The 8th of October 2022 will go down as a landmark moment in cycling history.
Filippo Ganna’s staggering Hour Record distance of 56.792km (35.289 miles), showed the world two things: 1. What can be achieved when you combine raw talent with obsessive data analysis, and uncompromising preparation; and 2. Filippo Ganna is a POWERHOUSE!
Muc-Off's involvement with the record included seven-hundred-hours of research and development time. We began working with INEOS Grenadiers Performance Engineer Dan Bigham (read more about that here) back in May of this year, supporting his emphatic hour-record success with everything from drivetrain componentry selection to the ultrasonic optimisation of the chains and chain rings used.
Following months of testing, learning, and refining, and with one hour record in the bag, Bigham would revert from rider back to Performance Engineer, freshly equipped with data he needed to support Ganna in bringing down his own record.
So what did our 700 hour investment achieve?
Ganna's chain finished up over 30% more efficient than the stock component, and 7% more efficient than the optimised chain supplied for the Bigham record . In the words of Jonny Wale, INEOS Grenadiers Team Sports Scientist "We're talking more than just marginal gains here".
We also pulled something a bit special out the bag for Ganna - A unique coating which was applied to his rear sprocket exclusively for his record, something we managed to test and develop in the two-months after Bigham’s attempt.
We can't share the details of what material the coating was made from, but we can say that during lubricated contact pressure testing on our tribo-lab, the coated rear sprocket produced a 52% reduction in the coefficient of friction, when compared to the bare steel version used by Bigham. We also completed the performance on our dynamometer, the machine which simulates the ‘on-track’ performance, and produced a final decrease in wattage loss of 4.2% - Just from the coating! See why we're keeping it a secret!?
Dan Bigham, Performance Engineer at INEOS Grenadiers had this to say...
“Working so closely with Muc-Off in the last few months, their dedication and passion for drivetrain optimisation and their focus on delivering efficiency is unrivalled. They added a massive 87m to my record, and then to come in with a new innovation like the rear sprocket coating, finding a further 7% efficiency gain for Filippo, is testament to their tenacity for performance. Seven-hundred-hours is an incredible time investment, and I’m thrilled to see their efforts rewarded with this Hour Record achievement.”
The majority of our seven-hundred-hour investment was accumulated long before the testing stage. In order for testing could begin, our team had to design and manufacture new hubs for the dyno to fit the new centre lock and track thread standards. We faced some pretty tight timelines, so to speed things up, we took drawings of the chosen hub, redesigned them in CAD, and produced 3D-printed test versions of the hub to determine their effectiveness, before committing to the manufacture of the final steel version.
Once the steel hub and the various bike componentry options arrived from the team, the component selection process began, including the testing of each combination of chain, sprocket, and chain ring, with tests having to be completed multiple times to verify the results. Add to this, nine rounds of our eleven step, Ultrasonic Optimisation process using Ludicrous AF, which took nearly twenty-five hours to complete for each of the four chains supplied, and you start to understand the time investment required when operating at the pinnacle of drivetrain performance.
With this latest win the Muc-Off trophy cabinet is now filling up nicely, thanks to involvement with three Hour Records, twelve Grand Tour wins, and a vast collection of Olympic, Paralympic, and Commonwealth Games medals. Not bad going in just under a decade!
So, what makes our drivetrain optimisation process so effective?
We like to think it's our commitment to scientific development and investments we've made into industry leading equipment and expertise. It's thanks to these factors that we're able to deliver unrivalled levels of data and support to professional teams and athletes. Since 1994, we've been using advanced testing methods to geek out on the many moving and interacting surfaces found in bike chains, and the multiple engagements that occur in relative motion.
We've made investments into high-tech equipment like our TriboLab, which is used to measure friction and wear in microscopic detail, allowing us to develop testing protocols rooted in repeatability and reproducibility. The TriboLab gives us broader testing capabilities, faster changeover between configurations, higher levels of accuracy and repeatability, and real-time control and data analysis. This all comes thanks to add-on modules, which cater for a wide variety of standard ASTM tests and bespoke cycling tests, developed through a British Government funded partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).
The secret to Ganna’s successful record attempt was in the methodical and repetitive approaches taken at every stage of the testing process; learning and improving run after run. Our ability to deliver consistently exceptional optimisation results is what separates them from the competition and is a primary reason why we're the weapon of choice for the world’s greatest teams and athletes.
Thirsty for more chain gain explains?
The build-up and execution of the Hour Record gives you an idea of our performance obsession. Our online Performance Hub, details all the ground-breaking innovation that happens behind the doors of our UK-based super lab. The site features product development stories, along with a multi-chapter series, detailing the work that goes into developing all of our record-breaking products.
To learn more about this, and see more stories about our Hour Record preparations head to: muc-off.com/pages/performance-hub.
Our Ludicrous AF lube and Ultrasonic Chain Optimisation process aren't just for the pros. Here at Muc-Off, we're all about making pro-level technology available for every rider so that they too can squeeze every last watt out of their drivetrain. If you're hunting down a performance goal, or just fancy a taste of the 'pro-experience' grab yourself to a bottle of Ludicrous AF or use our interactive map to find your nearest Muc-Off Chain Optimisation Centre.