A couple of weeks back, we provided carbon bicycle-care tips, and the issue of cleaning and polishing matte/satin carbon finishes came up. We received a helping hand on the subject from Daniel Rowe at Finish Line USA, which also owns White Lightning bicycle care products. See both of their line-ups at http://www.whitelightningco.com/ and http://www.finishlineusa.com/.
Dan said that they recently introduced a White Lightning product called Matte Finisher that’s uniquely designed for that application. He said he’d send some for us to try. But he went one better and included a few other handy White Lightning and Finish Line bike care goodies. Since I’ve used these products and keep them on my workbench, I thought I’d provide some quick reviews.
First, though, let’s look at how the Matte Finisher works (19-ounce aerosol/$10). Since I don’t have a carbon bicycle with a matte finish I let my teammate Chris Griffith – who was the one who asked the question about satin finishes – try it on his Trek. Here’s his mini-review:
“It works just as I’d expect a cleaner to work. It only takes a light wipe with a towel to get the dust, dirt, water, and sports drink residue off. It has a pretty strong spray, so I ended up spraying it directly onto a microfiber towel folded in quarters to wipe it – so I didn’t get it on my drivetrain, brakes, and wheels. I used the dry sides of the towel to wipe it off. It makes the matte finish slightly more resilient to fingerprints, too, which is nice. Now that I have this, my matte finished bike can be a tool AND a jewel!”
Thanks for the great testimonial, Chris!
White Lightning Origins
I first ‘met’ White Lightning when the company began over 20 years ago as the first to make an easy-to-apply wax (paraffin)-based dry lube that actually worked.
At the time it was a game-changer because, while there were plenty of chain-waxers, the ways to apply the wax were not easy or quick. A common technique involved removing the chain, cleaning it completely, if needed, and placing it in a pan with molten paraffin until the chain reached the lube’s temperature and it coated the links inside and out.
The reason riders went to all this trouble is because they loved how clean the resulting white lube was and how quiet and smooth it made their drivetrain. Save for some dried flakes falling off on the first few rides, wax lube stays put, attracts little dirt and stays grease- and gunk-free. Also, when you have to fix a rear flat, you never worry about getting chain tattoos all over your hands.
White Lightning’s wax lube, now called Clean Ride Self-Cleaning Wax Lube (8-ounces/$12), made it much easier to get the benefits of a wax lube because you simply dripped it on and let it dry. And it was so successful that they now make a family of wax lubes for whatever type of riding you do. The new products they’ve added to their catalog over the years are equally innovative. Let’s take a look.
White Lightning Bamboo CycleWipes (canister of 25/$25)
Like those disinfectant wipes you probably use at home, Bamboo Cycle Wipes make cleaning your bicycle so easy, there’s no excuse to let it stay dirty. Each wipe is tough enough to clean an entire bike and all its components including the chain. They’re made from durable, tear-resistant bamboo with a waffled texture to absorb more grease and grime. And they’re treated with a cleaning solution strong enough to degrease a chain while it’s safe enough to clean hands, too. Bamboo Wipes are sold in a canister of 25 and individually wrapped, which lets you always have one along if you want for quick clean-ups out on the road.
White Lightning Johnny Products
Even though White Lightning makes products to keep your bike squeaky clean, they’ve got you covered (pun intended) with their Johnnys if you have to ride or transport a greasy, grimy bike. I like pointing out these covers and bags because most roadies don’t know they’re available, and they can really save you if you need to stuff your bike or wheels onto the backseat of someone’s car and are worried about trashing their upholstery. There are Johnnys for the drivetrain, saddle, pants and a wheel and bike bag, too. http://www.whitelightningco.com/products/johnnys
Finish Line Pedal and Cleat Lubricant (5-ounce aerosol/$8.99)
Developed in conjunction with the pedal aficionados at Speedplay, Pedal and Cleat Lubricant is perfect for keeping your clipless pedal entry/exit smooth and secure. It’s made with DuPont Teflon fluoropolymer and surface-bonding resins to eliminate those annoying squeaks and creaks while riding. Plus, it won’t absorb dirt and it repels water. Pedal and Cleat lube also dries quickly with no grimy residue so you can walk around your house in your cycling shoes worry-free.
Finish Line Mechanic Grip Gloves (available in S/M and L/XL/$4.99)
Working on your bike is hard on the hands. It’s easy to cut yourself, and the chemicals in some lubes and cleaners can do harm, too. Finish Line’s Mechanic Grip Gloves are the answer. These aren’t disposable single-use rubber mitts. They’re built tough with a polyurethane coating to seal out chemicals, grease and grime, and to hold up to many weeks of wrenching. They’re made for easy on/off, feature breathable uppers so you stay dry and boast textured fronts for a great grip on even small bicycle parts. They’re latex-free, too.
Finish Line Chill Zone (6- and 12-ounce aerosol/$9.99/$12.99)
I think of Chill Zone as a problem-solver in a spray can, and keep it close at hand for use on rusty chains and frozen parts. Usually, with a couple of blasts of this frigid, penetrating lube, the part will break free and start working properly again. And, if not, it at least allows removal and replacement with new parts. It’s a lot easier than having to resort to more drastic methods like heating with a torch or breaking out the dry ice.
Give Finish Line and White Lightning products a try. I think you’ll like them as much as I do.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.