Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

Silca Synergetic Drip Lube

10
£32.00

VERDICT:

10
10
Truly exceptional, clean and quiet lube that could save you far more than it costs
Lasts many hundreds of miles
Don't need to start with a clean chain
Keeps your drivetrain very clean
Easily applied
Super-low stiction
Weight: 
62g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

Silca's Synergetic Drip Lube lasts for ages, is very clean, and will save you loads of money in drivetrain components. Yes, it's £32 a bottle. But that will last you a year and save you many times that amount replacing prematurely-worn components.

Last year I reviewed Silca's Super Secret Chain Lube, a wax-based formulation with super-slippery tungsten disulfide ('WS2') particles that does a pretty darn good job of keeping chains running clean and smooth. The problem is that application is messy, and the wax particles flake off – so using it indoors is a hassle.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Synergetic also features WS2, plus a new additive used in racing car engines. The combination of these two materials forms a film that Silca says reduces wear by 80-90% over other lubes – demonstrated, apparently, by lab tests.

Interestingly (and independently), Australian site Zero Friction Cycling's exhaustingly exhaustive testing concluded – in its 45 page PDF report – that Synergetic is the best drip lube, and close to being the best lube period.

Waxing your chain still beats it in certain circumstances, but that's such a faffing niche case it's only of interest to a very few cyclists. Most people want to drip stuff on and go ride. And that's where Synergetic delivers.

Easy ride

Silca recommends starting with a clean chain (always a good idea), but if it's new and still factory greased, that's fine; apparently, after 4-5 rides the Synergetic will have replaced the factory lube.

The bottle features a fine metal applicator tip, covered with a rubber cap. It's very easy to squeeze the recommended one drop per roller onto the chain, pedal it backwards a bit, wipe it and ride. And that's all it takes – though wiping the chain completely clean once done, and after each ride, is critical.

You don't want any lube – of any brand – on the outside of your chain, full stop. It does no good there, only bad. It attracts dust and mud, makes a huge mess, and eventually that grinding paste eats up your components.

Quiet life

After 250km of mostly off-road gravel riding I noticed a few tiny spots of rust on the outside of the chain, but no squeaking or excess noise. After 450km things were a bit noisier – still no clear squeaking, though, as can herald a lube that's giving up. Another drop per roller, another wipe and at 600km things were still quiet and smooth... I'm now at over 800km, and still going strong.

> Get your gears shifting sweetly: How to tune a rear derailleur

My findings of about 250km per application very closely match what ZFC found (page 32 of the PDF, if you're interested).

Again: I ride mostly off-road in the Highlands, on combinations of forest/estate gravel roads and singletrack. There's mud, cow poo, puddles and dust. I ride a 40T 1X chainring, 11-50 Sunrace cassette and a Shimano GRX rear mech with a Goatlink extender (the 455% gear range means I can still blat sealed sections at 45kph).

It's a finely-tuned setup that's sensitive to the smallest tweak, and any decrease in shift performance is immediately noticeable. Despite prolonged periods without re-lubing, things kept humming along nicely.

Oil be damned

My chain, cassette and chainring have remained amazingly clean. Cleaner than they'd look after a single ride with a normal oil-based lube, that's for sure. For those using indoor trainers, I'm confident Synergetic lube is going to be your cleanest option – if there's no dirt to pick up, it's going to stay clean almost indefinitely.

This is great news for people lumping bikes in and out of cars, as there's literally no oil to get on interiors or clothing.

On and on

I imagine I'll reapply after a couple more rides – that would make for four applications over 1,000km of muddy, dusty and wet off-road riding. Each application of 116 drips weighs about 1g, so you're looking at around 50 applications per £32 bottle – in my case, that's likely more than 12,000km.

Silca says a bottle is good for 12,000 miles (around 19,300km). It seems a fair bet you could get that if you're sticking to roads.

So it goes on easy, there's no setup time so you can do it immediately before or even during a ride, and it stays really clean. But what about the elephant in the room of all lubes – the effect on component wear?

