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Green Oil Agent Apple Professional Degreaser mimics the cleaning power of petrochemicals but without the nasty environmental consequences. Don't be fooled by the eco-friendly labelling, though; store it carefully, and minimise contact with exposed skin, painted, plated, carbon and composite surfaces.
This might explain why it comes in an aluminium container, rather than recycled plastic, though it hasn't chomped through old, better quality ice cream tubs). The ingredients aren't particularly cutting edge, consisting of Limonene, a popular industrial cleaner derived from citrus fruits, and linalool, which is seemingly ubiquitous in toiletries/cosmetics. Said pairing forms a colourless, pleasant smelling, gunge gobbling cocktail.
Chain aside, for best results remove the offending components, pop them in a parts washer or thick-walled ice cream tub, shake the degreaser and pour in carefully. If you have a spare spray canister, say an old bike cleaner container, use it to squirt the degreaser into the parts nooks and crannies. Whatever your chosen method of deployment, leave it soaking for a few minutes while you find some brushes and disposable gloves as today's two part synthetic lubes are more tenacious than ever.
Simpler wet lubes and their contaminants scarper, ready for a freshwater rinse and drying off with an old rag in 5-10 minutes, though modern ceramics demanded two hours or so with periodic agitation, ditto the stodgy lithium greases commonly fed to headsets, bottom brackets and similar bearing surfaces.
In the name of investigative journalism, I sloshed 75ml worth over my elderly 8spd LX mech and left it marinating for three days. I ended up with lots of black, silty fluid, and some dulling of the anodised body. While we're on the subject of destroying surface finishes, acrylic paints literally vanish before the eyes, especially where they overlap electroplate. You have been warned.
However, slight spillages onto flamboyant or metallic enamels haven't resulted in any lasting damage when flushed away with clean water. It's disappointingly pedestrian by the brand's usual standards when presented with stodgy ceramics. While undeniably toxic, identical quantities of 95 octane unleaded literally strip super crudded cassettes, chain rings and so on, piranha fashion, in a matter of minutes.
[Editor's note: road.cc does NOT recommend that you use petrol as a cleaning agent unless your life's wish is to die in a domestic inferno.]
Promising concept but pricey given its distinctly average performance.
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Make and model: Green Oil Agent Apple Professional Degreaser
Size tested: 200ml
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?
The suppliers site says " Agent Apple is differerent, using three different citrus plants together, each with powerful degreasing properties. The formula also utilises plant alcohol.
Agent Apple is a light fluid that starts work within minutes of the chain being dipped in. For lighter applications it can be sprayed on with the handy button spray". Yes but I can't help feeling the present formula doesn't meet its true potential.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Basically a blend of two naturally (plant) derived chemicals, limonene and linalool, forming a colourless, sweet smelling solvent cocktail.
Swift on old fashioned wet lubes such as motor oil but more advanced petrochemicals demand soaking and enthused scrubbing rituals.
Minimise contact with bare skin.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
While reasonably effective on more traditional lubricants and when used in conjunction with a chain bath, performance is pedestrian against stodgier/sophisticated preps.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quite tenacious in conjunction with a chain bath and/or applied to derailleur cages/jockey wheels etc.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Undeniably kinder to the environment, it remains very flammable and rather expensive for such modest quantities.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Not in its present guise.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I like the concept but feel it needs further development.
Age: 39 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)