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Quick Review: Muc-Off Bike Cleaning Bundle

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Andrew in Review. 20 comments

Everyone loves a shortcut. And everyone hates it when they find out that the way they’ve been doing something for years and years might have not been the best way to go about it at all. Take, for instance, washing you precious personal transport – a ritual handed down from parents to siblings for thousands of years. Or there abouts. And here’s how it goes. Wet the vehicle. Apply approved soapy substance with sponge. Rinse the vehicle. Chamois dry the vehicle. Wax if desired. Armour-All if anal retentive. Now what if there was actually a better way to do things? Namely, what if you could remove all the elbow grease involved in the process and jump straight to the chamois part? Sounds good, huh? Well there’s a fairly big chunk of the bike cleaning market now occupied by products that promise just that – a spray on, wash off, wipe down set of instructions that would have us believe that we’ve been wasting a hell of a lot of time in the past. But have we?

In a spur-of-the-moment decision a few weeks ago I grabbed this likely looking duo (conveniently Siamesed together by a heat-shrink plastic wrapping) off the shelf at my local bike shop. I’d seen an ad somewhere and got the gist of the pink product – supposedly it would clean my bike without me really having to touch it. I’ve had cause to clean the beast twice since then and I’m here to report the results without fear or favour. Or sponges.

First up the gaudily-coloured “Muc-Off Fast Action Bike Cleaner” spray. As instructed, I sprayed it on the bike after an initial rinse. I waited a little (5 minutes according to the destructions, which was a little too quick in my eyes) then hosed the pink stuff off and checked the results. Honestly, it was a lot better than I expected. The bike was obviously quite clean (though not sparkling, I’d have to say) and I had barely lifted a finger. On closer inspection the job wasn’t perfect – there were still a bunch of baked-on bugs covering the front of the bike and the ever-present bits of grease flicked off of the chain at speed were still present around the inside left of the rear rim. Plainly there’s some things that will always need a bit of spit and polish before you could really call the bike “clean”, but overall I’d have to rate it a solid “not bad”.


“this stuff was like spraying cooking oil
over a newly-cleaned bike”


Now for the Muc-Off “Bike Spray”. This was the less well-known side of the deal. I’d garnered it was some kind of polish, but I’d have to admit I’ve never really seen anything like this before. So following the instructions again I sprayed it on the freshly-rinsed bike so it’s “High Performance water dispersing ‘Protect & Lube’ maintenance spray,” could “leave a sparkling non-sticky film.” Sounds good coming out of the keyboard of the copywriter, but in my humble opinion the reality was quite a bit different. To put it bluntly this stuff was like spraying cooking oil all over a newly-cleaned bike. I can kind of see what they were intending – it’s obviously meant to do an Armour-All job but without you having to dry the bike first. I persisted with it after the initial shock of a wet and greasy bike and things did get better, but only just. It took an inordinate amount of time to get the bike dry, and in the end I just resorted to the “that’ll do” end game and put the bike away. The next day I found the bike looking water marked, with smears and dry droplets on the paint, glass, and clear plastics. I varied my technique on the second go and applied the stuff much more sparingly but I still had similarly disappointing results.

The upshot? In my eyes, the Muc-Off Fast Action Bike Cleaner was a decent enough product if you are looking for a fast and easy way to clean a bike that’s just “road” or “mud” dirty. But if there’s any tougher grime you will have to break out the sponge ‘n’ muscles which sort of renders the stuff’s raison d’être a little redundant. As for the Bike Spray – well, it’s just plain weird. Try as I may I got nothing more than a slippery, streaky bike that would have been much better off if I’d just dried the thing after the first product and called it a day. I can’t help but think that maybe this is why the two products were bundled together in the first place; the more decent, useful product piggy-backing the awkward, not-really-sure-this-was-a-good-idea-guys product on it’s little pink behind. In the end I think I’d rather go with my old school dad-approved techniques. Sure, it’ll take a bit longer to do the job but if there’s one thing I’ve learned when it comes to motorbikes (and sex life, for that matter) it’s that there are no short-cuts to getting decent results. Pipeburn Recommended? Not quite.

