Mud sticks

Wax your bike and it’ll shed mud like poo off a politician’s back:

The waxing hypothesis

If you ride trails in the winter, your bike will get plastered in mud. How much depends on the conditions, but our past testing shows it could be up to 2kg of clag — that can make a massive difference to your bike’s performance and suspension. But what if there was a way to keep your bike cleaner? Does waxing and polishing really work?

Mudguard and tyre with mud on

The control Segment

We used an Orange Segment as our test mule and prepped the frame by washing it with water and detergent before leaving it to dry. The left-hand side of the frame remained au naturale, but the right side got a coating of Muc Off’s Uber Wax (£28) — it’s designed to be resistant to salts and also to create a hydrophobic finish, which should mean water beads off the surface.

The test Segment

Applying wax to segment

After an hour of mud plugging there was quite a lot of mud build-up on the untreated left side of the frame, especially on the swingarm. Mud had collected around the dropout and bottom bracket area.

During the test it was obvious that water and liquid gloop wasn’t pooling on the surface; it was just sticking. The dirt was hard to remove afterwards, and we actually had to use degreaser to shift the ingrained grime on the top tube.

Watch us struggle with the mud at the Tweedlove EWS

As you can see from the picture, much less dirt collected on the waxed right side of the swingarm than the untreated left. There were a few globs of mud and some splatter but it was nowhere near as bad as the opposite side. During our test, the hydrophobic property of the Uber Wax also came to the fore, with water and mud literally slipping off the surface.

Wax vs non wax stop mud sticking

Wax off

Bingo, we nailed it. Waxing your frame makes it much easier to clean afterwards, limits the amount of mud that’ll stick to it and minimises the extra weight you’ll have to carry around.

Yes, it takes longer to wash and wax your bike, and you need to renew the surface by applying a small maintenance layer after every wash, but it’s worth it. You could even try waxing your shoes or lid, but it’s probably best to leave leg waxing to road riders.

  • Robin Fisk

    I have been using Collinite 845 on my bikes for about 9 months. It is a liquid wax, so it is really easy to apply. I apply it about once every 3 months, maybe longer. You do not need to re-apply after every ride.

    It gives the bike a bit of a shine, if you want a matt bike, wax is not the way to go. Water beads off the bike really well. If the mud stays wet, you can hose it off the bike when you get home, no problem.

    What normally do after each ride is hose the bike to get ride of the bulk of the mud, squirt with muc off and go over with a brush to get rid of any dried mud. Hose again to rinse off any remaining muc-off and dirt. Finally I use a waffle weave drying towel (bought from an on-line car detailing shop) to dry the bike. Leaves the bike looking shiny and new and gives me a chance to check fork and shock wipers. Takes 30 to 45 min depending on how much effort goes into cleaning the chain.