Here’s a video that surprised us last month. We had no idea just how corrosive cheaper cleaners could be. If you’re after some bike cleaner in your Christmas stocking, it may be worth plumping for the good stuff.
Here’s what we had to say at the time:
So, is Muc Off just over-hyped Fairy liquid or is there actually something to their formula?
As a test they compared it to the MyCycle bike cleaner from Ponudland and here is the result.
As you can see the cheaper cleaner starts to corrode the aluminium almost immediately. The black coating is a porous oxide/hydroxide layer and, although it is not structurally damaging, it’s far from ideal. Muc Off’s Jason Bradwell said: “This is clearly not good! In layman’s terms, cheaper formula can dull certain metal parts on your bike.”
So what’s different about Muc Off? Basically it comes down to the composition of the liquid. Bradwell said: “Our formula is alkaline-based. This means that it is free of acids and won’t attack the metal on your ride, no matter how long you use it for.”
Obviously this isn’t a perfect test. After all, who leaves their bike soaking in concentrated bike cleaner? But it does go to show that cheaper cleaners can do long term damage and you might just get what you pay for with bike cleaners.
Of course, it’s also easy to be sceptical of a video produced by Muc Off’s marketing bods so here’s an independent test done by someone on anodised spacers.
Bradwell said: “This video serves as the perfect example of why you shouldn’t skimp when it comes to taking care of your bike.
“What you’re seeing on the nut placed in the budget cleaner is the oxide layer of the metal changing with the formation of an amorphous, black and porous oxide/hydroxide layer. This is clearly not good! In layman’s terms, cheaper formula can dull certain metal parts on your bike. Muc-Off’s cleaner will not do this.
“It is also the only bike cleaner on the market that uses nano technology. The tiny particles in our solution are an 80,000th of the width of a human hair, so they can get into all the tiny imperfections on any given surface of the bike for a much deeper clean.
“You can also clean your bike safe in the knowledge that you’re looking after the environment, as our formula is 100% biodegradable!”
Other perfectly good bike cleaners are available, but hopefully this encourages you to think about what you wash your bike in after every ride (or two). Or, if you are going to use a cheaper brand, make sure you give it a good rinse afterwards!