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Crankalicious Leather Lacquer



Decent, lasting protectant with the bonus of improving grip

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Crankalicious Leather Lacquer does its job as a non-slip hide protectant well. Not only a preserve for accessories such as gloves, saddles, shoes and bar tape, it is also designed to improve grip in all conditions and I'm pleased to report it does both jobs extremely capably. It lasts well too, and a little goes a surprisingly long way.

  • Pros: Protects, provides grip, lasts well
  • Cons: Not cheap

As the name suggests, it's a lacquer not a 'food', so it won't nourish leather in the same way that something like Proofide or similar products do.

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Assuming the leather is essentially clean and dry, squirt in short blasts from 20cm, working the slightly milky fluid into the hide with some lint-free cloth. You're looking for even coverage not saturation. (Use newspaper to catch any overspray.)

Some grades of hide may darken slightly, so try an inconspicuous area first.

Based on two light applications, the products I treated were generally ready for use within an hour or so, although leaving them to dry overnight is ideal. I tend to apply it at the end of a ride.

Applied to some high-end but neglected mitts and my winter bike's long-serving Bobbin bar wrap and Swift saddle, none showed any signs of discoloration, though all assumed an attractive satin rather than full gloss texture.

Generally speaking , I would 'feed' shoes, saddles and my motorcycle leathers every six weeks or so, and this has been noticeably extended by using the Crankalicious.

Water beads quickly and rolls away, and grip has improved – some leather saddles can be a bit slippery, especially during the initial breaking-in phase, but improved purchase was immediately apparent on my saddle and bar tape, inspiring confidence on some very wet descents.

And while the invisible barrier prevents dirt sticking in the first instance, when it does come to washing bike and bits, surfactants in the washes have made negligible impression on the lacquer's qualities.

The palms of my mitts and my Quoc Pham leather shoes have also fared very well. The mitts had become very stiff, requiring a liberal helping of hide food to assume a supple state before I introduced the Leather Lacquer, and despite some wet, thundery rides, the palms have remained clean and supple.

The lacquer comes in two sizes, a handy pannier-friendly 100ml for £6, or a 250ml workshop version for £12. On paper that's not cheap, and though it offers a durable barrier, I'd still recommend applying a decent quality leather feed periodically, especially in the depths of winter.

However, a little goes a surprisingly long way and it's cost effective when you take into account the prices of saddles, gloves and footwear.


Decent, lasting protectant with the bonus of improving grip

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Make and model: Crankalicious Leather Lacquer

Size tested: 250ml

Tell us what the product is for

Crankalicious says, "Waterproof non-slip protectant for use on saddles, shoes, and bar tape.

"Having cleaned your bar tape, saddle and shoes with our Epic Hide cleanser, use this waterproof spray protectant to seal and preserve the now glorious finish. It makes it far easier to clean next time, too."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Crankalicious:

Instructions: Clean saddle, shoes and/or bar tape. Spray Leather Lacquer directly onto the surface and spread lightly with a clean microfibre cloth until an even coat is achieved. Product evaporates to leave a natural/matt, non-slip, waterproof finish. Repeat applications to increase product performance. Do not rub into damaged or degraded finishes. If unsure of results, test on an inconspicuous area first.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Effects seem durable.

Rate the product for performance:

Does what it says in the blurb and to a decent standard. However, it is designed for leather, not suede, traditionally popular on SPD commuter/touring shoes.

Rate the product for durability:

I have also used this during winter and the benefits lasted several weeks.

Rate the product for value:

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

Offers decent and lasting levels of protection. Effects have lasted a good three weeks during the winter months. I'm still on the original coating this time round, no sign of deterioration several weeks in.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Simple and quick to apply, long lasting.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product


Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

While it's no substitute for 'feeding' genuine hides, it does a good job of adding a decent level of protection and improving grip.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

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)

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