Stretching it

A primer: running a £20 chain beyond 0.5% wear for even a short period will ruin your far more expensive cassette. Then, when you finally fit a new chain, it will skip over the worn smallest sprockets under load, which is most alarming and potentially dangerous. This is why you should own a chain checker and use it often... when the 0.5% side drops into the chain, replace and smile – you've just saved yourself a bunch.

> Which chainset is right for you? Should you choose a standard, a compact or something else?

I'd normally expect a chain to last about 2000km of gravel (up here), so I should be approaching halfway worn out: but after 800km, the wear is unmeasurable using digital calipers. Clearly, extending the life of your drivetrain is only going to save you money down the line, and the more expensive your components, the more money you'll save.

For example, the cost of running an Ultegra groupset on the road for 10,000km is around £150 with the Silca lube, says ZFC's report, while the average for the five worst lubes tested was £400 per 10,000km. The purchase prices of the lubes are factored in, too.

Drip Advisor

The compelling argument for Silca Synergetic is longterm, then: yes it's easy to apply, lasts ages and keeps things clean, but the real benefit is the protection it gives your components. Even if those components, like mine, live in Scotland. The longer you use it, the more you offset that £32 price, and happily it lasts really well.

The obvious comparison is with Silca's own Super Secret Chain Lube – also £32 – but Synergetic is a lot cleaner and easier to apply. Really the only valid comparisons performance-wise are immersive lubes, but they are such a faff that most people will ignore them.

Based on my experience over 800km of mostly off-road riding, Silca Synergetic can save you enough money – over time – that it's functionally cheaper than the 'cheap' options.

It's extremely effective, very easy to live with, and will keep your bike out of the shop and rolling in those hills where it belongs.

Verdict

Truly exceptional, clean and quiet lube that could save you far more than it costs

road.cc test report

Make and model: Silca Synergetic Drip Lube

Size tested: 2oz

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?

It's for riders who want easy maintenenace, a clean drivetrain and to save lots of money in worn parts.

Silca says: "The Silca Synergetic Wet Lube is for riders who want to experience the lower friction, increased lifespan, and silence the latest lubricant technology delivers, but without the hassle of deep cleaning, drying and waxing chains."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

2oz Squeeze bottle with 18ga. Luer Lock Precision Applicator Tip

12,000+ miles of lubricant per bottle

Ultra-high wearing, ultra-quiet, ultra waterproof wet lube

For best results apply to clean/dry chain. For good results may apply to new factory lubed chain and will fully displace the factory lube within 4-5 applications

MSRP: $25 / 2oz bottle

Made in USA

Limited Warranty

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The design of the bottle is great, easy to apply.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

Staying clean and quiet for that long and still working? Exceptional.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

Lasting 250km+ in Scottish off-road conditions is amazing.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Factoring in the total cost of running, Synergetic is provably the best-value lube on the market.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Cannot fault it. Fabulous.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of appplication.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's expensive per millilitre, but an excellent price per mile. One bottle can last over 10,000 miles, and genuinely extend the life of some far more expensive components as it does it.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

There is no other score that would do the product justice. On almost every point, Synergetic is exceptional.

Overall rating: 10/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

Add new comment

40 comments

Avatar
wtjs | 1 month ago
0 likes

I have previously always resisted stuff like this, but I may have to reconsider and give this stuff a go! It wasn't immediately obvious, but it appears that the '% wear' reading is the % of 0.5mm per link. I am using a Rohloff checker, which measures at A = 0.075mm and B = 0.1mm per link, and my assumption was that Rohloff considers A is part knackered and B is fully knackered and ready for the bin. Therefore, I was surprised to see them testing to 5 x the extension of B. My policy of running about 5 identical split-link chains per chainring pair to level A wear then replacing- leaving them in a jam jar covered in oily muck, cleaning them before second use in petrol or detergent  and running them all round again to level B may be reasonable then!

