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CeramicSpeed responds to Muc-Off chain friction claims

Published October 25, 2017

HOLSTEBRO, Denmark (BRAIN) — High-end component brand CeramicSpeed has responded to Muc-Off's claims about its recently introduced specially treated low-friction chain. In launching its Nanotube chain this month, Muc-Off specifically claimed that it offered lower friction than CeramicSpeed's competing product over longer race distances. 

Both companies offer chains from major manufacturers that have been cleaned and then treated with a special low friction lubricant. 

Last year, CeramicSpeed acquired Friction Facts, a Boulder, Colorado, company founded by engineer Jason Smith. Smith had developed his own friction testing machinery and procedures and developed a wax-based chain treatment procedure that CeramicSpeed took over after the acquisition. 

Smith said that Muc-Off's claims about its new chain's superiority to CeramicSpeed's UFO chains was based on faulty testing. In particular, he took issue with Muc-Off's characterizing a CeramicSpeed chain as measuring increasing friction, of more than 14 watts' drag, at a standard wattage level over longer distances. Smith's own testing puts the chain's friction at about 4 watts and finds that friction remains low for at least 600 kilometers of use.

CeramicSpeed has released a 7-page paper written by Smith that describes why he concluded Muc-Off's testing procedure was incorrect. Smith surmised that Muc-Off uses a chain friction-measuring machine that keeps constant tension on the chain, and runs the chain for long periods on the same machine to measure friction after significant use. But Smith said that constant-tension machines — while necessary to precisely measure friction — do not simulate real world use. He said in actual use, a chain is de-tensioned as it runs through the derailleur pulleys. The de-tensioning allows lubricants to redistribute. Chains that are run through a machine that allows de-tensioning, or that are run on an actual bike, maintain their low friction properties for a much longer period, he said. 

Smith's paper does not make direct comparison between Muc-Off's chain friction and CeramicSpeeds'. Instead it focuses on making the case that Muc-Off's claims about CeramicSpeed chains were based on faulty testing. Smith's paper is here


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