As a polishing zealot I appreciated Purple Harry Bike Floss and its straight from the packet grime purging practicality. Available in three versions (including a carbon friendly fleece) these pipe cleaners on steroids will speed your steed to a showroom shine, refresh those parts traditional brushes cannot reach and better still, theyre made right here in Blighty. However, the abrasive bristles can clog very quickly and aren't reusable in the washable sense so would work out expensive if you're fastidious about the entire fleet and were too lazy to give cassettes a quick brush/comb through first.
The soft jumbo fleece is designed specifically to meet the proliferation of carbon, anodised and thinly plated goodies for a gentle yet efficient cleaning action. Adding a quick shot of furniture polish restores the carbon weave to its concors glory while the bendy cores allow bespoke contortion for those irksome dirt-traps beneath the crown, bottom set race, callipers, cantilever bosses etc. Ours cut through congealed traces of turtle wax deep in the otherwise inaccessible areas of hub flanges in a few deft motions. Be warned this level of detailing can lead to full-blown obsessive compulsive behaviours, with hours, nay evenings lost in the quest for perfection on brake/gear controls, lugwork, saddle rails bottle cages and similar goodies.
Then we come to the nylon bristles, which work by harvesting grime and dirt from the drivetrain. Medium is for really closely spaced 9 and 10speed clusters, pedal cleat mechanisms, derailleur cages and jockey wheels-the large siblings do much the same, although better for tickling between older triple cranksets and six speed blocks. Technique determines whether the floss becomes a practical addition to the toolkit or costly indulgence since grime collects very quickly within the bristles-especially that attracted by wet lubes. As far as I can tell these are not designed to be reusable in the way the washable Finish Line Bike Floss we've also reviewed is. Our Purple Harrys ddn't come with any care insuruction though of course you can clean off most of the gunk with degreaser - which I did, it works but performance does start to degrade, but then their pipe cleaner bendiness is very useful so they are worth taking care of… and they are three quid cheaper than the Finish Line floss.
I found the best way to use them was was to start by giving the most heavily soiled regions a preliminary brush through with more traditional tools before introducing the abrasive floss to the cleanest areas, working in a delicate scrubbing motion. Used gently, this lifts light tarnish from polished alloy hoops without unsightly swirls or scratches, leaving 75% free to treat derailleur cages, jockey wheels and between polished alloy chain-rings-minimising the risk of cross contamination.
Effective easy to use detailing brushes but servicing a large and varied fleet of bikes could prove expensive
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Make and model: Purple Harrys Bike Floss
Size tested: Large Bristle, Medium Bristle, Large fleece
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?
"Available in large bristle, medium bristle or large fleece, Bike Floss solves the problem of getting to the hard to reach parts of the bike and makes light work of the drive train, cassettes, derailleurs, brake callipers and levers. The Fleece option is especially suited to carbon components that may be scratched with the more abrasive Bristle versions, and this product also finishes and polishes to show your bike 'bling' in its most dazzling light". Generally agree
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Maulable wire cores coated in a nylon fleece/bristles that clean and beautify the bike top to toe.
Depends on the nature of your fleet. Longlived on prized road mounts. Mucky winter, 'cross and mountain bikes consume them at a much faster rate.
A considered, planned approach sees them go a long way.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The bike floss does exactly what is says on the tin and makes a very powerful addition to the cleaning arsenal when used intelligently.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The carbon/delicate friendly fleece and generous lengths.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Bristles can have a tendency to clog uselessly with gunge so give the cassette a quick comb through first.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? On balance, yes
Age: 38 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)