Maximum Efficiency - Flaer Revo Via review
Over the last 3 months I have testing the Flaer Revo Via automatic drive train oiler. In that time I have seen the best of the Scottish weather and the worst. I have done hill climbs and weirdly dropped below sea level on a run to Lindisfarne. I reckon I can now safely review the device with a degree of accuracy. So here it is…
So firstly, for full disclosure, I was sent the device to test as part of Flaer’s excellent Beta testing programme. The device is for sale, compatible with all bikes and drivetrains, and is available direct from Flaer priced approx. £149 Flaer has significant experience with this technology, developing it for use with motorbikes so first impressions are far from what I was expecting on a Beta programme. On further investigation, the product has been for sale for some time and it shows in the presentation.
The device comes very well presented with all the bits needed to install and operate the device. Plus there are plenty of extra fixings which is very handy. Also in the test package was the bottle mount extender used to mount the device below the down tube bottle cage. Definitely the neatest option. Plus two bottles of the all conditions oil. Instructions were clearly presented and easy to follow once you orientate yourself to the format. In the same way as building some IKEA shelves! The device its self is neat, and well made. Two buttons on the front allow you to change the oil feed easily and simply between wet, damp and dry modes. Each mode changing the amount how much oil is dropped on the chain and how often. There is a small window in the side of the unit allowing you to check how much oil remains.
Installation was a reasonable straight forward affair. First job was to remove the bottle cage and fit the extender. Once in place the device slotted neatly and securely in place. The device works by feeding micro doses of oil from the device through to a dropper fitted to dérailleur cage at the bottom jockey wheel. This drops the oil onto the jockey wheel and in turn the chain as it passes round it. Clever! Fitting the dropper was simple enough by removing the lower jockey wheel and using the supplied longer bolt to attach the dropper on the outside of the cage and through the wheel. Slightly trickier was getting the dropper angled correctly. Close attention is required here to the instruction to make sure it is angled correctly and not squint. I did not require any additional spacers on my long cage Ultegra mech and after a bit of trial and error it was on securely. Final job was to route the oil pipe from the device to the dropper. This can be done to take advantage of any internal routing, but I found this too much of a faff and I was able to route it neatly under the bottom bracket and along the chain stays with no problems. Attaching it to gear cables to achieve a neat install. Care must be taken here to make sure you have the correct amount of slack to allow the full travel of the mech. Batteries were installed and the device filled and we were good to go. All in all I think it was about a hours work with no major dramas.
So first ride was a hill repeat session with my local club. Of course I was fully expecting to sail up the hills with little or no effort – unfortunately this was not the case albeit much more attributable to my severe lack of fitness rather than any fault of the Revo! I did encounter one problem on the first ride though. Over the rough roads of the Borders, the plastic bottle cage extender did rattle a lot. While it had no impact on performance it was very annoying - however, when reported to Flaer, their customer service was incredible and within a day they had shipped a more robust metal extender which has taken care of this problem once and for all. I have tested this robustly over our terrible roads and I can tell you the device has never moved. Longer term impressions So I have now had the device on for three months and done 700km in that time. Not much I know but enough to get a good sense of the device. I also completed the Doddie5 ride in torrential conditions! The device has stayed put during the whole time, testament to the build quality and the robust fittings of the device. Noticeable is the lack of noise from the drive train, it does seem to run quieter and smoother with the Revo fitted. Also noticeable is how much cleaner the group set is at the end of a ride. There is a distinct lack of build up of general road detritus which must prolong the life of the chain and group set. As we all know this can be a major source of drivetrain inefficiency so can only be good. I don’t know the science behind this but my guess is that as the oil is not required to cling to the chain for many hours, it can be lighter and therefore does not attract the contaminants. Over a long ride this would be really noticeable. Also, when you return from a run, a simple hosing of is all that is required to clean the drive train. No need to degrease as often which is definitely a plus.
But I suppose the key question. Has it made me faster? Well this is a difficult question to answer. This year has seen me doing less training than in previous years and as a result my times are way off so I don’t really have a baseline. I would have to be honest and say that I have not noticed a direct performance improvement i.e. watts, but then I think it would be foolish to expect this. This should be judged much more on the overall impact of improved efficiency over the long term and lack of drivetrain wear. For example, I really noticed the device on the Doddie5 ride where it hosed it down from start to finish. These conditions would normally see the chain stripped of oil quickly but my drivetrain was smooth from start to finish.
So to my summary. The Revo is definitely an innovative product that in the right place demonstrates real benefit. If I am honest, at the moment I don’t think I have done enough miles to really see the best as its key benefit appears to be on long rides, often in poor conditions, where drive train efficiency is of paramount importance. If this is you, I think the Revo is definitely worth a look. In a world where gizmos are often brought to market by start ups with spurious claims, here is a product from a Scottish company with genuine credentials behind them looking to deliver a useful product for keen cyclists. On that, I believe they have succeeded. Check them out here www.flaer.com