However, it can't be denied that my chains tend to carry a lot of gunge even when I haven't been on the Pennine Bridleway out of Settle (I wish I'd taken a picture of the thick mud everywhere- it was January) and have just been everday cycling on wet and gritty winter roads. Maybe I need to do better.

Avatar
IanEdward | 1 month ago
0 likes

Hi Mike,

Sorry to bump an old thread, but what chain were you running when you reviewed this?

I'm having issues on my gravel bike (Perthshire, not quite Highland 😎) and think I've narrowed it down to the chain, a gold coated YBN.

The same wax products seem to last a lot longer on Shimano chains but I'm not sure if these are pre Sil-tec coating.

The chain is already past 0.75% and I have 200km of Ullapool gravel next week with no time to replace it, hoping a fresh application of Fenwick's Pro lasts the distance 😬

Avatar
Hirsute replied to IanEdward | 1 month ago
0 likes

Order one from sjs cycles - plenty of variety there from £20.

Avatar
wtjs replied to IanEdward | 1 month ago
0 likes

The chain is already past 0.75%

I'm assuming you mean 0.75% per link, which corresponds to 0.75/100 x 25.4/2 mm= 0.1mm = Rohloff level B wear?

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to wtjs | 1 month ago
0 likes
wtjs wrote:

The chain is already past 0.75%

I'm assuming you mean 0.75% per link, which corresponds to 0.75/100 x 25.4/2 mm= 0.1mm = Rohloff level B wear?

as a percentage 0.75% per link or 0.75% per chain is the same.

Avatar
froze | 10 months ago
0 likes

Your results are similar to what I get using Dumonde Tech, which is some sort of Polymer lube that takes about 3 to 5 applications to coat the chain in that polymer, but once that coating is established I can run roughly 500 miles before I have to reapply it, and I don't have to clean the chain before applying.  According to the instructions, I do have to wipe the chain down after every ride.  It isn't as clean as the wax lubes, but the Dumonde Tech holds up to rain extremely well.  

Dumonde Tech was recommended to me by people who do a lot of bike touring, saying that of all the lubes they've tried that one not only lasted the longest, but the chains lasted a lot longer than when using other lubes.  So far after 5,000 miles, there is no chain wear happening?!  That surprised me too.

I use that Dumonde Tech on all my bikes now, but I have never used the Silca synergetic lube, I might try it on my road bike to see how it works just for kicks.

Avatar
Christopher TR1 | 2 years ago
0 likes

It is not clean. It will turn your drive train black and gunky, just like any other wet lube I've ever used. It might be ultra efficient but for this reason it still gets relegated to my winter hack.

I shall stick with Squirt wax for my other bikes.

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Christopher TR1 | 2 years ago
2 likes

No, it won't turn your drivetrain 'black and gunky'. If it does, you're applying far too much, and not wiping it clean after application. I haven't used degreaser in over a year, I wipe down after each ride and each application, and everything is really clean. There should be no lube on the outside of your chain, and only a tiny amount inside between pin, roller and plates.

This is my drivetrain after over a year and a few thousand miles. Zero degreaser or even soapy water used. Just a cloth. 

Avatar
risoto | 2 years ago
0 likes

This performance comes close to what I get from good old WD40. 400-500 km per application  1 Chain replaced every 3-3500 km and drive train in tip-top condition.

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to risoto | 2 years ago
3 likes

Got any Science™️ to back up this amazing claim? WD40 is an extremely lightweight water-displacing general rust-remover and penetrant. It's not at all designed for long-lasting bike use. I'll let people read the review here and decide whether your anecdote is worth investigation: https://road.cc/content/review/172968-wd-40-bike-all-conditions-lube

Avatar
Tuslareb | 2 years ago
0 likes

I started using Silca's immersive wax last year and I will never go back to a drip lube. However, for my indoor Zwift bike,  this seems like a good option. 

Avatar
Chris Hayes | 2 years ago
0 likes

I migrated to Silca Super Secret Chain Lube to reduce chainset grime rather than eek micro-watts advantage or a few km extra life out of my components, benefits given testimony in videos and academic papers that are at the limits of my grasp.  

