speed Wax, which unlike the others had to be applied clear & fresh for each of the testing blocks.

How usable is Absolute Black’s faster GraphenLube?

But it’s not just us riders at home who want to go fast and take advantage of the new lube, Absolute Black says they’ve formed a “strategic partnership” with the UAE Team Emirates pro team as official lubricant supplier, and they’ve also supplied “several additional Pro Tour teams” that they can’t call out by name due to NDAs & other sponsorship deals. Absolute Black says this resulted from them just giving teams the lube for real-world testing during training, and those teams then asking for more and a long-term supply.

Absolute Black’s development team ran a seemingly direct comparison on an indoor trainer to show real energy saved and came out with 7.3W less power losses comparing the GraphenLube to Muc-Off’s popular Hydro Dynamic lube developed for Team Sky.

Absolute Black GraphenLube chain lube – Pricing & availability

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube

Absolute Black says the new lube is produced in small batches in Poland and will likely only be available for a limited period each time they make a new batch. And it will only be available consumer-direct, exclusively at their website. So how much does it cost?

A tiny 14ml/0.47oz bottle will set you back $15 / 13€. Just for frame of reference, that’s about the size of a small nail polish bottle or the smallest trial size you’ve ever used of a chainlube.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube graphene-infused wax chain lube

The normal 140ml/4.7oz size bottle that you see in the videos and other images above sells for $150 / 130€.

For a limited time, Absolute Black is also going to add one of the small 14ml bottles to all purchases over $100 / 100€ on their website, so even oval chainring buyers can get to try the lube out for free.

absoluteBLACK.cc

55 COMMENTS

    • Hi Andrew, we understand that the price seems relatively high, but this is the Ultimate lubricant made for Pro Tour teams to help them save over 7W or 1.2kg/2.68lbs of force per every pedal stroke. This is more than any other bike modification can offer at that price range. To gain that much it usually involves of buying a top end wheels, tires, changes to cable routing, changes in body positioning etc. And here, you just change the lubricant. However if you already made all the previously mentioned changes this is another logical step.

  1. If this stuff really works, and actually lasts for 2000+KM, it might be something I’d consider. Though I still wonder what happens when you ride it in sloppy weather, does it need to be re-applied to keep your chain from sounding nasty?

  2. Very interested in this. I experimented with 2 bottles of Ceramic Speed’s UFO and found it terrible in the wet despite their claims and no where near the claimed single application duration (i.e. it would not last 50 miles in the wet and 100 miles dry was really pushing it, making it barely suitable for my races which are all 75-100 miles gravel and MTB).

    Application was also very temperamental, requiring temps well above the instructions to get good mixture for application (as demonstrated by the drip nozzle constantly clogging). My chains were always exceeding well prepared – ultrasonic cleaner with Simple Green Aircraft->multiple mineral spirit baths->multiple denatured alcohol baths.

    My current compromise is to used Muc-Off Nano for training chains and UFO for dry race chains, mostly to avoid the attraction of dirt. Nano is much better than most at this but not nearly as good as UFO.

    But all that said I’m still chasing this ideal state – a waxed chain that is fast, rejects dirt, lasts >=150 miles dry and 100 miles wet and can be reliably applied in sub 70 degree F temps. Maybe this is it.

    • Hi Moby,
      We have been testing our lube with several Pro Tour teams since December and this led us to become the supplier. Your needs are not that much different to theirs;) Yes, you can apply our lube below 70F as long as it’s few deg above water freezing point it’s ok (as it contains water).

  3. ‘AbsoluteBlack’ << this is the color I do not want my drive train to turn into.
    What a fitting brand name for bike lube.

    • Hi Jim, Hexsense,
      When the lube is liquid it’s of a “concrete gray” color indeed. But when the water evaporates it turns black. We realize not everyone may be a fan of the black appearance but 7W gain is 7W. Anyone who is serious about power loss optimization (all Pro Tour teams for example) don’t mind the color.
      For the same money there is no single bike optimization you can do to get such a big saving hence color is last thing they care of. But we understand it may not be everyone’s favorite.

