When choosing which of the numerous motorcycle cleaners you will trust to remove the oil and grime from your beloved motorcycle, do you make your decision based on brand loyalty, price or reputation?
In my case, brand loyalty is partially driven by being lazy. I know these products work, so I keep buying them. My apathetic approach, however, does have its drawbacks.
I’d forgotten that I’d used the last of the S100 during the last bike wash. My apathy only bothered to remember this when my KTM was filthy and in dire need of having the rock salt washed away before it did some damage.
Normally I wouldn’t associate the word “adventurous” with motorcycle cleaners. Yet as travelling to far-away places isn’t currently possible, I’ll take whatever motorcycling stimulus is on offer.
And if getting adventurous is buying 5-litres of dayglow green Fuchs Silkolene Wash Off – a motorcycle cleaner I’d never tried before – well, that is just the way it is.
Seriously though, Silkolene Wash Off is rather good. Here’s why …
What I don’t Want
Back, oh so many years ago, it seemed perfectly reasonable to use petrol to clean the oil and muck from my moped. Don’t judge me too harshly … I was 16 at the time.
Later in life, it occurred to me that if I was trying to look after my motorcycle by washing the white residue from the rock salt solution and other road crap away, using a corrosive solvent to achieve this was stupid.
Whereas using petrol has the benefit of shifting any muck covering the bike, this approach also includes shifting the finish from the paintwork, damaging the hoses and tarnishing most metals.
There are still motorcycle cleaners on the market today that have a higher concentration of corrosive chemicals than you might imagine. Whereas these remain excellent at shifting road grime, they will also ruin the finish on your motorcycle if used regularly.
What is in it?
Dr O.K. Wack Chemie GmbH, AllYearBiker and Fuchs, the manufacturers of Silkolene Wash Off, invest heavily in their products’ research and development. The exact manufacturing process will be a trade secret, yet thanks to Government legislation, manufacturers are required to produce product safety sheets.
A quick Google search for the Silkolene Wash Off product sheet tells me that it doesn’t contain any of those highly efficient, yet corrosive chemicals I don’t want eating into my motorcycle.
The Chemists amongst us will have a better idea what all of those things are, but the good news is that there is nothing listed in the “No Uses Advised Against” section – when used as a motorcycle cleaner – to worry about.
If you are intrigued and wish to read the whole product safety sheet, you can find it here.
Is it Any Good?
Science is a wonderful thing, yet the bottom line remains; does it make motorcycle cleaning easier? And to answer that I required a dirty motorcycle. Not exactly a challenging task at this time of year.
The KTM was already covered in rock salt residue and general grime. So another 80 mile round trips across the wilds of Lincolnshire to buy motorcycle cleaner just added to the task of cleaning it all off.
According to the Silkolene Wash Off instructions, I should get the bike wet first, by which I guess they mean using clean water. It also makes logical sense to let the bike cool first, or the engine and exhaust will bake on whichever motorcycle cleaner I’m using before it can work its magic.
Once the KTM was cold and wet, I’m instructed to spray Silkolene Wash Off on neat all over the motorcycle, remembering the agitate the more persistent deposits of oily grime.
After that, I can hose the bike clean or use a pressure washer, if I prefer. It all made perfect sense – not exactly difficult – so let’s have at it.
Twenty minutes of wetting, spraying, agitating and rinsing later and, as the instructions promised, I have a clean motorcycle. Excellent stuff. It does what it says on the plastic tub.
My wild adventure – such as it was – into the world of Silkolene Wash Off is complete, except to talk about price.
None of the top draw motorcycle cleaners will ever be is as cheap as a bottle of washing up liquid. Really there is no comparison. Top brand motorcycle cleaners are so much more than soap and detergent.
Our motorcycles are a collection of different materials. The all-in-one motorcycle cleaner we choose has to shift the dirt, oil and road grime from rubber, metal, and plastic, all while not attacking any of the bike’s components. Motorcycle cleaners are a long way from £1.50 bottle of Fairy Liquid.
SDoc S100 Total Cleaner is perhaps the most expensive at £15 per litre. Quality costs money. The question is, do you think S100 value for money at £15 a litre? There are a lot of people who would say yes and typically I’m one of them.
AllYearBiker Bike Wash I get from my local AllYearBiker representative for £10 a litre. It is a good price, but not always easy to get hold of.
Meanwhile Silkolene Wash Off appears to have found where all three of the buying requirements meet. Along with being a recognised brand and having a solid reputation, at £7.50 a litre, it is half the price of some of its competitors. Plus, SportsBikeShop will delivery it to your door. Simples.
Oh … Did I mention it is luminous green. If that matters at all.
It’s Clean. Now What?
Despite my lazy approach to buying motorcycle cleaners, I am slightly obsessed with cleaning and protecting my motorcycle.
Such is my obsession that despite having already washed the bike, I had to break out the snow-foamer. Having taken the compulsory photo and rinsed the bike clean, the dog dryer came out to ensure it was completely dry. Yes, I am slightly obsessed.
Last and perhaps most importantly at this time of year, comes the decision of how to stop the rock salt and grime getting to my now wonderfully clean motorcycle the next time I ride it.
ACF-50 and XCP are the two obvious choices. Both are brilliant and not easily washed away, providing you have checked what is in your motorcycle cleaner. There is little point in covering your motorcycle with ACF-50 if the next time you clean it, you strip it all off.
For the last two winters, I’ve been using Scottoiler FS 365 and have been impressed. It isn’t the same as ACF-50 or XCP, there is a whole different philosophy behind FS365, but that is a different story, covered in the article below.
I bought the Silkolene Wash Off, with my own money, from SportsBikeShop. I paid the same price you will. Same goes for the FS 365 and the SDoc S100 Total Cleaner. No freebies or envelopes under the table we received.
That said, as we now know how good these products are, the manufacturers are most welcome to send us more if they wish.