Dave Moulton


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Tuesday
Aug222017

Muc Off: Bike clean and lube products

I love riding my bike, but hate cleaning it.

It wasn’t always like that, I remember in my teens and twenties, Saturdays would be spent tearing my bike apart, cleaning every little individual part, then re-assembling, using fresh oil and grease.

This was a weekly ritual done in preparation for Sunday’s race, because everyone knows a clean bike goes faster. 

I still know that to be true. A clean bike is more efficient, and there is less wear and tear, especially on the drive train. Sand and oil mix to form a grinding paste that wears down moving parts. I should clean my bike more often, but it is a chore I hate. After all I’m retired, who has the time?

So imagine my delight when a company called Muc Off contacted me asking if I would like to try out their line of specialist bike cleaning products. I’d heard about Muc Off, team Sky uses their products to clean and lubricate their bikes.

An English company, founded in 1994. I love the name, but wondered, will all Americans get it? I can just see some pronouncing the “U” as “You,” as in Mucus. It is Muck Off, without the “k.”

The dictionary definition of Muck is “Wet animal manure.” But the Brits use the word where Americans would say “Crud.” In fact my initial thoughts were, the name should be Crud Off for the American market. But no, Muc Off is telling the nasty crud in no uncertain terms, to leave my bike.

By the time the product arrived there was plenty of nasty crud or muck on my bike to give it a real test. In the past I’ve always cleaned my bike with a little car wash detergent in a bucket of warm water.

What I immediately liked about these Muc Off products is, they are biodegradable, it is safe to lay the bike on my lawn to rinse off. I followed my usual procedure and removed both wheels to wash them separately.

Supplied was a Fast Action Bike Cleaner, and a separate Drivetrain Cleaner. Both cleaners come in a handy trigger pump bottle. My drivetrain was particularly disgusting, covered in a thick, black, oily sludge that was caked on solid in some places.

I laid the bike down on my driveway, (Minus the wheels.) and sprayed the chain, chainwheels, and front and rear derailleurs with the drivetrain cleaner. The chain came clean right away, but after waiting a few minutes and rinsing off with water at a low pressure from my garden hose, it became obvious this caked on crud would need a second go round.

The rear wheel cassette too was pretty much filled in between the sprockets with black, dried-on sludge. This too got a second spray with the drivetrain cleaner, and I used a brush to get between the cogs.

Above is a before and after picture, I was impressed. I decided to remove the rear derailleur pulleys and clean them separately, as the crud was really caked on and was not really accessible with the brush.

Here’s a tip, either break the chain and disassemble the rear derailleur, or if you are limited on time as I was, remove, clean and replace one pulley at a time. The bike either needs to be in a workstand, or simply turn the bike upside down.

By removing one pulley at a time, the second pulley holds the derailleur back plate, and chain in place. Each pulley consists of, a plastic pulley, a bronze bush and two little side washers.

After cleaning these separate parts, fresh grease will provide lasting lubrication, and hold the center bush and help keep the side washers in place. As it is, you will need a steady hand to keep these little side washers in place as you replace the pulley on the correct side of the chain, and insert the tiny socket screw.

After cleaning my drivetrain, I cleaned the rest of the bike and wheels, (Still separate.) with the Muc Off fast action bike cleaner. Pink in color, and in a trigger pump bottle, I liked the fact that it covered my bike in foam, so I could see if I missed a spot. Once over and a rinse was enough for the most part with a little touch up, just on the tough spots.

I used Muc Off dry lube on my chain after cleaning. It came in a handy squeeze bottle. The lubricant was a milky consistency which was good as I could see where I had been as I applied it link by link. I turned the crank a few times to work the lube in, then wiped off the surplus.

MO-94 is a multi-use, aerosol spray with a plastic tube to direct it where it is needed. It lubricates, expels water, and prevents dirt adhesion. This would be good to use between cleaning, especially if riding in wet conditions.

Finally the kit came with Bike Protect, an aerosol spray on treatment that assists in repelling dirt and water. I will have to save this for a future project, as it called for the masking of all braking surfaces, and time does not permit me to do that at the moment.

I could remove the wheels and brake shoes and apply the protectant to the rest of the bike. Also worth remembering, if this prevents dirt and crud from sticking, it will also prevent paint from sticking. So if your bike is in need of paint touch up or has engraving that needs to be detailed, do that first.

However, I do have a white Catlike Whisper helmet that shows dirt. It has a matt white finish, which would not have been my first choice but was all that was available at the time.

I cleaned the helmet with the pink bike cleaner, then sprayed it with the protectant. I will have to wait to report results.

One small suggestion, the printed instructions on the product is tiny, and difficult to read even with a magnifying glass. A separate printed copy would be nice.

To sum up, I was impressed. Muc Off did its job of cleaning under extreme conditions, my bike was pretty filthy. Bike cleaning will still be a chore for me, but hopefully now I have proper stuff to use it will be less of a chore, and who knows, I may clean it a little more often. I know I should.

For more info in the U S go to: https://us.muc-off.com/

Worldwide distributer list:  https://muc-off.com/pages/distributors

Or just Google Muc Off

 

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Reader Comments (3)

Hi Dave,
How do you keep your skin looking so young? Do you apply a Muc-Off product to your face? Joking apart, thanks for the review. Like you I hate cleaning my bikes, and it looks like this will make the task more bearable.

August 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMartin W

I've used a fair bit of Muc-Off (just the cleaner) over the years. Works well without being too aggressive. I do think some people wash their bikes too frequently and too aggressively. Keeping a bike clean is one thing (often a brush down is all that's needed) but the bucket and sponge and hosepipe brigade do more damage than they prevent, IMO. Especially since so many manufacturers have save a few cents by not using stainless steel fasteners.

I wonder if Dave is familiar with the British bike clothing brand dhb and the origin of the name?

August 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteveP

I absolutely love Muc Off!

We have been carrying them for years here at Quantum eBikes! https://www.quantumebikes.com/

What a great product :)

September 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Losey

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