Oxford's Triple Brush Set comprises three cheap and relatively cheerful staples that do a decent job of sprucing drivetrain components and wheels. However, these are not strictly bicycle-specific, which may be a turn off, and although they're not unduly harsh, do go gently around paintwork – especially matt or flamboyant enamels.
Starting with the three-way transmission comb, it's pretty much identical to several premium and shop branded equivalents bouncing around in my tool box. That said, the plastics seem of a slightly higher quality, judging by the amount of spent lube and assorted solvents they've been exposed to these past few weeks. The claw end does a decent job of extracting that rat's nest of congealed lube, grit, leaves and other debris from cassettes, while the bristle plots are just the right size for whizzing around jockey wheels, derailleur cages, chain links and sprung mechanisms.
Bristle quality is pretty much on par with others in my collection and is beginning to show the early signs of splaying. Wet lubes in particular cause them to clump together after a few uses, so apply a light coating of Fenwick's FS1 or similar bike wash stock and leave them to soak in between.
Most of us will recognise the big conifer shaped 'bottle brush on steroids'; it's primarily for rims, hubs and spokes, though it also came in handy for removing residual bar tape adhesive before adding the new wrap.
The medium density plastic handle sits comfortably in the palms, offering plenty of purchase for fast, efficient cleaning, while the bottle brush type bristles can be bent and re-shaped to suit. The rubberised end cap also continues that finish-friendly theme.
To date, the bristles have left no nasty swirls or similar tell-tale marks on polished or anodised rims or hubs, though they're still coarse enough to restore sullied stainless and electroplated spokes to their former glory.
Then we have a curious looking two-prong type. This is designed for cleaning pedals among others, but is easily manipulated into other shapes for improved access. Dunked in some Fenwick's or similar citrus based degreaser, it's proven very useful for tickling cranks, chainrings and suspension linkages clean. Just go carefully around painted areas, if you're leaving these components in situ.
At just over £3 a brush, the set seems very reasonable compared with some popular bike brands. On the flip side, recycled tooth, nail and kitchen brushes make passable substitutes and cost virtually nothing.
Deliberation done, I've enjoyed using the trio, but for my money I'd go for a jumbo car sponge and Green Oil's bike brush. A quid or so more, perhaps, but the latest incarnation achieves better results and is easier to clean.
Serviceable brushes that represent decent value compared with some popular bike brands
road.cc test report
Make and model: Oxford Triple Brush Set
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?
I would describe this as a semi-cycling-specific brush set for cleaning wheels and transmissions, but they also lend themselves to motorcycle sprucing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Plastic handles with rubberised scuff bumpers to protect paintwork and similarly delicate areas feature on the larger brushes, nylon bristle plots.
On par with several popular cycling-specific brands.
Do a decent job of cleaning rims, hubs, spokes and transmission components.
Materials seem durable, although, as I had expected, there has been evidence of bristles splaying on the transmission-specific claw but no worse than several others in my toolbox.
All three feel reasonably solid.
Pleasant to use, even in the time required to clean a fleet of bikes.
Good – there's little separating these from some popular bike brands.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, these have performed in line with expectations and on par with other brush sets I've used. The three-way transmission claw and bristle plot does a good job of purging derailleurs, cassettes and chains of debris and spent, contaminated lube, and seems more resistant to strong solvents than some. The big bottle brush is also very effective on rims, spokes and hubs. Bristles aren't too harsh and easily manipulated but go steadily around paintwork.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tactile and reassuringly solid handles. All do their job to a decent standard.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing stands out, but semi-bike-specific status stirs mixed emotions in me.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth a look.
Use this box to explain your score
Solid brush set at a reasonable price and on par with some more expensive offerings from popular bike brands, if not obviously better.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)