      • Sorry but that’s completely misleading (or marketing BS). A complete chain with std lube (not the factory one) is 7W friction loss, don’t pick the one extreme that support your marketing claims. Out of 45 lubs tested by Friction facts, 42/45 were below 7W friction, and 15 below 6w.
        The “dirt-cheap” food-grade-wax options are in the 4.5W to 5W region so no real gain from this other overpriced solution. I understand the hype of marginal gains and how much premium you can put on those product, but as Mec. Engineer I can’t sustain this amount of misleading info on W saving.

        • Hi An203, Well it’s not exactly that. We have tested several DA chains from the box for example and they can differ between 6.5-13W from the start. What FF did was an outright efficiency test. That is efficiency measured in a short time when chain is new. Give it 100km more and results are completely different. And this is what we show in our study driving every chain for miles on single lube application to see what happens. What you refer to is what you may get in first 10km from the brand new chain and freshly waxed. Have a look at our website where we show in a video a simple test to prove 7W difference that you get between our lube and another competing lube. Then we are open for a constructive discussion;)

  4. Big claims, would love to see the Wheel Energy test results with some transparency of test protocol. They have previously reported test results that show Muc Off achieving 0 watts of friction, so how reliable are they?

    • Hi Lubelover, I guess you are referring to Rex test. The graph they show on their page is not exactly “absolute values”. If you have a look at it again and read the grey description below, then look at pdf they offer on the bottom of page, you will notice that Mucoff actually did 8.7W on average over 300km. It’s only at the first glance of the graph that it looks like 0.

  5. Interesting. I’d love to only apply lube once every 1800 km. I mean, I guess I do that already since I am always forgetting to lube, but it would be nice if I wasn’t losing anything by only applying every 1800 km

  6. Graphene particles are potentially very nocive and carcinogenic when breathed (like when the lube dries and you clean it off your chain or when the lube is manufactured) or deposited in the environment. I like(d) absoluteblack chainrings, but I don’t like this stuff at all so the next time I need chainrings, sorry but I’ll look elsewhere.

    • Hi Nonano, Graphene particles are permanently locked in the wax. When the lube is dry, it is in the form of thick paste and never fully dries. So at no point you will have an airborne particles even if you try to smear the dried paste. In addition Graphene as a form of carbon is not dangerous in our application. To get anywhere near to your scenario you would need to breathe in huge concentrations of airborne particles for weeks in a closed environment. In the last few years there was a lot of research done in this field by various Universities.

  7. It’s hard to not neurotically apply chain lube every other ride or so, for me anyway.

    So just to be clear, you apply the lube and ride 900km?

    And then after 900km, do you need to completely clean the drivetrain to reapply?

    Can I expect a noisy chain? And is that normal and you just get used to it kind of like wax?

    I’ve recently become a wax guy but if your claims are there I could switch back.

  8. I could be a believer about the longevity claims of AB lube in dry conditions since AB & Squirt are similarly wax/water based. Not tooting Squirts horn here but I use it per directions on both my road and mountain bike in Utah (nice & dry) and it lasts really well. Multiple rides on both bikes between relube (important to let it dry well before riding again). This spring my mtb has even been getting wet (egads) in the spring conditions & probing the alpine and my chain is quiet and shifting smooth for several rides in a row. I usually just wipe and brush my drivetrain between rides.

    The AB bottles look swank! Like a nice eau de toilette bottle.

  9. trying a last time to put the comment..
    Sorry but that’s completely misleading (or marketing BS). A complete chain with std lube (not the factory one) is 7W friction loss, don’t pick the one extreme that support your marketing claims. Out of 45 lubs tested by Friction facts, 42/45 were below 7W friction, and 15 below 6w.
    The “dirt-cheap” food-grade-wax options are in the 4.5W to 5W region so no real gain from this other overpriced solution. I understand the hype of marginal gains and how much premium you can put on those product, but as Mec. Engineer I can’t sustain this amount of misleading info on W saving (I don’t comment on the 3000km longevity… struggle to imagine you don’t accumulate a certain amount of debris way before this).

  10. Reading the article I wonder who did all the tests ?
    Where ALL the tests done by the independent company ? I see that ZFC has taken part somehow. Why don’t I see the results on their website. Mixing results is another way to fake the outcome.
    Likely the stuff will work and perform but do you even consider that you can buy 4 new chains for 1 bottle of this lube ???? You can almost start changing chains instead of lubing your chain.

