No matter how scrupulously clean you keep your bike, there will come a time when you need to clean something that is particularly filthy or has a build-up of old oil or grease.
When that time comes, bike wash won’t do it and don’t even think about dipping a rag into the petrol tank – this isn’t 1975…
What you need is a decent degreaser and if it’s in a spray can, then even better – you can stay away from the grime while you apply the product and then if necessary, get involved with a brush before using the spray to remove the remaining traces.
Related: Best motorbike chain lubes
Some degreasers are water-soluble, so you can simply rinse your components off with water once you have degreased them but they may need more than one application, as the water solubility can decrease their effectiveness at removing grease and oil.
Here is a selection of top motorbike degreasers.
Best for ease of use
Itu2019s no surprise potion specialists WD-40 make an effective degreaser and this fast-acting version is Amazonu2019s Choice for u2018Oil remover for drivewaysu2019 though itu2019s not just for driveways. According to the manufacturer, it starts to work immediately and can be wiped off once it has broken down the oily or greasy deposits. It works on engines, tools, wheels and chains as well as a host of domestic uses as well. The straw stays attached so you donu2019t lose it and in addition to this 500ml can, thereu2019s a 250ml version too.
Handy aerosol can
Attached spray straw
May be small for large jobs
Best for brushing on
Riders of a certain age will inevitably have used Gunk at some point in their lives. Younger riders probably wonu2019t have but this is the stuff that an entire generation of bikers and car fans used to clean anything from engines to transmissions to suspension components. This version is designed to be applied with a brush, making it perfect for vertical surfaces as well as really caked-on mess but equally, it can be sprayed on using a compressed-air spray gun. Rinses off with water.
Great at breaking up stubborn grease
Formulation good for vertical surfaces
Needs decanting for use with brush or spray gun
Oil and grease can be fairly unpleasant substances so something that removes them can often be just unpleasant but this degreaser from Muc-Off is designed to cut through oil and grease quickly yet it is rinsable with water when done and is also biodegradable so it wonu2019t harm the environment. It can be used on a bikeu2019s chain as well as any other areas where oil and grease have built-up and is safe on all motorcycle parts.
Rinsable with water
Handy spray application
As environmentally friendly, may need multiple applications
Best smelling degreaser
This degreaser from kit and accessory giant Oxford is designed to dissolve and remove oil and grease residue from all areas of the bike. As it is a slow-evaporating solvent, its effectiveness can be improved by allowing it to dwell on the workpiece and soak into the stubborn deposits. An emulsifying agent means it can be rinsed off with water and it uses Oxfordu2019s trademark Mint odour in use.
Easy to apply
Rise off with water
May need repeated applications
Morris Workshop Pro
This degreaser from British lubricant giant Morris is pink so you can see where you have applied it and sprays on from an aerosol can. It uses hydrocarbon solvents to break down the oil and wax content of the material but in such a way that it can then be washed off with water. It is also non-caustic so is fine to use on bare aluminium or magnesium without worrying about corroding or affecting the surface.
Water soluble for rinsing
Solvent based to break down oil and grease
Can’t think of any
Anyone who has ever worked on a car or bike knows all about Swarfega hand cleaner; it is legendary and is certainly the most effective hand cleaner I have ever used. This degreaser is made by the same company and goes by the name Jizer. It is a water-soluble degreaser that allows you to rinse off the clean part once finished. It removes oil and grease from metals, plastics and painted surfaces as well as synthetic rubbers.
Use on almost all bike surfaces
Also available in brushable version
Fairly hefty safety warnings
XCP Pro Parts Cleaner
XCP Professional has a fierce reputation when it comes to motorcycle potions u2013 their corrosion preventer won RiDEu2019s product test in January 2020 and the subsequent u2018lightu2019 version did almost as well. So we would imagine that the companyu2019s Universal Parts Cleaner is very good at doing just that. The bumf talks about cleaning chains but reviewers state that it cleans all sorts of other things too, including stubborn chain fling from rear-wheel rims.
Works on all oils and grease
Need to wipe off – can’t rinse with water
This degreaser from Putoline has been specifically designed for use on any motorcycle parts, including the engine and gearbox, chain and suspension, frame or wheels. It is safe on paint, rubber, plastic and chrome and is water-soluble so you can rinse it off easily and it wonu2019t leave a residue. Reviews say it is quite light and runs quickly so donu2019t hang around.
Combats all oil and grease
Safe for all bike surfaces
Light so runs off easily