Long before gravel officially became a thing, Muc-Off hit the market in 1994 with their first product–the company’s original pink cleaner. Since then, Muc-Off’s offerings have grown to include chain lubes, detailing products, and even skin care items such as chamois cream and massage oil. And while more choices are definitely a good thing when it comes to bike care, it can be a little overwhelming when there are so many products to choose from. But whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to bike care and maintenance, the Muc-Off 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit takes the guesswork out of keeping your ride looking showroom clean.
Pop open the 8 in 1 kit’s ($69.99 MSRP) storage tub and you’ll find the following items:
- Nano Tech Bike Cleaner ($14.99)
- Bike Protect Spray ($14.99)
- Claw Brush ($5.99)
- Detailing Brush ($8.99)
- Soft Washing Brush ($9.99)
- Two-Prong Brush ($9.99)
- Microcell Sponge ($3.99)
Those seven items add up to $68.93, which makes getting the 8 in 1 kit’s aforementioned tub (that pulls double-duty as a parts washing bin) for just over a buck. Since the Muc-Off kit isn’t discipline-specific, it’ll work whether you ride gravel, pavement, dirt, or anything in between. And unlike rebranded kitchen cleaners or industrial solvents, you don’t have to worry about the Nano Tech or Bike Protect sprays damaging your bike’s finish or components.
Nano Tech Bike Cleaner
Muc-Off’s bright-pink Nano Tech cleaner retains the color of their original spray cleaner, but the company’s latest formula utilizes nano technology which purportedly cleans at a molecular level. The biodegradable, alkaline-based cleaner is free from CFCs, solvents or acids, making it safe for all parts and surfaces including carbon fiber and anodized finishes. Application is simple and straightforward–first rinse the item with water, spray on the cleaner, wait 3-5 minutes, remove any stubborn grime with a brush or sponge, and then rinse with fresh water. To test the cleaner’s mettle I pulled the wheels from my terminally neglected commuter. Those particular wheels haven’t been cleaned in almost two years, and the rims’ matte finish holds dirt like a magnet. The video below illustrates just how effective the Muc-Off Nano Tech Bike Cleaner is on aluminum (rims), steel (spokes), and rubber (tires). Note: soak time was two minutes for this particular wheel; brushes used were the Soft Washing and Two-Prong models.
Bike Protect Spray
Now that you’ve cleaned your bike, how do you get rid of any remaining water? That’s where Muc-Off’s Bike Protect spray comes in. Designed to drive out moisture, the spray leaves behind a protective (non-greasy) layer which also helps prevent future dirt adhesion. Bike Protect’s high oil content ensures long lasting protection, and acts as a light lubricant for moving parts. Muc-Off’s protectant is safe for use on metal, plastics, rubber, paint and carbon fiber, but should not be applied to tires or braking surfaces. I found Bike Protect ideal for purging water from derailleurs, cassettes, and cable-actuated brake levers. And unlike all-purpose water displacement products, less is definitely more when it comes to applying Bike Protect (i.e. avoid the temptation to flood the item). If I do have one complaint about Muc-Off’s Bike Protect, it’s the spray’s strong chemical odor. As with any flammable material, don’t use Bike Protect around extreme heat, sparks, or flames, and always maintain adequate ventilation.
Brushes & Sponge
If you’re wondering what distinguishes Muc-Off’s brushes from those generic kitchen brushes that you find at the dollar store, the answer is simple: plenty. Unlike cheap plastic brushes, Muc-Off’s brushes are constructed from impact-resistant materials and utilize rubberized impact zones that minimize damage to your bike’s finish. The brushes’ durable nylon bristles vary in stiffness depending on the intended usage, and the Soft Washing Brush boasts a sintered bristle compound for an extra-delicate touch. If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of trying to clean a bike using conventional household brushes you’ll appreciate the Muc-Off brushes’ dedicated profiles. Need to clean under a fork crown or behind a bottom bracket shell? Grab the Detailing brush. Disc rotors, spokes, cranks, and forks are easily cleaned with the Two-Prong brush. And the stubborn gunk you find between your cassette’s cogs? The Claw brush will have those cogs sparkling clean in no time.
Remove the Expanding Microcell Sponge from its packaging and it immediately starts to–wait for it–expand. Within thirty minutes it’ll grow to five times its original thickness. The sponge’s ergonomic shape provides improved grip and comfort, while still maintaining the necessary surface area for effective cleaning. Although I personally prefer microfiber towels or mitts for (auto) detailing work, sponges are better suited to cleaning grimy bicycles as the latter are more durable, easier to care for, and less prone to snagging on chainrings or cogs. During my testing, however, I didn’t encounter many use cases where Muc-Off’s sponge was a better choice than one of the aforementioned brushes.
I’ll be the first person to admit that having dedicated cleaning items for one’s bicycle is certainly a luxury. But Muc-Off’s 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit does have several advantages over the homegrown approach. One, it’s extremely convenient. Everything you need to properly clean any bike is included in the compact, easy to store kit (save for maybe a pair of nitrile gloves). Secondly, the Muc-Off brushes are superior to general-purpose units for cleaning the hard-to-reach areas on frames and forks. And lastly, you can rest assured knowing that cleaners included with the 8 in 1 kit won’t damage your bike’s or components’ finishes.
Disclosure: Muc-Off provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.