VELO 21 DIRTY WEEKEND BIKE PRE WASH
1 litre £6.50
Velo 21 Dirty Weekend Bike Pre Wash is “Designed to remove the worst of what the British weather can throw at your bike”. In other words, in line with everyone else’s. Credit where its due, Dirty Weekend is a solid all-rounder, shifting oily detritus more convincingly than I’ve come to expect. However, depending on surface, these results required longer marinating periods/more elbow grease, than some SDC favourites.
Pros: Efficient on organic and petrochemical grot, streak free finish.
Cons: Standing time longer than some, no concentrate version.
Steve, at Velo 21 was understandably coy, when discussing ingredients, saying a list of chemicals, including h319 wouldn’t be particularly interesting. However, the label lists Disodium Metasilicate, which is a commonly used detergent found in laundry/cleaning and similar industrial products.
It is an irritant, and can cause lasting eye damage, so the usual cautions apply. Store carefully, away from pets and children, avoid eve contact and don examination gloves, if you have sensitive skin.
The packaging is all made here, in the UK and from recyclable materials. We’re assured the formula is safe on all finishes and surfaces, including carbon composites and matt paintwork, just don’t let it dry out.
Velo 21 say it can be left marinating for up to 10minutes. I’ve left really soiled bikes for 8. Enough time to round up bucket of warm water, sponge and brushes.
We all know the drill by now. Park bike(s) in your designated washing spot. Give the dirty weekend a quick 30 second shake to “awaken” the chemicals. Flick the nozzle to spray and blast liberally, from 30 cm. In common with several competitors, dirty weekend is a pure, visually calm blend. Far from “resting” these active ingredients are clinging to the surfaces, breaking down the dirt, on a molecular level.
Initial impressions were a bit middling, if I’m honest. After a week spent belting along soggy backroads and bridle path, a healthy accumulation of impacted, part petrochemical gloop, clung to my Univega’s bottom bracket shell, and rear triangle.
Now, said machine’s powder coated paintwork is not sealed beneath an acrylic lacquer topcoat. This means its more susceptible to watermarks, oily fingers, mud, flung chain lubes etc.
Left five minutes, then sloshing warm water over the tubes, via a jumbo sponge, moderate organic dirt just slithered away. However, the impacted grot tended to smear, cross contaminating clean areas with frustrating efficiency.
This wasn’t the case with Pro Green MX Green Clean or M16 Extreme Bike Wash which have a moto-cross heritage. Agitating with a soft brush, then rinsing regularly addressed most of these issues, although if time’s tight, I’d opt for Crankalicious Mud Honey Foaming Bucket Wash. Curiously, this was less problematic with matt finishes. Extending marinating times to 8 minutes addressed cross contamination woes, experienced on my Univega.
Compared with the other two blends, and on lacquered and anodised surfaces, it’s a much closer race. Having allowed my cyclo cross inspired fixed gear winter/trainer to get similarly filthy.
A racoon stripe of impacted dung and similarly organic spatter adorned the rear triangle, bottom bracket and fork legs.
Some drops of spent chainsaw oil were also evident along its right chainstay.
Applied as before, the impacted mud literally disintegrated, forming a dirty puddle beneath. This was delivered via a saturated jumbo sponge and only that spent chain lube required a gentle, two second tickling. The dirty weekend is sufficiently intense to shift grit and dirt similar contaminant from chains, derailleurs and rings but without shifting that, wanted lubricant.
When left marinating for 3 minutes, or so, less ingrained, watery muck literally vanished given a gentle, garden hose rinse.
This remained consistent, across other lacquered finishes, including 2K and stove enamels.
Provided you’ve rinsed properly and haven’t allowed it to dry out, streaking and watermarks won’t be an issue. Some matt colours merited a quick lick of “polish” but if you regularly treat your matt surfaces to these protectants, this may also prove unnecessary, for a few washes, in any case.
A litre for £6.50 is competitive, relative to other spray-on cleaners. Arguably Oxford Products Mint Bike Wash is its closest rival. Mint is also available in a 5 litre size. Some blends, including M16 extreme and Green Oil Green Clean are more concentrated and faster acting Both considerations, if you are a “team” mechanic “on the clock” needing to clean, prep and service several bikes. On that note, Velo 21 will supply 5 and 25 litre versions - £18.95 and £50, respectively. A boon for big fleets, or commercial contexts.
As stock bike wash formulas go, the Velo 21 Dirty Weekend trumps some iconic pink formulas. Above average results-wise; it faces stiff competition. Oxford Products Mint Bike Wash and Green Clean MX Cycle Wash are two clear rivals.
They can also be purchased in workshop quantities. If price gets your deciding vote, then, by my reckoning, Green Clean MX Cycle Wash wins by a metaphorical nose.
Others, such as Fenwicks’ FS1 and Crankalicious Pineapple Express can be brewed to custom tastes, from stock bike wash, to neat degreaser, which might be a better fit for some.