After Grand Tour-winning success at the Tour de France, absoluteBLACK is bringing that top level of drivetrain efficiency to the public with pre-lubed GRAPHENlube chains.

Their unique graphene-infused wax chain lube claims to be the fastest on the market. But, with optimal performance being very much dependent on perfect application, your results may vary… at least until now.

absoluteBLACK GRAPHENlube drag-free chain

Debuted just four months ago, AbsoluteBlack’s new ultra-low friction liquid wax GRAPHENlube claims to be the “world’s fastest” and “longest-lasting” chain lube in existence. But that apparently only really applies if you apply it correctly.

all images c. absoluteBLACK

AbsoluteBlack tells us that during the development of GRAPHENlube, it became apparent how critical the initial application of any lubricant was on friction reduction & long-term durability. Being sure that you entirely remove any original factory grease or anti-rust protection, and then perfectly applying the new lube, ultimately determined how many watts you could save.

And, they emailed us to say that the graph above shows the drag reduction performance with a good “at home” application. With their vacuum-prepped factory application, the results are supposedly even better.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube chain, pre-lubed for maximum drivetrain drag reduction, 
c. UAE Team, photo by Lorenzo ‘Fizza’ Verdinelli

To make their lubricant perform optimally and consistently for the Pro Tour teams they supply with GRAPHENlube (for example UAE Team Emirates & Team Jumbo Visma, among others that AB apparently can’t officially tell us about), AbsoluteBlack developed their own chain preparation and application process – said to go far beyond even home ultrasonic techniques.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube chain, pre-lubed for maximum drivetrain drag reduction, 2020 Tour de France-winning

 

They won’t tell us (or you) exactly how they squeeze extra precious free watts out of their lube versus what you can do at home. But, they’ve hinted that it is a “vacuum-ultrasonic” stripping process, after which the chain is oven-dried, then a “multi-stage vacuum process” to coat every surface of the chain with GRAPHENlube.

GRAPHENlube chain – Pricing & availability

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube chain, pre-lubed for maximum drivetrain drag reduction, SRAM 12 or Shimano 11

So, if you don’t have an ultrasonic bath and vacuum chamber at home, now for a limited time AbsoluteBlack will just sell you a pre-lubed chain – for that pro-level, low-drag performance. Same as they do for the pros.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube chain, pre-lubed for maximum drivetrain drag reduction, vacuum-sealed

Two different options of the pre-lubed GRAPHENlube chain are available – a 140€ SRAM Red Flattop 12-speed chain (standard retail 70€) or a Shimano Dura-Ace HG901 11-speed chain (regular retail 59€). The chains are vacuum packed to preserve ideal lubrication for long-term storage – just crack it open before your next race.

AbsoluteBlack GRAPHENlube chain, pre-lubed for maximum drivetrain drag reduction, bundle deal

Also, for a limited time, AbsoluteBlack will give you a 30% discount on either size bottle of GRAPHENlube if you bundle it together with a pre-lubed chain.

absoluteBLACK.cc

32 COMMENTS

  1. I especially like the complete nonsense technobabble about the importance of how it’s applied, followed by a picture of a dude just dribbling it on like everyone does…

    • Once you have properly prepared chain you can lube it as normal which will be about 2000km later. Our lubricant has an outstanding durability so it will take you some time before you even have to think about re-lubing. It can actually last 5000km on such single application which was already proven by independent test. You can find all the tests on our website.

      There is also Wealth of tests made, showing that different methods of lube application directly affect wear, chain durability and friction. ZeroFrictionCycling has proven it for example on several lubes. Till now Ultrasonic application was considered the best possible option. We have improved on it drastically. Dripping oil lube on factory greased chain is the worst you can do. Yet most do it as they dont know any different.

      Between such a chain described above and ours there is about 10 Watts difference at the beginning. then the difference becomes much larger with ridden miles. This means, if all else equal, and if we ride next to each other on identical bikes you will have to press on pedals with 4 pounds (2kg) more force on every single pedal revolution to keep the same speed as rider next to you. By the end of longer climb one person will still be fresh while the other tired.

