To find out just how durable and useful the Flaér Revo Terra device is, we gave one to local fast-man and all-round mile-eater, Jason Miles.
Those of you with some knowledge of motorcycles will be familiar with the concept of a device that takes care of lubing the chain as you travel along. The Scottoiler product has been around for about 3 decades and from memory, it seems to have as many people who love it as those who do not.
Flaér is a trading name of Scottoiler, so the Revo Terra has got some pedigree and comes from a company with a great deal of expertise and experience of the world of ‘chain lube delivery systems’. Flaér is also based in Scotland so the crew presumably knows a thing or two about challenging riding conditions.
Until I tested the Revo Terra I thought that ‘remembering to put a bottle of chain lube in my bag’ was about as advanced as things could possibly get but I must admit, even when I have ridden with a bottle of chainlube in my bag, it’s normally only when the chain starts to hit 90 dB that I bother to stop and apply. A dry chain means your bike is less efficient, so you’ll have to put in more effort, while that noise that it makes is basically your chain, cassette, jockey wheels and chainring(s) wearing out rather quickly. So keeping your chain clean and lubed is pretty important. Is it important enough to spend 250 quid on a gadget though?
Using The Revo Terra
With one or two ‘Oh my God I’m actually breaking my bike’ moments, fitting the Revo Terra is a doddle. Just attach the main battery/control panel/lube reservoir component to the frame using the bottle cage-mount bracket, attach the lube delivery thing to the rear mech and plug in a pipe between the two parts and Bob’s your uncle. Fill it with the special ‘Terra Fluid’, fit the batteries and off you go.
The lube is pumped along the narrow tube from the reservoir to the rear mech and applied in 0.003ml drips onto the chain. Depending on conditions, you can set the lube delivery in 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 second intervals. The lubricant isn’t applied directly to the chain, a tiny drop is applied to the jockey wheel, which then ‘doses’ the lube onto the chain, the result being that the entire chain is coated in fluid within a couple of minutes of use.
It takes a bit of experimentation to get the application right – too little lube in bad weather and it might not make any difference, but apply lube too often (especially in dry weather) and you’ll be wearing chain lube all over your right leg. I’m told it’s good for the skin. A full tank of lube will last for dozens of hours, unless you have it on ‘ruined socks’ setting – in which case you’ll run out of Terra Fluid in 15 hours. At £10 per 250ml bottle, it’s not cheap so be as frugal as you can.
The Terra fluid is a (very) wet lube – it’s designed to wash off dirt as well as lubricate the chain and while it did seem to do a respectable job of keeping the chain clean in damp conditions, the Revo Terra isn’t going to be a silver bullet in a typical British Summer™ XC race when the only realistic method of cleaning your drivetrain is with the help of a pointy twig. Thanks to a ‘Triple Axis Accelerometer’ If you stop for a while the Terra goes into sleep mode which saves the batteries and crucially, stops you returning from the café to a puddle of chain lube on the floor. When you move the bike, the lube delivery starts again. (Incidentally, the café stop is normally when I’d apply chain lube. I’m just putting that out there.)
Flaér claims that use of the Revo Terra will give you an immediate 5% increase in power at the rear wheel. I wasn’t prepared to try to prove them wrong but assuming such an increase in power is only relevant in a racing context, would the additional weight (137 grams dry, so maybe 250 grams full of lube) be acceptable to your average racer? Would any races really be long enough to make the Revo Terra make sense? Perhaps automatic chain lubrication could be beneficial in long bikepacking events, however an excuse for a couple of minutes off the saddle to lube the chain/have a wee/take a selfie might be preferable. And cheaper. Plus, you’re probably going to want all of your bottle cage mounts for bottle cages…
Ultimately this is a good product in that it’s well-made, seems reliable and does precisely what it claims it does – that cannot be denied. It’s not really solving a massive problem though, even in UK conditions, but if you regularly ride in bad conditions and will do anything to get out of lubing your chain, maybe the Revo Terra is for you.
|Tested:||by Jason Miles for 4 months|