Muc-Off High Pressure Quick Drying Degreaser Chain & Cassette
Muc-Off High Pressure Quick Drying Degreaser Chain & Cassette is designed to make exorcising unholy looking chains and cassettes that bit quicker and a whole heap easier. For the most part, it does what it says in the blurb and to a reasonable, though not wholly consistent standard. I have also been pleasantly surprised by its performance on some greases. Great news when you’re against the clock and need to complete a headset, or hub service.
Pros: Quick and reasonably effective.
Cons: Solvent dries a little too quickly, no substitute for physical scrubbing.
£14.99 buys a 750ml aerosol which employs a “heavy duty formula and high-pressure turbo spray”. I’ll confess to having a giggle at the latter, but it’s actually a very fair metaphor. Essentially, much like similar “master blaster” scuzz strippers (including Weldtite Jet Blast Degreaser )it’s basically a blend of solvents and a pressurised butane propellent that forces it right to the host. Upon contact, the solvent breaks down the residual grot, the cures, leaving a dry surface that’s primed for fresh lube. At least, that’s the theory.
Much in keeping with similar, solvent products basically. Use in well ventilated areas, away from sources of ignition, including pilot lights and that mate who is very partial to sparking a Marlboro while watching you work. Similarly, store in a cool, dry place, out of reach to children and pets. I’ve used ours in various contexts-wheels and chains in situ and components stripped, depending on whether I was doing a quick spray and lube, or a deeper clean.
I always say solvents can be a bit harsh on some paints/surfaces and rubberised components, so it’s worth minimising contact with these. Wearing mechanics/examination gloves is also good practice.
Either way, round up your favourite transmission brush, pop the lid and give the aerosol a vigorous 30 second shake. Aim at your host and deliver at 15-20cm. Rush in with your brush, tickle the cassette and chain to lift any ingrained/solidified gunk and give them another blast to banish them (repeat as required). Leave thirty seconds, then introduce the desired new lube/grease.
My Univega had been running a wax-based lube for a while and given the inclement Spring conditions, I decided to switch back to Weldtite Ceramic. Even a synthetic wax with water-based carrier can form a surprisingly stubborn glazed surface and since you should simply top-up, rather than strip them, chains tend to cultivate a black, flaky residue.
Then there’s the Teenage Dream, my custom-built road bike hailing from 1991. Aside from some modernization (its “lick and a promise” enamel being replaced with a luxurious and durable powder coat finish, a crankset, dual pivot brakeset and carbon fork upgrade 12 years back), the drivetrain remains unchanged.
Though quaint, it’s been a sunny days’ plaything, so spends much of its life in hibernation. I’d gone for a clean ceramic wax, which would also protect the chain, without attracting grime during storage and the Campagnolo Athena hubs were overdue an overhaul.
Initially, I was underwhelmed...
With the teenage dream’s rear wheel removed for a deep clean and hub strip, I gave the Muc-Off a seriously good shake and aimed at the freewheel. Compared with other degreaser sprays, the propellent has a tangibly stronger kick, forcing the solvent out cannon-fashion. However, first time round, it didn’t put a major dent in the waxy glaze, so I came a few centimetres closer, then delivered another five second blast.
The slightly heavier solvent concentration was much more effective. Placing the chain in a small Tupperware box and blasting at a comparable distance reaped similar rewards. However, both seemed to cling on, even with the tickle and reapply technique. Getting both surgically clean required a moderate helping of Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate, light agitation and a warm water rinse.
A similar story with wax lubes generally. Several weeks’ worth of waxy, flakey lube clinging to my Univega’s cassette and chain, for example; although it chased impacted, organic grime from in between, without recourse to a cassette claw, or old spoke. It also helped soften some impacted and congealed wax that had collected around the derailleur jockey wheels and cage. However, it didn’t strip piranha fashion. As with the Teenage Dream, a helping of Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate, stiff brush tickling and rinse was needed before I could introduce the Weldtite Ceramic Lube.
By contrast, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it dismissed the gravy-like lithium grease that was sloshing around the Athena hubs.
Having popped bearings, cones and locknuts into a magnetic parts bowl, I treated these and the hub shells/races to a liberal blast of the Muc-Off. All dismissed within a few seconds and when wiped with a clean rag. No call for second helpings, or rinses, so I could just repack and rebuild. Very welcome, since windchill was beginning to bite.
Stripping prowess was also very reasonable on lighter summer/dry lubes, including Zefal Pro Dry. A 3 second blast to the cassette, a quick blast into a clean rag, then running the chain through primed it, ready for something new.
Using this technique, the Muc-Off saved time when cleaning soiled tooling (e.g., chain breakers, cone spanners and Allen keys), before hanging them back on their hooks. The same went for gummed up derailleur springs, brake/gear cables, cleat and lock mechanisms.
I also found it useful for de-mothballing electroplated frame tubes-those treated to heavyweight PTFE maintenance sprays. As with wax lubes, it will soften wax type preserves but to strip, you’ll still need to baste on a paint friendly degreaser stock.
£14.99 is a fiver more than Weldtite Jet Blast Degreaser Spray, which is arguably its closest comparator. However, you are getting an extra 50% so in purely price tag terms, level pegging. Both require careful deployment to get the best from them. WD40 Specialist Degreaser, though not bike specific, performs very well, in all contexts and £7.19 (rrp) for 400ml is equally competitive, pricewise. Tru Tension Prime Shine Cycle Drivetrain Cleaner is £10.00 for 500ml and used in comparable contexts, has an edge on the Muc-Off, especially when tackling wet lubes and stubborn contaminant.
The Muc-Off High Pressure Quick Drying Degreaser chain and cassette is a good bet for banishing lighter lubes and getting a head start on heavily soiled drivetrains. However, the solvent seems to dry a little too quickly, meaning more product to achieve comparable results, especially on stiffer wet, and waxy chain lubes.