      Most riders don’t even realize how much power one looses just by using wrong lubricant or wrong application method. We are talking here about 5-30 Watts difference.

      Sounds illogical, but with one properly lubed chain you can recoup more of the lost power than the aero wheels, aero frame, aero helmet can recoup combined. And the chain costs fraction of the price tag of all those upgrades.

      So while for some it’s nonsense, for others it’s a huge advantage allowing to win races.

      • Hi Absolute Black.

        I use one of your oval chainrings and love it! 2 questions:

        -How does your lube compare to teflon spray lube? This is what I’ve used for years. It only lasts one ride which doesn’t worry me but in terms of watts saving from your lube to a typical dry teflon spray lube (Ie. Finish Line, Weldtite TF2, etc) what kind of watt savings can I expect at say 250 watts?

        -Do you have any plans to sell a Shimano 12 Spd MTB pre-prepped chain?

        Thanks for your input in the comments section

      • @AbsoluteBlack – I wasn’t planning on replying, but since you chose to misrepresent what I said, I’ll do you a favor and clarify one key detail of your replies: Using an online retailer such as ZFC as your “testing house” is laughable. Their job is selling product. Just like yours. Contracted testing and retailer testing are not the same thing as independent testing, and the fact that you’re assuming people are stupid enough to dismiss the difference pretty much guarantees your product isn’t what you claim. Initially, I didn’t have significant feelings one way or the other about the actual product aside from my personal opinion that it was overpriced. I thought your description of your cleaning process was ridiculously overstated. But thanks for all the replies confirming my suspicions that all the claims are just marketing wank BS.

        • Josh,
          Did you actually check our data? We have several independent studies done on our lube with Universities, independent third party testing companies and also our own. They all line up to what we claim. We made the effort and provide wealth of independent tests on lube to prove the validity of our claims. Not to mention we are the supplier to several Pro Tour Teams. Notice I wrote supplier – we are not a sponsor. They have made their own tests and wanted our lube as it outperforms everything else out there. And it’s rather apparent how it works with yellow, white and polka dot jersey won on Tour de France. Also second place.

          ZFC was just an example as they did pretty much a lot of testing before they started selling products. This was just to show that there is a direct relationship between friction and how you apply the same lube. It was not even our lube I was referring to. If you dont lube properly, lube will not get to the pin. This creates friction. It’s really simple.

          We clearly disclose who made the tests and how they were conducted. So you are more than welcome to contract one of those companies and test yourself then share the results with everyone here. This is the reason why we disclose it. You can test yourself. No other lube company made this much effort.

          We simply know what we offer and how good it is. So if you consider this as marketing BS, then I invite you to name an independent testing facility and we will send the samples to test.

  2. This stuff works way better than the Ceramic Speed stuff. Way better. But the claims are so far off it is ridiculous. I am meticulous about application. I use mineral spirits, an ultra sonic cleaner and alcohol baths as prep (in that order). Dry riding I get just over 100 miles before it is making all kinds of noise and performance is impacted (shifting). One 50 mile ride in the wet and it is gone. And as Josh says you make a mess and a waste with on bike re-application. I will say that I raced the High Cascades 100 on it though (socially distanced 100 mile MTB TT in a very high dust/grit environment) and it made it through the race.

    I do love the performance of this new generation of waxes, but both the Ceramic Speed and Absolute Black stuff is cost prohibitive. I’m hoping that Silca’s strikes a better balance. Molten in the heated ultra sonic cleaner for good penetration and low cost liquid for re-application between full cleanings. This is my next experiment.

    • Hi Moby,
      Thanks for the comment.
      We have 5 Pro tour teams using our lube. On average in racing conditions with 350W average one can get about 1200km (750mi) in mixed weather conditions. Even in full rain it will give about 600km (370mi) whic is more than any other lube can offer.

