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Lifeline Bike Cleaner



Great value bike wash with similar clout to everyone else's – just slightly cheaper

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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Lifeline Bike Cleaner is another labour saving shampoo that you spray all over, leave for 30 seconds or so, and then rinse with tepid water. While not obviously superior to household names, it does the same job to similar standards and for a few quid less.

Wiggle is fairly coy ingredients-wise, but does tell us it's 100 per cent acid-free and supposedly safe on all surfaces – painted, plated, lacquered, polished and rubberised. Like washing up liquids, this employs a mix of non/ionic surfactants, which penetrate the grimy layer, then persuade it to slide away during the rinsing phase.

Buy this online here 

As the photos demonstrate, this is a fairly lively brew that gets cracking pretty quickly. Cursory blow-overs and 30-second marinades shift mud, bird poop, dust and other organic contaminants pretty much first time.

Embedded petrochemical grot such as diesel, spent chain lube, and residual frame preserver adorning the bottom bracket and rear triangle require repeated, localised applications and gentle persuasion from a medium stiff brush.

Chainrings, derailleur cages and cassettes also scrub up quite convincingly too, but for a proper purge I'd tackle these with Lifeline's neat, citrus degreaser, then go to town with the bike cleaner.

>> Follow our guide to cleaning and lubing your chain here

Extending the waiting phase by a minute or so hasn't resulted in any unsightly streaking or dulling of glossy finishes – metallic and flamboyant enamels included. Matt colours can be tricky customers and benefited from a post-wash polish – the same goes for leather saddles and bar wrap.

While goggles are a bit OTT, a stray droplet did induce painful, watery eyes and agricultural language – nothing rinsing in cold water doesn't fix, but something to consider in blustery weather.

Prolonged exposure leaves your hands feeling decidedly dry too – not something to worry about too much when tackling one or two bikes, but worth donning gloves if you're a club mechanic tending a fleet of crusty cyclo-cross or mountain bikes.

Ultra-thrifty types will point out meticulously diluted washing up liquids will achieve similar results to bog standard bike washes. But, as workshop staples go, Lifeline's version is a shrewd choice.


Great value bike wash with similar clout to everyone else's – just slightly cheaper

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Make and model: Lifeline Bike Cleaner

Size tested: 1 Litre

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?

Wiggle says: "LifeLine Bike Cleaner is designed to break down dirt and grime while protecting your paintwork and components. Handy spray bottle allows you to apply the cleaner exactly where you need it".

Does exactly what it says on the tin.

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

Breaks down dirt and grime

100% acid-free formula

Safe for use on all painted and plated finishes

Safe for use on dust seals and braking components

Comes complete with spray head

This tough formula breaks down dirt and grime with ease. Just spray on, agitate with a brush or a sponge and rinse the dirt away.

Lifeline Bike Cleaner is designed be tough on dirt while looking after your paintwork and plated finishes. It is safe for use on all moving parts including all dirt and dust seals.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

On par with some iconic formulas and better than a few costing considerably more.

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Pleasant enough to use, though latex gloves are a sensible precaution for prolonged exposure and folks with sensitive skins.

Rate the product for value:

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

Overall, it's a lively and generally efficient formula that will dismiss light to moderate grime within the allotted 30 seconds and rinse timescale. Subsequent applications and elbow grease are required when tackling heavily soiled steeds, or more stubborn chemical cocktails.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

On par with some household names and considerably cheaper too.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing given the design brief and overall performance.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega 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)

Add new comment


joebee9870 | 8 years ago

Head and shoulders anyone.

PhillBrown replied to joebee9870 | 8 years ago

...more of a Knees and Toes man myself.

crikey | 8 years ago

Well washing up liquid contains salt and for any parts made from aluminium it will cause oxidisation.

Stop being silly, science chimp.

Washing up liquid contains salt but...and this is the really important rinse it off.

Any aluminium on your bike is already protected or is already covered in a layer of oxidisation.

leqin | 8 years ago

Well washing up liquid contains salt and for any parts made from aluminium it will cause oxidisation.

Welsh boy replied to leqin | 8 years ago
leqin wrote:

Well washing up liquid contains salt and for any parts made from aluminium it will cause oxidisation.

I suppose you fret if sweat drips onto your bike when you are riding it do you?

Simon E | 8 years ago

Ultra-thrifty types will point out meticulously diluted washing up liquids will achieve similar results to bog standard bike washes

Yes they do, but you don't have to dilute WUL 'meticulously' (eh?), just squirt some into the bucket while you're at the sink. So why bother buying a more expensive, 'dedicated' product that's no more effective?

Astonish orange multi-surface cleaner (beside the WUL) will shift any particularly stubborn greasy/oily stuff easily without leaving any residue.

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