Flaer's Revo Via is an automatic chain-lubing system. It works. Unless you're a pro/elite road racer or a long-distance triathlete, it's hard to see how you'd be able to justify the £250 outlay given the very minor efficiency gains. As such, it's pretty difficult to recommend, although it does do what it's designed to do.
In essence this is a lubricant reservoir and battery-powered pump, a tube, and an applicator that dribbles the specific Via Fluid lubricant onto the chain via the jockey wheel. There are three levels of lubrication available via the press of a button on the reservoir. The system dispenses 0.03ml of lube at a time and it'll do so every 30, 90 or 150 seconds depending on the setting. The lubricant itself is designed to be washable and biodegradable, so the lubricant is continually replaced on the chain as you ride. The reservoir will last between 7.5 and 37.5 hours depending on which mode you're in.
Fitting the Revo Via system is easy enough. You need to replace the bolt holding your lower jockey wheel with one that Flaer supplies, then attach the lubricating nozzle and run the tube back to the reservoir. I fitted mine on a plate that sits underneath a bottle cage; you can see me doing so in this video.
Once you've got it all set up it's just a case of remembering to turn it on at the start of a ride, and making sure that the lubrication mode is right for the conditions: less if it's dry, more if it's wet. And off you go!
Does it work? Yes, it works. The pump sends the lube to the chain and the chain stays lubed. In the wet the lube washes off more easily than a sticky wet lube, but that means your chain is cleaner and if you're pumping enough fluid it'll still be running smoothly. If it's drier then you need to remember to set the application rate lower; if you're riding in the sun and the Revo Via is set to lube every 30 seconds then the chain can get swamped.
When you get back from a ride and hose your bike down and give the transmission a scrub it's noticeably easier to remove than standard lubes that are designed to be a bit more tenacious.
Is it worth it? Probably not. How much would you spend to save 12W of power? To me, £250 sounds like an awful lot. That 12W is the best that you'll see, according to Flaer; actually the graph on its website suggests maximum losses of a chain system at around 12W, with the Flaer keeping them hovering at around 5W, so according to its own graph it's a 7W gain, not 12W. We don't have the wherewithal here to do empirical testing to check. If those numbers are accurate, the saving at the start of a ride, with a properly lubricated chain, will be zero; if conditions are good they will probably hover around zero for the length of your ride.
If the weather's not so favourable then you'd expect the losses associated with friction to mount as the lube got washed off. But for the Flaer system to have any benefit you'll need to be riding long enough in bad conditions – several hours – without any option to stop. That more or less narrows the demographic down to professional/elite athletes (Orica-Scott are using the system) and long-distance triathletes. If you're on a long sportive, or an audax, or you're racing the Transcontinental, stopping is a part of the ride, and re-applying lube is simply a case of having some with you. At a sportive you might even get a little sample of lube in the goody bag.
Let's assume the average efficiency saving is 3.5W, zero at the start and 7W at the end. We've seen gloves that claim more than that, and certainly bike fitting, skinsuits, bongo hats, shoe covers and the like should be on your list ahead of the Revo Via. If you've exhausted all those options in your ruthless quest for efficiency and you really can't stop to re-lube then this is going to be worth a look. Otherwise, lube your chain well before you leave and lob a sample tube in your pocket if you think you might need it, and you'll not go far wrong.
It's a system that works, but it's very niche and expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Flaer Revo Via
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Flaer says: "Revo Via - A revolution in chain performance
"The world's first chain performance system will ensure your transmission operates at maximum efficiency from start to finish, no matter the conditions. The Revo Via applies a precise quantity of our specially developed fluid to the chain as you ride, giving maximum power transfer to the wheel, smoother gear shifts and a visibly cleaner transmission. The result - you get the most out of the effort you put in."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Flaer lists these features:
* Power Gains of up to 12 watts - a figure which increases the longer the duration of the ride
* Significantly Cleaner Transmission
* Automatic Activation
* Precise Delivery
* Easy Installation
* Adjustable frequency for conditions
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's doing a thing, and it does it pretty well, but it's a very, very niche thing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It does the thing it's designed to do.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
So niche, so expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? In the end, not really.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I don't have any friends who are pro racers or long-distance triathletes, so no.
Use this box to explain your score
It's pretty hard to give this an overall score: it's designed to do a job and it does it pretty well, but the job it's designed to do is so niche that it's hard to recommend.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.