      ZeroFrictionCycling tested independently longevity of our lube and they got to 5000km (3100mi) on a SINGLE lube application with wear rate at the end of 0.2%. Only at this distance it started to make noises.

      So if you start hearing the noise after only 100mi then your initial application was wrong. To get it right please follow our instructions provided on the website. Even dripping alone should give 400miles with no issues after the first step was done correctly.

      Please contact us directly and we will help to find the cause of this in your application process. 100mi from single application clearly means something was done wrong.

      • Thanks for the reply. I have the luxury of having a full, very well equipped shop and I’m extremely detailed about drivetrain cleaning and maintenance. I’ve followed your instructions to the T, except that I’ve gone way above and beyond your prep instructions, especially for new chains:

        Mineral spirits soaks with agitation for several days in a sealed container with multiple fluid changes to get the stock coating off.

        Followed by heated full wave ultra sonic cleaning for a deep clean.

        Followed by multiple alcohol baths with agitation to removed all cleaning residue until the chain wipes absolutely clean on a fresh white link free cloth.

        Finally filtered compressed air to make sure it is absolutely dry.

        Then into your bag, for a full soak according to your instructions.

        Over the summer I did 3 brand new Dura Ace/XTR chains this way with the same results each time (of course, same process is going to yield the same result).

        What did I do wrong? And given everything I did, how would anyone get it right?

        Anyway, I’ll get in touch. The performance is awesome, especially for my MTB environment. if I can make it last it is a game changer.

        • Hi again,

          From your description above it seems you paid great care to cleaning the chain which is great. Well done.
          But then the hole lubrication process you only phrased to one small note ” into the bag for a full soak”. We got your email so someone will get back to you shortly what to do.

          But to me, from the information you provided and longevity you got it is clear that there was poor lube penetration in the chain rollers. When you put the chain to the bag and soak it for the first time it’s absolutely crucial that you articulate every single link few times. Best to do this is by side by side movement/rocking of each link. This is only needed for the initial lubrication to coat inner surfaces with the lube.

          The trick here is that the better you clean the chain the more difficult it is to get the lube in for the first time as it sticks to the metal very well. If you have partly contaminated chain with oil it’s much more forgiving at the beginning but doesn’t last as long.

          So you have to articulate every link to make sure it’s smoothly running. Like I wrote, side to side gently bending of the link with two hands is the best manual way to do it. Once you do this, then lube dries and next application is easy as it can be done by just dripping the lube from the bottle. This is because lube slides on the same lube so there is no penetration problem.

          For all those reasons we provide a ready chain so you dont have to worry about this process and just use our chain from the box. Then apply by dripping when needed.

  3. Was it Calvin @ Park Tools (formerly of Barnets Bicycle Institute) or Lenoard Zinn who had the best instructions to lube a chain? I am thinking it was Zinn….

  4. Lubricants?

    I work in a lubricant factory and believe me, in a transmission always exposed to dust and low mechanical complexity like that of a bicycle, the type of lubricant you use does not influence too much on friction performance.

    Right now I am about to finish the last 118 ml of ATF oil bought 15 years ago at 10 dollars of 0.27 gal (1 LT)

    To clean the transmission I use a citrus pumice lotion hand cleaner that you can find at 23 dollars a gallon (3.78 LTS)

    • Hi Julio,

      This is the best example of what we want to change in this industry and among the riders – the thinking of “any lube will do the same good job”

      What you wrote is totally true….. for the Oils.

      Oil is by far the worst substance you can put on the bicycle chain. I have explained why this is the case here in another comment so please have a look. You can also find more information on our lubricant page. Please check our website for independent tests that were conducted. You will see how big difference lubricants can actually make.

      In a nutshell oils do not separate friction surfaces well and just minimize the damage. But waxes do and they do it great.

      This is why wax based lubricants are the future. Not only they can separate metal on metal contact for long time, but also dont get contaminated easily by outside elements and they resist water way better.

