Alex Trimnell is looking forward to Christmas as the first opportunity to reflect on a year in which the work of his company Muc-Off has helped Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky to win three of the biggest prizes in professional cycling.
The lubricant developed by Muc-Off for Sky’s elite riders, made at eye-watering expense from a military-grade additive, and tested on an £80,000 test rig, has been used for several of the sport's biggest wins this season.
And if Muc-Off and Sky were tempted to rest upon their laurels, Trimnell has authorised the next stage of development for Muc-Off’s test rig: full automation of a Di2 drivetrain, responding to data inputs collected as Team Sky’s riders raced at the Tour de France.
“I really have to pinch myself,” Trimnell laughs. “Probably over Christmas, when I stop for a few days, it might sink in that we’ve won the Hour Record with Brad, the Tour with Chris and the world time-trial championship with Kiri. I’m so proud of what we’ve done as a team. I’m thinking, ‘My goodness, what do we do next? We’ve got to find new challenges.’
“We want to push, but still you have to take a deep breath in when you’re signing off bills for engineering and the kind of hardware that they’re using on space shuttles and nuclear power stations, which is what we’re using.
“For us, it’s a huge expense, but to see those results, and to have those wonderful things to talk about to the world is the ultimate. It doesn’t get any better. To put the money into innovation, for me there’s no other way. The heart of the brand is innovation. We don’t ever want to be a ‘me to’ product, or satisfied with the status quo.”
Few could accuse Muc-Off of that. Since joining forces with Team Sky, the brand has developed the increasingly famous dynometer – a sophisticated instrument that will be displayed at the Rouleur Classic – and by analysing in the closest detail the forces to which a chain is subjected, created a lubricant that placed a value of around £6,000 on the chain used by Wiggins to break the Hour Record.
This, Trimnell assures us, is just the beginning. Muc-Off has taken another “massive step” by adding more hardware from National Instruments and commissioning bespoke software to allow its Di2 drivetrain to respond to data supplied by Team Sky.
“For us, it’s a three-stage programme. We’ve done stage one, which was to prove that there was no drop off in efficiency. Stage two is to drive efficiencies across the chainlines, and stage three I’ll keep confidential, but there’s a really exciting next step, which we’ll do some really interesting work with.”
We’ll be following the next steps closely, with visits to Muc-Off’s testing facility in Dorset in the months ahead. In the meantime, visitors to the Rouleur Classic can see the dynometer up close, in the exhibition space at Vinopolis, London Bridge next month.
To find out more, visit Rouleur Classic.