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Muc-Off's Ludicrous AF Lube is one of a number claiming to be the fastest chain lube in the world; it's certainly the most expensive per ml currently. It lasts a long time, and in all weathers, but it also attracts dirt much faster than other lubes and, as a result, chain wear is increased.
The world of chain lubricants seems extremely competitive at the moment, with multiple companies having a product on the market that they claim to be the fastest. CeramicSpeed did so with the new formula UFO drip when that was released, and when Dave tested the AbsoluteBlack GraphenLube in February last year that was also claimed to be the fastest, and it was also the most expensive: £114.99 for 140ml (£0.82 per ml). Muc-Off's Ludicrous AF trumps it, though, at £49.99 for 50ml – it's basically £1 per ml.
The lube isn't wax based, as some faster chain treatments are. There's very little information given by Muc-Off on the formula, except that it is biodegradable, petroleum-free and made from renewable sources.
To test the lube I used it on multiple styles of bikes, both indoors and out, riding in all conditions including some very wet weather and colder days on salted roads, as well as some milder, drier days.
In all instances, before applying the lube I used an ultrasonic cleaner with white spirit inside, followed by blasting any remaining fluid off using an air compressor and finally wiping with isopropyl alcohol to remove any lasting residue.
I then applied the Ludicrous AF as suggested, one drop of the fluid per link applied. The process is simple, if a little more time consuming than some might expect; if you want an even simpler solution you can use an authorised dealer with the 'Muc-Off Ultrasonic Optimisation Service', which will set you back £49.99 per application.
Muc-Off recommends leaving the lube on the chain for 24 hours before using it, which I followed on each application and reapplication.
When applying the lube I weighed the bottle before and after, and found I was using 4g or 5g with this method. With the 50ml bottle, you can expect between 10 and 12 applications, each costing £4 to £5.
While using the lube on an indoor smart trainer alongside a second power meter, I attempted to test the efficiency claims against three other chain lubes, but despite my best efforts to keep the testing as controlled as possible, I wasn't confident in the accuracy of the results.
Muc-Off has performed its own testing and independent testing through New Motion Labs, a company that has developed a specific test rig for testing but hasn't any published data on any other chain lube products.
To date, Ludicrous AF hasn't had a full test published by any other independent testing facility, such as Zero Friction Cycling, and without that it's impossible to confirm or deny the data Muc-Off supplies.
One aspect that I have been able to test thoroughly is the longevity of the lube, riding through all manner of conditions to see how it performs and, crucially, how long it can last.
In challenging wet road conditions it did exceptionally well – a single application lasting 550km. After each ride there was still a coating of lube on the chain links, and it was still quiet in use.
The big downside, however, is that the chain collected dirt and gradually turned black, and while this didn't happen as quickly as with some wet chain lubes I've used, the long-lasting nature of the Ludicrous AF will encourage longer use on the bike.
It developed a black coating after less than 50km, and by the end of the final test ride, after 550km, it was very black. Compared with almost all wax-based chain lubes I've used, it was significantly dirtier.
While it isn't possible to test how the performance is affected by the increase in contaminants attracted, what became clear by the end of the test was that chain wear was significantly increased.
With a new chain and cassette fitted in November and almost every ride since using Muc-Off Ludicrous AF, I measured the chain wear at 0.5%, which is the recommended limit for 11-speed chains, after just 1,750km. In normal use, when using other wax lubricants, I will usually see in excess of 8,000km for a chain.
When compared to a much cheaper drip lube such as Squirt or Smoove, or solid, non-drip lubes such as Molten Speed Wax, the Ludicrous AF not only costs significantly more per application but also attracts more dirt and will increase drivetrain wear.
Add the cost of the lube itself to the cost of increased component wear and it makes for a very expensive chain lube.
I haven't been able to test it directly against Silca's Synergetic Drip Lube or AbsoluteBlack GraphenLube; both appear to be serious competitors, but Mike, who tested the Silca Synergetic, has reaffirmed the performance and potential reduction in cost due to less wear, which seems the opposite to Muc-Off Ludicrous AF.
