OXFORD MINT CHAIN CLEANER
Oxford’s Mint range is aimed at both cyclist and motor-biker, and Mint Chain Cleaner is an aerosol type spray sitting in that range of cleaning potions and luibes. Initially, there was some discussion at why one would add a chain cleaner to a shelf of degreasers, but there are distinct benefits in economy, and the potion itself is extremely effective in many contexts. Whilst aerosols might not be everyone’s cuppa char, they are certainly convenient when away from the workshop and non-urgent maintenance is needed.
Pros: accurate delivery and ease of use.
Cons: stronger potions needed for heavier greases.
Described as great for chains, sprockets, and rings, Oxford Mint Chain Cleaner is a strong – as opposed to mighty – cleaning potion for those parts of the bike that collect road and trail gunge on lubricated components. Unlike some, for example Fenwick’s, Mint Chain Cleaner does not foam up.
Petroleum/Naphta mat not do much for your green credentials, but do make for effective cleaning. Oxford say that the solvents are designed to hold on for a bit longer and the emulsifiers allow remnants to be washed off.
I’ve not noticed any impact on paint job or rubber components, but take care and avoid the latter of possible. Tough old stove enamel is one thing – nice matt finishes on carbon can be quite another. Having said that, the only warnings on the can are that it is flammable, pressurised, and that basic, common-sense measures should be taken to protect your health.
Application and removal
Simples. Shake, aim, and apply. There’s no excuse for missing the chain with the narrow nozzle. Compared to some more general degreaser sprays, accuracy, and, thus, economy, are excellent. Leave for a few minutes.
I’ve been sparing on light to moderately dirty chains – with good effect – and given a second, or even third going over, for longer neglected chains or those exposed to many miles of winter's filthy by-ways. Having said that, I’ve got through the can pretty quickly – but then I have been setting it a bit of a challenge.
A wipe with a cloth should be enough for most chains, but either a second application or a massage with a chain brush may be needed.
Wash off, if necessary. On dirtier chain’s, it’s left a pool of residue on the ground which has needed to be washed away, too.
Once applied and given a few turns of the pedal, a wipe with a rag has disposed of most of the dry dust from crushed lime towpath and general road detritus. Deciding that Muc-Off’s Hydrodynamic Lube was due for a holiday from the old Carlton Clubman’s chain – after some 750 miles of good service - that was all that was necessary.
Taking the opportunity to have a go at the large chain ring, too, I was pleasantly surprised when the Mint Chain Cleaner, combined with a quick brush, and a wipe with a cloth, got rid of those gungy accretions round the teeth (below).
More deeply ingrained – and shamefully neglected – muck on the multi-surface tourer’s Chain L High Mileage Fromula, was more of a challenge. Two applications were necessary - including a few squirts in a chain bath - to get to grips with things. I wondered if the Chain Cleaner would be most effective on relatively fresh muck – but how often does one want to clean and re-lube? Certainly not after every ride.
Headsets and other bearing services, as well as more heavily greased components are really the province of potions, such as Oxford Mint Degreaser.
There’s no doubt that Mint Chain Cleaner does its stuff very well – just what Oxford say it will do. At £5.99 it is not expensive and has certainly saved me money on stronger degreasers. In some ways I have come to regard it as degreaser-lite, but the dispenser has made it especially useful on transmissions. If I only had £5.99, I’d go for a Oxford’s Mint Degreaser, but dusting the wallet down, Mint Chain Cleaner is a welcome addition to the potions shelf.
Home-brewers will prefer a more mixable base for subtler strength, but this is highly portable – for multi-bike groups away from the comfort of the workshop.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Another highly effective cleaning potion from Oxford Products.
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PUBLISHED APRIL 2019