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.
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.
“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 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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.