  • Ericson_justin

    honda spray polish and cleaner = good stuff

    • Trav

      That is pretty good stuff, and I’ve heard that “bike spirits” spray cleaner and polish is the same stuff.  However, it is not as good as this KIT brand 2 part “bike clean” and “bike shine” stuff that I don’t believe is available anymore. I stumbled into it by accident as it came with my used triumph. GREAT STUFF! I wish I could find more of it… I prefer the stuff like that which is done ‘dry’ with a cloth. 

      As an important side note, don’t ever used meguiars “ez clean” spray on and rinse off stuff. It seems very caustic, and while it says it’s safe for everything, it is NOT. Ask me how I know!

      • I’ve always been really cautious about any of those dry cleaners – it just can’t see how you could possibly clean a bike that hasn’t had all the dirt washed off with water first. You ever had anyone write “wash me” on a dirty car with their finger and then noticed scratches in the paint where their writing was?

        Watch this and tell me that this stuff isn’t scratching absolute crap out of the car: They are basically trying to wipe off dry dirt with a rag! Goodbye paintjob…

        • Trav

          Well if it’s obviously filthy, of course. This stuff is great for after-ride clean-up before you put it away.. or even you forget. Mainly it just eats bugs off. Plus, it’s not a dry finger, it’s a liquid on a cloth designed to get beneath the crap, so it can be removed. If it makes bugs come un-stuck (which it does) it says enough for me. I’m speaking from practical application. Besides, those scratches are only in the clear coat. They can be buffed out.

          • But continuous scratching from rubbing dirt into a clear coat will soon mean you have no clear coat left… especially on corners etc.

  • As an alternative, before the Muc-Off I gave a few Autoglym products a spin and had much better results. Just good old detergent in a bucket of warm water and a “wipe on wipe off” wax. Results were great – even Mr. Miyagi was impressed…

  • Ugh

    So what you’re saying is this is the perfect product for cleaning motorcycles that don’t actually get ridden ?


    • Whatever the oil was in the spray, it was obviously volatile i.e. the bike wasn’t greasy after it had thoroughly dried. No good for air filters, then…

  • Clintonius Monk.

    Product placement on Pipeburn?……..nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Product placement? Maybe you should read the article again…

  • Jurp

    Take the same amount of money as you would spend on this crap, go to your local college or university on a Saturday and let some young, hot, wet t-shirted sorority girls do the job for their charity car wash. Results are the same but the 5 minute wait time is so much nicer!  

  • Al

    Your favourite detergent + sponge and a toilet brush (for the brake dust, lube and caked on grime).
    Elbow grease isn’t going to be replaced….effort will always be needed. 🙂

    Lazy pricks.

    • I’d be cautious about using a toilet brush on anything but wheels, tires, brakes, unpainted engine components, glass etc. It’d almost certainly scratch up paint, plastics, vinyl, powdercoat and the like.

      • Al

        Ah yes, I forget we need a disclaimer for some of the simpletons out there.

  • Michael H.

    I’ve found S-1000 to be a good product for a “quick clean.” The “cooking grease” aside, do you think the Muc-Off is better than S-1000?

    • The cooking grease effect was only with the product in the black spray can. I think the pink Muc-Off is probably on par with the S-100, but I only know that from 3rd party reviews I’ve read.

      Basically, go for a product you mix into warm water and sponge on. It’s a more effective and gentle way of cleaning yr bike. Simple.

  • Soulman76

    Or a can of pledge

  • jay

    note to readers: i wouldn’t put Armor-All on your tires. don’t forget we motorcyclists ride on a lot more of the circumference of the tire than an automobile. armor-all is really greasy. almost wiped out once when i shined mine up nice and spiffy and then got leaned out really far into a turn on a sunday ride.