Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin Proper Degreaser Starter Pack



Disappointingly weak degreaser in an otherwise cleverly designed package
Eco-friendly approach
Doesn't work very well
Delicious smell could be perilous with kids around

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.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin's Proper Degreaser comes with two sachets, which is enough to fill the robust plastic bottle twice. It's a good idea that avoids the waste of shipping tons of water around a generally very watery planet, but unfortunately the result is just bad at degreasing things.

Having carefully followed the instructions for mixing this, and further followed those to spray it on a wet surface and leave for three to four minutes, I went to the next step: 'agitating' my oily black chain. Five minutes later, only I was agitated.

The lube (only a few rides old on a brand new chain) was only partially broken down, smearing messily and remaining sticky to the touch. I liberally blasted the whole lot with more Proper Degreaser, waited another three minutes and tried again. Same thing.

Eventually I gave up and used something else. For the record it was Fenwick's Bike Cleaner (£7.99 a litre, refillable from concentrate), which took the same stuff straight off.

The effect of Proper Degreaser on the dust-filled marine grease around my lower headset was the same – negligible.

It's very disappointing as – until you try it – this stuff is impressive. It's a good idea to remove the weight of the water when it's so easily added after shipping, and the bag containing the sachets is resealable to preserve the spare.

The cleaner is vegan-friendly, biodegradable and 'not tested on Nigel or his mates' – Nigel, it turns out, is Guy Martin's dog.

Also, while the bottle is plastic, it (along with the spray head) feels rugged and should withstand plenty of use and refilling. It's all very worthy. It's a genuine shame it's not also worthwhile.

I'm not a fan of food-scented cleaners, and it's worth mentioning – at least if you have young children – that this stuff smells utterly delicious. It's like strawberry Hubba Bubba. It genuinely makes me want to drink it, and I'm 48 and at least theoretically an adult.

> How to clean your bike – from a quick lick to a full makeover

While I've had great results from the Fenwick's mentioned above (cleaning, not drinking), if you just want to melt stuff then Tru-Tension Cycle Drivetrain Cleaner is a powerful, solvent-based aerosol for the same £10 as Proper Degreaser – but 500ml instead of 1.5L. On the other hand you don't need much, as it works.

Back in the eco corner, Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion is environmentally friendly and works very well, though it's more expensive at £12.99 for 300ml.

Given the thought that's gone into this, and the need for a more eco-friendly approach in general, it's a real shame it's so ineffective. I wasn't expecting it to work like trichloroethylene and melt the prints right off my fingers, but I was expecting it to at least match other biodegradable products. Unfortunately, it's the weakest degreaser I've tried, to the point where I found it useless.


Disappointingly weak degreaser in an otherwise cleverly designed package test report

Make and model: Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin Proper Degreaser Starter Pack

Size tested: 1.5 litres

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?

According to Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin, this " a drivetrain cleaner, perfect for cleaning Chainrings, Sprockets, Cassettes and Chains on both Bikes and Motorbikes."

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

Proper lists:

Product Information: 750 ml bottle and 2 Capsules (making 750 ml each).

Ideal for cleaning Chains, Cassettes, Sprockets & Chainrings

Safe on Paint, Anodising, Plastics and Rubber Seals

Alkaline based & contains no solvents, acids or CFCs

The liquid is 100% biodegradable, vegan friendly and is produced under the Eco Label

Capsules can be used up to 3 years after the date on the back of the resealable pouch

Not tested on Nigel the Dog or his mates.

Designed, tested and manufactured in the UK.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Great packaging: makes 1.5 litres, or two bottles.

Rate the product for performance:

Has a very weak effect on drivetrain gunk.

Rate the product for value:

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

Poorly – chain lube remains sticky and tends to just smear instead of wash off.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The delicious smell that made me want to drink it.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Its very weak performance, and the fact I wanted to drink it.

Did you enjoy using the product? No

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is an impressive and well-thought-out product, right up until the point you use it. The sensible and eco-friendly packaging is wasted when the degreaser itself only works so feebly.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

Add new comment


PRSboy | 2 years ago

Has anyone tried brake cleaner? No idea about its eco credentials but it certainly cleaned up car parts astonishingly easily and is very cheap. 

TheBillder replied to PRSboy | 2 years ago
0 likes implies eco credentials often not good. For a start, it's supplied in an aerosol can. Then there are volatile solvents and various toxic leftovers.

I think it's one of those products to be used only when really necessary. A good degreaser should be very low impact - although of course the grease it's removing generally isn't, so dirty degreaser is not great either.

Mungecrundle | 2 years ago

Do not degrease your chain, the internal roller surfaces need lubricant.

Wipe the surface crud off with an old rag then gently marinade in warm engine oil and scrub with an old toothbrush, or the toothbrush of someone you don't mind annoying. Wipe off excess oil and refit.

Carax | 2 years ago

I wasted my money on this. Useless cleaner. Does jack shit.

Nick T | 2 years ago

I'll wait and see what Valentino Rossi brings to the bicycle cleaning market

SculturaD | 2 years ago
1 like

Screwfix, No NONSENSE HEAVY DUTY DEGREASER 5LTR £8.99. Water Soluble.

moneypit replied to SculturaD | 2 years ago

+1 for this  - remarkable value for money at a 4:1 dilution and very effective.Works perfectly.

TheBillder replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
1 like

I have used a kitchen degreaser, designed for chip shops I think. Was under £15 for 5 litres and I dilute it 4:1 before it goes in the rotating brush gadget that honestly won't spray blackened droplets at you, oh no.

Seems pretty good but then I'm a chain maintenance heretic: after the clean, rinse and dry (no conditioner), Asda 10w40 motor oil (left over from when I had an even worse car than now) graces the rollers, and that seems good too - no more wear than proper chain lube.

Secret_squirrel replied to TheBillder | 2 years ago
TheBillder wrote:

I'm a chain maintenance heretic

Thank god for that, with all this talk in the forums about wax baths, and chicken blood in the light of a full moon I thought I was the only one.

Tried wet lube (too wet - sprayed everywhere) and dry lube ( allergic to the first sniff of rain) I've defaulted to an occasional spray with GT85 and a wipe down with a rag or kitchen towel.

I've even been known to put the bike in the shed when wet and deal with the rusty mess of a chain days later.

*Waits for the mob with torches and pitch forks.

TheBillder replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

10w40 is a bit thicker than most wet lubes I've seen. I refilled a Finish Line dropper bottle and fling is not too bad. The right chainstay is still dirtier than the left though.

Wet bike in shed is asking for trouble though. Once a link gets rusty and stuff you might fix it with thin oil and a lot of manipulation but it's much easier and cheaper to do a quick wipe, re oil with cheap stuff and then forget to clean and relube before the next ride of the so-called summer.

Dicklexic replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
Nigel Garrage wrote:

has anyone ever tried using "elbow grease" to clean their drivetrain, which costs like £1.99 a litre?

Yeah I have tried it. For the money it's 'okay' but honestly it's nowhere near as good as a decent bike specific degreaser. Muc-Off drivetrain cleaner is the best I personally have ever used, but it's heinously expensive. Morgan Blue do a decent value one, and the Fenwicks mentioned in the review is very good. I am intrigued by the claims for the Screwfix stuff, so will try that at some point, but I will be careful to make sure it's thoroughly rinsed off. Who knows how aggressive it might be on anodised parts and paint/carbon etc.

Latest Comments