The market is literally awash with wonder lubes promising slicker drivetrains, lower maintenance and phenomenal durability but Muc-Off C3 Dry is one of the few 'summer' blends stocky enough to resist winter's wrath without gumming up cleat mechanisms, jockey wheels and the like. However, its four hour curing time requires a more patient, methodical approach.
Most advanced semi-synthetics work on a two part basis. A super invasive distillate trafficks friction-busting fluoro polymers deep into the chain while boron nitride or a similar stopper prevents it being flushed away come the first puddle.
Muc-off are pretty coy about the exact composition of C3 Dry Lube but say it's fully biodegradable and employs boron nitride for minimal friction, theoretically extending component life. Apparently UV sensitive, it's supplied with a clever little torch designed to ensure complete coverage but this smacks of gimmickry. You'd be hard pressed to miss the 'alien' green fluid as it flows from the spout.
As with any new lube, recipient chains, mechanisms and similar surfaces require a quick tour de chain bath/solvent scrub. While those potions are evaporating, unscrew the CF3's spout and puncture the foil lid before reinstating and drizzling sparingly into each link as usual.
Delivery is more predictable than most so wastage and/or clean up time is greatly reduced, though keep some old clean rag handy to collect any drips since these are devilishly difficult to remove, even from concrete floors.
Within 20 minutes it assumes a clear, almost lacquered effect. It makes a surprisingly effective assembly paste too, not quite on par with syrupy wet types but one drop seems adequate for bottle/mudguard/carrier and stem bolts. Curing times religiously obeyed, it's faintly tacky to touch but rewards with minimal friction, notably improving cleat entry/exits, and drivetrains/shifting feel decidedly friskier.
Soggy, salty November outings have made negligible impression upon these characteristics and I've been astounded by how clean my Univega's drivetrain remains despite perpetual exposure to waterlogged, silty lanes with occasional cross country short cuts thrown in for good measure. Its qualities were less obvious on my cross inspired fixer given the inherently simple transmission, but tending to rear wheel punctures has been a notably cleaner business.
175 miles per application is pretty impressive and maintenance limited to occasional clean rag wipe-overs, which justifies the steeper asking price. However, without knowing its precise chemical makeup, I've avoided river crossings, wherever possible.
Genuinely impressive lube that is both clean and extremely tenacious. However, I'm not completely convinced of its true environmentally friendly credentials.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Muc-Off C3 Dry Ceramic Lube
Size tested: 120ml
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?
"C3 Dry Ceramic Chain Lube raises the bar when it comes to providing the ultimate lubrication. It provides total corrosion protection and unparalleled performance in dry, dusty and damp conditions. With added nano ceramic particles and synthetic polymers, C3 Dry Ceramic Chain Lube maximises your power output by reducing metal to metal contact to a ground breaking, low level and provides up to 10 times the performance of conventional chain oils and lubes. The Muc-Off R&D team definitely didn't cut corners when they brought the future of bike lubes to the masses.
In fact, our team made sure the C3 Dry Ceramic Lube is safe by creating a biodegradable, petroleum free formula so you don't have to worry about yourself, your bike or the planet. The new C3 Dry Ceramic Lube is available in 5ml, 50ml, 120ml and 1ltr sizes so whether you're in the workshop, on the road or hitting the trails, we've got you covered". Marketing puff aside, I've been suitably impressed.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Provides the ultimate performance in damp, dry & dusty conditions
* Petroleum free formula for eco protection
* Ceramic coating for increased drive chain protection
* Synthetic polymers for long distance performance
* Incredible durability
* Pipette system for easy application
Eco FriendlyOur unique formula contains no harmful acids, CFCs or solvents and is fully biodegradable.
Boron Nitride Our formula contains Boron Nitride which can withstand temperatures up to 1200°C.
Extremely clean, yet very tenacious in most contexts. Surprisingly adept through a soggy, silty November.
Not on par with wet types but won't evolve into a sludgy transmission-gobbling paste either.
Generally nice to apply, though curing time will frustrate some.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, CF3 dry has been a really pleasant surprise, keeping drivetrain components phenomenally slick without attracting dirt or washing away come the first puddle. Curing times will frustrate some and the UV torch smacks of gimmick but otherwise I'm pretty impressed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Low friction and commendable staying prowess.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
UV torch is a bit gimmicky.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)