It’s 26 years since UK brand Muc-Off started producing its pink bike cleaner and backed it up with smart marketing that actually made bike care look fun. Muc-Off has been gradually adding to its bike and rider care range ever since and the collection is now broader than ever.
With its signature pink and black branding and a keen eye on packaging as well as product, Muc-Off is probably the most recognised care brand in both cycling and motorbiking. The company has also hooked up with a lot of top riders, including tech links with British Cycling and Team Sky (now Team Ineos) on the track and road.
That means you tend to pay slightly more for its product than the cheapest kit but performance is generally very good across the board and exceptional in some areas. They’re big on the small details like handy packaging, soft contact points etc, and tend to chuck in stickers to make you smile too, which all helps make jobs that are generally a chore that bit more jolly.
Bike cleaning is where Muc-Off started and the latest Nano Tech bike cleaner is a really effective product. A quick damp down and then a light coat of the foaming cleaner properly gets under the skin of filth. It also works as a snow foam if you plug it into the relevant pressure washer attachment. While most cleaners tend to disappoint once your bike dries, Muc-Off rinses off to leave an acceptably shiny and clean finish with no streaking or smears. You might still need to get a brush or cloth out to get really clean but it’s certainly more effective than most.
Anyone who remembers grumbles about Muc-Off’s cleaner fading anodising and paint when it first came out can rest easy too. We wanted to check that out as part of our testing so we mixed some cleaner to the correct concentration and left it on a patch of frame and some anodised bits for a couple of days without any damage to either. It did lift the paint off a wooden windowsill after we left a trigger bottle on it overnight though so be careful with spillages on more delicate domestic surfaces.
It’s acid, CFC and solvent-free and its eco-credentials are helped by various sizes of packs from 1 - 25 litres and they’ve even started supplying ‘top your own container up’ bars at bike shops.
The standard cleaner is also backed up with two different Waterless cleaners designed for spray-on, wipe-off of lightly spattered or dusty bikes if there’s no water supply or you want to keep your e-bike electrics dry. While the cleaners are designed to be disc rotor-friendly, Muc-Off makes a slip-on cover to protect them from oily overspray, polish and careless lubing.
While it’s pricey, the latest X-3 chain cleaner with its ribbed rinse ‘brush’ does a better cleaning job than most rotating brush designs. Spares kits prolong lifespan too. The super-comprehensive hand wash range is completed with various brush, sponge and microfibre cloth products, too.
The latest addition to Muc-Off’s cleaning range is potentially a controversial one as a careless power washer can really damage your bike. Muc-Off has packaged it with a specific low-pressure lance to reduce the risk to bearings and seals (as well as a higher pressure motorbike lance and an adjustable multi-purpose one) though. The hardware is all soft coated as well so it won’t chip paint if you accidentally clatter your frame when cleaning. It’s compact and lightweight compared to a normal jet wash for easy carrying, and you can get a custom dry bag to keep the muck off other parts of your life.
Protection and polish
Muc-Off does a massive range of polishing and protection products for riders who are diligent with their detailing and want to show up at the trails with a showroom finish every time. MO94 is basically a lightweight lubricant/water dispersal spray equivalent of WD40 and the latest PTFE formulation is great for a quick spritz to restore shine and stop corrosion getting a foothold. As usual, make sure you keep it away from bearings where it will dissolve grease and brake rotors and pads where lubrication is the last thing you need. There’s also an ‘Ultra Corrosion Defence’ spray specifically targeted at e-bikes and their potentially troublesome battery and controller connections.
Those who want to see their reflection in their ride should check out the Miracle Shine and Metal Polish products, while stealth finish fans will love the Matt Finish Detailer. There’s a Silicon Shine spray that coats your bike in a mud-shrugging coating that CX riders or other winter racers will appreciate and Muc-Off even do a CX bundle for a one-hit pit stop purchase. In fact, it’s always worth looking around the whole Muc-Off range for package deals or special offers as there are generally several in pretty much every category.
After the cleaning and the polishing comes the lubing, and with 14 different products ranging from pre-impregnated Nanotube chains born from Team Sky collaboration, to -50ºC lubes for snow biking, as well as a wide range of more conventional wet and dry lubes, there’s something for everyone.
We’ve not had chance or reason to use the extreme lubes but the various wet, dry and ceramic lubes have always performed okay - if not outstandingly - when our wider test team has been using them. The e-bike lubes designed to work in higher torque situations seem a smart idea too. The one that really stands out is the Hydrodynamic lube. At £17.99 for just 50ml it seems very expensive but it’s lasted us over a year of regular there and back 60km commutes in all weathers with plenty left in the pointy-nosed bottle.
Like most lubes it definitely performs best when used on a properly cleaned and degreased chain, but even very tired drivetrains felt noticeably fresher and smoother after application. It stays on and fights corrosion very well through filthy weather and even off-road cyclo-cross/gravel use. While it will eventually get black and grimy (rather than dry and squeaky) the more carefully you apply it (there’s even a UV torch supplied for checking link penetration) and wipe off afterwards the longer it stays clean.
The biggest addition to the Muc-Off range recently is a complete collection of tubeless setup, servicing and repair products or as the company calls it P.I.M (Prepare, Inflate, Maintain). Muc-Off has delivered the goods in style too, with eye-catching packaging backed up with very good performance right through.
