WELDTITE BIKE CLEANER
1 Litre £8.99
The Weldtite Bike Cleaner 1 litre trigger is an orange, grime busting potion designed to make bike cleaning less of a chore. The original formula has been tweaked slightly and, in my view, it's still worth considering, for enthusiast home mechanics, or commercial workshop use (there’s also shop/team mechanic sized 5litre option).
That said; it faces stiff competition from more efficient formulas when tackling bikes drenched in a witches’ brew of petrochemical sludge and typical midwinter grot.
Pros: Quick acting, seems safe on most surfaces.
Cons: Les effective than some on impacted oily grot.
Weldtite are suitably scarce on specifics but would say the orange potion is a non-acidic formula but with comparable performance. We’re also assured its safe on painted, plated, polished and rubberised surfaces. First up, we should say that bike washes are designed to loosen dirt and grime, making cleaning quicker and easier-they're not degreasers.
I’m told the original formula has been tweaked and “now contains a more readily biodegradable detergent coupled with improved clinging properties meaning it stays put longer while it does its work”. The trigger has also had similar treatment, designed for more tunable, precise delivery-it can be switched from a thick stream to fine mist. 200ml refills are also available (making two litres of stock cleaner).
Bike washes work to broadly the same science but come in different forms. The foamy types are visually dramatic but only effective, if the cleaning agents are clinging to the host surface, not foaming up and rolling off. The longer they stay put, the better.
The Bike Cleaner is designed with a very short standing period. Park bike(s) in your designated cleaning spot, round up your cleaning brushes (degreaser too, if your transmission’s black with grot- apply this first), bucket(s) of
warm and cold-water for rinsing. Worth donning examination/mechanics gloves if you’ve sensitive skin or are working on several bikes/for prolonged periods.
Flick the trigger open and from around 30cm, starting at the bars, work along the bike, top to bottom. Give it 30-60 seconds marinating time, for the chemicals to do their thing, then, working top to bottom agitate with your brushes and rinse. Done. At least that’s the theory.
During the test period, I’d been riding my fixed gear winter/trainer exclusively, meaning at the close of each week, it was covered under a thick blanket of engrained filth.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how quickly and visibly it melted through the deeply impacted muck. This kind of coverage required a second and sometimes a third coat, with a minute between each filmy covering.
Getting busy with the brushes and the sludgy grime disintegrated, falling away when I introduced a jumbo car sponge load of tepid water to the bike. Look closely at the right hand chainstay and you’ll notice that’s a slimy mix of spent ceramic lube, dung, mud and similar contaminant, not just road spray.
In the subsequent weeks, the bike’s long serving cartridge bottom bracket that had finally succumbed to the grumbles. Aside from shifting the standard wintry stuff, with minimal coaxing it also dismissed some oily frame preserve that had oozed from the bottom bracket shell. Switching to a foaming trigger accelerated its efficiency slightly but also consumed more product into the bargain.
I was also pleased by the lack of streaking/staining and water marks on all finish types-polished to powder coated, carbon composites, plastics, lacquers and anodizing. This isn’t the case with some other iconic brands and their imitators. However, unlike some newer formulas, it doesn’t leave a dirt repelling layer behind. If time allows, it’s worth applying a quick helping of beeswax furniture polish, or sealant spray afterwards. This makes dirt harder to stick and subsequent cleans easier.
£8.99 is competitive, cheaper still if you buy the 5 litre workshop version. Muc-Off Nano Tech Bike Cleaner retails at £10.99 for 1litre and can also be bought in concentrate and workshop quantities. M16 Extreme Bike Clean 1 Litre comes in at £9.48. However, if you can tolerate the slower activation time, Green Clean MX Bike Wash is very effective and comes in at £7.99 for a comparable, 1 litre, trigger spray bottle, or £25 for a 5 litre concentrate version. Oxford Mint retails at £6.99 for 1 litre . Velo 21 Dirty Weekend Bike Pre Wash comes in at £6.50 for 1 litre.
The Weldtite Bike Cleaner is a decent staple that does a decent job of blitzing dirty bikes. Save perhaps for Green Clean MX Bike wash, in workshop size, it’s probably the best bet for commercial mechanics/bike shops, or people with a big fleet. However, there are plenty of impressive 1litre competitors, which are a good bit cheaper and perhaps better value for more casual fettlers.