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Silca Ultimate Ceramic Waterless Wash is a great way of keeping your bike looking new in between washes. It's easy to use, and satisfyingly effective. It means less time caring for your bike and more time riding it. It's really expensive, though, and only suitable for fair-weather bikes.
Let's get one thing out of the way early on – if you have a commuter bike that you ride through the winter, or you do a lot of off-roading (again, in the winter) then Silca's Ultimate Ceramic Waterless Wash isn't for you. Move along, nothing to see here.
If, however, you have a bike that only sees good weather, or you only ride it in the summer (even a mountain bike or gravel bike doesn't get that dirty in the summer), then you might find this product, as Silca's head-honcho Josh puts it, 'a bit of a game changer'.
The Ultimate Ceramic Waterless Wash (UCWW from now on) represents the final stage in Silca's new Bicycle Spa Collection, which is a four-step process, starting with degreasing, and finishing up with this, Step 4 – or Protect, as it's also known. It's designed to be used to top up the cleanliness of your bike in between major washes, removing light dust and dirt so you don't need to bother with a full-on wash.
Just spray it on your paintwork (or on a microfibre cloth), wipe on and wipe off. According to Josh, UCWW's 'multi-patented advanced surfactant technology' lifts and encapsulates dirt and grime, and allows it to be wiped away cleanly without scratching the paint.
Why is this a good thing? Well, not having to get all your cleaning kit out – hose, brushes, et al – means less time cleaning and more time doing more interesting things, right? As I mentioned earlier, this only really applies if you ride your bike in nice weather, where your bike isn't accumulating huge amounts of dirt.
Clearly, if you use this product on a really dirty bike, there's a risk you could damage your lovely paintwork.
As Josh points out, although this is labelled as a final stage product, designed to be used in conjunction with the other steps in the collections, it's really a standalone product, and can be used without having to purchase any of the others.
It can be used on both paint or components, and thanks to the SiO2 infused in the solution, it adds 8H hardness ceramic protection to any surface – even if that surface is bare. By comparison, a regular carnauba wax would probably add around a 5H level of hardness, so in theory you get improved protection against the elements, or road debris, when you ride.
Fun fact: the ASTM pencil hardness test is used to evaluate the performance of paint coatings. In the test, a graphite pencil (starting with a 10H) is selected and a small line is drawn on the surface. At the point the surface doesn't scratch, that particular pencil hardness is the rating given to the coating. So, the harder the coating, the greater its resistance to scratching. In this instance, the ceramic spray has an 8H rating, so it's able to resist scratching from an 8H pencil, but failed to protect against a 9H pencil.
As for SiO2, this is the chemical formula for silicon dioxide. Ceramic coatings contain a small percentage of SiO2 – the more they have, the more effective the coating is – both in terms of hardness and durability. As the Silca spray contains less SiO2 than a more expensive, more involved ceramic coating, it isn't quite as effective, but then it's much easier to apply, and costs far less. The 8H hardness rating is still pretty impressive given a carnauba wax is only between 6/7H rating.
The formula is also eco friendly, so you don't have to worry about harming your components or the environment.
Does it actually work? Definitely, yes. Just spray it on, wipe it off (you don't need to even buff it or anything) and it looks clean again. I must admit, if my bikes still look clean after a ride, I tend to leave them alone and wouldn't normally bother with a waterless wash. But because UCWW is so easy to use, and because it adds a layer of protection to paint (or titanium, or whatever), then it's certainly worth doing. The pina colada scent is also really nice, if you like that sort of thing.
It's clearly a very expensive product at £36 for a 16oz bottle (or less if you shop around), but ceramic coatings always are. I tested Wax Is Dead's Bike Ceramic Coating in April, and that costs £45 for a tiny bottle that'll coat about two or three bikes. It offers slightly more protection than Silca's (with a hardness rating of 9H – the best you can get), but it's much more time consuming to apply.
It's not really the right product to compare to Silca's, though, as it's obviously not a waterless wash. Muc-Off's High Performance Waterless Wash is, and according to Stu's review it does a decent job of giving a grubby bike a showroom finish. It's much cheaper at £12.99, but unlike UCWW doesn't offer anything in the way of post-waterless-wash protection.
As I said already, ceramic-infused products generally are very expensive, but the protection is pretty much the best you can get, so even though this Silca wash has a high price, you sort of get what you pay for. It's possible the bottle should last a while too. I used a very small amount of the solution to bring my Sunday best back to glory, so in theory your investment should go far, though it depends how much you ride.
Great way of cleaning and protecting slightly dirty bikes, but a princely sum for the privilege
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Silca Ultimate Ceramic Waterless Wash
Size tested: 473 ML
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?
Silca says, "Your everyday cleaning solution. Spray onto your frame and clean mild dirt while leaving a ceramic coating to reduce future dirt and debris from sticking to the frame. Buff to a finish."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The fourth part of the Silca Bicycle Spa 4-step cleaning system
With Piña Colada scent
Lifts and captures dirt, forms a protective layer once dry
Spray, wipe and buff
Avoid brake rotors and drivetrain
Comes in a 16oz bottle
The bottle works well, but it's nothing special.
Cleans easily and boasts a ceramic layer of protection.
Silca doesn't state how long the protection will last – in my experience ceramic sprays tend to last at least three months. Not as long-lasting as a proper ceramic coating which tends to last between one to two years, but still good given the ease of use.
It's very expensive, no doubt, but there's value in ease of use and proper paint protection. Clearly, if you ride a lot and plan to use it after every ride, you might burn through it quickly. If you only ride your 'nice' bikes occasionally, your investment might go quite far.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It works. Light dirt is easy to remove without worrying about damaging your paint, and it offers great paint protection.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ceramic coating it leaves behind.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Wax Is Dead Bike Ceramic Coating offers better paint protection and lasts a lot longer, but it's not a waterless wash. A better comparison is Muc-Off's High Performance Waterless Wash, but you don't get any protection.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Price aside, this is a great product – easy to use, smells great and it adds genuine paint protection (albeit not as long-lasting as a proper ceramic coating). It's only good for cleaning light dirt, though, so it's only really for summer bikes. Whether you need it is another question – do you always want an immaculate-looking bike, or do you even care?
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build 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: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,