It was a little over a year ago when UK’s Muc-Off released what they claimed to be the world’s fastest chain, the Nanotube Optimised Chain.
It’s a chain of your choice impeccably cleaned, broken-in and hand-treated in their own secret nanotube-infused lube. It retailed for $162 in Shimano Dura-Ace/XTR instead of the normal $35, give or take.
Wiggins used it for his hour record, Froome used it in the 2017 Tour and Vuelta, and Team Great Britain used it with great results in the 2016 Rio games.
And now Muc-Off is back with another chain, the NTC Nanotube.
On paper, the NTC is essentially the same as version 1.0. The major difference here is the NTC forgoes the broken-in treatment, thus shortening production time and lowering the cost. The NTC chain is said to be 10 watts faster than the wax-based CeramicSpeed UFO Racing Chain over racing distance after four hours with no drop-off in performance.
The NTC chain will have identical performance as the original pre broken-in Nanotube Chain after four hours of riding at 250+ watts. That means a light to moderate spin for four hours. But you already knew that.
There’s even a top-up lube that is said to generate savings within 1-2 watts of the original chain. The Nanotube Lube will retail for $64.99
At $150, the NTC Nanotube chain is still by no means cheap for a few watts of saving but if you want a proven high-performance all-weather chain to further optimize your steed, then look no further.
Surely, you have experienced the thrill of obtaining a new bottle of chain lube. You haven’t? Well cycling’s most humble essential has a new trick up its sleeve with Muc-Off’s C3 Dry Ceramic Lube, so shut up about that power meter and hold on to your socks!
Already a high-performing dry lubricant that will clad a chain’s inner workings in a friction-fighting embrace, C3 also has the unusual ability to glow neon green under an included ultraviolet light. This quirky trait allows the user to verify a chain has drawn up just the right amount of lube, eliminating the guesswork that comes with most alternatives.
Granted, applying chain lubricant is hardly rocket science. Yet it is a novel joy to see precisely how well C3 works its way into the hundreds of articulations that comprise a bicycle chain. Making the task easier is a well-designed, narrow bottle with a built-in applicator around two inches in length.
Now, there is no way in the world I could possibly tell you whether C3 actually reduced the friction in my drivetrain to any measurable result. Are you crazy? All I can add here is that UK-based Muc-Off does sponsor Team Sky at the time of this writing, an organization that strikes me as a little…meticulous…when it comes to vetting performance.
What I can tell you, however, is that C3 has an uncanny ability to shed crud. After consecutive days of wet-road riding left my bike in shambles, I was surprised to look down and see my chain utterly gleaming against the mess of my cassette.
C3 is more viscous than the dry lube I am used to, and the feel of a lubricated chain reminded me somewhat of the way a chain feels when it is fresh from the box (awesome). The lube holds up over multiple days of abuse, is easy to apply and freakin’ glows. It glows, man!