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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Truly exceptional, clean and quiet lube that could save you far more than it costs
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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
The design of the bottle is great, easy to apply.
Staying clean and quiet for that long and still working? Exceptional.
Lasting 250km+ in Scottish off-road conditions is amazing.
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
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.
About the tester
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.