As I said earlier, it's the most expensive out there, and for all but the most performance-focused riders the potential gains here are unlikely to be justified. To reiterate: Ludicrous AF works out at about £1 per ml, and using 4-5ml per application that's £4 to £5 each time; AbsoluteBlack is £0.82 per ml (no data for the amount required for each application); and Silca is £0.53 per ml – at 1ml per application that's £0.53 a go. When you consider the lab conditions data from Muc-Off show Silca being extremely close in performance, you would really want every fraction of a watt to consider Ludicrous AF over the competition.
While it's impossible for us to test the accuracy of the claims, Ludicrous AF certainly has some performance attributes that are potentially extremely good. It certainly lasts longer than any other chain lube I've tested, but it has also worn out a chain in record time, almost certainly because of the dirt and contaminants collected and creating a black coating on the chain.
If you accept the claimed figures and are looking to make every possible watt saving, have the time and patience to apply it correctly to a perfectly clean chain, ensure it stays clean, and are happy to spend a considerable amount of money, then perhaps it is worth trying. For most of us, though, the cost and performance gains make it hard to justify.
Excellent longevity in all conditions, but claimed performance gains come at a steep price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Muc-Off Ludicrous AF Lube
Size tested: 50ml
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?
This one's for the speed freaks. Say hello to the world's fastest race lube – Ludicrous AF. It's pure drivetrain dynamite!
This badass bottle of liquid magic has been in the works with our lab boffins for over three years. The result is a category-leading piece of exceptional science that marries unrivalled speed with sustainability, through cutting-edge research and innovation.
It's the F1 car of bike lubes – stripped back to the bare essentials. That means no colouring, no fragrance, no additional corrosion inhibitor, just a unique blend of renewable and readily biodegradable ingredients designed to minimise chain friction and wear, whilst maximising performance in all conditions. This all means one thing – RAW SPEED!
With an ultra-viscous formula that makes its way into every contact point of your chain, smoothness and silence is guaranteed. So when you're chasing the competition you can shift with the confidence that you're using the best around.
Developed in secret over a number of years by Muc-Off's in-house R&D Team, tested with INEOS Grenadiers, EF Education-NIPPO, BMC Pro Triathlon, Canyon//SRAM, plus other professional teams and athletes, Ludicrous AF takes drivetrain performance to a whole new level. Perfected throughout the 2020 Grand Tour season, with multiple podiums and overall wins at the last two Giro d'Italias, you simply won't find a faster lube!
Calling all hardcore roadies, track racers & triathletes, the game just changed!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Works in temperatures down to -20°C
Pipette system for easy application
Petroleum-free formula for eco protection
Derived from renewable sources
Proprietary additives for self-lubricating capabilities
The world's fastest race lube... period
Ultra-low coefficient of friction
Class-leading low wear on chain components
Super stable in all temperatures (unlike waxes)
Provides the ultimate performance in both wet and damp or dry and dusty conditions
Our highest performing, lowest friction lube used by global professional road, track, triathlon and MTB athletes
Continues to improve with chain run-in due to continued surface improvement at a molecular level
Outperforms competitor chain lubes and waxes
Used throughout 2020 & 2021 Tour de France
Biodegradable and sustainable
Prolongs the life of your chain
Super durable – re-coats friction surfaces
Synthetic polymers for long-distance performance
Great wear characteristics for incredible durability
Low noise formulation
Doesn't wax up
Nowhere near as clean as wax-based chain lubes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impossible to gauge or test the potential performance gains claims. It does last extremely well in all conditions, but that longevity will likely encourage people to keep it on the chain, even when dirty, increasing drivetrain wear.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nicely designed bottle and the consistency of the lube, making it easy to apply the same amount to each chain link, although it is not a quick job. It does also last very well, even in the foulest of weather, to the detriment of the chain...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as clean as wax lubricants, increase in chain wear, and takes a little time to apply. And also the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
AbsoluteBlack GraphenLube is £114.99 for 140ml, so costs less per ml, while Silca Synergetic is a slightly larger bottle at 60ml, but cheaper at £32.
Did you enjoy using the product? Initially, until I realised how quickly chain wear had been affected.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
Muc-Off Ludicrous AF Lube lasts extremely well and is claimed to be the fastest in the world, but it collected far more dirt than expected and chain wear was affected. It is difficult to justify the price for the marginal claimed performance advantages.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.