The Eat My Dirt Brake Shield is primarily designed to protect disc brake/rotors when re-lubricating the chain. It also prevents tyres and rims and, ahem, floors getting a sticky coating of spent lube.
Story goes these were invented after Jon fancied a quick blast on Gary's bike. Unbeknown to Jon, Gary had 'just chucked a bit of oil on his chain and cassette' seeing as they were looking a bit dry. Mid wheelie, Jon engaged the rear brake... Nothing. Next thing he knew he was flat on his back and the concept was born.
Being marine engineers, they made a prototype from cardboard and refined the design with some input from Huddersfield University. Ultimately, they decided polypropylene was the ideal flexible, chemical-resistant material. In fact, they are so confident in its longevity, they will replace free of charge (under normal use), so long as you send them a short video explaining how they failed.
The Brake Shield is essentially a massive 'bib' that clips on in literally seconds once you've got the knack. Bike Bib was their intended moniker but it seems Michelin owns the name 'bib'...
First, slip the shield behind the cassette and secure the tab around a convenient spoke. Clip the top hook around another spoke and check it won't move when you rotate the cranks backwards. This has proven pretty reliable with 21-32t biggest tooth setups, including old school screw-on freewheels, but fixed and single speeds were non-starters.
Double checking is crucial, otherwise – as I discovered on my first attempt – the tray containing spent lube/solvents will empty out. Thankfully, my Univega was parked on a strip of concrete not the best lino, but you have been warned!
Now, assuming chains and cassette aren't bone dry, baste on or give your chain and cassette a quick blast of degreaser, strip any existing lube, dry off, then drizzle on some fresh prep, wiping away the excess. Carefully unclip the Bike Shield and rinse out.
Despite some initial scepticism, the lip doesn't allow the gungy residual stuff to seep out and defeat the object, and it does genuinely make the whole job a lot cleaner.
Ours has scrubbed up very nicely too – a quick shot of bike wash chased through with the garden hose seemed the quickest route to purging tenacious spatter. Several weeks in, it looks almost packet fresh with no sign of wear, despite being subjected to some fairly harsh solvents.
Whether it's worth £15 is debatable. I think Eat My Dirt is on to something but maybe needs to refine it a bit further. Critics will also point out that old bits of cardboard will do a similar job for virtually nothing – a technique I'm also very fond of.
Good concept and much cheaper than carpet cleaning bills, but needs further refinement
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Eat My Dirt Brake Shield
Size tested: N/A
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?
Eat My Dirt says: "The Brake Shield is an innovative new product and the only one of its kind. Its simple yet effective design protects your disk brakes and wheel rims while you clean and lubricate your drive train. The nature of the product allows you to make easy work of this, usually, quite tricky task.
"Many people just ignore this part of their bike; they put up with a mucky cassette and chain, either cleaning them periodically, maybe monthly, or just replacing them when they become unworkable. Now, 'little and often' cleans are made possible with the Brake Shield. The Brake Shield's innovative tray catches all the cleaner, dirt and oil, meaning that now you can do this dirty job anywhere without making a mess."
Broadly agree but requires a few practice runs before the system becomes second nature, and I would welcome a slightly beefier grade of polypropylene.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polypropylene. 33g apiece
Quick and easy, though I needed a few practice runs to get it down to a fine, spill-free art.
Surprisingly hardy and resists very strong solvents, including white spirit.
Well, I'm certainly not going to grumble about 33g. On the flip side, I would gladly accept a few extra grams in exchange for a slightly more tenacious fit and heavier gauge of polypropylene.
Will probably repay the £15 investment many times over with regular use, and far cheaper than trying to get oily stains from expensive flooring.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Brake Shield is a remarkably simple but effective means of keeping chain and other lubes from contaminating disc brake rotors, rims and, indeed, flooring. I would prefer a slightly beefier grade of polypropylene and recommend a few practice runs outside before risking crafty top-ups indoors.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very convenient for quick, mess-free chain maintenance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little pricey, and I would have expected a thicker gauge of polypropylene for £15.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I would if it was made from a slightly thicker gauge material.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with the above proviso.
Use this box to explain your score
Good concept but needs refinement before I would part with £15.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike 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)