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New C4 Wax chain lube is claimed to save 7 watts over a 60-minute time trial

Cleaning specialists Muc-Off have launched C4 Wax, a chain lube that has been developed with Team Sky. Muc-Off claim the lube can “produce savings of over 7 watts for a 60-minute time trial.” Their words, not ours.

Team Sky, who have been heavily involved in the development and testing of the new chain lube, first used it in this year’s Tour de France time trial. We know of course that Team Sky’s philosophy is all about marginal gains and even the slight difference a chain lube might potentially offer is something they'll take seriously. 

“In a discipline where seconds can be the difference between 1st and 10th place, it is a marginal gain that can help steer a rider to victory,” says Muc-Off.

To help them test and develop the new C4 Wax, Muc-Off built a ‘Chain Lube Efficiency Dynamometer’ that allowed them to thoroughly test the “efficiency and performance durability” of the new product, before it was fit to be testing in the real-world with Team Sky. The video above shows this contraption being used. 

“This [Dynamometer] allows the Muc-Off R&D team to hand pick the most efficient chains before treating them with the C4 Wax. After they are treated, the chains can be tested again and graded accordingly. This process allows Team Sky to give their G.C rider the most efficient chain and the other members of the team will use the chains that fit their role in the team,” adds Muc-Off.

Unfortuaently Muc-Off have no plans to make this C4 Wax available to the public, they are however developing a new lubricant based on C4 that will be available in the near future, and be easier to use than the heated wax system of C4. 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

17 comments

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daddyELVIS [656 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder if a 'quick puff before a big effort' is more or less than 7 watts?

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adrianoconnor [83 posts] 2 years ago
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“This [dynamoeter] allows the Muc-Off R&D team to hand pick the most efficient chains before treating them with the C4 Wax"

Wonder if this selection process happens to be part of the "7 watts more efficiency" claim?

If you bought the right tri gear (deep section wheels, aero bars, aero bike), the right webbed gloves and aero race jerseys, the right helmet and then used this lube, there'd technically be almost no need to pedal, because they all claim about 10W saving apiece  1

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SamSkjord [39 posts] 2 years ago
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I'll wait for the Friction Facts testing I think

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steven miles [24 posts] 2 years ago
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so in the muc-off video they state that the lube can give a 90 metre lead over a 60 min tt.
the current record i like is boardman's 56.375 k, or 56,375m.
90m represents 0.0015% of that distance.
I believe these items are termed marginal gains.

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rliu [55 posts] 2 years ago
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New heights of surrealism, unbelievable.

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DavidC [146 posts] 2 years ago
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"the other members of the team will use the chains that fit their role in the team"

This chain is shiite — it's for you.

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Welsh boy [316 posts] 2 years ago
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steven miles wrote:

The current record i like is boardman's 56.375 k, or 56,375m.
90m represents 0.0015% of that distance.
I believe these items are termed marginal gains.

But if you went for the hour record, wouldn't you like to beat it by 90m? I would. So, in my book, for a rider in that position, it is a benefit worth having.

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offshore_dave [62 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely it will only give you an advantage if nobody else is using it?

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offshore_dave [62 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't think its for sale anyway according to their website...

The C4 Chain Wax has been produced purely for Team Sky’s use for competitive time trials. However the Efficiency Dynamometer will now allow quantitive data analysis of all lubricants – liquid or wax. Muc-Off will continue to test it's own lubricants against that of competitors, to ensure they are the most efficient on the market!

I'll just have to have train harder.

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Al__S [1081 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder what the longevity" of the stuff is? After all, whilst their race bikes get stripped down and rebuilt every day, anyone on here that claims that every one of their bikes gets a full wash and relube after every ride is either not riding enough or telling porkies. Even the pros probably don't do that on their training bikes. As for those of us that commute...

So, never mind the marginal gain, how well does it put up with rain without acting like a magnet for gunk?

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [427 posts] 2 years ago
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Coming up next, Peter Belt rainbow foil for chains!

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oozaveared [945 posts] 2 years ago
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Indeed when you are already down to 4% body fat. Have trained to within a micron of human capability, already have a perfectly efficient pedalling style, honed your position in a windtunnel, bought the £15k bespoke TT bike then you'll need to get the extra 7w from some expensive blue wax lube.

Until then I suggest we all try to pedal a bit harder.

Oh and if this stuff really was worth 7w in a dog eat dog race. I bet Sky wouldn't let anyone else even know about it.

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Veloacciaio [18 posts] 2 years ago
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Nope.. I have woken up and it is the 1st of April. Isn't it?

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ricky1980 [26 posts] 2 years ago
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adrianoconnor wrote:

“This [dynamoeter] allows the Muc-Off R&D team to hand pick the most efficient chains before treating them with the C4 Wax"

Wonder if this selection process happens to be part of the "7 watts more efficiency" claim?

If you bought the right tri gear (deep section wheels, aero bars, aero bike), the right webbed gloves and aero race jerseys, the right helmet and then used this lube, there'd technically be almost no need to pedal, because they all claim about 10W saving apiece  1

there are mechanical and aerodynamic efficiencies in any moving systems.

the lub deals with the former where clothing, shape of wheel and shape of bike deals with the latter.

bike can also improve mechanical efficiency by being stiffer etc etc.

also mechanical efficient is more important when climbing etc and aero efficiency is almost no point if you are in the middle of a peleton or going up a big climb

on the otherside during time trial mechanical and aero efficiency would be high, but i suspect to get the 7watt the lub needs, you need to output some ridiculous amount of effort i.e. during a climb so a more burst of energy as opposed to a sustained output. if that makes sense.

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armb [103 posts] 2 years ago
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> 90m represents 0.0015% of that distance

No, 90/56,375 is 0.0015, or 0.15%

(That's still a tiny amount if you aren't racing, of course.)

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Yennings [237 posts] 2 years ago
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I like Muc-Off products but Team Sky just keeps getting more and more wanky.

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antonio [1134 posts] 2 years ago
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If the ingredients can be skewed to turn out to be 'Sky Blue' so too can the results.