At the start of the year it seemed quite a on trend thing to do, partner with a Formula One team. Israel Start Up Nation partnered with Williams, INEOS Partnered with the best F1 team on the grid currently, Mercedes AMG and the team who started it all, Bahrain partnered with McLaren, making them Bahrain McLaren.
For the first time we’re starting to see the fruits of their labour coming to the surface. Bahrain McLaren’s other team partner and brand popular with cyclists already, Muc-Off, have developed a new Lightweight Oversized Precision Shifting (or L.O.P.S.) pully system.
Long before Formula One teams joined the peloton, we were starting to see oversized pullys on the rear derailleur. The logic behind them being making less bends in a chain reduces friction. If anyone should know about reducing friction it’s a company which prides its self on having some of the best lubrication you can buy for your bike.
Oversized pullys aren’t for everyone, though. They’re not so great when it comes to road racing, crits or on a particularly fast ride where gear changes can be frequent and aggressive. They large pully generally makes for a more spongy gear change, meaning you’re not 100% sure if the chain has changed gears. No surprise then, that this pully has popped up on a Time Trial bike where a rhythm is found and set.
Large pully systems have been known to reduce friction so much that they can save you up to 2.4Watts. From just changing something on your rear derailleur, that’s quite a saving.
Muc-Off were so determined on making this new system that they gave it a name, ‘Project Landa’ as it’s been specifically designed for Mikel Landa to use on the penultimate stage (Stage 20) of the Tour de France an 36.km individual Time Trial climbing La Planche-des-Belles-Filles.
Muc-Off have developed the new L.O.P.S. alongisde McLaren, making one of the lightest and stiffest systems on sale today, some 10% lighter than that of their closest competitors and it doesn’t just stop at lightweight.
The titanium body is created using a sophisticated additive manufacturing process. The pulley wheels (13t upper, 19t lower) are made from aerospace grade aluminium and finished with a supremely efficient coating that delivers friction coefficients over three times lower than hard anodised equivalents.
The bearings were manufactured to aerospace level specification. The size of the bearing used was optimised for the number of rolling elements and application speed to help reduce frictional losses. Ceramic rolling elements are lubricated with a special synthetic hydrocarbon to further reduce the coefficient of friction and tighter radial and axial tolerances improve shift accuracy.
Muc-Off’s Managing Director Alex Trimnell said “When you’re competing at the sharp end of events like the Tour de France, it’s essential to work with partners who share your commitment to success. Muc-Off’s unstinting efforts in the face of a pandemic to provide Mikel with the most efficient drivetrain imaginable proves that they have a work ethic to match our own. Our partnership with Team Bahrain McLaren presents us with opportunities to work with world-class athletes and world-class engineers.“
Will the new pully system be enough to win the stage for Mikel Landa? He’ll need something for a very long shot at the podium, he’s three minutes twenty eight seconds down on yellow jersey wearer Primoz Roglic and two minutes and one second behind third place sitter Miguel Angel Lopez.
Stage 20 of the Tour is a 36.6km Time Trial culminating in a climb of La Planche-des-Belles-Filles, a gruelling 5.6km averageing at 8.5%.