Muc-Off Bike Cleaning Products
I was watching the new Steve Peat documentary film Won't Back Down last week and was somewhat taken aback to see a bottle of Muc-Off in some footage of Steve way back in the early nineties. Amazingly it looked virtually the same as they do today. Pink, squeezy trigger etc. I'd assumed from the snazzy design and forward thinking ethos behind the products that Muc-Off was a relatively new brand. Seems I was wrong and they were just way ahead of their time! A quick scan of their 'About' page on their website reveals that they did indeed start up in 1991. That'll teach me for assuming that nobody could think outside the box in the last century!
So the guys at Muc-Off sent me a whole range of products:
Fast Action Bike Cleaner
Foam Fresh Helmet Cleaner
Nano Grit Hand Cleaner
Ice Fresh Sports Towel
I've had a lot of fun testing them over the past month or so.
Bio Chain Doc - £23
I'll start with the last on the list first. The reason I'd contacted them in the first place was because we'd accidentally left our bikes out in the rain for a week over New Year and the chains had gone horribly rusty. I'd attempted to lube them and get them cleaned up, but to no avail. Before de-linking them and soaking them in oil baths and cleaning individual links with an old toothbrush I thought I'd try out one of the chain cleaners (thanks for the advice Steve, as ever!). Enter the Chain Doc. It's a plastic contraption that loosely clamps around the chain. The device comes with a can of lube which connects to via a short plastic hose. Before clamping it to the chain you need to shake the can (it's an aerosol). Connect up, squirt some of the lube into the device which collects in a kind of well, and then turn the chain (I flip the bikes upside down and peddle backwards to make this easier). The chain runs through the lube and also through a series of rotating brushes which, between them, do a surprisingly good job of cleaning the chain. A minute or two of gentle cleaning on each of the four bikes had them working smoothly again, much to my delight. I guess the only downside to the thing is that I will need to replace the cannister when it is empty, but to be fair, that's a small price to pay.
A word on the environmental stand Muc-Off have taken. All of the products that they have sent me are free from harmful acids, CFCs or solvents, and all are fully biodegradable. Having cleaned and lubed my bikes and left oily slicks on the patio draining into the flower beds on numerous occasions in the pas this is a real bonus and one that will no doubt keep me using Muc Off in the future.
Nano Tech Bike Cleaner - £8.50
The Fast Action Bike Cleaner is probably the most used thing they have sent. It's the product that featured in the Steve Peat film, and clearly one of their signature items. It's a large bottle full of pink, biodegradable cleaning solution. Ideally you wet the bike first, spray on some of this, leave it for a few minutes, and then either hose off, or use a brush to agitate the dirtier areas. It cleans the bike nicely and also leaves a protective film. The product description claims that it cleans at a molecular level. I can't vouch for that, but it does seem simple and effective. And no oil slicks on the patio. If you are a heavy user then keep the squeezy bottle, and buy 5litre or 25litre tubs to top it up from.
Although it specifies helmets in its title it also works on other stuff that comes into direct contact with your skin - pads and gloves for example. Cleans and also freshens up your helmet liner and makes putting on your helmet a little less icky.
Dry Shower - £3
A nice idea this. Comes in a small 50ml bottle with a squeezy button on the top similar to hair mousse products. Press the button and out comes a nice smelling white mousse that you can literally rub on yourself to give yourself a cheeky / sneaky clean before going on to do whatever you have planned after your ride. It's a far cry from a proper shower, but definitely better than arriving at a meeting sweaty and smelly. No parabens.
Ice Fresh Sports Towel - £10
If you combine the above dry shower with this towel you can give yourself a good dry before applying the mousse, and also use the magic properties of the towel to start to cool you down after your ride. I've used it a couple of times and can confirm that it does work!
Nanon Grit Hand Cleaner - £10
Similar to the likes of Swarfega and other hand cleaners it's an essential under-sink product in the house now. The gritty particles inside the gel remove oil with ease. It's also anti-bacterial so you'll probably finish your maintenance session cleaner than you were before you started!
The stuff above is a small sub-set of their whole range which includes motorbike and car cleaning products as well as general fitness stuff. Thay also sponsor Team Sky which, given Dave Brailsford's attention to detail, counts for a lot in my book.