We wouldn't be where we are today without pushing the boundaries performance, and to do that, in our world at least, you need a world-class team of engineers and chemists, and the best equipment money can buy. From sophisticated tribometers to bespoke dynamometers, industrial microscopes to 3D printers, the new R&D facility at our global headquarters on the south coast of England is a bike fan's equivalent to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
The investments made over the last 18 months to cover people, equipment and facilities, have allowed us to establish new standards for the bicycle industry, underlining our credentials as top dogs in drivetrain optimisation.
"Our goal is quite simply to become the world's leading, science-based experts in drivetrain optimisation. The significant investments we’ve made mean we have a much stronger and more transparent understanding of how to drive performance at the highest level. It’s also massively increased the speed at which we can develop products, with fewer iterations, ultimately leading to more targeted performance gains for riders." - Alex Trimnell, CEO, Muc-Off.
We've always supported scientific development with substantial investment. Like our work to develop an Hour Record NTC Chain for Bradly Wiggins. Or working with INEOS Grenadiers and EF Education-NIPPO to develop a Grand Tour winning lube that was born on our bespoke dynamometer, built with industry-leading sensors from National Instruments – we leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of innovation.
Our highly-qualified team of lab boffins have been using this advanced testing equipment to develop a new optimised lubricant for the many interacting surfaces found in a bicycle chain, and the multiple engagements that occur in relative motion. A scientific TriboLab, to measure friction and wear in microscopic detail lies at the heart of our massive investment in equipment. Crucially, these machines – calibrated to measure wear scars just microns deep – support our strategic goal to develop protocols that give us consistent tests and results that can provide us with the most accurate data possible.
The TriboLab is a game-changer for our testing capabilities. With fast changeover between configurations, high levels of accuracy and repeatability, and real-time control and data analysis, it’s been an incredible tool for our R&D Team. We’ve even purchased a wide variety of additional add-on modules to cater for over 96 standard ASTM tests, as well as our bespoke cycling tests, developed in partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).
The Contour White Light Interferometer is a powerful optical measurement tool. It’s an industrial microscope able to map out the surface topography of a component in the highest resolution, for example, a chain link. The interferometer uses an algorithm to measure the interaction between its own light source and reflected light from the measured sample and to plot a microscopic world of ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ on the surface of an object – in simpler terms, it can show us the amount of wear on a chain after being on the TriboLab and dynamometer for lubricant testing.
Our scientists also use several high-spec 3D printers to create a range of objects, from leading-edge prototype components, some designed with McLaren, to the jigs, moulds and fixtures used for bespoke tests. Its capacity to print in a range of materials, including carbon, makes it a super valuable bit of kit for the team.
The talented R&D Team are often building and developing new machines in house. Like our bearing dynamometer used to create our Bio Grease. Or the Temperate Chamber, originally used for the development of tyre sealant but now used for lubrication development and general stability testing of other liquid formulas.
Our investment in the TriboLab, White Light Interferometer and 3D printer was the result of completing a mammoth government-sponsored research project into bicycle lubrication, in partnership with two leading laboratories: The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and The Laboratory of Government Chemists (LGC). This project helped us to create the blueprint required for new standards in the testing and development of bicycle lubrication.
We'll soon be releasing details of a new product that will allow all cyclists to experience the pro-level tech that our super-lab is capable of producing. It's a product that represents what is possible when leading specialists using comprehensive research methods, industry-leading data analytics and cutting-edge equipment, come together to create an industry-leading product that we can't wait to release.
The new launch will be here in a matter of days, so keep an eye out on our social channels for when it drops. Then get ready to rip up those PBs.