The Bike List

Chemicals Direct Biodegradable 3L Bicycle Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate £15

Tested by Christophe Demoulin, tester for The Bike List

Most people will be content with a visit to their local bike store to find some bicycle cleaning products. Others more adventurous make seek to save a few pennies by visiting online retailers. But few, I suspect, will have been lucky enough to come across Chemicals Direct Ltd. Don't be put off by the name though, these guys have been around for 20 years, based in Cheshire, making cleaning products for all sorts from boats, to caravans and conservatories. And their tag line: "biodegradeable affordable cleaning solutions". To purchase their products, either visit their eBay store, or direct from their website

From our numerous bike cleaning product tests, we have yet to find a better value offering without buying outrageous quantities. At £14.99 for a 3L container, that's under £5/litre: we're already putting a big tick in the box for value. And the container is no ordinary thing, but a well thought out product in its own right. Integrated into the side of the 3L container are some clamps to fit a mini spray bottle and a drum tap. This allows you to decant the bike cleaning product into the smaller spraying bottle, dilute with water and off you go.

An important thing to note about this product is that it is a concentrate and therefore, designed to be diluted with water to a ratio of up to 1:10. So to simplify things, when you buy 3L, you can in fact convert this into 30L of cleaning product. We're now talking 50p per litre! Now I know that many of you out there maybe be dubious about diluting concentrates into water thinking it may not be as effective. Well hold your tongue, at least until you've tried this. At a ratio of 1:10, using the small spray bottle, we fully cleaned a whole bike that was covered in a week's worth of road cycling muck and grime. Just rinse the bike, spray the product, leave it to do its business, then rinse it again. We didn't do this just once, but were astounded by it time and time again over the past few weeks. At this rate, we'll have a year's supply for just £14.99!

For the more heavily soiled bikes, we would still recommend the 1:10 ratio but using two spray bottles' worth of the product instead of just the one; strengthening the concentration didn't seem to help as much as reapplying a second bottle. We used this to completely clean our mountain bikes at the end of a rather muddy Heaven of the South race back in May. Bear in mind though, if you haven't got a good bit of pressure from your hose or a brush, this product will not magically break down all the muck that has accumulated. Agitation is required, so a brush is always useful to have at hand.

Worth noting though, this is a cleaning product, not a degreaser or drive train cleaner. So, it won't break down absolutely all the grime that your drive train may have picked up, but it'll go pretty close and much more so than many other cleaners we have tried. And not only is the product effective at cleaning bikes, it's also 100% biodegradeable, as every other product from Chemical Direct Ltd.

At a glance

Verdict Incredible value, biodegradeable product that works brilliantly over a whole bike, although it can struggle a little to fully clean a drive chain.

Chemicals Direct says:

BIKE CLEAN is a biodegradable, concentrated, non-flammable, non-abrasive high performance cleaning solution. It penetrates and removes stubborn grime, mud, dust and oil.