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Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin's Proper Degreaser comes with two sachets, which is enough to fill the robust plastic bottle twice. It's a good idea that avoids the waste of shipping tons of water around a generally very watery planet, but unfortunately the result is just bad at degreasing things.
Having carefully followed the instructions for mixing this, and further followed those to spray it on a wet surface and leave for three to four minutes, I went to the next step: 'agitating' my oily black chain. Five minutes later, only I was agitated.
The lube (only a few rides old on a brand new chain) was only partially broken down, smearing messily and remaining sticky to the touch. I liberally blasted the whole lot with more Proper Degreaser, waited another three minutes and tried again. Same thing.
Eventually I gave up and used something else. For the record it was Fenwick's Bike Cleaner (£7.99 a litre, refillable from concentrate), which took the same stuff straight off.
The effect of Proper Degreaser on the dust-filled marine grease around my lower headset was the same – negligible.
It's very disappointing as – until you try it – this stuff is impressive. It's a good idea to remove the weight of the water when it's so easily added after shipping, and the bag containing the sachets is resealable to preserve the spare.
The cleaner is vegan-friendly, biodegradable and 'not tested on Nigel or his mates' – Nigel, it turns out, is Guy Martin's dog.
Also, while the bottle is plastic, it (along with the spray head) feels rugged and should withstand plenty of use and refilling. It's all very worthy. It's a genuine shame it's not also worthwhile.
I'm not a fan of food-scented cleaners, and it's worth mentioning – at least if you have young children – that this stuff smells utterly delicious. It's like strawberry Hubba Bubba. It genuinely makes me want to drink it, and I'm 48 and at least theoretically an adult.
While I've had great results from the Fenwick's mentioned above (cleaning, not drinking), if you just want to melt stuff then Tru-Tension Cycle Drivetrain Cleaner is a powerful, solvent-based aerosol for the same £10 as Proper Degreaser – but 500ml instead of 1.5L. On the other hand you don't need much, as it works.
Back in the eco corner, Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion is environmentally friendly and works very well, though it's more expensive at £12.99 for 300ml.
Given the thought that's gone into this, and the need for a more eco-friendly approach in general, it's a real shame it's so ineffective. I wasn't expecting it to work like trichloroethylene and melt the prints right off my fingers, but I was expecting it to at least match other biodegradable products. Unfortunately, it's the weakest degreaser I've tried, to the point where I found it useless.
Disappointingly weak degreaser in an otherwise cleverly designed package
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin Proper Degreaser Starter Pack
Size tested: 1.5 litres
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?
According to Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin, this "...is a drivetrain cleaner, perfect for cleaning Chainrings, Sprockets, Cassettes and Chains on both Bikes and Motorbikes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Product Information: 750 ml bottle and 2 Capsules (making 750 ml each).
Ideal for cleaning Chains, Cassettes, Sprockets & Chainrings
Safe on Paint, Anodising, Plastics and Rubber Seals
Alkaline based & contains no solvents, acids or CFCs
The liquid is 100% biodegradable, vegan friendly and is produced under the Eco Label
Capsules can be used up to 3 years after the date on the back of the resealable pouch
Not tested on Nigel the Dog or his mates.
Designed, tested and manufactured in the UK.
Great packaging: makes 1.5 litres, or two bottles.
Has a very weak effect on drivetrain gunk.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Poorly – chain lube remains sticky and tends to just smear instead of wash off.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The delicious smell that made me want to drink it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Its very weak performance, and the fact I wanted to drink it.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is an impressive and well-thought-out product, right up until the point you use it. The sensible and eco-friendly packaging is wasted when the degreaser itself only works so feebly.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,