SKS WASH YOUR BIKE
SKS Wash Your Bike bike wash, is designed to make cleaning a filthy fleet that bit quicker. Frankly, it does much the same job as everyone else’s but tackles more stubborn ingrained grot that little bit faster.
This means it’s also reasonably effective at cleaning light to moderately soiled cassettes, rings and jockey wheels, without resorting to a degreaser.
Pros: Fast acting and more effective than many generic bike washes
Cons: Relatively expensive, especially compared with concentrate formulas.
SKS describe it as a biodegradable cleaner with a pleasant orange fragrance. Delving a bit deeper and there are a few, more obvious warnings urging caution re exposure to skin, eyes and ahem, carbon. However, their press office politely declined to elaborate further, regarding its chemical makeup.
Now, don’t click away just yet, it’s perfectly safe on the composites, provided you observe and don’t exceed the 60 second standing time. (I’ve been distracted on a couple of occasions and there’s been no visible traces of damage). However, these have been the exception, not the rule. SKS suggest pouring some into a separate container and diluting with water, for a gentler mix.
With these last remarks in mind, park bike(s) outside, in your usual fettling spot, round up buckets (one with warm water, the other cold), brushes, sponges and similar grime tickling kit. Salty bikes should be given a quick cold water rinse first. Otherwise, flick the bottle’s trigger spray open and squeeze. Cover machines under a sudsy blanket from 30cm, or so.
Leave between 1 and 3 minutes, depending on surface and obviously, how impacted the grime is. Then give tape, tubes, contact points and other components a liberal tickling with your chosen scrubbing implements.
Foaming mixtures are very alluring because their vibrant suds look to be doing something. In common with Crankalicious Pineapple bike spray, it’s visually very subtle. However, caked on organic trail spatter literally fell away from the bottom bracket and chainstay regions.
Coinciding with a tyre swap, layers of congealed, silty spray, hugging the underside of chrome plastic guards, literally disintegrated come the first hint of a wet sponge.
I was quite happy with the levels of lubrication, so left cassette and chain to their own devices on this occasion.
Following a week’s seemingly relentless rain, my fixed gear winter/trainer was coated in an acre of encrusted grime, particularly acute along the rear triangle, bottom bracket shell and fork legs. The frameset’s thick acrylic lacquer topcoat means it’s easier to keep clean, without waxes (or a sealant product, such as Crankalicious Enduro than my tubby tourer’s livery.
Nonetheless, in both scenarios, given the full three minutes it does a decent job of loosening gunky contaminant from wet lubes. That said; it will leave the lion’s share of lube in situ, so no undue risk to hubs, seals etc.
Left for three minutes, then tickled with a stiff bristled brush, the solution shifted ingrained oily patina from this BBB bar tape. True, most have made inroads but not to the same standards, let alone efficiency.
Either way, provided you rinse everything in a timely fashion, so long as it’s not administered in direct sunlight, or waiting times exceeded, streaking/spotting hasn’t been a problem.
With the notable exception of matt colours and some raw titanium finishes (Which have required post wash “polishing”) results are extremely pleasing, at least on my fleet’s polished, plated, lacquered and painted (Stove enamel, 2 pack and powder coated) surfaces.
Speaking of squeaky clean, braking surfaces can be a little too spotless, resulting in some initial squeal. Easily sorted by applying the brakes for ten, maybe fifteen seconds or so and a common phenomenon with other brands, in my experience.
Ultimately, the SKS wash your bike is a very efficient, stock blend that may appeal to riders/mechanics who want a bit more cleaning prowess. This might be enough to justify the £11.40 asking price, which frankly, is at the upper end. However, putting this into context, Pro Green MX Cycle Wash is £ 4.99 per litre.
Leaving household detergents out of the equation, those (myself included) who ride/race year round and like keeping their machines fairly pristine may find concentrates better value. Something like Fenwicks’ FS1 or Crankalicious Pineapple Express work out cheaper still, and will make several strengths - from gentle bike cleaners, to ferociously efficient degreasers.