When it comes to cleaning bikes I have only use specialised cleaners selectively e.g. I have a bottle of Muc-Off that I use with the Mobi washer when travelling to the trail by car.
My main cleaning products are what I refer to as ‘traditional methods’ in the title; car shampoo or whatever else I can find for the frame and white spirit for the drive chain parts – both have done a sterling job for many years.
As the Squirt girls were busy and unable to pitch their cleaning station on my local trails, in2dust sent me samples of their Squirt Devil Cleaner and Degreaser. You get two bottles; bike cleaner and degreaser but the degreaser is a 10:1 concentrated form of the bike cleaner (or the latter is a diluted form). This means that the 1 litre bottle of degreaser can be diluted to make up to 10 litres of bike cleaner.
As I know that some moles also use Muc-Off I thought that a head to head test would be of interest, coupled with the fact that I needed to clean two bikes; my son’s MTB (which was utterly filthy) to sell and mine because I thought it best to put my new Hope Hoops on a fully cleaned bike.
With Squirt Devil Cleaner and Muc-Off you apply and leave it to work while you grab a beer – I needed new bar end tabs 😉 and you can easily target those difficult to access spots.
In this test there was very little difference between them. Both have the benefits of being able to be applied and left to soak and then simply hosed off afterwards, whereas with car shampoo you are inclined to wash using a bucket of water, the former is more convenient but the latter works well if you are stripping your bike down.
White Spirit was a clear winner. My son’s rear cassette, derailleur and jockey wheels were in a terrible state and after first trying degreaser the white spirit made a huge difference.
I have always found a quick spray with white spirit very effective and though white spirit may not be environmentally friendly the amount I use is small; I apply it to the rear cassette or front chain rings using a spray-on bottle and if soaking a chain, as with degreaser, I use an old coffee jar and re-use the solution again later.
That is not to say proprietary degreasers do not work, you can liberally apply Squirt’s degreaser when everything is on the bike and not worry about spillage or the effects of excess on other bike parts (as it is also a cleaner).
Based on results so far, I am unlikely to change my cleaning regime. When I am away from home Squirt’s cleaner/degreaser solution will certainly makes things a lot more convenient but at home in the garage I will continue to use more traditional methods.
Choosing between Muc-Off and Squirt’s Devil products is a little harder, there seems to be little difference in performance but Squirt’s cleaners are definitely better value.
Cost (based on web prices)
Muc-Off is £7.49 for a 1 litre bottle.
Squirt Devil Cleaner and Degreaser come as 2 x 1 litre bottles for £14.99, but as degreaser is a 10:1 concentrate of the bike cleaner this means you potentially get 11 litres of bike cleaner.