As smooth as Silca, packs and lube long term tested.
I know that not all what I’m about to review will be liked by everyone but I think everyone would like at least one of them. Since it was founded in 1917 Silca has been owned by the same family, over its time it has led with ground breaking innovations that we have come to consider the norm. Always designing their products with usefulness, longevity and style in mind, we are still fixing 30-year-old pumps today, and yes parts are still available. In 2013 the brand was sold to an American chap, not just anyone but Joshua Poertner, for 14 years previously he was Technical Director at Zipp Speed Weaponry and apparently, he’s a lifelong Silca fan. When you sell a family business I guess all you can hope for is you sell it to someone who has passion for what you do.
On seeing the first photos last year of these little things, I couldn’t help but think this must be what some women feel about designer hand bags. I know I can get others for a lot less but this looks so good. I am talking about Silca’s new (at least a year ago) Seat Roll, Phone Wallet and the silky smooth NFS Pro blend chain lube, yes there’s always time for lube!
I will start with the two absolute winners in my eyes the phone wallet and NFS lube, the phone wallet to me is a stroke of genius, I’m fed up with using sandwich bags and kit lock bags that look bad on the table at the café and that break when I need them most, not only that but then you have all that other junk rubbing against your phone screen. The phone wallet is designed to fit perfectly inside a standard rear jersey pocket and has a reflective 3M strap with a magnetic popper that will add some needed visibility to your outfits at night. What’s more it’s made from a waxed canvas with a weather resistant zip, inside there is a waterproof dry bag for your phone (my Samsung S6 fits snug as a bug in a rug), several card holders and space for folding cash and a door key.
The NFS lube is amber gold, this stuff smells like workshops, machinery and tools, I'm not bothered what’s inside it as it just makes me think that putting this on my chain makes the world a better place. It’s an old world feeling away from spray lubes and chemicals that whiff of blueberries or strawberry cheesecake. The method for application is going to sound a bit odd, on a clean dry chain use one small drop per link, rotate backwards twelve revolutions of the crank through a cloth to clean away excess. After that Silca recommend every 300-400 miles twelve drops randomly applied anywhere around the chain, rotate the cranks twelve times and then rotate a further twelve times with the chain running through a cloth. According to those in the know it’s the same as putting a drop of conventional oil on every link of the chain every 200 miles. The 2oz bottle should last the same time as an 8-10oz bottle of other wet lubes, basically the bottle should last about 10,000 miles.
Finally, the seat roll, it’s made of the same waxed canvas as the phone wallet with the same reflective cross-stitched pattern and attaches to the underside of your saddle with a boa strap. The boa strap has a guard on to protect saddle rails and to speed up installation, inside the roll there are three pockets for storage of inflators with a regulator, an innertube and a small multitool, it also comes with a central strap for added cargo security.
Without a shadow of a doubt there has been a lot of thought and effort gone in to these items, the materials they are made from are great but this is where the but comes in, the phone wallet I could not do without, it’s in my pocket on every ride to the point that its now sun bleached from use. My phone and other accouterments have stayed bone dry, I do not think they award the Nobel peace prize for this sort of thing but they should! The lube is worth its weight in gold, I followed the instructions and to my surprise it does what it says on the tin (or bottle as it clearly is). My chain has never run this smooth for this long, don’t get me wrong there are other great lubes out there such as pro gold, but never has pro gold stayed on this long. The saddle roll looks great when it’s on, it will fit almost any saddle and again whatever has been in there has stayed dry, my problem is that unlike many seat packs you have to remove it when you need to use the contents, when you do remove it and roll it out all the kit inside is easy to see and remove and that’s a plus, but then you have to fit it all back just so and roll it back up just as it was before you refit it. Don’t get me wrong for me this has turned the humble puncture repair into an occasion but to others it may seem a chore. I love the fact I have matching luggage, but although it will fit just about any perch out there, I use the Fizik Antares saddles and it doesn’t even fit my selection of rail choices the same way, this means the roll comes into contact with the back of my legs if I don’t get it right, looks great on the bike and may have won design awards but it's the living with ward I am not sure it would get.
Silca Phone Wallet £40.00
Silca Seat Roll Premio £48.00
Silca NFT-Pro chain lube £15.00 (priceless)