I love cleaning my bike… er, nope. Got that wrong, sorry. I hate cleaning my bike. That’s better. It’s just so fiddly and oily and often painful. If I didn’t have to, I’d never bother. But if you want a bike that works, then you really should clean it. Regularly.
So, if there is a product or two out there that can make the tedious job of bike cleaning that bit easier I’m interested.
Which brings me nicely to these two offerings from Fenwick’s (not the department store in Newcastle before you ask). I tested the FS1 Bike Cleaner Concentrate and Foaming Chain Cleaner at the same time on the same muddy bike (a Giant Anthem I’d just tested) because that’s precisely how they are supposed to be used. I didn’t apply any scientific methodology to this process. There was no comparison against other brands or good old fashioned liquid soap. The only criteria I used were: did it work and was it easier than the aforementioned household detergent.
The FS1 Bike Cleaner Concentrate can be used in one of two ways; neat and a degreaser or diluted as a cleaner. This I like. Two uses from one product. I used it in the dilute form and as the directions suggested, put the mix into a bottle and sprayed the bike with it. I should mention that I first hosed off the worst of the mud and grit. I only need a cleaner to get off the stuff that plain water can’t, plus this is how I’d always clean a muddy bike. Did it work? Well, the remaining muck didn’t exactly fall off of it’s own accord. After spraying and waiting I rubbed the frame and rims down with a sponge and then hosed it off again. The results were pleasing and it didn’t feel like too much effort was expended. I even tried it on my car’s alloy wheels – seemed quite good on them too. Bonus.
The Foaming Chain Cleaner was a different story. I’m always suspicious of a “spray on wash off” promise of cleanliness, especially when it comes to something as greasy as a chain. I also encountered some difficulty in trying to get the foam where I wanted it. The can is pressurised, so the contents comes out like silly-string and the immediately begins expanding. In a matter of seconds I had large globs of pink foam all over the place and not much on the chain. After leaving it the required amount of time I hosed it off to reveal…. a chain that appeared fairly similar to when I started. As I suspected, without the use of any implements the foam hadn’t really done much. In it’s defence, it does say best results are achieved when used with the Fenwick’s chain cleaning tool. Fair enough, I didn’t have one but it would seem that it needs it.
All in all, I’d give the FS1 Cleaner a 4 out of 5. It seems to do a decent job when diluted. I’m hoping this means it would work well as a concentrated degreaser too. I may have to report back on that. The Foaming Chain Cleaner was very entertaining to use but didn’t work too well without any brush or similar tool. So I can only give it a 2 out of 5. Both these products are environmentally friendly, in that they aren’t full of harmful chemicals. This is why the foaming cleaner got 2 and not 1 out of 5.
Written by Henry Aarvold, family bike guy.