    • Hi Dirk, 3 independent laboratories were involved in those tests. We also clearly point that what we show from ZFC was our early prototype test hence not on their page. It’s all nicely disclosed on our website so have a look.

      • Maybe maybe not. I have experiences with claims in my professional life outside the cycling business so I’m always taking stuff with a grain of salt. Even claims of independent laboratories which proved to be wrong in the end.
        Probably the lube runs very well but lab results are a complete different setup than real world where users don’t follow strict procedures invalidating most of the time the claims.

        I’m interested in new stuff and would like to use it but the cost just prohibits this. I’m driving 5/7 and at this pace it costs a fortune. Also the steps you need to do are basically the same as for waxing.

        A good Shimano chain costs 1/4 of the lube. So basically wax them all new and max 5 times and throw them away. It will cost you the same and below 1000km they perform the best anyway. Not that Im even considering this but it puts things into perspective

        I do understand development costs money but make the price reasonable (not cheap) and I’m in just for the fun of running nice stuff. It is the same reason I will not use UFO chain lube. Too expensive for an average user. And for my talent completely a waste anyway …

        Be honest and 130 euro for 140ml of lube is like pouring gold on your chain so to say …

        • Dirk,
          We became the official supplier to UAE Team Emirates, supplier to Team Jumbo Visma and many others Pro Tour teams under non disclosure agreement. They have tested it for over half a year in all weather conditions. They wouldn’t take a lube that doesn’t stand up to rigors of Pro Tour racing if it wouldn’t work. We are not a sponsor – we are the supplier.

          We have created the Ultimate lubricant. Price at this level really doesn’t matter and all who race know it well. Because to gain similar amount of power to what we claim with the lube usually requires top end wheels, aero frame, best tires and list goes on. But once you have all of this there is not much more you can do. But now you can with our lube. This gain is huge at such level. So in this sense we are selling such a big power gain for pennies.

          It’s not a lube for everyone. It’s a lubricant for people who perfectly understand that they have depleted all the other tuning options already and this is another level.

  11. I’m intrigued but I just got all the stuff to start waxing my chain. Maybe a graphene powder to add to my wax crock pot?

  12. Bet a pound to a penny that the graphene they use is just graphite or graphitic oxide. There isn’t a single mass supplier out there that can supply graphene at any reasonable or reliable purity. Unless you’ve independently tested it assume it’s graphite particles. A paper in Advanced Materials in 2018 tested 60 sources and they were all junk.

    • Hi Carlos,
      We buy our graphene from one of European research institutes. It is actually graphene. It’s one of few laboratories in the World where they found how to make it in semi mass production. We have also confirmed that with SEM imaging. And because of that price for such powder is extremely high as we know what we are using.

      It’s also very easy to find out by conducting friction test in dry conditions. Graphite has a very high friction coefficient when Dry. Graphene doesn’t change its properties in dry or humid. So you are more than welcome to send our lube for tests and let us know what you have found out.

      Bet accepted:) So please contact us with your details.

      Graphite is a completely different compound even though it consists same base material – carbon.

  13. i would take a close look at zero friction cycling detail review for muc off nano…overall on zfc i think you will find a solution that works very well whilst the new silca and AB lubes are fully tested

  14. Dear absoluteBLACK,

    Please clarify the lubrication interval in dry conditions. There are claims about performance after 900 km, but reference to the testing covering a hypothetical 300 km interval. Your website says “For maximum racing performance re-lube every 600km or sooner in dry conditions and after every wet ride”

    My questions viewing the chain lubing video:
    What fraction of a bottle is poured into the bag for the lubing on new chain?
    I am unclear on the lube recycling. How does that work?
    How much gets recycled, and how many times?

    When the chain is relubed, can it be kept on the bike, or does it need to be removed? How much is applied in each relube and is there any recycling on relube, or just on initial lube.? Overall, starting from a new chain, how many applications and km in dry conditions should be expected from a 4.7 oz. bottle? It might be helpful if you extend the video to show the recycling and the relubing.

