Crankalicious Pineapple Express Rapid Acting Spray Wash works to the same basic principle as everyone else's grime-gobbling potions. In truth, it's not the fastest acting formula but seems kind to all surfaces and, like several others I've tested recently, the end results are well worth the extra minute's marinating time.
Ours was the ready-made 1 litre version, but there's also a portable pump spray, for tour-friendly washing, or a workshop-ready 1 litre concentrate. The latter sounds perfect for making industrial quantities, or brewing more intense 'custom' derivatives.
The pineapple scent suggested a citrus base but I'm assured it's made from a 'proprietary blend of non-ionic surfactants'. Crankalicious politely declined to divulge more. For those of us who were gazing out of the window during chemistry lessons, surfactants are the active, muck-shifting ingredients.
Directions say spray all over a dirty, grimy bike and allow 2-3 minutes' standing time. Then, agitate with the appropriate sponges/brushes before rinsing off with a low pressure garden hose. I give bikes a quick cold water rinse first. This helps things along a bit and, during winter, dismisses anything salty or caustic; warm water only gives the salt monster a boost.
My fixed gear winter/training bike was an obvious guinea pig since I've suddenly developed a taste for gravel type adventures. Three hundred back-road miles had left a curious mix of grime clinging to the down tube, rear triangle and fork legs. Warmer weather had also awoken my home brewed waxy frame preserve, causing it to leach out from the breathe holes.
Bike hoisted up in my workstand, starting at the bar I blasted liberally from a distance of 30cm. The stock trigger has decent pressure, although in keeping with M16 and several competitors, the mixture isn't visually that lively.
Having harvested brushes, polishes, sponge and garden hose, three minutes was up. Lashings of caked-on, gritty mud clinging to the rear guard literally fragmented, cartoon fashion. First glancing shot of my garden hose, this slithered away into the gently foaming puddle below.
I wax all my bikes religiously, which provides a long-lasting slippery surface and makes cleaning up quicker and easier. However, results were consistently good on less fastidious friends' bikes too.
Oily petrochemical spatter needs more persuasion. This is when a bucket of warm water comes into its own. However, again in common with the M16, less sophisticated, congealed lubes shifted with only modest persuasion.
It's worth remembering these stock formulas are designed as generic cleaners, not full blown degreasers. Welcome lubricant doesn't get washed away from chains, cassettes and so on.
Start to finish, my machine was gleaming in 20 minutes flat and that included drying/polishing time. Winter's grime may prove a bit more taxing, though, and I'd like to try the concentrate, to see how it compares with Fenwick's FS1 concentrate.
Extending waiting times by a few minutes hasn't resulted in any dulling or streaking. This remained consistent across my fleet and on polished, plated, anodised or painted surfaces.
As an experiment, I swapped the OEM trigger for one with a more potent agitator to see if this had any effect. Doing so produced a thicker foaming lather, which cut through heavily impacted grime faster, reducing standing times to two rather than three minutes – welcome when working on several mucky mountain or cyclo-cross bikes.
Most formulas leave braking surfaces squeaky clean, so I wasn't surprised by some minor squeal the first few times I engaged the brakes, particularly on a disc setup.
There are cheaper products around, but a tenner seems the going rate for bike-specific washes these days. It's certainly on par with M16, though it wasn't obviously superior, and allowing for some experimentation on my part, contents are consumed at a comparable rate. Prolonged, continued exposure hasn't done anything nasty to my hands, or other areas of exposed skin either, which isn't always the case.
Decent bike cleaner that achieves consistently good results on all surfaces
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Crankalicious Pineapple Express spray wash
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?
Crankalicious says: "Rapid acting spray wash for use on all areas of the frame, brakes and contact points.
"Versatile, fast-acting and with a luscious tropical aroma, we think that Pineapple Express will soon become your 'go to' cleaner. Simply spray all over your bike, allow to dwell for a few minutes, agitate and rinse off. It's that easy... And with a 1 litre concentrate that makes 4 litres (more than a US gallon!) it's also extremely economical."
I broadly agree and the Pineapple Express spray wash is certainly a match for several I've tested recently, albeit not obviously better.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Crankalicious says: "Instructions (ready-to-use spray bottle): Spray Pineapple Express liberally onto all areas of your bike. Allow to dwell for 2-3 minutes, then agitate with a brush, mitt or clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly with a low pressure water spray and dry frame/components as required."
Crankalicious is suitably coy about precise composition and says: "Pineapple Express uses very expensive raw ingredients in its concentrated state, designed to break down the dirt quickly - allowing you to merely wipe away"
Effective chemicals, and decent quality packaging and trigger spray.
Effective but not obviously superior to several, similarly priced competitors I've tested recently.
Convenient to use and prolonged exposure hasn't induced any discomfort. That said, I've rinsed my hands thoroughly after use and those with sensitive skins should probably wear gloves.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall performance is good but not necessarily better than several competitor formulas I've tested recently. Left for 2-3 minutes, the relatively calm bubbles nibbe away at ingrained organic mud, dung and spatter. During the rinsing phase, clumps of mud disintegrate and slither away, leaving clean, blemish-free effects on most surfaces. More physical intervention is needed for spent chain lubes, greases or frame preserves but less than has been needed with some stock iconic formulas.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Subtle but very effective – decent results.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing of note.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, though it's not necessarily superior over several similarly priced competitors.
Use this box to explain your score
It's an efficient bike wash with good results, on par with but not superior to several others at this price point.
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)