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CeramicSpeed makes some bold performance claims for its UFO Drip Chain Coating and while these are hard to quantify without a laboratory, it is an excellent product for keeping the chain clean and running smoothly with very little other maintenance required. You'll have to get your head around the price, though.
CeramicSpeed acquired an independent friction lab back in 2016 which had developed the UFO Racing Chain, a chain pre-coated in the UFO coating, claimed to be the fastest bicycle chain in the world. The UFO Drip is basically that factory coating in a bottle.
CeramicSpeed calls it a coating rather than a lube as it is applied in liquid form which then hardens into a dry coating once it has dried, normally overnight for the best results.
First up, the application.
If you aren't applying the UFO to a brand new chain, you'll need to give your existing one a clean and degrease to remove all of the contaminants like old lube, dirt and grit. Once you've applied the UFO for the first time, the idea is that you don't ever need to clean the chain again because nothing should stick, before reapplying another coat, so it really is worth making sure you do a good job.
CeramicSpeed has a Youtube video showing the best way to apply the lube, sorry coating, and reckons the best way to do it is from above as the chain runs over the upper part of the cassette, allowing any excess to dribble onto the sprockets rather than the floor. At £361 per litre you aren't going to be wanting to waste any, after all!
This is worth bearing in mind, because when the bottle is new and full, if you don't get the angle just right the liquid can shoot out at quite a rate.
While rotating the cranks in reverse, you need to get a constant dribble of UFO over the chain until saturation point. CeramicSpeed says this is when the coating is about to start dripping off the bottom of the chain as it rotates.
It also says in the video that each application should require about 8-10ml, and while you have no real way of knowing this for sure, it is working out about right. I've applied about eight coatings to various chains so far, and I'm not quite halfway through the 180ml bottle.
Once applied, leave the liquid to soak into the chain parts before it then dries to a wax-like finish.
One thing CeramicSpeed doesn't mention but I found out is that you need to take the temperature of the UFO's surroundings into account before applying. I originally kept the bottle out in the workshop which was chilly – it was winter, after all. Dripping the UFO onto the chain, because of the chill some of it was already a wax, so you had these little clumps coming out.
From then on, I'd leave the bottle in the kitchen to bring it up to room temperature for half an hour before application.
The formula of UFO consists of 10 components: a blend of waxes, trace oils, and friction modifiers which CeramicSpeed claims gives 20% lower friction than the second fastest bottled lubricant in initial pre-ride friction, and a massive 83% lower in post-ride friction.
It also claims 46% decreased drivetrain wear vs wet lubes.
The first couple of quotes are hard to quantify in real world testing. I could detect absolutely no difference whatsoever when riding a test bike with a brand new chain and drivetrain for an hour before coming home, degreasing and cleaning it and doing the loop again with the UFO applied. A clean, new chain is hugely efficient anyway, and even with those percentages in actual watts the gains are tiny.
The latter, though, about drivetrain wear, I can go along with to a degree.
Applying the UFO to the chain of the Cube Nuroad I was testing, before heading off on a 100km ride across Salisbury Plain with at least 80km of those being on gravel, mud and chalk, I was very impressed to get home and find the chain pretty much spotless and running very smoothly – although the bike was barely recognisable.
That was after riding through floods on the road and deep chalky puddles following the track tanks, with the water covering the bottom bracket plenty of times.
Leaving it to dry overnight, there were a few bits of rusty water marks on the chain surface in the morning but none that I could see in and around the pins.
I reapplied the UFO over the top as CeramicSpeed recommends, and the chain cleaned up and continued running smoothly. Obviously, if you are riding regularly in these conditions the bottle won't last long.
It ain't cheap, that's for sure!
If you get the quoted 18-20 applications out of the bottle at best, it is going to be costing you £3.25 every time you douse your chain.
Squirt Lube, which Dave tested back in 2010, came second in CeramicSpeed's friction testing I mentioned earlier, and now costs around £11.99 for 120ml – compared to the £64.95 for 180ml of the UFO.
Dave said in rough winter conditions he was having to reapply the Squirt about every 50 miles or so, so you will be using more of it, but it still works out a lot cheaper.
For the majority of us, the performance claims mean very little, to be honest, so it all really comes down to maintenance. If you are a fastidious bike-cleaner then you are going to be better off using something like the Pedros Syn Lube (£9.99/100ml) and giving your chain a good scrub beforehand.
If you are lazy (like me), then I can see the possible benefits of the UFO Drip through the winter, but I'd still struggle to swallow the price.
An impressive coating for winter riding but super-pricey and the performance gains are hard to detect in the real world
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ceramicspeed UFO Drip
Size tested: 180ml
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?
CeramicSpeed says, "UFO Drip Chain Coating is a bottled product for chains that is applied in liquid form, but which hardens to a 100% dry chain coating. It generates less friction than any other chain lube on the market (being out-performed only by the factory-treated UFO Racing Chain).
"The genius of UFO Drip Chain Coating is that it combines the convenience of a drip application with the friction-beating performance of a completely dry chain coating. So, not only does UFO Drip test faster than every other chain lubricant, it's properties actually rank it in a brand-new category: the liquid-applied but ultimately 100% dry chain coating.
"Another benefit of UFO Drip Chain Coating is the fact that the coating closes around the chain in a way that prevents all kinds of contamination your chain is exposed to when riding, from sticking to the chain. Therefore, make sure to clean your chain properly before applying UFO Drip, and it will then remain clean as long as you continously apply UFO Drip every 200 km as recommended."
It does a good job but it is unbelievably expensive.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
UFO Drip Chain Coating is the world's fastest bottled product for chains. After months of development, Chief Technology Officer at CeramicSpeed, Jason Smith, has come up with a formula consisting of 10 components; a blend of waxes, trace oils, and friction modifiers.
The UFO Drip Chain Coating data prove:
* The world's fastest bottled product for chains
* 20% lower friction than the second fastest bottled lubricant in initial pre-ride friction
* 83% lower than the second fastest bottled lubricant in post-ride friction
* 46% decreased drivetrain wear vs wet lubes
* Minimum of 200k between applications
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's impressive for a dry lube in the winter months, and keeps your chain running smooth and silent.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I was impressed with how well it shed dirt and grit in the winter.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Its price is truly mental.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
All lubes are pretty pricey when you think about it, but the UFO is in a league of its own. The Squirt Lube is very good and costs roughly £10 per/l compared to £361 per/l for the UFO.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If money was no object...
Use this box to explain your overall score
Take the price out of the equation and this is a really good lube. I was certainly impressed with how it could deal with tough winter conditions – if you are an elite racer looking for every little minimal gain then maybe the performance claims are worth it. As a mere mortal I just couldn't justify the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!