Friction Facts, an independent testing lab in Boulder, CO, has switched ownership of their UltraFast Optimization subsidiary to CeramicSpeed, the makers of lustworthy ceramic bearing upgrade bits that make everything roll smoother and faster.
The acquisition connects the spinny parts most commonly rolling on their bearings with a specially treated chain that claims to save an additional 2-5 watts for approximately 200 miles (320km) of use. Why just 200 miles? It has to do with the treatment used to reduce friction.
That treatment also gives them their ghostly white color. The first step is to break in the chain and clean it thoroughly. It’s then waxed, which is the primary source of friction reduction. The last step is a coating of Teflon powder, which they claim removes another 0.25 watts of frictional losses from the chain…and gives it that white color.
It’s designed for dry weather use only. Water and mud will wear the coating off too quickly. Once the coating does wears off, they’re just like any other chain and can be used until it wears out. Normal lube (or, hey, how ’bout a wax lube like Squirt?!?) should keep it running smooth and quiet for the rest of its natural life.
Retail is €95 to €129 depending on model, and they offer SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo chains in 10 and 11 speed versions, along with extra pins/links to connect them. They also have KMC chains and SRAM XX1 chains available with the optimization treatment. Considering the retail cost of top level chains from these brands, it’s not a bad way to prep your bike for the big race. After all, they say even a one watt savings can be the difference between winning and losing.