PURE BIKE DEGREASER
The Pure Bike Degreaser is described as a “powerful natural-based degreaser, highly effective in removing grease and oil”. A statement I’d broadly agree with. However, there’s a definite knack to getting the very best from it, both in terms of performance, and economy.
Pros: Quite powerful, reasonably efficient, no petrochemicals.
Cons: Requires more liberal application, especially on heavy duty wet lubes, not kind to eyes or composites.
Pure are understandably coy about its exact composition but like many others, Pure have replaced harsh petrochemicals with citrus. While planet friendly, citrus is quite powerful, and will chomp through ingrained and impacted grot without leaching nasty chemicals into the user and wider environment.
Mind you, there are some very stark warnings about avoiding contact with paint and potentially serious and lasting eye damage. A pump spray trigger is designed to deliver and activate the mixture, meaning its already primed and agitated, while also ensuring its easily and accurately directed.
While many petrochemical/solvent formulas evaporate without trace, the pure needs rinsing with clean water afterwards. Arguably better employed as part of a deeper bike clean, rather than a localised drivetrain blitz and re-lube.
Application/Technique & Comfort 2.75/5
I’ve tried ours several ways and concluded getting the very best from it, on heavily soiled areas requires stripping components from the bike (e.g. cassette, chain and rings), placing them in a parts washer/decent quality ice cream tub. Flick the nozzle open and deliver liberally. Particularly important when tackling scuzzy components and/or stripping hell n’ high water wet lubes, such as TF2 Extreme Wet or Zefal Extra Wet Ceramic Chain Lube.
However, if you’ve been feeding your chain a light-middleweight lube, it’s possible to strip these convincingly in situ, say when giving the bike a good sudsy bucket wash, or
the clip-on chain cleaner route. The latter helps agitate the mix and shift grime more effectively, the former means one rinsing, while reducing the risk of accidental splashes doing nasty things to paint, plastics and other delicate surfaces.
Either way, ideally wear eye protection, or at least, in sheltered areas, out of the breeze. None has come anywhere near my face but 30 minutes fettling, or so sans gloves and my hands were feeling a little dry. No worse than strong petrochemical solvents, but those with sensitive skin should don examination gloves from the outset.
Overall performance has been surprisingly good.
My first outing for the Pure Bike Degreaser was tackling my Univega’s cassette and chain as part of a deep clean, following a weeks’ riding along filthy, flooded lanes. I shook the bottle, flicked the trigger and gave the cassette three liberal blasts (being careful to avoid getting overspray on painted and rubberised components.
The clear solution showed some very subtle bubbling, the sort you get with a bike wash, as it got to work. I left it a couple of minutes to break down the congealed cocktail of wet lube and organic stuff, while I fetched a bucket of warm water and bike wash.
When I returned and introduced a 3in1 transmission brush to the chain, the citrus formula had evidently softened the oily gunk, but it was hardly melting away. Flushing through with warm water and the results were passable but not a patch on Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion Degreaser .
Reapplication and agitation with the brush, 30 seconds later and results were much better but again, it still required another two helpings and modest tickling with the transmission brush, before it was hygienic enough for re-lubing. Congealed gunge around the jockey wheels and derailleur cage also dropped away by this point, when scraped with the detailer bristles.
All told, we’re talking 15minutes, which is more of a testament to the lube’s tenacity, rather than poor reflection of the Pure Bike Degreaser. Nonetheless, underwhelming compared with Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion Degreaser, or indeed, a moderate slosh of turpentine spirit. Next in line, my fixed gear winter/trainer’s Halo Aerorage rear wheel.
The hub and sprocket were plastered is a mix of middleweight ceramic lube, winter’s slurry and on the other side, some deeply ingrained, dried latex sealant. Giving these a blast, 30 seconds marinating time and then introducing the transmission brush saw this cocktail disintegrate very convincingly, with nominal effort.
Sprocket and both sides of the hub cleaned and rinsed in 6 minutes. In the interest of testing its effect upon painted surfaces, I applied a quick shot to the sullied neon hoops, worked into the filmy grime using this Green Oil Eco Brush . This grime literally fell away on contact and I wasted no time in rinsing the rim with fresh water. Quicker still with waxy type formulas, including Weldtite TF2 Advanced Ceramic Chain Wax .
The powder coated finish has faded very slightly in the last 12 years but is otherwise in very rude health. No issues here, or with the Univega’s powder coated frameset but these are very hardy finishes and I’ve lost no time in rinsing them.
I would strip the chain ring(s) and cassette, placing them in a makeshift/parts washer, especially those needing a deep clean, belonging to a composite frameset. Exposed exclusively to wet ceramics since October, my Raval Oval Chain Ring was restored to packet fresh in 8 minutes, scrubbed intermittently with a stiff bristled transmission brush.
By this point, various brushes (nylon bristle plots) had succumbed to that oily colic that simply contaminates any clean surfaces they touch. I gave a couple a quick blast of the Pure Bike Degreaser, worked this into the bristles and rinsed through with warm water. Spray, rinse, repeat and within ten minutes said colic was gone. However, this has softened the bristle plots slightly. Not an issue on big, soft types, designed for paintwork but reduced the prowess of transmission brushes.
£5.99 for 250ml isn’t outlandish for a biodegradable formula
and moreover, one that is free of solvents/similar. Muc Off-Drivetrain Cleaner is £19.99 for 500ml. Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion Degreaser is £14.99 for 300ml but is incredibly fast acting and can be re-used three times, bringing the cost down.
At £9.99 for 1litre, Zefal Bio Degreaser arguably wins if you’re looking for an inexpensive and more versatile staple, although it’s made from alkaline detergent and degreasing agents, which may not be so naturally brewed.
Overall, the Pure Bike Degreaser is generally effective and will make light work of all but the more stubborn, petrochemical lubes. However, it still requires some gentle scrubbing and is better suited to deeper cleans, rather than lube switches.