At the London Bike Show I came across a bike cleaning product called Red Ant. I was given some to take home to try it out. After 3 days riding in wet and grimy conditions my bike was ready to put Red Ant to the test.
|Red Ant range, Carbon, Titanium and Matt options.|
The Sales Pitch
Naturally the main pitch is that it will clean your bike, but the theory is that the PH neutral formula will not damage the integrity of your frame or the frame's finish. The matt finish cleaner is supposed to clean the frame, but maintain the matt finish, including using the protector, which will not give the frame a gloss shine as is the case with some other products on the market. The formulas have been in development for a few years, trying to perfect the product.
The cleaning agent comes in aluminium spray tins, with black spray nozzles that can be locked closed. My first thought when I saw the product was that it would be expensive. It just looks like a high end product, which would be at home sitting on a shelf behind a £6000 bike. The test now is whether the performance lives up to the standard set by the packaging.
Red Ant produces 3 frame material specific cleaners, each paired with a specific protector. In other words, the cleaning product is specialised to the kind of frame you have, carbon fibre, matt finish or titanium. I tested out the matt finish cleaner and protector on my carbon frame, white Cube GTC Agree.
I rinsed my bike with the hose pipe and then squirted on the matt cleaner. I applied the cleaner evenly, and noticed that the muck was not dislodging instantly (as it does with another product I've used) but nevertheless I continued to spray the rest of the bike.
After five minutes I returned to the bike with some warm water and a soft cloth. (Red Ant recommends using a microfibre cloth, but mine was just a soft cleaning rag.) I wet the cloth and wiped the bike, starting at the seat post and top tube, working my way down. So far, so good. The muddy dirt was coming off with a single wipe.
As I got to the crankset and grimy chain stays I was pleasantly surprised by how easily the black grime came off. I had squirted the chain and rear mech and these came clean when wiped with the wet cloth. The cassette cleaned up really easily when I pulled the cloth between the cogs.
I dried the bike off with a clean towel and let it dry properly before applying the frame protector. I squirted this on and rubbed it in with a clean soft cloth. At first it made the frame shiny, but as it dried the matt finish returned.
The next day I had a look at the finish and having only spent 10 minutes cleaning the bike I am very much impressed with the results.
Where to Get Red Ant Bike Cleaner
Red Ant products are available through i-Ride.co.uk, where you can buy it directly or search for your nearest stockist.