Weldtite Bike Cleaner
1 Litre £9.99
The Weldtite Bike Cleaner 1 Litre is available in a choice of lemon, or lime citrus scents, contains nothing acidic, or environmentally dubious, yet has impressed me with its grot dissolving prowess. (It even removed a filmy grease from my cooker hood). There’s also a 1 lite concentrate for workshops, those with big fleets, or riders with a collective ethos, buying staples in bulk and keeping costs down. Spoiler alert, it has certainly earned a place in my cleaning corner.
Pros: Effective, yet seemingly gentle on all surfaces, quick acting, streak free
results, pleasant aroma, competitively priced.
Cons: Nothing obvious compared with rivals.
Now, the exact formula is Coca Cola secret and understandably so. Ed at Weldtite would say it took them two years to develop this version and indeed, the trigger spray to their satisfaction.
Apparently, they’d pitted the new formula against an extremely popular, long-established rival and reckoned they’d matched it for performance. Without anything salty, or caustic. There are some blends sold as concentrates recommended for everything from patios to bicycles. If not diluted VERY carefully, the latter can dull paintwork, damage seals and similarly delicate rubberised parts. Oh, and scorch your lawn.
The bottle cites a familiar list and strength of surfactants (cleaning agents) designed to react, dissolve and lift ingrained dirt of diverse types. This mixture also contains benzothiazolinone. Benzothiazolinone is a preservative and a highly effective one.
However, it’s also associated with eye irritation (and indeed, more acute damage) and dermatitis. For these reasons, store safely, away from children and pets, for example. Gloves are good practice for extended fettling full stop but particularly if you have sensitive skin.
The trigger has a mist or spray setting and is designed to agitate the mix, meaning it hits the surface ready to gobble grot. Now, this is a very subtle formula visual, but one designed to cling atop the surface where it can make most impact. Foaming blends give the impression of being highly active but are in fact, less effective. This also means you use more product.
We all know the drill by now. Park bikes outside, round up bucket(s) of warm and cool water, brushes/sponges, clean micro fibre cloth (s) and maintenance spray. Unlike some blends, there’s no need to wet the bike(s) first (although a cold-water pre-wash is a good move if you’ve been out along gritted winter roads).
For general coverage, flick the trigger to mist and deliver a light coating around the lightly soiled areas, switching to the spray for ingrained/impacted filth. Encrusted cyclo-cross and mountain bikes aside, we’re talking bottom bracket shells, under the downtube, chain stays and inside the fork legs.
Gravity is also your friend- apply liberally around the seat tube, seat stays, and it will infiltrate the bottom bracket shell and rear triangle nicely, meaning you’re using less product and energy. Leave the subtle bubbles doing their thing for a minute. Then you can rinse with your brushes, sponges (or in lightly soiled contexts a damp cloth/sponge) and dry.
Ours arrived in December, coinciding with cold, chill, wet, mud and at times, snow. Ursula and my fixed gear winter/trainer serve year-round and in all weathers.
Though regularly waxed to protect against the elements, I resisted my natural urge to clean either for three very wet weeks. Plenty of grot plastered along the fixed’s down tube and bottom bracket shell, diesel and other contaminant spatter adorning the rear triangle too.
I am pleased to report the bike cleaner has made short work of this witches’ brew, falling away at the first touch of a soft wet brush- Weldtite's own, which is particularly nimble in confined spaces, reducing cleaning times. Really welcome since it was minus 2 and tanking. No streaking, or watermarks - just a sparkling clean bike.
Organic and filmy petrochemical stuff banished. I took this opportunity to add some of their Rapid Ceramic Shield Protectant (review to follow). Though there wasn’t much in it, compared with some blends I’m fond of, plated, painted, anodised, polished and carbon/composites all gleamed, and it hasn’t done anything weird to satin, or titanium finishes either. That said; matt effects still needed a lick of dedicated polish.
Extending waiting times by a few minutes or applying on a breezy day (which can dry prematurely) hasn’t resulted in any stubborn water marks, streaking or similar imperfections. Stock bike washes are not intended as degreasers, but Ursula’s cream powder coat finish doesn’t have a lacquer topcoat, so can collect oily finger marks, spatter etc more readily.
Flung chain lube, oily finger marks were all dismissed without trace- using a single application. Again, I didn’t deviate from the misting up top, spray beneath the downtube, bottom bracket shell, inner fork blade and chainstay narrative. Impacted bovine dung, mud, salt and similarly nasty grot literally disintegrated with the first hint of a warm brush.
Both bikes were from shabby to showroom in 40 minutes (20 minutes apiece). Work stands can also accumulate residual grime, especially around the feet. Mine was sporting an oily, mottled sheen. Bike plucked from the jaws, I gave the area a quick blast, followed the minute marinade and tickled the oily glaze with this Green Oil Bike Brush. Rinsed, it was not quite dinner plate clean (a stock degreaser, such as Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate would achieve this) but, nonetheless, results were pleasing.
During this period, I’ve worn mechanics gloves and gone bare-handed. No signs of dryness, or irritation exposed for an hour, although I’ve been sure to wash hands thoroughly and moisturise afterward.
£9.99 is in line with comparable products. Oxford Mint Bike Wash (now £7.99) is a little cheaper and Steve found it a highly effective all-rounder. Motorex Bike Clean is a bit dearer at £12.99 for 500ml. Steve was impressed by its overall performance. Silkolene Wash Off is £8.99 for 1 litre, finding it a solid all-rounder, although not significantly better than others around this price point. Green Oil Green Clean Bike Cleaner is another favourite of ours, however, observe the minute standing time religiously to avoid streaking.
Overall, I’ve been impressed by the Weldtite Bike Cleaner. While performance isn’t streets ahead of the competition, it’s highly effective and will give them a good run for your hard-earned. I’d happily invest in the 5-litre concentrate so I could produce several stock brews and richer blends for degreasing duties.