OXFORD MINT GENERAL PROTECTANT
Oxford Mint General Protectant is another potion in the Mint range of bike care products, most of which suit motorcycles, too. Dispersing any remaining water following a post-ride wash and brush up, it aims to leave a protective film that will keep things looking nice and shiny and, more practically, prevent rusting whilst making the surface less attractive to dirt. It seems to be doing its work well, both on bikes in long term storage and in regular use. However, it is more akin to old style water dispersants than silicone formulas with stronger anti-dirt bright-shine credentials.
Pros: does what it says and is suitable for electrical contacts etc.
Cons: not suitable for non-metallic surfaces.
Oxford Mint General Protectant is a petroleum-based aerosol spray with water dispersal and long-term protection against damp and dirt in mind. “Toxic to aquatic life” and a host of warnings about misuse should be taken seriously, but they are pretty standard for potions of this kind. OK, ‘green’ cred may not be high, but Mint products are, in my experience, highly effective. For most folk, this is likely to be a workshop product with lower risk to watercourses and so on; a post-wash blast at a trailhead might be a different matter.
Oxford describe it as ideal for rust prone areas, springs, forks. Water dispersal to keep rust at bay anywhere, especially those gunge prone spots on a bike where the sun don’t shine. In addition, it should help keep the frame looking smart and facilitate easier cleaning, and keep things tidy with poor bikes in long-term storage (such as your winter trainer during an English summer …. well, maybe not).
It is suited to metal, rubber, even electronics (an advantage over heavier Teflon-type protectants, although you might want
to check out suitability, say if you have a special paint job, by a quick application in a hidden nook. Moreover, Oxford do not recommend it for carbon or plastics – they have their Silicone Detailer (review to follow) to include those.
As ever, a good shake sets the process off. Actually, before that you need to clean whatever it is you are applying it to. There’s no point spraying it over a later of dirt. So, get out your Mint Bike Wash, or similar, wash away the grime, clean you drive train, and so on.
Although this is a water dispersant, give things time to air dry or get out a cloth and dry by hand. I prefer the former, but that might not be possible, if, for example, you are tidying things up at the end of a jaunt before loading the bike into the back of the car.
Apply carefully – avoid braking surfaces as if your life depended on it: it may do. The spray leaves a thin oily film. So best take the wheels out and be very careful around disk brake callipers and brake pads.
I’ve wiped off excess with a cloth, although there has been little obvious wastage.
Following a sudsy wash for the commuter, I’ve treated moving parts – drivetrain, headset, axles to a dose of Mint Protectant. Impact is not easy to asses, but quick release skewers seem to have fared well – springs and acorn nuts have avoided the all-to-usual rusting after a few weeks of commuting, Seat posts have benefitted from a shot, too. Impact on seals and bearing races is harder to judge. I’m a fairly gentle washer, although those who hose-down bikes – especially with jet washes – may find it efficacious.
Dirt-wise, remember this is a protectant. The oily film may make it harder for dirt to grip, but you should not expect it to keep your bike clean. I’ve found that dust – from crushed limestone cycle paths, for example – wipes of easily, revealing a livelier looking paint job without a proper wash. Larger conglomerations of dirt find it harder to get a grip, but will, inevitably take hold at some stage. However, when it comes to creating a dirt-repelling surface and maintaining a really rich colour, it does not match protectants with a silicone element, such as Muc-Off’s version.
On the topic of the oily film, it is pretty clean stuff. I’ve tended to limit use to the forks, hubs, lower parts of the frame, chain-stays, rather than the top-tube and other parts likely to come into contact with shorts or – when commuting – smarter trousers.
Keeping oil off the togs does not apply when putting bikes into storage. Sadly, but conveniently, the test coincided with a period of three months when, dues to a dicky knee, I was unable to ride the single-speed. So, stuck away in the dusty shed with a light coating of Mint Protectant, how has it fared? The paint certainly looks neat. Even better, the discoloured patches where chrome once lived have not deteriorated further when the atmosphere has turned damp. On that topic, Michael reckons that a good spray inside the frame may well be efficacious.
£7.99 is not a lot of cash for a product like this. Muc-Off want a couple of pounds more for the same quantity, but their version is enhanced with a silicone component to improve protection further. Of course, there are well-known moisture dispersal sprays, but not all will stick around for long-term protection. In that sense, Oxford Mint General Protectant is a very handy addition to your potion shelf. Equally, there are others about, offering similar performance. I’d better confess to admiring the bang-for-buck that the mint range offers, in my experience.
Oxford’s Silicone Detailer costs the same, but is primarily aimed at preserving appearances and hiding blemishes on all surfaces, rather than moisture dispersal. Th ever popular-amongst motorcyclists ACF50 is pricier, but has a lot in common.
A very useful protectant, offering both short and long-term protection to most bits of your bike. Of course, it will double up for other bits of gear, too. However, there’s plenty of competition.