RED ANT PRECISION TITANIUM BICYCLE FRAME CLEANER
The Red Ant Precision Titanium Bicycle Frame Cleaner is a specialist brew, designed to remove dirt, grime and oily finger marks from raw, untreated titanium frames and components. It’s also cited as being a fast, efficient and moreover safe generic cleaner that can gobble grime without chomping through seals and other rubberised components.
Red Ant's Precision Titanium Bicycle Frame Cleaner is part of the brand’s system of material specific cleaners and polishes. Red Ant were unsurprisingly, tight-lipped about the ingredients but told me everything inside the aluminium bottle was biodegradable and pH neutral.
Well, my lawn still looks lush, though I’ve stored the 500ml bottle in a cool, dry cupboard with the trigger locked shut, worn latex examination gloves and washed my hands thoroughly after use.
Unlike some traditional metal cleaners, this is closer to a more generic bike wash. Park bike(s) in your chosen outside fettling spot and spray in short bursts from a distance of 20cm and leave between 3 and 5 minutes, while you round up bucket, brushes, warm water and soft, clean rag.
By this point, it will assume a dry, slightly hazy patina. Don’t be tempted to extend this mind, I got caught out, having answered the phone and found it had dried out, necessitating another helping. Scrub your bike, using the dip 'n’ rinse technique and then, dry thoroughly with your old towel/similar clean rag. Obviously, if you’ve treated your drivetrain too, give that a good tickling with your 3 way brush/nail/toothbrush.
Overall performance lives up to the hype but as it stands, seems good, rather than great. £10 isn’t particularly cheap for 500ml, so good technique is paramount. When tackling mild soiling, I have found spraying it into a clean rag and then applying to surfaces, saves wastage. When rinsed, milder, filmy grime, smudges, water and finger marks vanish.
Heavier soiling demands a more liberal dousing, as per directions. Oddly enough, anodized and lightly tarnished polished, aluminium alloy and electroplate have responded particularly well to a quick lick.
Chain lubes have become more tenacious, which is welcome in the main, although wet formulas can still attract varying degrees of contaminant. I wasn’t surprised to discover, two, sometimes three applications were called for when stripping really sophisticated petrochemical blends.
By the same token, I’d be worried about getting a product that efficient in the stripping stakes, close to rubberised/composite or painted surfaces. Unless, you’re just giving drivetrains a superficial wipe, stick with a dedicated drivetrain cleaner, or old school industrial solvent.
Tested on various grades of titanium, from unbranded Chinese auction site specials to this Torus Titanium Stem, it’s left them dinner plate clean, restoring the unique satin lustre.
My Univega’s Ti post was particularly grubby, since some internal preserve and Green Oil eco grease had turned fluid, while my workhorse was holidaying (hung vertically) in the workshop.
The oily gunk required a liberal dousing and the full five minute marinade but shifted, with nominal effort afterward. It’s remained pretty clean after a fortnight’s mixed weather riding-without any protectant.
In many respects, it does exactly what it says on the tin but I wouldn’t rate the red ant precision titanium cleaner as essential. Minor tarnish removing properties are better than say, Pro Green MX green clean cycle wash and M16 Extreme Bike Clean which are around 50% cheaper than the Red Ant’s full rrp. Both have achieved similar results on pretty much all surfaces, including Ti. True, there has been some very minor, trace streaking when left for their maximum recommended marinating times. This is easily dismissed with a soft, dry cloth and better still, a lick of good quality polymer wax.