Hailing from Scotland, Flaer, pronounced flare is a relatively new company looking to revolutionise the way we think about drive train lubrication.
Drive train efficiency is serious business, with 5 watts easily having the potential to be the difference between winning and losing. Bradley Wiggins and the GB Olympic track team have famously used optimised chains in a bid to save precious watts, but Flaer has a different approach.
The Revo Via system involves a reservoir, which sequentially dispenses a special lubricant onto your chain through a modified rear derailleur cage. The advantage of this is that drive train efficiency can be maintained throughout long rides, especially in wet or dirty conditions.
To explain this, Flaer has a series of three chains, pictured below. Three different lubes were used: a dry wax, a wet lube and the Flaer system, dispensing lubricant throughout the ride. After 5.5 hours of riding drive train efficiency was measured on the three chains using a rig.
According to Flaer, the result is that a dry wax drops off in efficiency throughout the ride and this can be much more pronounced in certain conditions. For example, in the wet lube can wash off and in dusty conditions the lube can become engrained with dirt. The wet lube does not fair much better, while the Flaer system continues to operate consistently.
Flaer informed us that it had been working with a World Tour team, a team which it couldn’t name at present, but could tell us that the team was actively testing the product. Flaer explained that “Revo Via would offer a huge advantage in races such as Paris Roubaix.” There is a large amount of dust and mud at Paris Roubaix which can massively diminish drive train efficiency by as much as “20 watts.”
Video: How to lube your chain
There is also a big potential advantage in grand tours, as a saving of 5-10 watts for a couple of hours each day, would seriously add up over the course of three weeks.
Flaer is able to clean the drive train as you ride, because the lubricant is water soluble, meaning it washes off as you ride, taking dirt with it. The key thing is that the Revo Via system constantly applies fresh lube to the chain.
One potential objection road cyclists may have is the added weight of the system on a road bike and the negative impact this could have. Flaer told me that “if we make a conservative estimate that the system is saving 5 watts, the performance gain is 17.5 times the weight penalty, meaning there is massive net gain.”
Another concern could be an aerodynamic disadvantage, but according to Flaer, having tested the system in a wind tunnel, the added drag from the Revo Via is ‘negligable.’ Flaer did suggest that ultimately it would like to have the system integrated into a bike frame though.
Flaer will be available for £250 in the UK, with additional bottles of lubricant available for £6. For more information, head over to Flaer.