Finish Line's Absorb-It Mat does what the name suggests, absorbing liquid and stopping it from working through to the surface underneath. It comes in two sizes – the one on test is just the right length for a bike (or three, side by side) – but it can be cut with a pair of scissors to fit on a workbench, under a turbo trainer to catch sweat, in the back of a car...
To test its absorbency, I poured about half a pint of water slowly in one place, with a sheet of kitchen roll under the mat. The water soaked in, then I lifted the mat to find that the kitchen roll was bone dry. I then dribbled some oil on, and that soaked in immediately. It'll absorb up to 2.5 litres apparently – which is quite a lot of overspray and dribblings, I'd say. (It doesn't 'seal' it in, à la sanitary towel, so put anything down where the oil is and it'll get oily.)
There's not a huge amount more to say, really. I've used it to cover the floor under the two bikes we regularly use for commuting, both of which tend to need a good hose-down after the ride home. It certainly looks neater than the various dog towels I used to put down before (and neater than the dog towels still on the floor next to it).
The biggest problem using it indoors like this is that its slightly fluffy texture isn't that easy to vacuum – unless that's just my vacuum cleaner. I've used a dustpan and brush to remove bits of grit and dirt, but it's so light it would be easy to pick it up and give it a shake outdoors – if it didn't have three bikes parked on top.
Although it absorbs liquid, if you were going to use it in a workshop I'd suggest putting some newspaper on top to catch oil or grease, just to keep it cleaner for longer and more pleasant to use again. If you think that defeats the object, just go ahead without.
It's very thin, so doesn't have the cushioning of a quality turbo mat (you'd probably need to use it on carpet if you wanted that), but it doesn't have the price tag that they come with either.
As someone who's considered buying a Turtle Mat at half the size for £80-odd (it had very nice stripes and promised to trap all dirt from dog paws), I reckon £20 is pretty good value.
Does what it promises to, absorbing liquid and protecting surfaces underneath, and very good value
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Finish Line Absorb-It Mat
Size tested: Large 60 x 36in
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?
Madison says: "A highly absorbent mat with a leak-proof backing
Absorbs all types of liquid
Perfect for your work station or under a turbo trainer"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Finish Line's website:
The Finish Line Absorb-It™ Mat is the perfect way to keep any work area clean. Designed with special absorption fiber technology, the Absorb-It Mat absorbs and traps chain lubricants, cleaners, degreasers, brake fluid and hydraulic oils. The combination of absorption fibers and a leak-proof poly liner make the Absorb-It Mat perfect accessory when degreasing & lubricating bicycle chains.
Use the Absorb-It on a work bench, under an automobile to catch leaking fluids, in a car trunk to prevent stains, in a chemical storage cabinets, or under a trainer to catch perspiration.
The Absorb-It Mat comes in two different sizes: 48" X 18" and 60" X 36. The 48" x 18" will absorb and trap up to 11iter of fluids. The larger 60" x 36" will absorb and trap up to 2.5 liters of fluid. Both mats can be cut with a scissor to fit in custom areas.
I'm not too au fait with mat construction quality, but it seems strong enough.
No liquid gets through. At all.
It's looking good (apart from not being very easy to vacuum).
It's very light – so easy to carry around (for use under a turbo), or if you want to roll it up and put it away.
As someone who's considered buying a Turtle Mat at half the size for £80-odd, I reckon £20 is very good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It's particularly good for catching wet and dirty drips from hosed-down bikes after the mucky commute home.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its floor protection, price and innocuous look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not very easy to vacuum.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes (as much as you can enjoy using a mat).
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It does what it's meant to very well, plus it's affordable. Not a lot to complain about really. It's great!
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
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: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.