Fenwick's Stealth Road Bike Kit is a comprehensive bundle of environmentally friendly bike cleaning and lubricating products, which are free of solvents and other nasties damaging to delicate finishes.
Complete with handy carry/wash bucket, the kit contains a litre of FS10 bike cleaner, 1 litre FS10 bike cleaner concentrate, 200ml foaming chain cleaner, 200ml multi-purpose lubricant, 100ml stealth road bike chain lubricant and two sponges, one being chain specific.
While generally spick 'n' span, summer's warm swansong has seen my home brew waxy frame protection escape from my winter/training fixer's breathing hole, leaving a grungy mess splattered along the bottom bracket, rear triangle and rim. Add some residual chain lube to proceedings and we're getting closer to replicating winter's mucky cocktail.
I'm generally quite sceptical of aerosol cleaners, though this one is remarkably fuss free. Start by giving the contents a really good, thirty second shake before aiming a few centimetres from the chain and at 45 degrees.
Depressing its nozzle, while simultaneously turning the cranks ensures even coverage of foaming pink degreaser, although for best results, pause and shake the tin every ten seconds. Leave marinating for a couple of minutes, whereupon it assumes a sudsy state. Now run chains through the coarse, honeycomb textured sponge.
Lean summer lubes are pretty much dismissed during the first attempt but beefier all seasons/wet preps demanded three, sometimes four tries. That said; chains were dinner plate clean following a final rinse in tepid water. Prolonged contact with painted, plated or lacquered surfaces has made zero impression; this isn't always so with bio-degradable mixtures.
Despite the sponge turning very grubby, fears of cross contamination proved unfounded, though having tended to the final bike, I left ours soaking in a neat, citrus based degreaser. This aside both seem a reciprocal mix, arguably more convenient than traditional chain baths too.
These are essentially the same concentrate, only one is dilute, the other neat. FS10 denotes 10% product, 90% water. Intended primarily for quick blow-overs it's certainly kind to all surfaces, though a little too insipid for tackling anything other than a thin layering of road grime.
In practical terms, this meant four helpings to remove oily finger marks along top and seat tubes-even following recommended curing times and agitating with the perky sponge block.
Thankfully the concentrate allows one to tune accordingly. It was pretty effective on ingrained petro-chemicals when used neat and rinsed promptly after ninety seconds, those seeking to degrease will be pleased to note
FS1 works a treat on most surfaces and contexts, removing all manner of sticky stuff, including weathered adhesives.
Used without gloves, these also seem relatively kind to humans, at least I've never experienced dryness or discomfort, even over prolonged periods. Both leave surfaces gleaming and streak free, which Fenwick's attribute to liquid, rather than powdered concentrate.
Clue's in the title really. It's designed to be most things to most folks, dispersing moisture from cassettes, cables, pivot points, springs leaving behind a protective lubricant film. This also works well for post ride blow-overs, as a masking agent (protecting chrome and similar surfaces from contaminant) and priming chains on bikes in seasonal hibernation.
While not petrochemical based, it still works to the science of a grime gobbling solvent carrier and parent lubricant so will dissolve light tar, diesel spatter and help loosen light corrosion. Because of their slightly generic nature, these are difficult to perfect. Thankfully the formula's just thick enough for lasting protection, yet still useful for lighting-blinky switches/battery contacts. However, penetrant sprays work much faster, especially on weathered contact points.
I was fortunate enough to put some through its paces in the latter part of 2012. Fenwick's remain tight-lipped about exact composition, stressing its 'heightened lubricity' and 'cushioning additives' that supposedly reduces heat build-up and wear. Compared with many hi-tech blends, application is pretty straightforward.
Dismiss any pre-existing lube, shake and, using the pipet apply tiny drops to each link. The rich silver flows with the consistency of hobby enamels, so second coats and top-ups will serve no purpose, aside from turning transmissions to a gooey mess.
In common with some other synthetics, it can turn bashful in cold storage, so the bottle may need pre-heating in a bowl of warm water for thirty seconds or so. Nonetheless, it cures to a clean film within an hour and you're ready for whatever the Gods bestow. Responsiveness is comparable with middleweight mineral based/ceramic brews and considerably livelier than wet formulas.
There's no trade-off in terms of staying prowess either. We've returned 250 miles per application throughout a slushy, salty winter and it seems remarkably impervious to contaminant. Dry spring and summer months have been closer to 500.
Less utilitarian than some mineral oil/PTFE types; avoid contact with cables, pivot points and mechanisms. However, it still doubles as a passable assembly paste for fasteners and similar threaded parts.
Ultimately, I'm very impressed by the whole ensemble. Personally, I found the FS10 slightly insipid but it's genuinely kind to all surfaces, though the FS1 concentrate is easily tuned to suit more stubborn ingrained stuff and/or less delicate finishes. Indeed, some say it's mild enough to double as a hand cleanser.
The multi-purpose and stealth lubricants are similarly well blended and rank amongst the best I've used in their respective contexts. My one minor reservation concerns the chain/sponges' longevity; both look slightly battle weary after only a handful of uses. However, to their credit, both seem to lock dirt in and the storage-cum-wash bucket is another nice touch, adding to the overall value.
Comprehensive bike care kit that works really well and represents excellent value for money
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Make and model: Fenwicks Stealth Road Bike Kit
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?
"Fenwicks Stealth Road Bike Kit
For the discerning road enthusiast a kit that is capable of maintaining a road bike to the highest of standards. Fenwicks are the only company to provide their kits with a chain cleaning device, therefore a thorough and proper bike clean is achievable using only the contents of this bucket. Featuring the highly rated and unusual Stealth Road Bike Chain Lube your bike will feel highly pampered. Also contained in the bucket is a Multi-Purpose Lubricant that can be used to dewater the chain after washing or a wet ride or to lube mechs, cables, etc providing the all important postwash aftercare.
* FS-10 Bike Cleaner 1L
* FS-1 Bike Cleaner Concentrate 1L
* Foaming Chain Cleaner 200ml
* Multi-Purpose Lubricant 200ml
* Chain Cleaning Sponge
* Stealth Road Bike Lube 100ml
* Bike Cleaning Sponge
* Bucket 11L"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"The FS-1 was the first concentrate of its kind, we first produced it in this format in 2003 but it has actually been used for bike cleaning since 1996. It is the only concentrate not to need hazard warning symbols on, as the formulae is not aggressive in any way and is biodegradable. So the product is not only kind on your bike, but on you, and the environment".
" Multi-Purpose Lubricant is first and foremost a lubricant for cables, mechs and chains (yes it can be used as a light chain lube) it is also a very good water dispersant so great as a post wash spray for chains and cabels etc. It has great penetrating properties and evaporates to leave a non-tacky lube".
Stealth lube: . Fenwick's remain tight-lipped about exact composition, stressing its 'heightened lubricity' and 'cushioning additives' that supposedly reduces heat build-up and wear.
Comprehensive and very nice to use.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, Fenwick's Stealth Road Bike Kit is a brilliant mix of cleaners and lubricants that will keep road bikes (and other genres) in fine fettle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything-its a really well conceived kit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some question marks concerning sponge longevity and slightly insipid FS10 but these are very minor points.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)