RED ANT PRECISION CARBON CLEANER AND POLISH 500/250ml £9.99 each
Red Ant Precision carbon bicycle frame cleaner & Red Ant Precision carbon bicycle frame polish are two in a range specially formulated for cleaning and preserving contemporary finishes.
Starting with the cleaner, exact composition is decidedly top-secret but essentially a blend of PH neutral base fortified with less than 5% anionic surfactants. This latter component is designed to cut through grime more aggressively than its ionic cousins but also attacks organic proteins, so keep well away from children, pets; aquatic life and avoid contact with eyes/skin.
Suspicions of badge engineering were ignited having seen identical ingredients and experienced similar aromas within the titanium and matt treatments. However, Red Ant confirms these are genuinely material specific and not interchangeable.
Calling their bluff, I put a drop of their matt cleaner on a retired carbon cage, which etched the lacquer topcoat and extinguished all doubt. Modus operandi will be intuitive to regular users of spray on bike washes.
Park machines somewhere convenient outside, away from direct sunlight; connect the trigger and being the family’s most gentle member, engulf the entire bike in short blasts from around 20cm. While this subtle fizzing cocktail beavers away on a molecular level for three to five minutes (depending on filth factor) run yourself a nice big bucket of tepid water and round up that jumbo sponge, ready to rinse off.
Results are pleasing and it’s notably better than bog standard foaming brews on petrochemical based lubes/slurry, brake dust. The most tenacious, ingrained stuff occasionally required a second, localised helping. Streaking, spotting/similar blemishes have been refreshingly absent, though it hasn’t trumped my favourite citrus based product.
Once dry, it’s time for the protector, which is similarly secretive ingredients-wise, though consistency is closer to some helmet beautifying polymers than traditional car derived waxes. 250ml sounds rather modest for a tenner but pump spray delivery means it’s 100% potion and very economical to boot. Squirt into some clean, soft lint-free rag, kitchen paper (old flannels work a treat) and starting at the stem, apply a singular coat methodically around the bike, steering clear of discs/braking surfaces for obvious reasons.
Leave a few minutes/until surfaces assume a faintly misted effect, then buff to a high sheen. Microfibre clothes arguably achieve the most pleasing effects fastest but once again, clean lint free rag or kitchen towels come a pretty close second. Results are jaw droppingly good, restoring the showroom fresh shine and all important three ply weave beneath a slippery, invisible layer. Arguably flamboyant and candy enamel are the most stunning, though chromium plating, standard enamels, two pac and powder coat paints of various qualities and condition came very close indeed.
Speaking of which, the chemicals will also remove trace oxidisation and fading. However, anything more significant will demand a cutting formula beforehand. Red Ant reckons these effects will last up to four weeks from a single application and despite daily service; my training bike was still looking very fresh after three.
It’s naïve to expect any polish to resist every form of contaminant throughout, thus regular tepid water cat-licks, or more intensive washes are recommended to prevent dirt and ingress taking hold. That said; the lustre shouldn’t fade inbetween so long as household detergents are avoided.
Rider coolant, bird droppings and other acidic nasties haven’t penetrated the surface or hurt anodising, boding well for those regularly serving on rollers/turbo trainers. However, bikes being placed into seasonal storage in garages/outbuildings might be better served by more traditional liquid polymer/ hard paste automotive products.
Verdict: Performance certainly justifies their asking price but stiffer, polymer based preserves better suit seasonal hibernation in garages/sheds.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2014