The UCI Hour Record - How far can you cycle around a track in an hour? It's a simple challenge, but one that in recent years has become one of cycling's most hotly contested records.
Last month, INEOS Grenadiers performance engineer Dan Bigham became the latest in a line of cycling powerhouses to take the win, racking up a staggering 55.548km... In one hour! Next time you're out slaying Strava segments, get yourself up to 55kph (if you can!) and see how long you can hold the pace for - It's quick... really quick.
Bigham's achievement, epic as it was, was in many ways the warm up act to the main event. On October 8th, INEOS Grenadiers UCI WorldTeam rider Filippo Ganna plans to combine all the knowledge gathered by the team from Dan's attempt, with his world-class speed, to set a new record that's so out of reach even MC Hammer couldn't touch it!
Photo credit: Eltoromedia.com
Bigham's success was the result of the meticulous data-led preparations undertaken in the build-up. Back in October 2021, he took the title of British Hour Record holder from Sir Bradley Wiggins, whose successful attempt was powered by none-other than our NTOC chain. In the hunt for more power and greater efficiency, Dan picked up the phone to us, calling on the same drivetrain expertise that helped power Wiggins ti victory back 2015.
We teamed up with Bigham in order to finalise and optimise the key drivetrain components over a two-month period earlier this year. Starting with the analysis of hardware combinations and creation of bespoke test components, the resulting drivetrain data was used to give recommendations based on efficiency levels for each combination. This data was incorporated into Dan’s aero testing data to ultimately determine the final hardware selection.
Following this provisional round of testing, the chosen Izumi Kai ½” track chain was coated in our high performance race lubricant – Ludicrous AF, because when you're attempting to ride the fastest hour of your life, only the world's fastest race lube will do!
“In my role as Performance Engineer at INEOS Grenadiers, I’m used to working closely with the team at Muc-Off and have first-hand experience of the gains their products and processes deliver for the team. Their attention to detail on this record was incredible: Machining their own bespoke test componentry, painstakingly completing round after round of optimisation, even labelling everything up clearly ready for the attempt, they took complete care of the drivetrain, leaving me to focus solely on getting the job done out on the track.” Dan Bigham, Performance Engineer at INEOS Grenadiers.
The coating was applied using our Ultrasonic Chain Optimisation process, to allow us to unlock the chain’s full potential for maximum benefit. The process involves heating lube in an Ultrasonic Tank to the precise temperature required to create an optimum viscosity, enabling penetration deep into all contact points within the chain links. This ‘all-over’ coating dramatically reduces friction inside the chain when compared to hand application, and less friction means more speed. It’s this combination of lube formulation and ultrasonic application which reduces friction and increases the number of watts making it through the drivetrain to the rear wheel - You can read all about this on our Performance Hub.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Both the final race chain and the back-up chain went through our full eleven-step optimisation process seven times! The result of this compound treatment approach is enhanced by Ludicrous AF's unique chemistry, which means greater and greater levels of efficiency with every application, as shown below:
The total optimisation process of each chain and ring supplied for the record took around seventeen hours to complete, during which we were able to achieve a massive 15% saving of watts lost through the drivetrain adding a total of 87m to the final record distance - a huge advantage for a record famous for being so tightly contested.
The team how now switched to working on Ganna's chain, optimising and analysing every aspect of the drivetrain in search of more efficiency gains, helping him to prove that lightning really can strike twice!
Our Ludicrous AF lube and Ultrasonic Chain Optimisation process aren't just for the pros. Here at Muc-Off, we're all about making pro-level technology available for every rider to enjoy. If you're hunting down a performance goal, or just fancy a taste of the 'pro-experience' treat yourself to a bottle of Ludicrous AF or use our interactive map to find your nearest Muc-Off Chain Optimisation Centre.
With record-breaking levels of drivetrain efficiency - the road is yours!