  15. Hi Fred,
    Our lube is semi solid when dry. So something very close to what you refer. The difference is that you have to hot wax yours every 300km as it becomes very noisy and rollers starts to rattle, where ours could be driven up to 1800km on single lube application in dry road conditions. Also it outlasts any other lube in wet/muddy conditions by very big margin.

  16. Well done on finding the best source. Yes, it’s gonna cost. Totally disagree on saying that graphite is a completely different compound from graphene. Graphene is 2D graphite. Properties change as surface to volume ratio changes but it’s still a form of graphite with same bonding structure.

    • Hi Carlos,
      Graphene is not graphite. It’s like saying graphite is a diamond but less shiny because they are all made from carbon atoms. Graphite has strong bonds between the layers of carbon lattice and this changes everything. Graphene can be extracted from graphite by breaking those bonds, but after that these two materials are completely different and I am sure you are well aware that breaking those bonds is very difficult.

      Graphene possesses completely different mechanical and tribological properties to graphite. For example, graphite exhibits 0.1-0.2 COF (coefficient of friction) in very humid air, but 0.5-0.7 COF when air is dry, which is very high friction comparable to steel on steel sliding without lubrication. Graphene, on the other hand, is very stable across full spectrum of humidity with 0.1-0.2 COF. Graphene also possesses incredible mechanical strength allowing it to effectively separate metal surfaces and suppressing wear rate by 1-2 orders of magnitude in comparison to graphite.

      You have the right to disagree, but there is so much scientific research done on it by hundreds of research laboratories around the World that it’s hard to argue with it. These two compounds exhibit totally different properties not only in terms of friction but also in terms of electrical conductivity, strength, light dispersion, air penetration and the list goes on. This is why so many companies are finding a new use for it because of those totally different properties to graphite.

      Few years from now, your car engine oil will contain graphene as automotive companies already figured out engine wear is 50% lower because of it. Your phone will have graphene battery not graphite, most small chips in mobiles will have graphene cooling surfaces (some already do). electrical circuits in computers will be done using graphene instead of copper thanks to amazing electrical conductivity of graphene and so on.

  17. Hi absolute Black,
    so it’s all About your test procedure. As Long as you don’t talk About this in details, it’s not more than Marketing. testing on an indoor Trainer, sorry that’s not scince (meassurement error is a bit too much). So please give more details (they are missing also on your Homepage). Thank you.

    • Hi,
      I am not sure what you are referring to. The test on the turbo trainer is just a supplemental test to show how you can do a similar test at home and see for yourself the difference. It’s not part of our core “proving ” the lube tests.

      The main independent test was done by Wheel Energy and we clearly disclose it on the website. It’s an independent laboratory that tests the lubricants on the chain with special device that uses permanent magnets as a resistance. Everyone is able to commence their own paid tests over there including you. This is why they are called independent. All the parameters that are important are disclosed on our page. Rest is done by Wheel Energy the same way every single time as they have a specific protocol they follow. So you are more than welcome to make your own test and check the results.
      Hope that helps.

  18. No way you have graphene. You have platelets that are essentially graphite flakes functionalized not to clump together. They will look just like graphite in a SEM because they are graphite flakes. The only argument is size. Layers of graphene are graphite. Call them nanoplatelets if you like but tell us the size. Saying that it is a completely different compound from graphite is wrong.

  19. sp3 vs sp2 bonding. I would never compare diamond to graphite because of this difference. You claim that this is what I am doing. Utter rubbish.

  20. What’s missing in the article, are the instructions for the first application: Manufacturer recommends immersing your chain in 30-50ml of this stuff for it to be properly applied the first time. That means, you need to use up 2 small bottles or 1/3 of a big one (which costs you 129 EUR) to even get started. – And that means every time you intend to use this stuff for the first time on a chain.

    I’m interested to see more independent testing and long term reviews. If it actually works and can be ridden at least 600k for an application, then the costs per km ridden might not even be all that bad. But my wallet doesn’t want to take that risk. I rather wait for others to share their experience.

  21. My experience on speed molten wax is water could stick on the chain, causing rust after wet ride if not dried exceedingly thoroughly. Solid doesn’t repeal water as oil and won’t cover exposed chain after wax wearing off

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.