PURE BIKE WASH
200ml (concentrate) £6.99 (makes 1 litre) (also available in 1 litre)
“Natural, renewable, degradable”; that’s Pure Bike Wash according to the blurb. Ours came with a trigger action spray bottle in which to dilute the concentrate with water. It’s been put to the test at the muckiest time of the UK cycling year. It has performed pretty well, given the challenges, but hasn’t replaced the full bucket wash when it comes to getting things pristine.
Pros: convenient, quickly effective on mud and grease.
Cons: best on light to moderate gunge, transparent bottle make instructions awkward to read.
200ml of concentrate makes 1 litre of wash, when diluted with water. The trigger operated spray bottle can be used again and again, or you can just re-use one form you shed (ensure the former occupant has been thoroughly removed first). I also used a 70/30 concentrate to water mix, and 30/70. I noted no ill effects from the more potent mix, but I did not try it on the smartest paint-job and was wary around seals and smart finishes: be careful.
Following that sustainable theme, Pure Bike wash has no petroleum-based ingredients. Of course, Pure are cagey about what the ingredients are, but they assure us that they are natural, biodegradable, and derived from renewable sources. It is acid free, too. The blurb states that it is safe on painted, polished, and clear coated finishes.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that ‘green’ products are meek and mild. The concentrate bottle carries a number of warnings, especially about serious damage to eyes. They are very much what you’d expect, so take general precautions, such as keeping it away from pets and children, not ingesting, keeping out of eyes, etc. Needless to say, dilution reduces much of these risks, but still best to be careful. Certainly, I’ve worked with the diluted wash bare-handed without a nasty reaction; but use mechanics gloves if you prefer.
The instructions say spray, wait for thirty seconds, clean off with sponge or cloth. Whilst that works pretty well, first time round I poured a couple of watering cans of cold water over a very dirty bike before applying. This had the benefit of washing off some of the larger lumps of muck that had lodged themselves in between stays and mudguards of the mixed terrain tourer/commuter, and in other tight spots.
The lighter grime on the road only bike, didn’t seem to merit a pre-wash. Second time round on the dirt-magnet tourer-commuter I applied the spray direct, and ‘agitated’ the grot with a brush, and rinsed with cold water, as instructed, post spray and wipe.
Sprays can seem profligate. The Pure spray seems to be pretty accurate, giving stays and tubes a good coating, as well as derailleurs, bar tape, hoods, and so on.
Test bike one was pretty filthy; mudguards and bottom bracket with lumps of mud from a week of mixed terrain commuting and leisure riding. Washing the worst off with cold water, the Pure Bike Wash quickly got to work, and made short shrift of gunge and grot. OK, things were not pristine, but they were much better. A week later, with a similar riding diet, I missed out the cold-water pre-wash. Allowing time for the spray to work its magic, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to wipe away the muck – for example on these chain stays. No smearing, either.
I’d an inkling that wiping silty or sandy grains off would scratch the paint job. OK, the old tourer-hack bike is overdue a new (stove enamel) paint job, but things did not seem to be worse. Using a sponge and wiping rather than rubbing probably helped. Mind you, a bit of extra pressure was needed to remove greasier gunge – and a second dose of the Pure Bike Wash.
You’d not expect a spray to dissolve lumps of mud lodged in nooks and corners. I’ve found these disappear rapidly with a foaming bucket wash or, as with this potion, require agitation or a prod.
On a matt finish aluminium frame there was no hint of damage either. Mainly road dirt was dismissed with ease. Likewise, bar tape, hoods, anodised surfaces, not to mention panniers, have come up nicely. Drive Trains are not the intended territory, and heavily soiled examples will need a proper degreaser or drive train cleaner.
Kicking the strength up to 70/30 concentrate to water made short work of heavy soiling on an aluminium go-anywhere bike, even bringing the rear mech back to life. Mind you, it was not especially greasy, just mud-splattered. I noticed no ill effects, but I’d not usually work outside manufacturer’s instructions – especially on my best bikes.
As a side note, taking my mystery mongrel 1947 retro machine off the hook to clean away the dust of three months storage, a 30/70 concentrate-water mix was successful. This promises well for dusty summer road bikes.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Miracle Red can be used to make up your own spray wash. It is more expensive than the Pure Bike Wash, but also works as a bucket wash and spot cleaner, not to mention an emergency degreaser. Still, that can be a faff if you just want a good blow over.
I have come to like Oxford’s Mint Bike Wash, which comes in at the same price, and the slightly pricier Silkolene Wash Off. Frankly, there’s not a lot between them in many ways. The mint requires a pre-wash with cold water, as well as a final rinse. In that sense, the Pure may be a little more convenient for a rapid post ride clean.
Green Oil’s Green Bike Cleaner is a bit pricier, but, in our opinion, is very fast acting.
Whilst concentrate bucket washes, such as Crankalicious Mud Honey, may be more adaptable and a better option for a full valet, I’ve found the Pure Bike Spray very effective in tidying-up well-used bikes that need to be functionally clean, rather than pristine, let alone Eroica ready. A good option when time is limited, maybe paired with Muc-Off’s Drive Train Cleaner spray when the drive train needs a scrub, too.