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Fibrax Disc Brake Cleaner is formulated to be safe on your bike, and does the business removing residues that will affect your brake setup. And if shopping local matters to you, the component formula and parts are all made within 40 miles of Fibrax's canning plant in Cheshire, close to its North Wales HQ.
Chances are you've ridden a bike with Fibrax products on board – brake blocks, disc pads, cables or other small bits and pieces. It has its own laboratory and material scientists, putting its various products through stringent tests to ensure they meet the appropriate standards.
Fibrax measures the braking force applied at the lever versus the resultant force slowing the wheel on a rolling road. As Fibrax has the ability to do bike-brake-specific testing, it can say that brakes cleaned up with Fibrax Disc Brake Cleaner deliver an 18% improvement in braking force compared to a 'contaminated' system. There were Newtons, Meters, miles-per-hour and other such boffinry involved in the discussion I had with its cycle sales manager Ellis Blackman, but the end result is that apart from not only making things look shiny, removing contamination actually makes you faster – because as any fule kno, to go fast you need to be happy you can stop fast too.
The Fibrax formula is designed not to degrade the material in the brake pad – apparently many disc brake 'cleaners' do degrade pad material by softening the top layer, which means pads wear faster. A bonus of not dissolving pad material is that the cleaner doesn't break down the embedded or 'burnt in' brake pad material on your rotor. This is an important point, as you need pad material on the rotor to give the pad itself something to grip. If you've ever ridden a brand-new disc brake rotor (or one that's had the rotor sanded back) you'll know how much better they are after they've been 'burnt in' by repeated hard decelerations to get the rotors piping hot and material evenly transferred.
Because the formula is safe on frames, tyres and paintwork, Fibrax recommends cleaning the brakes on the bike. First give the brake a blast, wait 10 seconds, then give it a second blast to wash off the crud that's just been loosened – similar to foaming bike cleaners.
Fibrax suggests you could clean the brakes after every ride, as the formula is safe and therefore application is easy.
Over a good few wintry months and through a full can of the stuff, I'm happy to report that it just works. The pressure is good from the nozzle, so while things won't look spotless on a mucky calliper, all the big, built-up stuff gets blown away. I noticed in very cold weather, if you applied the brakes immediately after a cleanup there was some squealing that did go away after a few hard stops. Experimenting with a brief blast from a hose to completely wash away all traces worked well, delivering squeal-free braking from go.
Out on the road, braking remained consistent, with noticeable improvements going from a filthy setup to one blasted clean. My fingers aren't calibrated to the extent that I'd swear it was 18% better, but things were clean, worked and I wasn't fearful my bike was being eaten by nasties.
At £6 for 400ml, the cleaner is priced about midrange. For that, you're getting made-in-the-UK properly-boffin-based cleaning that does the job and is friendly on your bike. Recommended.
Formulated to be safe for your bike while cleaning things up a treat – and it's made locally
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fibrax Disc Brake Cleaner
Size tested: 400ml
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?
It's for anyone using disc brakes - road or mountain bike.
Fibrax says: "Fibrax disc brake cleaner can improve braking performance by providing a deep clean of your brake system."
And it does just that.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fibrax disc brake cleaner can improve braking performance by providing a deep clean of your brake system.
Our disc brake cleaner air dries without leaving a residue and is perfectly safe for use on plastic, rubber, titanium, carbon & painted surfaces.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – things got clean and there was no degradation in brake setup.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fact that it's totally bike-safe, so you can leave wheels on in use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a hard thing to quantify, with most disc brake cleaners being a muchness. But the bike-friendly and non-pad-material-dissolving nature of the Fibrax product, plus its local cred, make for a 4-star product.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling