Muc-Off Nano Tech Bike Cleaner and Fabric Protect
Charles Lee – 24th Mar 2016
Have you ever experienced standing in front of a shelf of cleaning products in a departmental store and not knowing which one to choose? Every product looks so attractive to purchase and each of them seems to cry out: “Hey! I am here! Buy me!” Well, you are not alone. In fact, many of us often found ourselves in a dilemma when it comes to choosing the right solvent to clean our bicycles. There are just too many products in the market to select from! As a suggestion, you may want to ask seasoned road or mountain bikers which is their preferred brand. But do not be offended if “Muc-Off” is their reply to you.
MUC-OFF? WHAT? WHO?
Not a newly-coined derogatory term to brush you away, Muc-Off is the trade-name of an American company that produces cleaning agents and lubrications for cars, bikes and bicycles. Founded in 1991, Muc-Off started off as a two-man team that introduced the world’s first twin-crown suspension fork and the world’s lightest bar ends. Subsequently, Muc-Off shifted its attention to surfactant technologies, and in 1995, the company introduced the Bike Cleaner, a specially-formulated solvent that have been proven to be eco-friendly, effective in dirt-removal and gentle to the bike frame and finishing.
Later on, the company partnered with several world-class racing teams from the motocross, motoGP and Formula 1 Grand Prix disciplines, providing effective product maintenance to the race machines. As a matter of fact, legendary downhill star Steve Peat relied on Muc-Off to maintain the competitiveness of his downhill rig.
In the feature, we will be looking at two of Muc-Off’s most popular products – the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner and the Fabric Protect – to see if they have what it takes to be picked up from the display shelf.
NANO TECH BIKE CLEANER
Arguably the pioneer of the pioneers, the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner revolutionised the way our bikes are being cleaned of dirt, mud and grime. Launched in 1995 as “Dr X Muc-Off Bike Cleaner”, the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner looks very attractive. Be it near or far, it does not resemble a cleaning solvent in any way. Packaged in a 250ml semi-transparent plastic bottle, the solvent is concocted in striking pink, a rather unusual colour for a cleaning agent. If not for the decal-plastered packaging, the liquid can be easily passed off as cough syrup. Thus, for those who have a habit of transferring the contents to smaller unmarked bottles, do make sure that the solvent is kept out of children’s reach.
Whilst the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner comes with a screw-on bottle cap, the package contains a separate sprayer for easy application of the solvent on your bicycle. Hmmm… Thoughtful, isn’t it?
Using the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner is as effortless as switching on your iPhone, thanks to its Nano Tech formula that enables the solvent to dissolve every form of dirt and grease on a molecular level. You may wonder: “What has nanotechnology got to do with bike cleaning?” Well, Muc-Off explained that the concoction in the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner contains molecules, known as ionic surfactants, that are able to loosen dirt and yet prevent cross-contamination during the rinsing process. Muc-Off added that the formula allows the solvent to dissolve stubborn grime in hard-to-reach areas.
With the sprayer attached to the bottle, we showered a generous amount of the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner on the bike (and we are referring to the entire bike) and waited for about 5 to 6 minutes to allow the solvent to disintegrate the grime on the various bike components and the oily sludge on the cassette, crankset and chain. During the brief wait, we could see streaks of dirt-filled solvent flowing from the various parts of the bike. We also noticed that the sprayed parts began to regain some glossiness almost instantaneously after the solvent trickled away.
The grease-clogged cassette, crankset and chain benefitted the most from this bike cleaning; after the Nano Tech Bike Clean was sprayed on them, the caked-on oil was quickly dissolved by the solvent. We were more than happy to share this observation with every Togoparts reader because its ability to dissipate greasy sludge means that we do not have to dig deeper into our pockets to buy a separate set of chain cleaners to clear up these components. Riders on a budget will definitely give Muc-Off the thumbs-up.
After the last few drops of solvent trickled off, the bike was rinsed with jets of water. We could almost say with certainty that the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner worked like magic water. Even without lifting a brush to scrub the bike, the washed bike already looked shiny, and most of its parts were gleaming. For completeness, we reapplied the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner (this time with a smaller amount) on the bike and gave the components a scrub-down. This time, the bike looked just like it was first bought. As professional testers, we have to say that the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner is very effective.
In addition to the solvent’s dirt-removal prowess, we noticed that the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner was gentle dermatologically. Even though the solvent stayed on our hands for more than 15 minutes at a few stretches, no irritation of the skin occurred.
Whilst we did not use a carbon-frame bike in this test (the bike featured was a Kona Stinky in free-ride set-up), Muc-Off assured us that the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner can be used on any type of frame. By the way, it is alkaline-based, bio-degradable and is safe on cables, brake pads, rotors and seals.
If you are looking to clean your bike without breaking into a sweat, choose the Nano Tech Bike Cleaner.
MUC-OFF’S FABRIC PROTECT
The Fabric Protect is one of Muc-Off’s lifestyle products. Our first impression of the Fabric Protect is that it can be easily mistaken for a can of hair spray. Cast in matt black, the words “Fabric Protect” are beautifully stylised in contrasting colours of grey and screaming pink. Attractive as it may be, do make sure that you do not use it on your hair though.
The fact that the Fabric Protect is one of the company’s fast-selling items is not by coincidence. There have been a fair number of internet reviews about the Fabric Protect and all of them had spoken well of the solvent’s ability to deter liquids from soaking and damaging any type of fabric. One may wonder: “Is the Fabric Protect really that good?”
Before addressing everyone’s concern as to whether the Fabric Protect lives up to its name, we must say that it is easy to use. Before spraying on the fabric that you want to protect, ensure that the can is well-shaken. After doing so, simply spray the Fabric Protect at the fabric and leave it to dry for about 10 minutes. Apply another 2 coats of spray and then leave it aside (in a well-ventilated area) for about 24 hours for further drying.
A pair of Fox Racing DH shorts had been used in this review, and a number of practical scenarios were put in place to test the limits of the Fabric Protect. Quite expectedly, the Fabric Protect managed to enter a tick into each of the check-boxes in the report card at the end of the test.
The first tick relates to the fundamental existence of the Fabric Protect – its repellence nature. And we were impressed. We poured streams of water on the shorts and every droplet was bounced off the fabric without any sign of soaking up the shorts. The second tick relates to the Fabric Protect’s sustainability. Subsequent bouts of water were sprayed onto the shorts at hourly intervals to simulate passing showers during long riding trips. And yet, the shorts showed no sign of getting soaked.
The third tick relates to how long the Fabric Protect can last on a piece of fabric without diminishing its repellency effects. After being coated with the Fabric Protect, the shorts were worn for 2 days (note that it was not worn for riding) and left under direct sunlight for another 2 days. Remarkably, the shorts continued to demonstrate significant strengths of liquid repellence. When left for another day, small pockets of water permeation could be seen though. We were, nonetheless, satisfied with the Fabric Protect as 3 to 4 days of “armour” without any additional coating had surpassed what other fabric protectants could achieve.
Whilst our trial strives to mimic real-world use of the Fabric Protect, our word of advice from a practical perspective is to assess the kind of environment in which your fabric will be used in and then apply the proportional number of coatings to maximise protection for your apparel or equipment.
TOGOPARTS’ TAKE ON NANO TECH BIKE CLEANER AND FABRIC PROTECT
The Nano Tech Bike Cleaner and Fabric Protect are fantastic products. On a scale of ten, we have rated both of them with an eight or a nine. We believe that they offer a bang for your bucks.
Muc-Off products are exclusively distributed by Hodaka Motoworld