M16 # Podium Stage System
Complete kit 1,890g £24.98
The M16 # Podium Stage System complete kit is a bike cleaning, polishing and protectant bundle. £25 is hardly small change but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by their performance and longevity. Better still, they can be purchased individually, should you run out of one, or a mate want a bike wash, not the polish and preserve products.
All are also sold separately.
Extreme Bike Clean 500ml (£5.99 sold separately)
This is the first stage in the treatment and works to the same principle as pretty much everyone else’s, not to mention household/washing up detergents. However, we’re assured the bacteria are naturally occurring, fully biodegradable and safe on all surfaces. This includes humans and animal life. That said; I’d still be inclined to use a good distance from ponds, waterways etc.
Enzymatic might sound like slick marketing but it actually refers to the active ingredients - biological compounds, which break down oils, grease and fats.
If you’re in the market for blast and scrub formula, there are faster acting blends on the market, which also claim to be perfectly safe on all surfaces. This is largely true, although some can be more caustic than others, dulling finishes or causing tarnish if not thoroughly rinsed away and within the stipulated timescales.
The extreme clean behaves much like the Pro Green MX . Oh, and like everyone else’s, it promises to be kind to all surfaces -including carbon fibre. To date, I’ve no reason to think otherwise.
M16 recommend giving bikes a quick cold water rinse first. Good practice during the grotty months since it will remove salts and other caustic nasties. Hot water simply accelerates their power.
In practice, you can simply blast bikes straight off but either way, you’ll need to leave it marinating between 3 and 5 minutes. Use this time to round up buckets, brushes, lubes and similar potions. Visually, it’s a very gentle looking mix but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s impotent. Patience is a virtue and time spent during this phase is quickly reclaimed.
Come the first strokes of a big sponge or brush, filth literally vanishes. Alright, second dousing was needed to remove some residual frame preserve that had oozed out in the warmer weather.
Substituting the OEM trigger spray for a foaming unit in my collection achieved livelier and slightly quicker results. That said, like for like, most bike washes need two or three warm water rinses and a good scrub in between.
The same goes for chain rings, though it’s important to remember this isn’t a degreaser.
It also does a decent job of lifting grit and mud from wet chain lubes and other components without stripping the lubricant, or indeed, polymer waxes. Welcome for daily drivers and other machines in hard service.
So long as you’ve not allowed it to dry out and have rinsed properly, streaking and similar unsightly residue won’t be an issue.
Though I’d recommend gloves to anyone with sensitive skins, prolonged exposure, say when cleaning a mucky fleet hasn’t left my hands feeling dry either. Overall, this one rivals the Pro-Green MX Green Clean but it goes a little further. The bubble gum scent is subtle and inoffensive, assuming bike cologne is your thing!
I did get residual splashes in my right eye one afternoon, which was extremely painful. Thankfully, flushing my eye thoroughly with cold water fixed this-just be mindful when it’s a little breezy, or if you’re getting kids involved.
M16 Pro finish (£9.98 sold separately)
This is the second, of the three layers. I’m pleased to report that a little goes surprisingly far, thanks to the pump spray delivery. That said; for best results, ensure bikes have been towel dried first and apply via a soft, lint free cloth.
Exact composition is, understandably, a closely guarded secret but there seems to be a naturally occurring solvent component that dismisses any light muck/marks the bike wash, or rider has missed before leaving behind a waxy, protective barrier.
This cures, generally in around 5 minutes to a light haze - simply buff to a nice sheen. Matt finishes aside, overall effects are pleasing and on all painted, polished, plated and anodised surfaces, including powder coating, traditional wet spray enamels and 2pac paint. It will also remove some very light, surface oxidisation -think faded paint, not furry aluminium alloys.
It can be applied directly to lightly soiled bikes - think dust, light, stray spatter, following a week’s worth of showery rain, not a month’s ingrained, silty crap, or a filthy ‘cross bike. I’ve deliberately left ours as the final coat on some machines, just to see how it compares with more basic car pastes or wash 'n’ wax formulas.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given it's intended for motorcycles, too, the formula is designed to resist temperatures up to 200 degrees-exhausts, engine cases etc. Judging by a friends’ XT Yamaha, it seems to remain protective at these temperatures.
In this respect, and for those pressed for time, the Pro Green MX 101 shine has a definite edge in that you can simply blow n’ go. No buffing required-it air cures to an invisible, glossy state in thirty minutes flat.
Common sense says do not use shiny, slippery stuff on braking surfaces. M16 say both the polishes are fine to use on rims, Disc rotors etc. So, I did just that, applying quite a generous blast to my ‘cross inspired fixed’s front stopper.
Credit where it’s due, the polishes had less effect upon braking than I had expected but I did experience a couple of heart in mouth moments during the first mile, until the pads had worn the glossy surface away. Therefore, while I would be less particular about masking areas off, I would certainly recommend applying via a clean cloth to avoid contamination.
Speaking of cleanliness, the protective glossy barrier seems good for several weeks and superficial splodges/watermarks were easily dismissed with a deft flick from a clean rag - no need to reapply.
Helmet & Bike Guard (£11.99 sold separately)
This is the final stage in the system and is designed to provide a long lasting top coat - same principle as a lacquer. Better still, it’s designed for use on a much wider range of surfaces, including helmets, shoes and other accessories.
In keeping with the base polish, it’s closer to a beeswax type furniture polish than traditional wax, which saves time.
However, these are not designed for matt colours, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. Stray spatter left oily marks in matt paintwork, which had to be restored using a matt protectant.
Overall effects are very pleasing - we’d expect a rich glossy effect on paintwork but were particularly impressed with its rejuvenating qualities on weathered/jaded plastics - pump brackets tend to get overlooked. Unlike silicone based polishes, the rich effect lasts without attracting dirt.
Patent and leather shoes also benefit from its nourishing properties and with this final component in place, I’ve only needed to wash and re-polish every eight weeks, thus far. Water beads up and rolls off and any residual stuff can be wiped away-effortlessly for the most part. That said; no substitute for overshoes during the colder, wetter months.
Trail riding and similar fun sees mud and other organic stuff latch on, but is much easier to clean, while the slippery properties of the protectant layers aren’t easily dismissed by the #1 Extreme Bike Clean, or more generic bike washes either, so no need to top up every time.
We may well revisit come the winter to see how they compare with similar products when faced with salty, slushy roads. So far, all are genuinely living up to their hype.
£25 isn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. True, simple wash and wax formulas bought from car accessory shops for a couple of quid are a really thrifty way of washing and protecting bikes. However, comparison with Pro Green MX’s triple pack is fairer.
Bottom line, all are very effective in their own right and the option of purchasing them separately is sensible. I’m tempted to say M16 (ditto Pro-Green MX) have missed a trick by not offering a matt protectant option.
Gun to my head, as a complete system, M16 just has the edge, thanks to the ultra-versatile polishes, which can also be deployed on helmets, shoes etc.
Verdict: 4.25/5 Comprehensive and effective cleaning and polishing kit with lasting results.
PUBLISHED MAY 2017