The absence of grease, grit, and sand caking up my drive chain is something I do understand and don't miss. I can rotate the chain rollers between my fingers, and my derailleur wheels actually rotate.... unlike some I see parked outside cafes on my rides.  

The only adjustment required is lubing post-ride rather than pre-ride....and every month or so I pop the chain off, clean it, and immerse it in the wax, let it dry and go back to silent running.  

 

 

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Chris Hayes | 2 years ago
5 likes
Chris Hayes wrote:

The only adjustment required is lubing post-ride rather than pre-ride....and every month or so I pop the chain off, clean it, and immerse it in the wax, let it dry and go back to silent running.  

'only' doing some sterling work there  1

Avatar
HoarseMann | 2 years ago
3 likes

Bought - I'm all for anything than can help reduce maintenance.

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to HoarseMann | 1 month ago
0 likes

Seen as though this thread has been bumped, here's an update nearly 3 years on (about 4,000 miles logged on the road bike from strava, need to get out more! I also use it on my town hack, but don't log miles for that).

Impressions are it's very good. Downsides are it does create a bit of a dull grey film on the chain and contact points, plus application is a bit slower than slathering on another brand of oil, as the metal applicator tip is very precise.

But it's well worth it IMO, for the quiet, smooth and efficient feeling drivetrain it creates. It's a small bottle, but it goes a long way. I've only used a quarter of it. One chain replacement (it had miles on before I started using the silca), the chain in the photo has about 300 miles on and needs a wipe down!

Avatar
froze | 2 years ago
1 like

I hate to sound like sour grapes on such an EXPENSIVE oil, but according to the editor he said that there are 50 applications for 12,000km, well I live in America so let me put that into our measurement system then you all can put that back into your measurements.  So basically if you divide 12,000 km, or 7,456 miles into 50 you get 150 (rounded up) miles per application for $44 per 2 ounce bottle.  So here's the weird thing, I use Dumonde Tech Lite lube, now this stuff you have reapply once after the first application and ride with the stuff on the chain, then reapply again about 100 miles after the second application, after that I only reapply it every 600 miles, and I could have gone longer because the chain isn't making noise! Then all you have to do is wipe the chain down between rides. Dumonde Tech Lite is only $16 for a 4 oz bottle.  

Dumonde holds up excellently to rain, I was bike camping and it rained all night on my bike, then I had to ride it in the rain the next day, that early afternoon when it stopped raining I heard no noise from the chain.

Silca has a way with fancy words, which they have to since they have to have some sort of excuse to sell very expensive products that you can find similar for less than half the price elsewhere, and so it's true with their lube.

 

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to froze | 2 years ago
2 likes

I understand what you are saying but the fact ZFC has backed up the reviewers findings, completely independent of Silca's claims (he has gone up against some lubricant manufacturers) was enough for me to buy the product.

It's the first drip lube to show 0% wear after the first 1000km.

I keep my drivetrain spotless, 2 chains in rotation and clean the cassette with each chain swap and having Synergetic on them means wear should be kept to an absolute minimum, which, in turn means I save money.

Avatar
drpav83 replied to froze | 2 years ago
0 likes
froze wrote:

 

Dumonde holds up excellently to rain, I was bike camping and it rained all night on my bike, then I had to ride it in the rain the next day, that early afternoon when it stopped raining I heard no noise from the chain.

 

 

Dumonde is amazing. I have been using Dumonde pro-x (imported via ebay) becuase Jay Petervary recommended it and in 4 years i've nearly not quite finished the 4oz bottle (that's approaching 50,000km). Doesn't need a prepped chain to be effective, lasts a long time in the wet and dry and chains now last a lot longer with far less faff than the other 30 or so options i've tried since the 90s.  I just wipe the chain with a dry rag (maybe with a bit of wd40 to degrease) and then apply a drop on each roller, and remove the excess with a dry rag, 2 minutes, job done. Ultegra chains last me in excess of 6000km to 0.5% wear.

