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It’s the night before Sir Bradley Wiggins’ attempt at the Hour Record, and as the world and Olympic time trial champion completes his final practice laps, Alex Trimnell drinks in the silence that fills the Lee Valley velodrome.
A self-confessed bicycle obsessive, Trimnell has hand-delivered two chainrings and five chains, prepared by his company Muc-Off on a dynometer – an £80,000 diagnostic test rig – 150 miles away in Poole, on the Dorset coast.
The chain is standard issue Shimano Dura-Ace, though Trimnell’s offerings have been selected from a batch of 30, tested on the dyno rig for manufacturing tolerance and graded by the degree of friction. Additionally, each of the chainrings has been ‘run-in’ on the rig for five hours.
As important, if not more so, the chain has been treated with a formula worked upon by Trimnell and his engineers over the winter, but whose development has been vastly accelerated by a phone call three weeks earlier from Team Sky’s technical director Carsten Jeppesen, asking if something might be available for Wiggins’ record attempt. Trimnell’s formula contains a military grade additive, purchased at eye-watering expense. He estimates the chain’s total value at £6,000.
The result? Silence. Trimnell is perhaps the only man in the velodrome listening to Wiggins’ chain at 10pm on the Saturday before the attempt. He likes what he hears. Nothing.

Two days after Wiggins has broken the record, standing in Muc-Off’s R&D centre on an anonymous industrial estate, Trimnell admits the intensity of the preceding three weeks hasn’t quite sunk in.
“It felt so special to be there with just a few of us in the velodrome. It was lovely to see Brad relaxed, away from the cameras, and to see the preparation and the work that had gone into it. He just seemed to be really enjoying the process.
“I was there until 10pm on Saturday night and he [Wiggins] was literally still running round. What was lovely was to be at the cutting edge. To be involved in a world record attempt is a dream.”
Muc-Off began an official relationship with Team Sky last year, after Trimnell had travelled to the Amstel Gold Race a year earlier to meet Jeppesen. He was told that data meant everything to Sky; that it would not be enough merely to produce the best lubricant, but to prove it.
The dynometer was born – and with it graphs showing the mechanical efficiency of a drivetrain. With the chain for Wiggins’ Hour Record, the utopia of a ‘flat’ graph – showing no drop-off in performance – was finally reached.
“We caught up with Carsten about three weeks ago and he said, ‘Have you got anything for Brad’s attempt?’” Trimnell recalls.
“And we said, ‘Well, we’re literally a week away: we think we’re on to something.’ We got there, did some data, and came up with this incredible formulation. It ticks all the boxes: it’s incredibly quick, we’ve had it on 10-hour tests and the graph is completely flat. It’s ultra, ultra fast. We think it’s the fastest chain ever created.”
“What we’ve seen in the new formula that we created for the Hour Record is that it got quicker. It [the graph] went ‘flat’. That’s what we’ve been desperately trying to do for the last 12 months: to create a formula that doesn’t have a curve that goes super fast to super slow.
“We’ve got a very, very special new additive. That’s given us a massive step forwards. It’s come from a military background. It’s cutting edge and highly expensive. It was lovely to see that have such an effect: to get that on the chain for the Hour Record, knowing that it was such cutting edge technology.”
Wiggins has been the first to ride chains treated with the new lubricant, a treatment applied to each of the five chains graded on the dynometer from a se;ection of 30 “box fresh” Dura-Ace offerings.
“We spent quite a few thousand pounds developing the jig. Some of the additives we’ve used are phenomenally expensive. It’s ended costing about £6,000 for that one chain. It’s definitely got to be the world’s most expensive chain, in terms of development.
“We cherry picked: 30 chains, a lot of running on the dyno, and a lot of data to crunch, and we got down to the one. We gave him five chains for the training days, and then the race chain on the bike for the attempt.”
Trimnell was leaving a practice session at Lea Valley and had walked as far as the Westfield shopping centre when Jeppesen phoned to ask him to prepare the chainrings too. Muc-Off prepped two chainrings, running each for five hours on the diagnostic rig, leaving Trimnell with custody of equipment nigh-on irreplaceable in the event of disaster, given the timescale.
“I literally babied those rings around with me,” Trimnell laughs. “Even when I stopped at the motorway services, I carried them inside. I just wouldn’t let them out of my sight.”
History has proved that all went well. Wiggins received his chainrings, his silent  £6,000 chain, and recorded a distance of 54.526km, comfortably breaking Alex Dowsett’s mark of 52.937km. Trimnell capped “an intense few weeks” by watching Wiggins’ attempt on television.
“It was fantastic and an amazing experience – one that still hasn’t sunk in yet, really.”

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