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Muc-Off Team Sky Hydrodynamic chain lube – review

The Muc-Off Hydrodynamic chain lube may be expensive but it's the best lube I've used, working superbly in a variety of conditions and offering impressive durability.

The involvement of Team Sky in the development of this lube is hard to miss, from the blue cap used on the bottle, logo on the side and even the blue tinting of the lube itself. It is certainly not a subtle brand association.

Muc-Off say Team Sky’s role was more than skin deep, with the request coming from Sir Dave Brailsford’s team for a fast and efficient chain lube. Considering the demands placed upon a rider’s equipment, and the miles a pro rider racks up, the choose of chain lube is fairly important consideration. The result, Muc-Off claim, is a lube which is said to be 15.5 per cent more efficient than the firm’s C3 lube when used on a Shimano Dura-Ace chain, and 27 per cent more efficient than a premium competitor’s lube, though, as ever, we’d take the latter with a pinch of salt without knowing what lube the Hydrodynamic is being compared to.

Still, Muc-Off reckon that 27 per cent improvement is worth more than seven watts, which is a significant gain. Muc-Off used their in-house ‘Chain Lube Optimisation Dynamometer’ (basically a chainring and sprocket rig) to measure the efficiency of the chain and lube combination, at the request of Team Sky, who needed any claimed advantage to be quantifiable. Marginal gains and all that.

Needless to say, we can’t stand those figures up, nor did we feel seven watts quicker out on the road, but what can be said is that the Hydrodynamic works very well in both wet and dry conditions, providing long-lasting protection.

Muc-Off say the lube is made from a hand-blended mix of esters (chemical compounds derived from an acid) coupled with ‘aerospace quality’ oil lubrication, to which pressure additives are added. That formula came after 15 blends were tested and the idea is that this combination creates a high-strength film which prevents metal-to-metal contact.

When applying the lube, two things jump out at you. The first is that unlike most other lubes, this is bright blue. It means that it is very easy to see where you are applying it and where it has permeated through your chain and rear derailleur. The second is that it actually smells slightly perfumed. Whether or not this is a deliberate move from Muc-Off, I don’t know, but I can say that my chain set has never smelt so good.

The lube also comes with a little UV light which I initially thought was a bit of a gimmick, but it genuinely works. Shine the light on your chain after application and you can see if you’ve got a consistent application – so, if you’re the type of person who needs to know exactly where your lubricant has reached, then you’re in luck.

In order for the lubricant to work to maximum effect it is advised that you apply it three to four hours prior to your ride. During this time you can see the viscosity and colour changing while on the chain, changing from light blue, to dark blue and then transparent.

Although this wait isn’t so much of a problem for professional teams, who have well prepared (and organised) mechanics on hand to take care of such jobs, the truth is that it is a bit of a pain for an amateur rider who may just want to quickly lubricate their chain before a Saturday morning ride. That’s not to say the lube won’t work, but it’s not going to be as effective.

During use I found that the lube kept everything ticking over well. I used this in a variety of conditions, from warm and humid days, through to soaking wet and freezing cold rides. I found that at the end of a four or five hour ride my bike was still performing as well as at the start.

The bottle itself is 50ml in size, which isn’t huge, considering the cost. It does mean you can stow it in a jersey pocket or saddlebag, should you need it mid-ride, but we can’t see any reason why you’d really want to do that. Either way, the nozzle is also well designed, being long and thin, allowing you to really the lube get into tight areas.

Given that the bottle is only 50ml, it’s a good thing that the lube lasts for a long time. I generally like to lubricate my chain after every long ride, but that’s not necessary with the Hydrodynamic lube. However, while you may have to use the lube less, the £16 RRP still makes it considerably more expensive than most other brands.

Conclusion

I can safely say that this is the best lubricant I have used, with very impressive durability and performance, while the ability to see exactly where it has permeated on your chain is really useful. As for any marginal gains, they may be useful for Team Sky but, in all likelihood, most of us have other gains to make up first. You can’t deny the performance, though, and the only real sticking point is the price, which would be steep for a 100ml bottle, let alone 50ml. That being said, this is a long-lasting lube if you are willing to pay the extra money, then you won’t be disappointed.

Pros

Impressive durability
Excellent performance in all weather
Easy to apply and see coating

Cons

Price
Small bottle
Long pre-ride prep time

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