Avatar
drpav83 replied to drpav83 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Now available in the UK from Shorlines in Sheffield.

Avatar
KiwiMike | 2 years ago
1 like

On the colour of the review lube pictured vs the dark grey bottles you might see online / buy, this just in from Josh Poertner at Silca:

As the WS2 is a heavy nanoparticle that wants to fall out of suspension, it initially proved very difficult to keep consistent color with our bottling equipment as tiny changes in percentage made a notable change to the color, it only needs to be a light grey to get the job done, but a little extra can dramatically change the color.

We then had dealers and consumers sorting through the bottles assuming the darker ones were better (more is better right?) and ultimately made the decision to more than double the quantity of nanoparticle to achieve a more consistent dark grey color, so newer bottles are much darker than original bottles.

Having said this, there is no measurable performance advantage to this higher percentage, though there could be some performance decrease to having too few of them, so we have adjusted the formula to always err on the side of too much - which also provides more consistent coloration.  Shake well!

Avatar
Hirsute | 2 years ago
0 likes

Looks like I don't even understand the basics here !

If you wipe the chain completely clean how do you stop the metal chain wearing against metal sprockets?

Or put another way - what is the main objective of a chain lube ?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
3 likes
hirsute wrote:

Looks like I don't even understand the basics here !

If you wipe the chain completely clean how do you stop the metal chain wearing against metal sprockets?

Or put another way - what is the main objective of a chain lube ?

It's to lubricate the pins/rollers, not the side plates. Similarly, you don't need lube on your cassette or chain-rings.

Avatar
Hirsute replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
0 likes

I get the outside bit but if I lubricate the pins/rollers and then the instruction is "wiping the chain completely clean once done, and after each ride, is critical"

- what am I wiping clean then? Just the outside?

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like

Yes. Because lube only does bad things on the outside of a chain. You can't wipe off what has worked its way in between the roller and pin, or plates. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

I get the outside bit but if I lubricate the pins/rollers and then the instruction is "wiping the chain completely clean once done, and after each ride, is critical"

- what am I wiping clean then? Just the outside?

That's how I'd interpret it as the important part is the inside of the rollers (that moves against the pins).

Avatar
msackman replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
0 likes

And yet curiously, products like NixFrixShun Ultimate Bicycle Chainlube say to apply to just a dozen rollers and then allow the action of the chain and sprockets to distribute it around the whole chain... And in my experience, it does. So I'm not convinced that wiping lube off the chain will stop it getting all over the sprockets etc anyway. Maybe it's just a matter of degree?

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to msackman | 2 years ago
2 likes

See my photo below. You can see the grey Tungsten Disulfide film on the cassette. It's extremely thin. So a small amount does get out, but it's not an issue. 

Avatar
Hirsute replied to KiwiMike | 2 years ago
0 likes

Not seeing a photo.

 

Thanks all. I am determined this year to keep things clean (already scrubbed the sprockets at the weekend and cleaned the jockey rollers).

Tempted to try this lube out.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to msackman | 2 years ago
0 likes
msackman wrote:

And yet curiously, products like NixFrixShun Ultimate Bicycle Chainlube say to apply to just a dozen rollers and then allow the action of the chain and sprockets to distribute it around the whole chain... And in my experience, it does. So I'm not convinced that wiping lube off the chain will stop it getting all over the sprockets etc anyway. Maybe it's just a matter of degree?

Nowadays I tend to over-lubricate my chain due to laziness so I end up with waxy-lube over my sprockets which is probably less of a problem than sticky greasy lube over them. I'd agree that it's a matter of degree as you can spend more time caring for your drivetrain or money replacing bits that wear out.

Avatar
sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm on my first application of Synergetic. I've only done about 150km so far but it's definitely quietened the drivetrain noise. I bought it off the back of ZFCs recommendation (that site is well worth a visit) as I'd tried waxing but it was just too time consuming amd messy.

If you buy this, remember to shake the bottle vigourously before application, the lube should turn black when it's been shaken enough.

Pages

Latest Comments