Tubeless sealant is a hard product to get right for a wide range of users but Muc-Off spent six years developing the pink (obviously) No Puncture Hassle recipe and has properly nailed it (pun intended). It’s definitely expensive - particularly if you get the handy 140ml pouches for £8.99 - but the performance makes it worth the investment. For a start, the pouch has a built-in nozzle for direct Presta valve injection and the sealant kit (£10.99) and bigger 1L (£29.99) and 5L (£120) bottles come with a valve core remover, measuring scoop and UV light. The light is particularly useful for spotting sidewall seepage and any holes that would benefit from extra plugging that you didn’t notice while riding.
There tends to be a lot of those too as the thick latex-based, particle-enriched recipe fills holes very quickly and even plugs big gashes and sidewall damage fast enough that you often don’t need to re-inflate. As it’s ammonia-free it doesn’t smell like a car park stairwell, it lasts for months in a wide range of temperatures and it doesn’t clump even if you use a CO2 cartridge to re-inflate your fixed flat. Despite the thick appearance, it’s mobile enough that it’s not noticeable inside the tyre even if you’re a weight weenie running lightweight rubber. It’s relatively easy to clean up if you switch tyres too, especially if you use Muc-Off’s new Glue Remover.
Muc-Off’s Tubeless Presta Valves (£24.99) are really good. The eight different anodised colours of the alloy valve, collar and caps are what will attract most people. It’s the three switchable rubber collars for different rim bed profiles that give them a really reliable, thumb tight seal on every wheel type we’ve tried that make them worth a bit extra though.
Having sorted the basics really well, Muc-Off recently added a whole bunch of accessories to the P.I.M range, all with suitably ‘pop’ art packaging of course. The Tubeless Rim Tape starts off winning with a VCR (ask your nan) themed packet that also quotes Rocky, Airwolf, Godzilla and Blockbuster. The strong, stretchy tape also gives a really good crinkle-free fit compared to gaffer tape or more fragile hard tapes. Cost is high at £14.99 but it comes in 17, 21, 25, 28 (the one we tested), 30 and 35mm widths in a 10m length that’s enough to do two sets of 27.5 or 29er/700c wheels so you can split the cost with a mate. You even get four tape patches for spoke poke or tyre lever injury repairs. If you’re starting from scratch then the Ultimate Tubeless Set Up Kit packs tape, two sealant pouches and tubeless valves into a box to save you £18 over the same bits separately.
In typically thorough style, Muc-Off has things covered when it comes to puncture repair too. For the fastest fix, go for the GUP style BAM can, which loads latex puncture sealing foam into a 125ml CO2 aerosol. If you jam the soft pink rubber snout onto your valve right there’s enough pressure to fill a 29er tyre in under a minute and enough foam to seal holes up to 4mm wide. Get it wrong though and you’ll unleash a frustrating trailside foam party and at £14.99 a can, practising is expensive.
Muc-Off’s CO2 Inflator kits are pretty good value though, especially as the all-metal inflator head with push-button valve is a really good quality piece. You get two 16g CO2 cartridges in the £24.99 Road inflator kit, and two 25g CO2 cartridges in the £28.99 MTB inflator kit and a neoprene canister sleeve is included so you don’t freeze your fingers when you unload the can.
We don’t know if it’s intentional but the inflator head and a single canister also fit neatly into the Cordura wallet supplied with Muc-Off’s Tubeless Repair kit. At £12.99, the price is high compared to conventional ‘screwdriver’ designs but the T bar tool is easier to drive through tough tyres. It comes with five fat and five thin plugs rather than just the fat ones that are always a fight to push into a typical hole, and refill packs are £4.99.
If the wallet supplied with the kit isn’t enough then Muc-Off does a particularly nice camo Essentials case with chunky weatherproof zip and enough space for a plus-sized smartphone or tube and tools. There’s an internal divider as well as a small zipped pocket for keys and coins, although you’ll have 15 pounds less once you’ve bought it.
As well as supplying the lubes and cleaners your bike needs, Muc-Off also does a range of products for your own bodywork. We’ve not tried the Luxury shaving cream, Luxury aftershave balm or, vegan ‘badger’ bristle machined shaving brush. Muc-Off has sent us the fatigue-fighting Amino Ultra Endurance, sprint boosting Amino Explosive Power and WADA approved plant-based Luxury warm-up cream. We have used the ginger, arnica and Tsubaki oil Warming massage oil which is great for loosening up heavy legs from the day before or working out post-ride knots. At £14.99 for a 200ml pump bottle, it’s well priced too.
The Amino recovery balm is £23.99 but includes glutamine that’s claimed to soak into the muscles and increase their ability to store glycogen better through direct massage than taking an oral supplement. Don’t confuse it with a massage oil though as it gets dry and grainy very quickly if you keep rubbing.
Finally, Muc-Off has also just introduced a limited bag range including the 20L Ride Pack (£130-£200 depending on reservoir/back protector/laptop sleeve options), the £40 8L Dopp kit bag and £30 Essentials pack which all fit together using the modular military spec Molle system. We’ve not had them to test yet but obviously we’ll update this feature when we do.