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Verdict: 
Impressive claims but hard to validate through testing
Weight: 
176g
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Muc-Off Amino Ultra Endurance and Amino Recovery Balm
5 10

Muc-Off, best known for its pink bicycle cleaner, has been expanding into other markets, and the latest is a range of products intended to care for the body, including this Amino Ultra Endurance and Amino Recovery Balm. Although I found the cooling sensation of the Amino Recovery Balm appreciable after a hard ride, it didn't really make any noticeable difference in how my legs felt the following day, and as for the Amino Ultra Endurance, I found any improvements impossible to pinpoint.

Earlier this year Muc-Off unveiled four products in its new Athlete Protection Range. I've been testing the Amino Ultra Endurance and Amino Recovery Balm over the past couple of months, and as products intended to be used before and after a ride, it made sense to talk about them in the same review.

Find your nearest dealer here 

Buy the Amino Ultra Endurance online here 

Buy the Amino Recovery Balm online here 

I must admit to being mildly sceptical when I first started testing the products, but I'm willing to try anything that might help me ride faster.

Amino Ultra Endurance, £24 for 150ml

The Amino Ultra Endurance contains Amino Taurine (isn't that the stuff in Red Bull?), which, according to Muc-Off, helps “convert glycogen into glucose” and “increases muscle's cell volume capacity”, working to “protect your muscle cells against lactate accumulation”. Still with me? The result of that complexity is the claim that the cream can reduce the onset of lactic acid build-up.

So I slapped some onto my legs and went for a ride. Applying the cream is straightforward. It's dispensed from the tube in a manageable form and, provided you don't squirt out too much, is quickly absorbed into the skin. There's not much sensation, no burning or cooling – this isn't trying to be an embrocation cream.

I tested the cream over a number of weeks, using it on every single ride, and then on alternate days, to try to see if it provided an appreciable boost in endurance. I even slathered it on just a single leg, to see if there was a noticeable difference.

The result? My legs still felt tired when I expected them to be tired, when riding familiar routes at a familiar intensity level. I was simply unable to detect any difference, and certainly no performance improvement, after applying the cream.

Amino Recovery Balm, £24 for 150ml

After a ride, it's all about recovery. Muc-Off's new Amino Recovery Balm uses a glutamine amino acid to, and these are the company's claims, “revive, recondition and freshen the legs and body”.

In use, the cream provides an instant cooling sensation, which is certainly very calming for tired and sore legs. As with the Endurance cream, I tested the product over a decent period of time. I applied it after rides of varying intensity, from short blasts to all-day rides. I ride my bike every day, so being able to recover quickly so I have good legs the following day is important to me.

Again, as with the Endurance product, it was hard to support the claims that it boosts recovery after a ride through my own testing. While the instant cooling sensation was very pleasant and did have a calming effect after a ride, it's possibly more psychological than physiological. So, good in the first hour immediately after a ride, but any improvement in performance the following day was a claim harder to support with my testing.

Can I recommend the Muc-Off products? This is the hardest part of the review. They're not cheap and their performance claims are tricky to validate, so no, I can't really recommend them. But you might get more out of them than I did. There are probably easier and cheaper things you can do to improve recovery and endurance, but if you want to try it out for yourself, each 150ml tube costs £24.

Verdict

Impressive claims but hard to validate through testing

road.cc test report

Make and model: Muc-Off Amino Ultra Endurance and Amino Recovery Balm

Size tested: 150ml

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

AMINO RECOVERY BALM

Muc-Off says: "Muscle recovery is a crucial element to an athletes training regime - ensure your muscles are ready sooner, with Muc-Off Amino Recovery."

AMINO ULTRA ENDURANCE

Muc-Off says: "Muc-Off Amino Ultra Endurance helps you go further for longer by naturally fighting against lactic acid build up."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Muc-Off says:

AMINO RECOVERY BALM

The Amino Glutamine increases glycogen storage and hydrates muscle cells

Featuring our ground breaking 'Amino Patch Technology'

Increases protein synthesis and energy metabolism, which in turn, helps improve the body's regeneration process

A non-toxic, skin friendly, plant derived natural formula

AMINO ULTRA ENDURANCE

The Amino Taurine helps convert Glycogen into Glucose which is your muscles main fuel

Developed specifically for Endurance athletes to help combat the build up of lactic acid

Reduces 'arm pump' for MX, Downhill MTB or Motorsports

Featuring our ground breaking 'Amino Patch Technology'

Increases muscle's cell volume capacity, achieving greater muscle/protein synthesis

A non-toxic, skin friendly, plant derived natural formula

Does not interfere with the body's digestive system

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
5/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
5/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
5/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's a lot of money for a questionable, hard-to-prove, performance benefit.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Difficult to asses its benefits even after thorough testing.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The cooling effect of the Recovery Balm was nice.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Questionable benefits.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not in the long-term.

Would you consider buying the product? Not really.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.

Use this box to explain your score

With performance gains tricky to determine, it's not easy to recommend the Muc-Off products.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

 

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.

5 comments

Avatar
olic [74 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Glutamine and taurine topical cream?  20

Avatar
Bobbinogs [254 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

What next? Muc Off Snake Oil?

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

You can absorb amino acids through your skin, but it's a bit like trying to get drunk by rubbing whiskey into your feet.

A silly product.

Avatar
jetblack [17 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

this stuff is rubbish

Avatar
therealsmallboy [169 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Rubbing cream into the skin will not change the ability of the muscles under the skin to resist lactate build-up during anaerobic activity. It's pure bollocks.

Lactic acid build-up is caused when we exercise at a high enough intensity that it is being produced quicker than it can be removed. Aerobic exercise produces very low levels and it is easily removed from the cells, which means there is greater capacity within the cells for the metabolic processes to continue. Anaerobic, high-intensity exercise produces significantly more lactate, so you gradually run out of 'room' within the cells for the process to happen. They literally become saturated with the waste product. That's why you slowly feel your legs turn to lead when sprinting/climbing etc.

The only way to change the way this happens is through hard lactate threshold training (intervals, HIIT etc.) followed by correct diet and rest, or taking some serious performance enhancing substances.

Muc-Off (and the other companies peddling this crap) need a slap from Trading Standards. It's fraud, praying on people who don't know the facts.