WATTSHOP Dirty Fast Treated Chain
WATTSHOP Dirty Fast Treated Chain
Chains are the largest source of drivetrain losses, with around 2-5% of your total power being absorbed by it, depending how well maintained the chain is. Bearings and jockey wheels absorb around 0.5-1% of your total power produced. Chain friction is generated between the plates and rollers that make up the chain, so by optimally lubricating these the friction can be reduced massively. Typical drivetrain efficiencies are around 96-97%, with a properly waxed and dusted chain increasing this to around 98% efficient. This is achieved by thoroughly cleaning the chain is a series of ultrasonic baths, followed by impregnating the chain ultrasonically in a precise mix of paraffin wax, PTFE and MoS2. After this the chain is hung to cool and then dusted with a secret powder to reduce friction yet further.
Science of Waxing
I recently blogged about the savings of aerodynamics in road race scenarios and created a tool to compare different equipment setups over a 130km road race. Using this tool I have compared what savings could be made in a typical 130km rolling road race going from a Shimano Dura Ace standardly lubricated chain at 97% efficient to a WattShop DirtyFast optimally waxed and dusted chain at 98% efficient. Over the course of the entire race, you would save 3.9w, which if you were to go solo from the start would put you 40 seconds up the road by the end of the race. Your average speed would be around 0.2km/h faster. For a time triallist doing a 25 mile TT between 50 and 60 minutes, you would be around 10-15 seconds faster switching from a standard Dura Ace chain to a WattShop DirtyFast lubricated chain. An individual pursuiter on the track riding a 4:30 4k would save a whole second from riding with a WattShop DirtyFast lubricated chain! The gains are clearly significant and could easily put you up those few spots on to the podium!
The WattShop DirtyFast chain is produced with absolute peak performance in mind. To this end, chains will only perform at their absolute for the first 400km, after which their performance will drop off and they will require rewaxing. Unlike other waxed chain manufacturers, we offer this service so that you don’t have to purchase another expensive chain!
WATTS It Worth?
Manufacturers and brands often claim wattage savings but rarely put them in context, such as at what speed and power the savings are calculated at. For a cyclist on a budget we feel the biggest number that matters is the £/watts ratio. Cyclists often spend hundreds or thousands of pounds on equipment that will save them very little watts, but ignore or mock wattage gains that cost very little. To go faster for the same amount of power you can improve your aerodynamics, your rolling resistance, your weight or your drivetrain efficiency. These are the variables within your control. Our aim here is to try to put wattage gains in to context and normalise them with the £/w ratio. The table below shows the change, the reported or calculated wattage saving, the cost and the £/w ratio. All values are calculated for a 75kg rider, 8kg bike, riding at 40kph, at 300w power output in typical atmospheric conditions.
INSTALLATION + MAINTENANCE
DirtyFast chains are installed exactly like a normal chain. For Shimano chains, you can either use the supplied press pin, or use a split link if you wish to make removing your chain easier. For the manufacturers fitting instructions, please download the Shimano manual here. For KMC chains, please use the supplied split link. KMC manufacturers fitting instructions are available here.
DirtyFast chains are very easy to maintain. For the first 400km they don’t require any cleaning or lubrication. If the chain gathers any grit, dirt or sand, just wipe the chain with a cloth or a light brush to remove it. After 400km, the chains performance will start to reduce down to that of a non-waxed chain. At this point you can either send your chain back to WattShop for a rewax to maintain it’s peak performance, or you can lubricate the chain as you would a normal chain although the performance will be at the same level of an unwaxed chain.