DIRT WASH DISC BRAKE CLEANER
Dirt Wash Disc Brake Cleaner is, fundamentally, a solvent for use on braking surfaces and brake components. The days when some MTB riders used to say that disc brakes should never be cleaned are long gone, but there’s by no means a consensus about the best potions for cleaning. Whilst some experts claim that soap and water are all that’s needed, manufacturers offer task-specific products. This is one of them. Where there is agreement seems to be this: if you use a task-specific product, then use a bicycle-specific, brake-specific one, such as this.
Pros: easy to use, seemingly safe on most surfaces,
Cons: nothing significant, but some say there are more homely alternatives.
Fundamentally this is a solvent. Described by Weldtite as heavy duty, it aims to penetrate and remove contaminants from braking surfaces. It is air-drying, so avoiding risks of contaminating surfaces by unnecessary contact.
Technique and application 3/5
The aim with braking surfaces – especially disc brakes, is to clean them without getting you oily fingers on the surfaces. So, if removing brake pads, do so carefully. Apart from that, just shake and spray away on barking surfaces and callipers.
You may want to wipe things over, but the potion is designed to leave a clean surface by allowing it to air dry. If you do need to scrub away dirt and gunge, then it is be best to give a second dose of fluid to rinse away any invisible pollutants.
Whilst there should be no ill effects on tyres, some seals may prove more sensitive. Take care when applying.
Bottom line: Rotors come up bright and shiny. More importantly, braking prowess becomes smoother, but no less grippy. The same is true of rims. True, cleanliness is only one factor in effective and sensitive braking.
Having said that, it seems to me that faster, more technical riders may notice rather more difference that mere mortals. There didn’t seem to be a major difference in braking prowess to treatment of rims with a general bike wash and a good wipe.
Of course, pads and blocks should not be ignored. Use the Dirt Wash on gunge accumulated around pads and callipers – disc or otherwise. Doing so limits the chances of contamination of the braking surfaces. By the way, disc brake pads that are contaminated by oil or grease, as opposed to road dirt, probably need to be replaced.
A squirt on sintered pads works well. I’ve engaged in a little agitation with a clean tooth brush to get unwanted mud out of the uneven surface. Regular pads have been less fussy. Likewise, disc brake callipers have benefitted from a quick wash through. Whilst best results have been achieved by removing brake pads – take care not to touch the surfaces and wear inspection gloves – I’ve found a squirt of juice into the pads and a gentle push round with the brakes lightly engaged has been effective, too.
Advertised as air-drying and leaving no trace, there’s certainly nothing left to see. I’ve tried it on more general bike grime, but can’t say it rivals something like Pure Bike Wash when it comes to frame, forks and besmirched bottom brackets.
In a push it has functioned as a drive train cleaner. Removing the worst, rather than stripping bare, getting light grime off took a bit of agitation with a stiff brush.
So, even some experts say that soapy water and a wipe is
perfectly adequate. Let’s say that there are some advantages to job specific brews, especially in the context of more technical riding.
500ml of Crankalicious Rotissimo will set you back £12 – about a pound more pro-rata (Bikehut offer version at a similar price). Fenwick’s disc brake cleaner comes in at the same £4.99 for 250ml. Wilko, offer a bargain version at £3.50 for 250ml. So the Dirt Wash Disc Brake Cleaner is in a competitive market, but toward the cheaper end. In that sense, it is good value, doing the job just as it claims.
Weldtite’s Dirt Wash Disc Brake Cleaner does just what it says, giving your disc brakes an effective once over. In many ways, it is perfect for trail heads when soapy water might be at a premium. Whilst general bike cleaners can be equally effective, they can also be more expensive – and generally need a rinse, at least.