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Verdict: 
Effective leg muscle warmer, especially useful in cold weather.
Weight: 
100g
Purple Harry's Ultimate Rider Care Muscle Warming Cream
8 10

The Purple Harry's brand is well-known for bike-care products, but now Harry offers rider-care products as well, including this Muscle Warming Cream. It's an embrocation gel ideal for rubbing on reluctant legs before racing or training, especially in cold weather.

Using Purple Harry's Muscle Warming Cream is simple. It comes in a small pump dispenser; you pump a bit of cream into your hands, and then rub it on your legs before racing or training. It's especially useful in cold weather, before you go out on the road or 'cross track.

As soon as this cream touches your legs, you can feel the heat on your skin, and then (as the name implies) rubbing this cream into your muscles makes them warm. Why do this? It's because warm muscles feel better and perform better. It's also because warm muscles are more relaxed and flexible, so you're less prone to strains and injuries.

Dos it work? Yes. I tested the product by simply using it as directed. I rubbed it on my legs before going out on the bike a cold day, and my calf muscles definitely felt better for it: not as stiff and sluggish as usual in the first few miles.

The cream's main ingredients include water, petroleum jelly (or 'petrolatum'), cetearyl alcohol (an emollient), cetyl alcohol (a thickener), lanolin and eucalyptus oil. The latter gives the cream a pleasant smell that's nowhere near as pungent as some other embrocation potions.

A 100ml tube of Purple Harry's Muscle Warming Cream costs £10. This is not a bargain but roughly on a par with similar products such as Nature's Kiss Heat Rub (90g for £12) and DZ Nuts In-heat Embrocation (200g for £15), while the widely-known Deep Heat (not exactly the same stuff, but does a similar job) costs about £5 for 100g.

If you race or train hard in the winter, a quick pre-ride rub with some embrocation makes you feel better, gives you a little head start physically, and may also help avoid injury, so on that basis Purple Harry's Muscle Warming Cream is well worth a try.

Verdict

Effective leg muscle warmer, especially useful in cold weather.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Purple Harrys Ultimate Rider Care - Muscle Warming Cream

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This product is a cream designed to be applied to muscles before strenuous activity, especially in cold weather.

The manufacturer's website says 'Purple Harry's Muscle Warming Cream is a gentle formula to give a pleasant warm feeling rather than an overpowering tingle that some more aggressive products do. Nonetheless, you shouldn't apply within 24 hours of shaving! Massage thoroughly into calves and quads and then hit the road, trail or track! Packaged in a travel friendly and convenient 100ml pump dispenser.'

At £10 for 100g, value is fair, but not a bargain.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The product performed very well. I rubbed it on my legs before going out on a cold day and muscles definitely felt better.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Warms muscles nicely. Gentle smell. Easy-to-use dispenser.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

This product does exactly what it claims to do: it warms up your muscles before a bike ride. On that basis the overall score would be 9. But the price, although fair, is not a bargain. This deducts a point, giving an overall score of 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 53  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, an old steel classic  My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding and rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)

 

7 comments

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kcr [153 posts] 2 years ago
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As soon as this cream touches your legs, you can feel the heat on your skin, and then (as the name implies) rubbing this cream into your muscles makes them warm. Why do this? It's because warm muscles feel better and perform better. It's also because warm muscles are more relaxed and flexible, so you're less prone to strains and injuries.

When I started racing many years ago, the whiff of embrocation just about knocked you out as you entered the changing rooms. You don't smell it much these days. Why? Because it doesn't work.

Rubbing an irritant cream on your legs gives the sensation of heat, but it just draws blood into the surface layers of the skin. It won't do anything for your core muscles, and it might actually reduce your performance as a result.

If you want to prepare for a ride, wear leg warmers, do a proper warm up routine and stay away from the old wives' tales! Rubbing stuff on your legs won't do you any good.

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LarryDavidJr [377 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Rubbing stuff on your legs won't do you any good.

Depends who you have doing the rubbing  3

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Kadinkski [736 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I have this and their anti chafing cream. The problem, as I painfully found out a few days ago, is that the packaging is nearly identical.

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The _Kaner [1147 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

..as long as it doesn't come in the same packaging as veet....(the anti chafing cream, I mean)

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andyp [1518 posts] 2 years ago
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'Rubbing stuff on your legs won't do you any good.'

Anyone who has sports massage would beg to differ. Probably all the pros too.

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kcr [153 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Sports massage can be of benefit, but it's the rubbing that is useful, not the stuff you rub on, and sports massage is a very different thing from rubbing on embrocation.

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Tin Pony [73 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

This looks like a useful little addition to any winter cyclists armoury. It doesn't take its self to seriously which is fun and whilst the jury's out on its benefits. Some swear by this kind of product and who am I to disagree.
http://www.tinpony.co.uk/shop/?category=Sale+items