      We can relate to someone saying “I was using oil for years and it was doing fine”. Problem is that you got used to how fast your drivetrain wears out (it simply became “normal”) and didn’t even know you have to exert 4 pounds(2kg) of extra force on every pedal revolution just to overcome the friction from the oiled chain compared to best chain on the market . You can’t know that if you didn’t try anything else.

      Wax lubricated chain will extend your whole drivetrain life significantly and reduce friction to minimum. So not only you save money on spare parts but also have to exert less force to move the same speed.

  5. I live in a tiny apartment in nyc we do not have dedicated workspaces, garages or even benches to fully degrease and clean chains to anywhere near this level necessary for all these types of fancy lubes. Not do we have outdoor space for hoses and leaving the mess of a degreased chain. These Products are about as useful to us as two-wheeled tricycle. Wish lube could just be made easy to use, simple to apply and not get gunked up into thick tar sludge (•looking at you, Muc Off) after 30 miles… is that really so much to ask? And as a rider I really don’t have the time to strip chains off and clean them and do all the rest even if I did have the space.

    • Hi Miclaroc,

      This product is actually the most ideal one you can wish for in your situation. You buy our Already treated chain, remove from packaging put on the bike and forget about lubrication for another 1000 miles. Then if re lubrication is required you just drip a bit of our GRAPHENlube on every link from the bottle, let it dry and it’s done for another few hundred miles. So you can do it even in 80sq.ft apartment with no problem and no mess.

      We have done all the messy work for you that requires equipment and space. You get nicely packaged dry chain that you only need to install on the bike. So I am not sure what your point is as this specially prepared chain is exactly what you wish for.

    • Have a look at our independent tests. Randomly chosen lube can give you 4-13W extra resistance already at the start in clean lab conditions. And we are talking here about ultrasonically stripped new DA chains (from anti rust agent) that have been carefully lubed with various lubricants in the test (CS tested in similar fashion).

      If you apply a random oil lube to a new chain (without stripping factory coating) you will get over 20 Watts losses within one week in slightly dusty conditions.
      The anti rust substance that comes on the chain is not really a lubricant. It prevents chain rust when chains are being shipped in the containers from Asia. However what most riders do, is to simply drip some lube at the start, or worse, use no lube for first few hundred miles. This is a dirt magnet with no lubricant properties.

      After 300-400miles such “conditioned” chain is already compromised. So even if you strip the chain clean at this point and lube properly, it’s already generating significant losses as it’s been worn enough to change the pitch which in turn abrades on the chainring, increasing friction further. Not to mention wear on chainring and cassette. It is nicely shown with ZFC testing in dirty conditions of various oils. Some oils are so bad that chain is worn in first 1000km/ 600miles.

      So the 6W difference you mention is only within first few hours of your ride on brand new chain in normal dusty conditions. A 1 week old chain with bad lubrication can easily have 20W losses.

      To give you an idea how big this loss is lets compare it to bike equipment. If you buy great aero wheels and frame and helmet, then go to bike fitting studio to optimize position on the bike, you will gain maybe 7-10W over a standard “old fashioned” bike.

      For most riders this is perfectly understandable as they “see” those gains. But at the same time pay no attention to such a simple thing like a chain lubrication. All your gains cant be easily offset but simply making a wrong choice of the lube…

      The problematic part is that you cant see it on your power meter. Unless you have a crank based AND hub based power meter and observe the readings at the same time. This is because crank based power meter only shows you what force you put in to the crank. But it doesn’t show you what force is propelling the rear wheel. They are not the same. The difference is in friction on the chain. This is how much power you waste in the force transmission to the rear hub.

      What it all means? If you have a chain with very low friction you would simply push less hard on the pedals to keep the same speed as you would be with high friction chain.

  6. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for asking.
    Dry lubes in general have the worst performance of all available on the market as they typically have min 80% solvent and some particles like teflon particles to keep metal pieces apart from abrading. But there is no “binder” for them to stick to metal (this is why it’s called dry lube) so they fall off after ~ 30km/20miles ride. Which means for maybe 20min your chain is ok lubricated with teflon or other particles and will deliver some 3-4W loss over our lube, but after that 20 min friction is sky rocketing. By the end of the ride you end up with >20 Watts of loss. This is simply huge.

