You gotta love trickle-down technology. While you might not be training to loop 54.5kms of track in an hour like current record holder Bradley Wiggins, the high-tech chain lubricant that was developed specifically to help him through the challenge is now available to all riders thanks to Muc-Off.
Anyone with a penchant for pro-level performance can now buy either Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo chains that are hand-treated with a special NanoTube Speed Film Lubrication, which the company says makes the ‘fastest chain in the world’. This lubrication treatment is intended for all weather conditions, remains effective longer than dry wax-based lubes and arrives at your door primed and ready for installation…
Muc-Off’s treatment process is much more than a simple soak. Each chain is lubed, speed-graded and run-in under load. All the while, data is being collected and analyzed by the company’s custom designed Chain Lube Optimization Dynamometer machine to ensure maximum performance from the lubricant. Afterwards the chain is sonic cleaned in a few various formulas, then the NanoTube formula is applied by hand. After the final step of applying NanoTube particles, the chain is ready for race day.
The NanoTube Speed Film Optimized chains are suitable for road, track, triathlon and MTB competition. Since the lubricant is designed for use in all weather conditions, mud and moisture won’t be a problem for off-road riders. The new treatment repels moisture just as well as the brand’s Hydrodynamic Lube, but also uses the NanoTube additives for superior lubrication, resulting in a claimed power savings of 6 watts.
While a new military-grade additive is used to keep friction as low as possible, extreme pressure additives help ensure a reasonable life span for the product. The treatment lasts more than 400 miles in dry conditions (twice the distance a wax lube will last, according to Muc-Off), or 250+ miles on wet, muddy trails with no notable drop-off in performance.
Customers can also buy top-ups of the NanoTube Speed Film Lube and re-treat their chains at home for hundreds more miles of silky smooth spinning. A reapplication will bring the chain back to within 1-2 watts of the initial out-of-the-box performance, but Muc-Off says their factory’s special processes can’t be replicated in your home garage so expect ‘nearly-new’ performance from subsequent applications.
The lube itself is black in color, so while it might look like plain old oil rest assured it’s much faster and more advanced. A hand-treated Shimano Dura-Ace/XTR chain sells for $162 USD, a SRAM Red22 goes for $164 and Campagnolo Record comes in at $168 (11 speed models only). Expect to wait about 3-4 weeks for your chain to be lubed up and shipped.