Muc-Off has launched its latest chain lube, Ludicrous AF, with the bold claim that it is “the world’s fastest chain lube”.
Priced at £49.99 / €64.99 / $64.99 for a 50ml bottle, it’s also one of the most expensive chain lubes on the market, in terms of pounds per millilitre.
Made from renewable and 100 per cent biodegradable ingredients, Muc-Off claims a chain treated with Ludicrous AF lube consumes 18 per cent less power over two hours of use than one with absoluteBLACK GraphenLube, and 195 per cent less power than a chain treated with CeramicSpeed’s UFO drip lube.
Muc-Off also claims the lube offers “the quietest and silkiest shifting available”.
As for the name, Muc-Off confirms: “Yes, the AF does stand for what you think it does.”
What is Muc-Off claiming?
According to Muc-Off’s in-house testing, a brand-new chain treated with Ludicrous AF lubricant and run for two hours on the brand’s in-house dynamometer consumes 5, 18 and 195 per cent less power than chains treated with Silca Synergetic, absoluteBlack GraphenLube and CeramicSpeed UFO drip lube, respectively.
A second two-hour, dynamometer test was also performed after each chain had been run in for six hours at 300 watts.
In this test, the chain treated with Ludicrous AF lube consumed 3, 15 and 124 per cent less power than chains treated with Silca Synergetic, absoluteBlack GraphenLube and CeramicSpeed UFO drip lube, respectively, according to Muc-Off.
All chains were ultrasonically cleaned prior to testing, too, and each lubricant was applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It’s not clear what these figures equate to in absolute wattage terms, though, because the graphs supplied by Muc-Off lack a precise scale. Muc-Off also declined to put a figure to these claims when asked to do so.
What’s it made from?
Muc-Off confirmed Ludicrous AF is oil-based and made from “readily biodegradable ingredients derived from renewable sources”. Unsurprisingly, it declined to reveal the exact formula, saying the precise blend of oils and friction modifiers is “top-secret”.
The advantage of synthetic oil-based chain lubes is that the application process is very simple. There’s usually no need to remove the packaging grease from the chain prior to application, for example (which is typically required for wax-based lubricants).
On the flip-side, because they stay wet, oil-based lubricants tend to attract a larger amount of contaminants when used in the real world, which can quickly lead to an increase in friction beyond what would be seen under lab conditions.
Nevertheless, Muc-Off says Ludicrous AF offers “unbeatable performance in both wet and damp or dry and dusty conditions at a range of temperatures”.
Standing up to scrutiny
When any brand launches a new product with claims it beats everything else in existence, it’s perhaps no surprise that those claims will come under scrutiny.
Muc-Off says Ludicrous AF is the result of years of research and development, and has been subject to extensive testing both in-house and by its sponsored WorldTour teams – Ineos Grenadiers and EF Education-Nippo.
While Muc-Off’s test results show only three competitor lubricants – a small sample size for a lube claimed to be the world’s fastest – the company tells us it “screen-tested over 30 competitor lubes”, but narrowed down the field to concentrate its most rigorous testing on “high performing race lubes that operate within the same space as Ludicrous AF.”
Muc-Off also says its results have been independently validated by New Motion Labs, a British manufacturer of novel drivetrain parts, who have recently set up a drivetrain efficiency testing rig at the University of Bath, in south-west England.
Muc-Off has been searching for top-end (and suitably expensive) gains in its products for a few years now, having launched its NanoTube chain lube back in 2017.
The pre-treated chain was claimed to offer a power saving of up to 6 watts, but CeramicSpeed issued a robust response disputing Muc-Off’s performance claims and criticising its testing protocols.
As far as Ludicrous AF is concerned, Muc-Off says it has “absolute confidence” in its testing methods and results.