    Have a look at our website where we explain why you should not use oils. Dry lube falls in the same bag.

    Let me explain this to everyone here where the friction comes from and why oil or dry lube is bad idea in bicycle chain.
    Friction comes from mainly two parts in the chain. Pin abrading on inner sleeve of inner like hole. And that sleeve on the outside abrading on inner side of a roller. Just that. Rollers and links are Stamped by machines. They are not 100% ideal nor straight (see photo on our website of this).

    So in order to keep super low friction you need to Physically separate those uneven surfaces apart. Oil just cant do it and will never be able to do it. This is why it’s the worst you can do to a chain. Dry lubes after solvent evaporates leave only solid particles.And yes while they physically separate those surfaces, they quickly get abraded and fell off the chain leaving bar meta on metal which is even Worse than the oil that provides at least some king of lubrication.

    To achieve best lubrication you need to have semi solids that are like a paste. And this is why waxes are so much better as they can stay there for long time and physically separate the parts. Then one can play with additives, hardness of wax etc to keep it on the chain for longer. Wax lubes are the only ones that offer better separation of parts and keep it separated for long.

    There is a lot more information provided on our website so if you interested have a look at our lube where you see all the tests done.

  7. With today’s technology in various areas, it seems nuts to me that I can’t just pay somebody $200 for a chain that is “miracle” coated in such a way that requires NO lubing whatsoever for 10,000 miles.

  8. It appears you do not really have a distributor in Germany… I would love to sell your lube to my customers, mostly riding high end race or TT bikes. Where can I buy the lube at wholesale prices?

  9. Mr, Clean!!!!! I was wrong…it was not Calvin or Zinn….It was SHELDON!!!! Thank you for putting me straight and bringing clarity to the situation. Now we have the REAL truth….

  10. Hi @absoluteblack, can you provide links to those independent tests you have mentioned? It sounds like there has been a lot of work done in understanding and diagnosing lost of performance in bicycle chains over time. I’m surprised by the amount of research mentioned. I would love to see some of the articles. Thanks, Mq

  11. well the best band for the buck from ZFC is TruTension Tungsten All Weather. cheap and can deliver 95% of what graphene lube offers.

    • What ZFC can test is only durability. Adam doesn’t have any equipment to test friction loss and never had one. The lube you mention is similar to Squirt.

      As a fun fact Tungsten disulfide has only low friction in vacuum or dry inert gas environment. It was indeed developed as dry lubricant powder for space projects (same as Molybdenum disulfide). But it was meant to be used in Vacuum. In normal atmospheric humid air like you breathe, Tungsten Disulfide has a much higher friction like Molybdenum disulfide. WS2 and MoS2 have not only high friction in air but also extremely short life. This is because of the oxidation process.
      Another interesting fact is that to actually get to those super low friction coefficient numbers in inert gas you usually need to have WS2 sputtered by electron beam onto the surface in the lab. Not just sprinkle some powder on the surface.

      We have made a lot of independent tests to prove our product works. Others just say their product work. That’s a difference.

  12. Dry lube works best for MTB when you dont want particles of grit riding along with your chain, its very easy to clean the chain and start again after every ride, you dont get that clump of black hard crud on the derailleur pulleys or chain ring. Its a bit of maintenance but just reuse the degreaser and pour it back into the can after you run your chain through a chain cleaner thing. Nice long living parts, clean and smooth gear shifts. Your welcome.

  13. I was a bit skeptical about the lube but I’m open to try. I’ve got to admit absolute black shut my mouth on this one, I´ll probably stop riding bikes before I ran out of lube

  14. While “dry lubes” look very clean in general on the chain, unfortunately this is the fastest way to kill your drivetrain. They exhibit very high friction in short period of time after application. We have already described it here in the comments why this is the case.

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