Motorex Bike Clean
500ml £12.99 (Seen on German websites for as little as €8.99)
Motorex Bike Clean is a pump action spray-gun propelled formula designed to remove the grime of road or trail. That is not unique amongst bike washes, and some will always prefer a sudsy bucket wash for getting rid of thick gloop and grime. However, there are times and places where sprays are much more convenient, and Motorex claim that their Bike Clean is a “High Performance Formula” that will “dissolve and remove mud in next to no time.” Well, it has certainly done its duty and I’ve no complaints, but this is a highly competitive field.
Pros: accuracy of application, little run off, effective.
Cons: slightly pricier than some equally competent cleaners.
Motorex Bike Clean aims to clean intensively – so good, so far. It is biodegradable, but you should take normal precautions regarding potions of this type. As with some other spray types, use in sunshine is outlawed. The instructions suggest dampening the bike n”slightly” before using the spray. However, I’ve also used it without any water, and, sticking to Motorex’s there minute rule, there seems to have been no ill effect.
The three-minute rule demands wiping the spray off before it leaves streaks, smudges, and such-like beastliness on your paint job.
As ever, it is worth reading the instructions. Firstly, find a shady spot – Motorex say to avoid sunlight- or move to the UK. Then dampen the bike. I tend to give the machine good
going over with the watering can, which is probably more of a soaking than a dampening. So, I tried spraying the frame and forks with water from an old pump action bottle. It did not seem to make much difference, except that the watering can tended to knock of some larger lumps of mud accumulated on a wet gravel ride. It also seems to work well neat.
Apart from ‘off’ the spray head has two settings; spray and stream. The latter is best for tubes and forks, the former for larger targets, such as chain rings. This arrangement is not uncommon, of course.
Also, not uncommon is the warning not to leave it on too long before wiping off. Three minutes, say Motorex, max: or you’ll get a streaky finish. For a quick once over this is hardly a problem, but for more through nook and cranny cleansing, I have found it best to do apply in bite size chunks, when doing a ‘proper job’.
I’ve used it on paint, rubber, plastic, anodised finishes and chrome, and it seems fine for all – matt finishes should be ok, too. Stick within the time limit, and there’s a clean, streak-free finish. Just ready for a polish with Motorex Silicone; other brands are available.
So, application is actually really easy. On ‘stream’ it is really accurate, with little waste. It seems to be a more viscose potion than some. I was struck by the lack of run-off. Reserving the spray for chain rings, pannier bags and that sort of thing still seems like a good idea.
As mentioned above, I tend to give a general spray and a wipe for a quick once over, working more methodically when attempting to expel dust and dirt from old-school lugs, between stays and guards, and places where the sun don’t shine.
Rubber mud-guard flaps, forks and soiled with crushed lime dust from the daily commute, and splatter from off-roading and post-milking trips past my favourite farmyard, all disappeared with a single wipe. It took a little more work and a couple of applications to clean the rear mech – including getting a good deal of gunge off the jockey wheels (although a bit of a prod with a small flat-head screw-driver played a part, too).
I’ve had good results ridding the ex-lorry tarp of my UPSO Potter’s Panniers as well as more delicate, but older, Ortleib models. The same can be said for waterproof bar bags, and such like, such as the Zefal Adventure 10.
Bar Tape? The accurate stream setting certainly helps here, and I’ve give cork and silicone wraps a drop to liven them up, although it has taken a good deal of scrubbing to send greasy marks on their way.
The peripheral excess of chin grime can be removed, but, like most washes, this isn’t a degreaser, so don’t expect more than a tidy up.
I’m a fan of Oxford’s Mint Bike Wash, which is robust and cheaper. However, the Motorex Bike Clean has the edge on accuracy of application, in my opinion, with less wasteful run-off, too.
We’ve found SKS Wash Your Bike a highly effective, fast-acting spray on potion. It’s more expensive than the Motorex.
Also worth looking at are Weldtie Bike Cleaner, M16 Bike Cleaner (now £9.99 for a litre, and Motoverde Bike Wash.
In a packed field it is hard to rise to the top. I found Motorex Bike Wash to be a, more than competent bicycle wash, with distinct pros in economy of waste and accuracy of application. It is also very effective, although it is not alone in that. As ever, I prefer sprays for away-from-home cleans and when water is in short supply – combined, maybe, with Muc-Off Drive Train Cleaner.