SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
ROCK 'N' ROLL MIRACLE RED CONCENTRATE MULTI-PURPOSE BIKE CLEANER
16 fl oz (480ml) £9.95
Miracle Red is Rock ‘n’ Roll’s all-purpose cleaner and degreaser. Read the blurb and it suggests use on everything from insect-splattered motorbikes to your own hands – via bicycles and things like that. Best stop short of bathing the baby (the real one, not your favourite bicycle). Despite being a Jack-of-All-Cleaners, it has performed powerfully.
Pros: genuinely all purpose and seemingly kind to all surfaces.
Cons: nothing significant.
OK, there’s no reason to doubt the “safe” and “bio” on the label, apart from that, there’s no hint at the ingredients. Thankfully, there are no safety warnings hidden round the back either. Understandably, Rock ‘n’ Roll don’t want to give much away: if Miracle Red is anywhere near as good as they claim, its recipe will be a closely guarded secret. However, Cycle Clinic point out that there’s no petroleum, citrus, or pumice
Use and application 4.5/5
Ours was in concentrate form, but Miracle Red is also available as a spray (add your own water), or why not use an old pump spray to mix up your own potion? Take usual care when spraying, or mix some into a sudsy bucket wash, or put a little on a cloth and use neat. Sensitive hands should have little to worry about, but gloves may still be your preference. I have also added a little to a chain bath.
If you are not allowed to clean your bike in the living-room, then do your best to get out of the wind, if using a spray. No point seeing more than you must go to waste.
Initially, I went for 20ml in a gallon of warm water, as a first
go. See below for the results. This is rather less than the suggested 2 or 4 parts water to 1 part Miracle Red. However, it certainly made for a good general bike wash
Adding a little more concentrate has more effect on the greasy regions of the bike – drive train, for example. Neat application, is suggested for clothing damaged by grease, post-workshop hand-washing, and so on. Mind you, I have not seen any ill effects on heavily grimed metalwork.
From the bucket: selecting a winter-worn bike, well-coated in the stuff of country lanes and forest tracks, I began with a once over with a watering-can’s worth of cold water. Aiming to dislodge lumpy grot and loosen the rest from the frame – leaving Green Oil’s Eco Brush to soften its bristles in the mix of warm water and Miracle Red. Then to work, with a through brush over. The results were impressive. All significant dirt was dispelled. OK. There were a few spots that needs attention with more precise brushes. Even so, all that was left was a wipe over with a dry cloth before heading for the polish.
I’d already given the chain a once over with some Miracle Red, mixed 1 to-2 with water, in a chain bath. Results were good, although, it took a couple more goes to get the deeply ingrained old lube out. I’d generally go with a stronger degreaser like Limon Velo from Crankalicious, on anything more than moderately soiled chains. Experimenting with neat Miracle Red saw significantly improved results. That’s very much a plus when away from the potion shelf.
Results were similar when sprayed onto the frame, leaving the Miracle Red for a couple of minutes to soak into grime: agitating, where necessary, with brush or cloth. Having said that, bucket washing proved more effective on truly dirty machines.
With a mix of 3 to 1 in the spray, the dinner plate cassette on my tourer took an initial dose, a moderate agitate with a stiff brush, followed by a swoosh of cold water to rinse. Repeating the process got things looking pretty good. Whilst short of powerful degreasers, like Oxford’s Mint Degrease, Miracle Red still does a very good job, in this context - and adds to your green credentials.
Spots of greasy-grime hidden in nooks and corners, remnants on jockey wheels and derailleur mechs, were dismissed with only minor encouragement. A rather tired – despite winter hibernation white Soma Okami Lite Saddle and a similarly jaded Velo Orange Touring Saddle, were quickly rejuvenated, too.
Various dilutions have proved effective on my Carradry Panniers. On the other hand, a dose of washing up water has done the same. Really stubborn dirt, some that I thought was just wear on the fabric, departed with a gentle rub of neat Miracle Red.
Likewise, my old SPD trainer-type shoes have been cleaned with soap and water, but results were much better with a single wipe over with a few drops of Miracle Red mixed in a medium pudding bowl.
On the bike, I have not noticed any ill-effects on chrome, rubber, anodised surfaces etc. Having said that, carbon can benefit from carbon specific products. Likewise, stove enamel and powder coating are pretty tough, but matt and other sensitive finishes may be best sampled in a hidden corner first. Not casting aspersions on the Miracle Red here, but measuring twice to cut once is a sensible maxim with your beloved’s paint job.
Crankalicious Mud Honey is a concentrate, too; comes in a little more expensive, and is designed as grot-buster-in-a-bucket. It is excellent, though the Miracle Red is up there with it, especially when one takes the latter’s adaptability into account – after all the Miracle is not designed specifically as a bucket wash.
A potion like Miracle Red is always going to offer wider cleaning potential than those available as diluted sprays. However, these, such as Oxford’s Mint Bike Wash, can be more convenient for work at the trail-head. They are generally cheaper, though significantly less frugal, and only some are available in neat form for those who like to mix their own.
I suppose the truth is that there is nothing quite like Miracle Red.
I have been told that Miracle Red makes a good carpet cleaner. Well, I haven’t tried it on the Persian rug in the lounge, but it does seem to perform most other tasks with aplomb; on and off the bike. I can see myself decanting a little for a multi-day tour – for the bike, for me, for my clothes. Back home, either as a bucket wash after a mucky ride (bike, footwear etc.) or for deep cleaning – including spot cleaning – and a degrease. There are Jacks of All Trades and genuine All-Rounders. Miracle Red is very much the latter, possibly the most genuinely all-rounder I have come across.
Verdict: 4.75/5 Very effective, multi-purpose cleaner, at a decent price.
PUBLISHED MARCH 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH