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May’s Star Letter – from Allan Perry

“Just reading on your site ref Bike Cleaner/Degreaser, you mentioned Comma Hyperclean, you can still get this brilliant product, type in Comma to search for the Comma web site, then put in your postcode and it will tell you your nearest stockist.”

Allan’s letter refers to an old article on the website, which I’ve copied below.

For that useful tip, Allan wins a download copy of the Survival Skills “Course Notes” e-book worth £12.99! Another prize for June’s star letter – so get writing!

Bike Cleaners

Not the most exciting test in the world but a practical one. Getting the bike looking good after a wet ride is something most of us would like to do, and cutting through a week’s accumulated winter road grime and salt is something I have to do with the trainee bikes all too often. So what do I use?

Gunk

The Great Grand-daddy of degreasers has to be Gunk.

There can’t be many a biker who has not inhaled deeply of the smell of freshly rinsed Gunk cooking on a newly cleaned motor (or possibly retched if you don’t like it). It comes in brush on or aerosol can form.

Gunk works, but it needs a lot of elbow grease to shift ingrained grease like old chain lube, and it doesn’t have a good detergent effect on road grime, which tends to stay put even when scrubbed or the salty muck which gets round the front of the engine either.

It also doesn’t hose off cleanly. It streaks badly, leaves oily deposits on bits of bike that were clean a moment ago, and before reaching the drain, the oils come out of emulsion and stains the driveway – if you’re not careful, it can also eat tarmac! Cold water simply brings the grease out of solution in smears and if the bike is particularly dirty, you’ll probably need to let the bike dry and start the whole thing again.

It works better if you can hose it off with hot water, but that means either lugging buckets of water in and out the house, or connecting a hose to a hot tap. If an area needs re-cleaning, you have to wait for the bike to dry before reapplying, which can take some considerable time in the cold. Even after a double cleaning with Gunk, you really need to go round the bike with a rag and give it a good clean with polish to remove the last traces. You’ll also need to hose the drive down to clear the mess left behind too. When you run the bike, you sit in a cloud of distinctive fumesl for several minutes whilst the Gunk evapourates.

Comma Hyperclean

Until recently, the best one I had found was Comma Hyperclean. I bought a gallon of the stuff somewhere or other years back and used it to get rid of the worst of the winter muck when I was despatching. Unfortunately it ran out several years ago, and I couldn’t find another supplier.

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Hein Gericke Motorcycle Cleaner

So next up was a Hein Gericke product, with the original name of Motorcycle Cleaner. Available in a 5 litre can, it’s a pale yellow liquid and tends to run off the bike a little too easily – a gel version is available too which may be better. You either need a spray can or a spray head with a long hose to use effectively.

I was pleasantly surprised in use. It lifts the grease well, with just a gentle use of the brush to shift the most stubborn deposits in the spokes and round the sprocket. Given a bit of a scrub, it will deal with nasty old chain grease. Nearly all the road muck and brake dust comes off too.

When hosed down, the degreaser shifted smear free, and only minor cleaning was needed to mop up the left-overs and a bit of polishing up with a cloth needed to remove a few smears.

Half a litre turns out to be enough to thoroughly clean two bikes that were pretty filthy after a week of constant use in salty conditions. Not a bad effort. Only reservation was that gloves are essential – the stuff is definitely a skin irritant. Overall, I was quite happy with this product.

Motul Moto-Wash

Having run out of the Hein Gericke cleaner, and being in the local bike shop, I picked up a litre bottle of Motul Moto-Wash with a build in spray head. A litre of the stuff will set you back just under £6 which makes it cheaper than aerosol Gunk but more expensive than the HG cleaner.

Just pointing the nozzle and squeezing the trigger starts to shift the crud, including the baked-on salt spray over the motor. Only the heaviest blobs of grease need any work with a brush, the kind of oily mess that covers the swingarm just lifts away with virtually no effort at all. It hoses off virtually clean too, and runs away down the drain with no stains or deposits on the drive. You can go back, spray some more on and clean again if you missed a bit – it doesn’t matter if the bike is wet, and it doesn’t need much in the way of cleaning up to remove stains and smears. Effortless cleaning.

A £5.99 bottle will do around 3-4 cleans of an average sized grotty bike so it won’t break the bank. On a nearly clean bike, barely a film of the stuff is sufficient. Because it shifts the muck so well, you don’t spray so much on, so not a lot drips off and is wasted, and less chemical disappears down the drain, which is a consideration if you are worried about the environment.

Verdict

Motul Moto-Wash is the best product I have yet come across for cleaning a bike. You won’t be disappointed. Hein Gericke’s isn”t far behind, but Gunk is old hat.

One final point – with both the Hein Gericke and Motul two cleaners, I noticed my skin dried out quite dramatically, so it would be a good idea to use gloves. I usually do but I’d snagged and torn my marigolds – latex surgical gloves are better as they are much tougher.

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