How an ultrasonic cleaner and CeramicSpeed’s new UFO Drip revitalized my drivetrain
A pristine chain and a next generation coating makes for a smooth, speedy ridePhoto by: Jesper Grønnemark (Instagram: @jgronnemark – Facebook: @JesperGronnemarkPhotography)
CeramicSpeed has just released the new and improved version of its UFO Drip Chain Coating. Not quite lube, the thick chain coating hardens overnight when applied to your chain, acting similarly to a melt-on wax.
CeramicSpeed claims the new UFO Drip is over 15 per cent faster and 50 per cent longer lasting than the previous formula. Although the company has packed in 50 per cent more coatings per bottle, the new product is also much more affordable at US$45 (previously US$75).
I’d heard positive reviews of the first iteration of the chain coating so I was excited to get my hands on the latest UFO Drip.
But before I tested the chain coating I had to take care of something embarrassing.
Detailed 'before' photos were necessary
The bike is black too so it blends in?
General road grime
This is where I should come up with an excuse for the state of my chain and cassette, but really, all I can think of is: “I was busy riding my bike.” A weak explanation but, it is what it is.
The ultrasonic solution
It’s very important that the UFO Drip Chain Coating be applied to a clean chain so that it can properly adhere. Clearly, there was nothing clean about my bike so I decided to bring in a professional.
Matt Norman at Blacksmith Cycle in Toronto was very nice about my gunked up drivetrain—I got the impression he’d seen worse.
I’d gone to Blacksmith because I knew they had an ultrasonic cleaner. These machines use ultrasound (sound waves usually from 20–40 kHz) to agitate fluid. As the sound waves move the fluid (in this case water and Simple Green Extreme), the vibrations cause contaminants, such as oil, slip off the materials they’re clinging to.
Matt got to work taking off my chain and cassette
Simply Green added to reduce surface tension in the water and make cleaning more effective
Norman removed my chain and cassette and put them in the bath with a few other dirtied components. As we waited for the machine to do its work, he expertly cleaned my bike’s jockey wheels (why is there always hair in them?) and some other greasy components on my bike.
Out of the ultrasonic cleaner the components looked immediately cleaner
A quick rinse to remove any remaining residue
After the bath
After 20 minutes, the ultrasonic cleaner dinged like an Easy Bake Oven, signalling that the process was complete. Norman gave the shining components a quick rinse and dried them off thoroughly because the chain coating needs a dry surface to adhere to. I was impressed with the result of the ultrasonic clean—I doubt that my other option, an overnight soak in degreaser and 20 minutes of scrubbing, would have yielded such clean components.
With everything back on the bike, it was time to apply the UFO drip. The bottle has a little agitator inside that makes shaking it quite satisfying, which is good, because shaking it is definitely necessary. The chain coating is much thicker than typical wax, but it comes out of the bottle consistently and predictably. Norman applied two coats of the product to my chain, which I left to dry overnight.
Chain drip testing
The non toxic, non-flammable and biodegradable formula is made for all disciplines, and is said to last 300km per coating. If that metric is accurate, at 35 coatings per bottle the UFO Drip should last you quite a while.
On my ride the next day I was taking the first wide corner on my typical loop when I realized how much smoother my drivetrain actually felt. The difference was subtle but notable, and it felt like a little extra boost.
After about 60km I noticed my chain was making a bit of noise. Norman had warned me this may be the case—he said sometimes with a very clean drivetrain the polymers of the formula will spread across the small grooves in the cassette and another application is necessary after the first ride. I applied some that night and found I was back to super smooth quieter riding the next day.
Will I continue to use UFO Drip Chain Coating? Yes, definitely. I like how it feels, how it looks and the fact that I can easily wipe any road residue off my chain with a rag. Did I obsessively clean every cog on my trainer cassette so I wouldn’t dirty my newly clean chain? Yes, very much. Have I turned a new leaf? Will I now be that person with a very clean bike? Only time will tell.