Crankalicious is all about keeping your bike clean and running smoothly. I have ample experience using various products, and the most striking drawcards of the young British brand are the brightly coloured liquids and cool names; Pineapple Express cleaning concentrate in yellow, Gumchained Remedy chain cleaner in red, Carboniferous matte finishing spray, and Science Friction ceramic chain lube in white.
Crankalicious provides an all-round assortment of cleaning and lubrication products, and while a bike wash, chain cleaner, and chain lube are the basics, the matte finishing spray caught my interest as my main road bike has a matte finish, and I find it a pain to keep clean. This review looks at just a few of products and it will be well worth see what products that have that match your cleaning, lube and sparkle needs.
Most of the products come in small and large volume versions. For example, the Gumchained Remedy is £4 for 100ml and £12 for 500ml. The Pineapple Express wash is available in ready-to-go 100ml sprays (£4), 1L spray (£12), 250ml concentrate (£8), and a 1L concentrate (£20) as well as wet wipes.
In the range covering ‘Remove, Improve, and Protect,’ there is a healthy range of products that are available in different versions to cover almost any scenario along with the necessary accessories (like cloths, brushes, etc). One thing I liked was the gift boxes, which are great ‘starters’ and a subtle but generous way to say “your bike is filthy.”
REMOVE with Pineapple Express
On the road bike, I will get a little or a lot of road grime, while the mountain bike naturally attracts more mud and dirt, so it needs a wash more frequently. In contrast to the garden hose, which is always a good start for a mud-caked bike, a soapy bucket with the Pineapple Express concentrate is essential to really catch oil and grease, which otherwise just smears. The Pineapple Express (concentrate) is best combined with a sponge to work it in. Even with the cool name and funky smell, it really just does what you expect it to do, and as a concentrate, it is kinder on the hip pocket.
For the road bike, I am not a fan of giving the bike a complete soak, but this concentrate was okay. My road bike has a dominant matte surface finish, which holds onto the oil and grime more so than a bike with a glossy coat and really needs a bit more power from a degreaser like the green-coloured Limon Velo, which I did not test. Road bikes tend to have glossy frames (or are dark-coloured matte), so they will be easier to clean than my bike – so for my bike, it was hard to get a final sparkle.
DEGREASE with Gumchained Remedy
After cleaning the bike, next in line is a chain cleaner. Grit and grime reduce the lifespan of the chain and moving parts and impact shifting. The Gumchained Remedy is not surprising – I filled the plastic chain cleaning accessory with brushes that scrub the chain, and this degreaser stripped all of the grease and turned the liquid black. This also bites through the grease on the chainrings and cassettes, and I can then finish up with an old rag.
There is a spray version as well if a light clean is needed.
IMPROVE with Carboniferous
Next in line is the Matt Finishing Spray, and this was the one Crankalicious product where I expected more… Yes, I have a bike with a matte surface, and it is light grey, so any dust and dirt is easy to see. The Carboniferous is pitched for removing dust, light dirt, and fingerprints. It is not a degreaser, so if there is already any oil, then you need to clean this first (with the Limon Velo degreaser or unconcentrated Pineapple Express).
A lint-free cloth is required, and the spray evaporates (leaving no residue). I felt that it could tackle some of the dust, but my light-coloured matte frame was very hard to get to a showroom finish. The ‘User Error’ here is the impatience dealing with the grease sufficiently, and then this spray can shift and smear grease, but won’t remove it.
In contrast, when the frame is fundamentally clean, the Carboniferous will help lift light dust and marks and give you that ‘as new’ finish.
LUBE with Science Friction
After all of that cleaning, my last step is chain-lube. The Science Friction ceramic chain lubricant is not quite as runny as some high-performance lubes, nor is it as thick and sticky as most chain oils, and I was pretty happy with it. As it isn’t too thin, it doesn’t need to be applied after each ride. I could get 2 or 3 rides before I would then do a light clean of the chain, chainring, cassette, and jockey wheels and reapply. It doesn’t solidify too much (like a classic oil), and the fairly ‘wet’ consistency of the lubricant means that it can give the chain a good coating, and it won’t suddenly attract grit.
To summarize the Science Friction lubricant, it provides a good balance in providing enough performance for a smooth and efficient drivetrain, but without too much work or being too expensive that it is only for the pros. At £10 for 100ml, it is competitively priced but will make sense to have a combined order; the shipping charges from the UK to Australia for a single item are (£22).
Crankalicious has a good selection of products, not super high-tech like ceramic speed, not too bling-bling like Muck Off, though it is worth taking the time to make sure you are using them correctly to get results. In my case, I underestimated how much I needed to concentrate on properly degreasing my road bike.
One thing I miss is the ecological aspect. In the world of oils and cleaners, it is hard to be green, though many of the well-known brands such as Muck Off are making moves towards biodegradable bike cleaners and lubes. One argument is that the quality (results) of organic-based products are not yet up to par. When I consider that residue or runoff from cleaning products I use on my bike could leech into the soil in my garden, ‘eco-friendly’ is an important criterion for me.
I appreciate that the brand is has taken out some of the complexity, no need to sift through 100 variations of Finishline chain lube. If you stock up with Crankalicious products alone, you can keep it simple and just orientate on colour. Performance-nerds, on the other hand, may need more than the range offers and will tend towards ultrasonic cleaning and wax dipping. For price and convenience, the kits are the smartest option for Aussie cyclists. Find out more from crankalicious.com