CRANKALICIOUS LEATHER LACQUER NON-SLIP HIDE PROTECTANT
100ml 55g £6
The Crankalicious leather lacquer non-slip hide protectant is a preserve for accessories such as gloves, saddles, shoes and bar wrap. This protectant layer is also designed to improve grip in all conditions. I’m pleased to report it does both jobs extremely capably and a little goes surprisingly far.
There are two sizes, our handy pannier friendly 100ml, or a 250ml workshop version, which is great if you’re a leather saddle devotee, or are one of those riders, who have a shoe collection rivalling Imelda Marcos.
We’re used to manufacturers being slightly coy with us (it’s perfectly understandable) but Tony would say it’s a high performance sealant, with some solvent but doesn’t contain conditioning agents, such as Lanolin. Apparently, there isn’t a UV repelling ingredient, since this would apparently, dilute its other chemicals.
Now, this is quite significant, since it’s a lacquer, not a “food”; so won’t nourish leather, in the same sense as Proofide, or similar products do. Since we’re wandering towards winter, take this opportunity to treat leather, regardless of age/condition. Leave twenty-four hours or so between applying this and the leather lacquer.
How to apply
Assuming leather is essentially clean and dry, round up some newspaper to catch any overspray and a couple of clean, lint free cloths. Squirt in short blasts from 20cm, working the slightly milky fluid into the hide with your chosen cloth. Even coverage, not saturation is what you’re looking to achieve here.
Two squirts of the trigger proved sufficient, although some shoes benefitted from a third. Since we’re on the subject, some grades of hide may darken slightly, so try an inconspicuous area first.
We were generally ready to ride within an hour or so, based on two light applications. That said; overnight is ideal. I tend to apply these at the end of a ride, often coinciding with a wash, polish and possibly fresh chain lube.
Some high end but neglected mitts and my fixed gear winter/training bike’s long serving Bobbin bar wrap and Swift pattern saddle were obvious candidates. None showed any signs of discoloration, although all assumed an attractive satin, rather than full gloss texture.
Generally speaking, I “feed” shoes, saddles and my motorcycle leathers every six weeks, or so. This has been noticably extended by using the leather lacquer, which is still very obvious, several damp weeks later.
I find some leather saddles just that bit too slippery, especially during the initial breaking in phase.
Brooks have become much softer in recent years, generally assuming 250 miles, whereas this titanium railed, swift pattern required a good 650. Improved purchase was immediately apparent on the first ride in very persistent rain, eliminating the annoying slide-even wearing very shiny Lycra.
Crucially, it wasn’t like sitting atop a strip of flypaper, subtle, periodic adjustments for comfort (especially racking up longer miles in the dead of night) were effortless. It’s been a similar story with leather covered saddles and the Bobbin handlebar wrap, inspiring confidence on some very wet descents.
Water quickly beads up and rolls away, improving grip. Not on par with some sophisticated natural silicones, or polymer based wraps but by my reckoning, rivals modern corks. Talking of wet, I’ve given the bike a few thorough sudsy washes over this period too.
While the invisible barrier prevents dirt sticking in the first instance, surfactants in the washes have made negligible impression on the lacquer’s qualities. The palms of my mitts and these, Quac Pham shoes also fared very well.
The mitts had become very stiff, requiring a liberal helping of hide food to assume a supple state, before I introduced the leather lacquer. Despite being used pretty much every ride from August through to mid September, the palms have remained clean and supple.
Probably the biggest signifier of its protectant qualities were my much loved moccasins.
Their hide isn’t sealed, hence usually stain terribly at the first hint of showery rain, let alone when washing bikes. Several weeks of general padding about and regular exposure to sudsy bucket overspill, they’ve remained unsullied.
On paper £6 for 100ml isn’t cheap and though it offers a durable barrier, I’d still recommend waterproof overshoes for the depths of winter. However, a little goes surprisingly far and is cost effective when the prices of saddles, gloves and footwear are taken into account.