FUN might be overstretching things a bit, but
good and clean are certainly appropriate words to use when
describing the new bike cleaning kit from Swissol.
you're into cars at all you may have encountered Swissol before.
They make a range of rather exclusive car cleaning kits which
do exactly what everyone else's cleaners claim to do. Except
that, unlike most other products on the market, Swissol stuff
actually works at least as well as they claim.
Now before you start
getting all excited and mailing in to remind us that this
is a bike site, not a car one, it's worth noting that Swissol,
or more accurately their UK distributor, have cleverly noticed
that bikes get dirty too. And that what's good for a car might
well be good for a bike. But, recognising that the areas involved
are rather smaller than a car and that a car sized kit would
go hard before it got used up, they have come up with a smaller
kit just for bikes. And recognising that though the principle
is the same, bikes don't get exactly the same treatment as
cars, Swissol have blended a wax specifically for bike applications.
But more on that in a moment.
Swissol have been making
waxes and cleaning materials for rather a long time. Over
70 years, in fact. And in that time they have got rather good
at it - good enough that Rolls Royce provide a Swissol cleaning
kit with each Phantom they sell. Their stuff is typically
Swiss. Very, very effective while remaining environmentally
sound as well. With one exception, Swissol cleaners are totally
natural and organic. They even smell nice. The exception,
funnily enough, is the wax on which the bike wax is based
which has Teflon added to it. Of course, the other thing that
the Swiss are known for is cost. Swissol products are not
cheap. Just so you know.
Anyway, the idea is
that this kit allows you to give your bike a really thorough
clean once or twice a year and to simply wash and dry it off
the rest of the time. Except that even after a simple wash
and dry it would look as though you had spent hours cleaning.
And, even better, the Teflon in the wax would stop the numerous
flies that have come to a sticky end on your bike from, um,
sticking. An added bonus is that the bike wax is resistant
to fuel spills as well. Distinctly useful when you get those
irritating splashes while filling up.
Like all good ideas,
though, it's only any good if it works. So we tried it out.
Twice. Bikes are very difficult to demonstrate shinyness,
especially when they are almost new and already clean. But
cars, having large flat areas to get reflections in, are far
easier. So while Paul, the importer, went to work on our long-term
GSX-R, I attacked my trusty but rather tired looking Subaru.
something over 100,000 miles in 9 years the metallic black
paint of my Impreza is showing its age. Even when cleaned
and leathered off there is a dullness to the finish that won't
The Swissol cleaning
process is threefold. First of all you use a tiny amount of
the supplied shampoo in lots of warm water and wash the entire
bike. Or car in this case. Then dry it off, ideally with a
clean towel. Paul recommends that you keep a washcloth and
towel specifically for the job, and regularly pop them in
the washing machine (without conditioner) to make sure they
don't get any grit in them. He's not a great fan of sponges
as they tend to pick up and hold grit that can do all sorts
of damage. Anyway, that's the stage we're at in this picture.
Clean and dry and looking half decent. Well, to the naked
eye it looked OK, though the camera is a little unforgiving.
The next stage is the
harder part. Using the supplied applicator pad, you clean
the paint properly with the cleaner cream. This is a bit like
T-Cut, with one huge difference. While T-Cut is an abrasive
that takes a layer of paint off and smooths it that way, Swissol
cleaner works like a moisturiser, smoothing the paint by filling
all the tiny little cracks and returning the oils to the surface
that the atmosphere, sunlight and harsh cleaners have leached
out. If you are patient and work according to the instructions,
you should expect to take about half an hour to do your bike
properly. That car took, um, a little longer. But the results
are spectacular. Once the cleaner had been buffed off using
another supplied cloth, the finish was literally glass smooth.
Not only that, but the paint took on a far deeper gloss than
it had ever had before and the faint red fleck in it became
more noticeable, especially in the bright
sunlight. The final stage is
to seal the surface using a small amount of wax. This goes
on very easily and buffs off easier still, even in brilliant
sunshine. Ideally you should leave the bike outside for a
couple of hours for the wax to bake on in the sun, and that's
what we did.
It's hard to describe
just how good the effect actually is, but hopefully the 'after'
picture on the left will give you some idea. The black disc
in the top right hand corner is a wax applicator pad, by the
way, not a strange dent.
But enough of the wonders
of putting it on a car. That's not what we are here to talk
about. After treating the bike and leaving it outside to bake
on, I went for the toughest test I could think of. A summer
evening blast through the countryside, inviting messy and
highly adhesive test contributions from the insect population
of Kent and Surrey. Who were, it must be said, happy to oblige.
Then to round things off nicely I allowed the accumulated
detritus to bake in overnight before attempting to clean them
in the morning. And here I have a confession to make. When
I got in it was dark. And when I came to clean them off I
was in a hurry. So I forgot to take any pictures of the before
and after. But I can describe it for you. There were, I'd
estimate, somewhere around 100 deceased insects decorating
the fairing in various states of disassembly. Normally I'd
spray them with another cleaner I found, leave that to soak
in for 10 minutes or so and then wash the remains off with
a cloth. There'd be a good few minutes of scrubbing and I'd
have to rinse off very thoroughly because the cleaner leaves
nasty white streaks. The screen would need a different treatment
entirely to avoid scratching it.
But this time all I
did was get a wet cloth and wipe over the front of the bike.
The whole lot came straight off - no scrubbing or rubbing
required. A quick dry and the bike genuinely looked as good
as it had when Paul had finished working on it. Hmm - so far
dash up to London for a meeting saw the delights of a British
summer in the form of a torrential downpour that turned many
of the roads into muddy rivers and coated the bike with crap.
Another simple cleaning job made the value of this stuff even
more apparent. And the same deal on the car - muddy splashes,
dead bugs and so on just rinse off and as soon as the paint
is dried the shine is as good as new. Hell, it even looks
good when it's dirty now!
So Swissol bike cleaner
get an unequivocal thumbs up from me anyway. The kit, which
consists of shampoo, cleaner, wax, applicator pads, a washcloth,
a couple of buffing cloths, wheel cleaner and a brush and
a quick cleaner spray, is coming onto the market soon but
the price hasn't been decided for sure. And this is where
you come in. If you'd be interested then drop us a mail so
we can pass it on. Expect the kit to be around £80 but
that should give you enough for 2-3 years cleaning. The trouble
is I'm going to have to go buy some because I simply can't
imagine using anything else now...