Muc-Off’s fastest chain just got cheaper, but there's a catch...

Specially treated £109 NTC chain claims to save up to 10 watts over competition

Muc-Off has launched another specially treated chain for those seeking marginal gains from their drivetrain.

The Nanotube Chain, or NTC, builds on experience gained from the company’s previous coated chains and uses a formulation that’s been put to practice on the spinning cogs of Chris Froome and Team Sky. Muc-Off's tests show the NTC can amount to savings of up to 10 watts over similar products on the market. 

The £109 / €130 / $150 NTC starts off life as a ‘regular’ Shimano Dura-Ace component before being sonic cleaned and treated by hand with what Muc-Off calls a carbon nanotube formulation.

Muc-Off states that it won’t reach optimum performance until it’s been ridden on a turbo for 4–6 hours

This friction-reducing treatment is applied in a way that is more cost effective than Muc-Off’s previous efforts, which we covered last year. This means the NTC actually requires a running in period. Muc-Off states that it won’t reach optimum performance until it’s been ridden on a turbo for 4–6 hours, which let's be honest, is hardly convenient for those buying it for race use.

Those who want the best performance straight out of the box will have to spend extra for the company's £140 (international pricing TBC) flagship NTOC chain.

But why should one buy the NTC over many of the wax-based, pre-treated chains on the market? It’s all to do with longevity according to Muc-Off, whose in-house tests have revealed a severe drop off in the performance of such chains.

One example was CeramicSpeed’s Shimano UFO Chain, which delivered an impressive 4.5–5 watt efficiency reduction for only a short while before beginning to deteriorate after only 18 minutes.

In comparison, Muc-Off’s NTC only continued to get faster, with over 10 watts advantage against CeramicSpeed’s latest treatment UFO Shimano Chain, after four hours.

Muc-Off claims this performance is enough for an NTC equipped rider to gain a three mile advantage over a 112 mile Ironman bike stage (calculated using an average time of six hours and 25 minutes).

Muc-Off has also published further findings from its own testing, whereby the NTC comes out on top against 14 other chains treated in various ways. You can see the full report on the NTC chain’s brochure here.

The NTC will also be good for "many hundreds of miles of all-weather riding,"  according to the company, while a ‘top-up’ bottle of Nanotube Lube — which is supposed to return an NTC to within 1–2 watts of its original efficiency — will also be sold.

It’s not cheap though, you’re looking at £49.99 / €59.99 / $64.99 for a 50ml bottle — that's pretty much £1 per millilitre!

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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