Finish Line Speed Bike Degreaser is an aerosol spray, designed to clean drivetrains and disc brakes. However, despite its references to 'turbo sprayers' and other miracle muck-removing, time-saving technology, Speed Degreaser is disappointing compared with cheaper, store branded competitors.
Like most spray degreasers, it's essentially a highly volatile mix of solvents and propellant. The instructions warn that it's highly flammable and that ingestion may prove fatal. Hence I've used ours in the open air, far away from smoking neighbours, pilot lights and other sources of ignition.
With that in mind, give the mix a vigorous 30-second shake, aim, and spray in short bursts. The compressed gases are designed to deliver the solvent component very forcefully.
Generally speaking, when deep cleaning I remove the rear wheel and blast the cassette while tilting it toward the ground to discourage the solvent from sneaking past or doing nasty things to seals. It also prevents stray lube from the chain contaminating rear disc/pads.
Finish Line also suggests the Speed Degreaser can damage delicate paintwork. I've minimised contact for precisely this reason, and to date, there's no obvious sign of taint, even on my Univega's flamboyant enamel livery.
Oily, impacted grot literally slithered from cassettes, rings, cleat mechanisms and disc rotors before evaporating. No need for scrubbing, rinsing or drying... So goes the theory. This seemed good, rather than great when presented with simpler ISO/PTFE wet/dry lubes and greases.
There's a plug-in straw included so you can get the solvent into areas like chain links but I found the best technique is to deliver Speed Degreaser via a chain bath, then spin the cranks before it has time to evaporate. This also minimises wastage, overspray and potential damage to painted, plated or polished surfaces. Otherwise, just spraying the solvent into place gave distinctly average results. More basic wet formulas and 10W40 motor oil took two generous helpings before they'd lift, and even then required a cat-lick with a clean rag.
More sophisticated lubricant blends such as the Rock n' Roll range tested last year required at least three helpings and concerted tickling from a stiff brush. True, these are particularly durable – I was still running its Absolute Dry through November – but putting this into context, B'Twin's aerosol degreaser (part of the cleaning kit I tested in 2015) stripped this and others within a few seconds of contact.
Talking of stripping, while quick blasts to tainted mechs shouldn't pose any problem, extended fettling left my hands feeling a little dry and wishing I had donned some protective gloves.
Bottom line: Finish Line Speed Bike Degreaser seems over-hyped and with little real advantage over those costing considerably less.
Okay for cleaning disc rotors and removing basic lubes, but doesn't live up to promise or price tag
road.cc test report
Make and model: Finish Line Speed Bike Degreaser
Size tested: 18 oz / 500 ml aerosol
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?
Finish line says: "Speed Bike Degreaser™ utilizes dry degreasing technology. As such, it leaves no residue and water rinsing is not required. Finish Line has recently added a turbo sprayer to its Speed Bike Degreaser™ which uses mechanical agitation to help quickly remove contaminants off the drivetrain.
"Speed Bike Degreaser™ is formulated with specialized solvents which break down grease and grime and other solvents whose specialty is removing organic soils like dust and dirt.
"Like its name suggests, Speed Bike Degreaser™ is the fastest way to clean a drivetrain. For most applications specialty brushes and tools are not required. Since Speed Bike Degreaser™ leaves no residue and dries rapidly, lubricant can be immediately applied and the bike can go on its way.
"Available in a recyclable steel 17oz. ozone-safe aerosol can."
While it works reasonably well in some contexts, it's less potent than the blurb suggests.
Good on more basic lubricants and embedded grot, although disappointing overall and compared with cheaper store branded products.
Not very economical to use – sophisticated chain oils and other lubricants required several applications and manual involvement.
Poor compared with other aerosol based formulas.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Speed Bike Degreaser has been disappointing. It works reasonably well on more basic chain lubes and disc rotor grot and has convenience in its favour. But store branded types have stripped chains clean in two short blasts and 30 seconds – tops. By contrast, the Speed Clean required repeat applications and quite intensive scrubbing. In some cases, Fenwick's FS1 and other concentrates requiring rinsing were more efficient.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decidedly underwhelmed given the promise.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Inefficient and expensive compared with many others on the market.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? Not in its present guise.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No, there are much cheaper and faster acting options.
Use this box to explain your score
Promises a lot but performance is, at best, the lower end of average.
About the tester
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)