Latest News #11 – Marginal Gains Podcast for ZFC

Well – I must say I was a bit humbled to be invited onto the top tech podcast for cycling – (well, it’s always been my favourite along with Cycling Tips Nerd Alert) Marginal Gains, to discuss of course chains & lubricants and testing – but what do you know years of plugging away in area no one else was and that I was pretty passionate about needed doing, and holy batman here we are 🙂

Big thanks of course to Josh Poertner for having me on, and with luck if I don’t sound too much like a bumbling looney, will again help the main focus of saving drivetrains around the world from an early black death, and help combat some of the less helpful information out there being pumped out – sometimes by publications who should definitely know better / be doing better.

It’s quite funny (and timely), that Muc-Off have just launched a new spray on wet lube. I will try not to be too harsh on Muc-Off as I haven’t tested it, but – ZFC initial opinion is that his lubricant is a very, very, very (insert a few more very’s) bad idea.

For a start, no spray on lubricant yet has shown any remote promise of being a top level lubricant choice. So little actual lubricant makes it to the pin, that you pretty much need to spray about a third of the can on to get some short term lubrication happening.

Secondly, it is a very wasteful approach to applying a lubricant. You can see even from their own launch, at least half of it is going to go on the floor versus your chain. What on earth is the point of applying a lubricant to a thin bicycle chain like that.

From Muc-Off’s launch;

“At Muc-Off we’re always looking for new ways to innovate, even with our existing products. To be able to offer an easier way of applying our much-loved Wet Weather Lube is a rad way of introducing new riders to bike care – it’s an exciting adaption to one of our products.” Alex Trimnell, CEO at Muc-Off. 

Right – laying it on a bit thick for taking a bottle of lube and turning it into an aerosol spray application. But also, for the record, being innovative doesn’t necessarily mean better. I could bring an innovative new way to open my front door involving 173 new hinge mechanisms, that doesn’t mean I have improved the way I open my front door.  Moving from applying the lubricant directly to your chain to a new way of ensuring only around half of the lubricant gets on your chain and half of it on the floor and your rim brake track, that is innovative alright, but I’m not listing that in the improvement column. Marketing. The best product I have ever seen Muc-Off produce thus far is marketing.

Lastly – the lubricant itself, again I haven’t tested it, but after the record breaking worst results ever for Muc-Off Hydrodynamic and Muc-Off Nano, their refusal to answer any questions re products whatsoever, and their refusal to answer any questions re their seemingly obviously dodged up testing for NTC launch – testing muc off products has been extremely low priority when I am already banked up and way behind testing a lot of very promising products.

However, based on the performance of a) what I have tested and b) the drive train lifespans I see for customers on muc-off lubricants, the odds on their wet lubricant being in the same ball park as other known top wet lubes such as Nix Frix Shun, and one that I have high faith may be setting the new bar on that – Silca’s new Synergetic, I rate as extremely low. In fact if they are in the same hemisphere of performance, I will be pleasantly surprised.

So, if a new innovative way to ensure you apply a likely not great lube to your chain, floor and rim brake track appeals to you – this is the product for you.


If all of the above seems a bit harsh and assumptive for a product I haven’t tested yet, I will accept that criticism. I will look to add a muc-off product to my test list as soon as they answer my questions from the NTC launch and the Nano / Hydro performance. And…. Again, remember I see a lot of drive trains, and I haven’t seen one yet get some great miles on a muc off lube. We do see a lot of very creative marketing though. And I do feel a little bit sorry for the likely very large number of employees who believe they are helping get some great products into the market place, as well as LBS workers selling to customers –  I liken it a bit to working for malboro cigarettes in the 70’s when they could be sold as a health product and help reduce the chances of getting cancer – they didn’t know that what they were doing wasn’t great.

Again, if I end up being wrong and muc-off wet lube is in fact a brilliant product that can genuinely take it to the likes of Nix Frix Shun and Silca Synergetic, I will in the fullness of time eat humble pie when its proven. However I still don’t know why I would want to put half of it on my floor and brake track, I will still need clarification on that part.

In interim I would like to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger from Terminator Dark Fate – “Don’t do that”.

Hope you get a chance to listen to the latest marginal gains podcast, remember to put any comments and questions on the marginal gains podcast comments section, and as josh advised in the podcast he will help me craft 1000 word responses to any questions!