500ml Motoverde Waterless Wash & Wax
about 16.91 oz £12.99 Long term (9-month test)
The Motoverde Waterless Wash & Wax is a highly effective, time saving cleaner and protectant for those times when the bike’s a little grimy but doesn’t merit a full-blown sudsy bath. Convenience also means it’s a good bet for bikes in seasonal storage, or those slaving away on indoor trainers.
Sure, shelves groan under the weight of formulas promising much the same things and most do a decent job. Those with matt finishes will need to look elsewhere for now (unless you wanted a satin effect) and dedicated hard paste waxes will last longer. Nonetheless, I’ve tested my fair share of waterless cleaners and reckon Motoverde’s has a definite edge.
Pros: Quick, convenient, durable effects, a little goes a long way.
Cons: Incompatible with matt finishes
Exact alchemy is, understandably, a closely kept secret. Motoverde would tell me it’s a blend of cleaning agents designed to dissolve grime, oils, caustic agents-including bird poop, bovine dung (which can be quite acidic), tree sap and more generic oxidisation.
Apparently, these cleaners form a bubble, trapping all the grot, so, having cleaned one area, you don’t simply spread it around the bike, or leave swirls/scratches in the finish. Carnauba wax- a popular blend in automotive circles because of its lasting, protective lustre, sealing out salts, and other caustic stuff, while making it harder for organic and petrochemical spatter to stick.
Now, old school paste waxes will also remove light oxidisation, tarnish and leave a deep shine. However, unless you’ve washed off any gritty stuff first, this will get worked into painted, lacquered, polished and anodised surfaces. In turn, resulting in swirls, scratches and other unsightly damage which may require polishing out with a cutting compound, such as T-Cut, or M16 Ride & Shine . Oh, before I forget,
Motoverde say it’s designed to be applied in direct sunlight, which is a rare thing for waxes and yes, I’ve called their bluff a few times.
That said, Motoverde encourages sensible storage i.e. upright, out of the reach of children, pets, away extremes of temperature etc. Well worth grabbing those disposable examination, or mechanics type gloves, such as these long serving Muc-Off, if you’ve sensitive skin, cuts, or planning to tackle the fleet. Eye protection’s a shrewd move too if it’s a breezy day.
Wax on, wax off to borrow from the original 1980s Karate Kid film...
It comes with a pump spray for fast, efficient coverage. Great on a motorcycle but wasteful on a bicycle. I simply poured a little into a clean micro fibre cloth, then applied to the bike, working top to bottom. Either way, give the bottle a good thirty second shake to mix everything nicely and then apply sparingly to the host, ensuring even coverage and taking care to avoid braking surfaces.
When you’re done, leave it another minute, or so, buff with your fresh micro-fibre cloth - done.
As a side note, having spent 36 years waxing anything with two wheels that sat still long enough, I can confirm these are genuinely superior to old T-shirts, socks and pants- the supermarket specials for a few pounds are all you’ll need, too.
Test Machines & Contexts
I’ve used Motoverde Wash & Wax Across the fleet, in spring, summer autumn. It's been used on polished, painted, plated anodised, lacquered surfaces, carbon, titanium, aluminium, magnesium alloy etc. Sometimes it has been applied as the finishing touch to a sudsy bucket deep clean, others directly, when I’ve been short on time and wanted to shift a dusty, grimy patina. Fixed gear winter trainer and Ursula have been the “controls” for testing. Both serve year-round and in harsh conditions and Ursula’s powder coated cream finish is not sealed under a lacquer coat, so organic and oily spatter clings more readily around the chainstays and bottom bracket shell.
It’s worth noting that these products are designed for light to moderate grime.
If your machine(s) come close to mirroring that below, you’ll need to get those buckets out.
Can’t fault it on this front - I've turned bikes round in 10-15 minutes start to finish- there's no waiting about waiting for the wax to haze, no mess to clean up. I’ve deliberately left ours standing longer, around 10-30 minutes to see if it would dry out, or otherwise become stubborn to remove. No issues whatsoever, so if you’ve been called away to something else, you’re not going to return to a stubborn glaze. Damp surfaces, say following a deeper clean don’t hinder its effectiveness, or the results but we are talking damp, not dripping wet.
Regardless of temperature, whether it’s been applied in direct sunlight, or indeed when rain’s threatening, I’ve never had anything less than a streak free, glossy shine- on all surfaces, from framesets, to floor pumps.
To touch, the wax barrier surface isn’t as tangible as a boutique hard paste blend, such as Naked Bikes Pro Bike Wax Special Edition but satisfying nonetheless.
Spent wax lubes and other oily spatter adorning the right-hand chain stay is easily dismissed, with virtually no effort. Frame preserves and lighter greases, such as Peaty’s Speed Grease , dribbling from the frame in hot weather, will need another helping or two.
True to Motoverde’s claims, it has removed light/trace oxidisation. The sort that can develop sneakily on fork ends, such as my fixed gear winter trainer’s Kinesis, for example.
Faded enamels, furry alloys and sullied electroplate call for a more intensive, cutting compound, such as Crankalicious Mayo Jaune Intensive Frame Cleaner .
This waxy barrier seems to last-around 8 weeks on lightly used, such as the Holdworth and “Teenage dream” . It varies a bit, depending on conditions. Rain and showers tend to bead up and roll away very quicky and water-staining, even on Ursula’s frame hasn’t been an issue. As a rough and ready guide, I’ve gone 6 weeks between applications during the summer’s heatwave, every ten days, through November’s slimy filth.
Bikes in hard service -I 'm thinking those serving long stints on indoor trainers will also thank you for a weekly once-over (assuming you’ve been using other precautions, such as a sweat net). Again, re-application's no more of a hardship than the furniture polish blow-over 'n’ buff trick. Besides, when applied via cloth, a little goes surprisingly far.
£12.99 for 500ml sounds a little pricey, compared with some waterless detailer products. Indeed, beeswax furniture polishes also work quite well as time saving, finish-friendly sprucers. (A popular standby in motorcycle dealerships for precisely this reason). However, it’s worth remembering that Motoverde Wash & Wax has a protective wax barrier, which is more advanced than silicones typically employed in this genre of convenience cleaner.
Duck Smart Bike Ezee is a silicone fortified blend that works to a similar principle, but being silicone, attracts more dirt and won’t protect against UV induced damage and similar nasties - £6.99 for a 500ml trigger spray.
Tru Tension Snow Foam - crucially a carefully blended mix of solvents and silicone is £10.00 for a 500ml aerosol. Muc-Off High-Performance Waterless Wash is £11.99 for 750ml and impressed Steve with its results.
Bottom line, the Motoverde Waterless Wash & Wax is probably the best I've used to date, albeit not quite the holy grail of bike beautifiers. The wax barrier is a welcome touch, doesn’t attract grime and is relatively durable. Perfect for keeping protection in between deep cleans and hard paste wax-overs-especially if you are time poor. Those with matt finishes will need to look elsewhere for the moment. Nonetheless, it is very quick, convenient, and while more expensive than some competitors, a little goes a long way.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Lacks the outright durability of standalone waxes but by far the best waterless wash I’ve used to date.
PUBLISHED JUNE 2023