during the production stage of a recent issue of our local paper, one of the editors had a notion for writing a short article about just how we went from a blank sheet of (electronic) paper to 24 pages full to overflowing with news, features and advertisements. the idea was to summarise all the salient aspects of the process including who did what at which point of the week and which came before what. it is possible that this information would be of interest to some, but probably a very minimal some. in truth, the majority are really only interested in the newspaper appearing in the shops come each second saturday.
how it gets there is pretty much our problem, not theirs.
rightly or wrongly, the research and development phase of any particular product brought to market is either a total secret, or at the very least, something that is better left undiscussed. few of us are overly bothered quite how much work was involved in getting the product (whatever it is) from an empty workshop all the way to a shiny package on a bike store shelf, all the better to attract our consumer pennies.
in most cases, i think it quite likely that both parties are quite agreeable to this situation. we're not really interested in learning and, for one reason or another, they're not too keen on telling us anyway. this could be for any number of reasons; possibly the eureka moment was a total accident, thus undermining any perceived technical prowess, or the idea was copied from somewhere else and subsequently improved past the point of recognition. or the research and development department had the brilliantly original idea that you now see before you.
but how 'real world' is the testing procedure? let's face it, life would be a lot quicker and cheaper if waterproofs could simply be worn in the shower to check if they let in any water. and new tread patterns could be given a whirl on the office turbo for a couple of days. then couldn't someone just sit in front of a dyson airblade to check the windproofing of a jersey? (please note that i'm not suggesting any of the above actually take place). you have to admit , this would likely keep the prices low and the time to market admirably short.
some folks, however, just don't work that way.
josh simonds is the fellow behind nixfrixshun, confidently announcing in large letters on the corporate website 'the last chainlube you will ever need.' it might be more accurate, however, to state that josh is one of the folks behind nixfrixshun. according to the inimitable richard sachs "I've known Josh for some 14 or more years, meeting - as many do these days - as members of an online community. A small group from within that forum gelled and we started Velocipede Salon in 2007."
so far so good. a group of like-minded yet sufficiently different individuals who "looked on bicycles as tools rather than commodities over which to obsess or fetishize. Some of the more arduous meetings were (and still are; reference Ballers Ride) a test of all things mechanical."
at the risk of stating the obvious, many of those frequenting the velocipede salon are, like richard sachs, framebuilders or those with an explicit interest in the genre. thus, participation in events such as the ballers ride would not only unsympathetically test the mettle of several of their own creations, but of the associated componentry bolted to the frame. "Several years ago, josh simonds mentioned an idea he'd had for a chain oil recipe that would make all others pale by comparison. Samples were mixed and passed out around the world, lore being made every time one of us was asked for an opinion about the lube's efficacy, and Josh decided to bring it to the market. It's been a hit ever since atmo."
many of the above mentioned fellows reside on the east coast of america (richard lives in warwick, massachusetts), but it seemed a tad unfair that they and their peers ought to be the only ones to benefit from the 'last chainlube you will ever need.' so in response to my request, josh sent a few small bottles of nixfrixshun to islay. i have never ridden anything that sounded even close to the ballers ride, but a series of utterly crap singletrack roads on a wind and rain battered rock in the atlantic really ought to be able to give a heap of trouble to anything, let alone a chain lubricant.
in keeping with the sachs tradition, i applied several small drops of richard sachs branded nixfrixshun to the sram chain on my ibis hakkalugi as well as my more road-going chris king cielo. josh's instructions advise placing a sinlge drop on a random number of chain links before spinning the cranks backwards for a few turns and wiping off the excess with a rag.
pre-flight procedure undertaken, it was then simply a matter of subjecting both to my own version of purgatory. i have waxed lyrical for more pixels than is polite over my fixation with shiny chains. even lubricants that have more than proved their worth, are left in solitary confinement if they make the chain indescribably grubby in even modest use. nixfrixshun offers as little by way of obsession and fetish as the velocipede peloton.
at the risk of giving more airtime to a well-worn cliche than it truly deserves 'it does exactly what it says on the tin.' even after a wet ride involving less than carefully measured dollops of mud, the chain had collected less of the latter than would usually be expected, and the chain, though hardly pristine, still ran commendably smoothly. the cielo, though not deliberately ridden through mud, unavoidably involved itself in the island's agricultural surface coatings. tractors will do that to tarmac, whether billiard flat (who am i kidding?) or otherwise.
nixfrixshun is a low viscosity, clear liquid that appears to have excellent lubrication properties when applied to bits of bicycles. when the seatpin bolt on the hakkalugi proved itself to be in danger of binding without applying enough pressure to the seatpin, a couple of drops of nixfrixshun solved the problem in seconds. i've also applied a small amount to the pivots on the sram force and sram red derailleurs on each respective bike, but i'll have to wait a few more days or so to reap the benefits.
a two ounce bottle of nixfrixshun retails at $15 (approx £10) plus shipping. if ordering for delivery to the uk or mainland europe, you'd likely be better taking more than a single bottle to average the shipping costs. nixfrixshun state they'll ship to most countries in the world. as far as i know, the richard sachs' logo'd product is not generally available (ask richard), however i also have an italian labelled dario pegoretti edition and a pro-blend that will be sold under the silca pumps label via their distribution network.
smooth in every sense of the word.
wednesday 28 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................