During lockdown I've ridden my bike a lot. It's been nice to fall back in love after a spell injured even if I don't fit in my favourite jersey. I've also been increasing my running mileage for marathon training so I've been using a lot of kit. I've been using gallons of active wear wash. At one point it seemed that many of the major retailers were out of stock and I was a little worried. At a push pure soap would have to do but not as ideal as a specialist detergent. Luckily I know what I'm looking for but the thought occured. Sometimes I take my knowledge for granted. I'm trained in this stuff but what about the new cyclists and runners due to lockdown? Many shopping online won't have that specialist information they'd get in a store. So what does a cyclist need to maintain and protect their nice new kit? Then an email dropped with information about Nikwax producing a full kit aimed at cyclists. Here's what they say:
- KIT INCLUDES - Tech Wash 300ml | TX.Direct 300ml Wash In | BaseFresh 300ml | Glove Proof 125ml sponge-on | Free 10L Dry Bag
- TECH WASH - The No.1 easy to use, safe, high performance cleaner for wet weather clothing and equipment.
- TX. DIRECT WASH IN - The No.1 easy to use, safe, high performance wash in waterproofing for wet weather clothing.
- BASEFRESH - Deodorising fabric conditioner for all technical synthetic and woollen baselayers. Designed to gently clean and prevent the build-up of odour whilst accelerating drying times. Great for all synthetic sportswear too.
- GLOVE PROOF - An easy to use sponge-on waterproofing treatment that prolongs the life and performance of your gloves.
Nikwax’s cycling kit contains everything you need to keep your cycling gear in optimum condition. Plus it comes in a handy 10L dry bag (21x47cm), great for keeping your valuables dry whilst you are out and about, enjoying the great outdoors.
To start with everything in the kit could be used for any outdoors activity not just the best one of riding bikes. That being said some cyclists wouldn't look towards "outdoors" brands for their kit so Nikwax have produced a package that will appear to all cyclists from newbie commuters to radical baggy short wearing mountain bikers to hardcore racing snakes and even wierdo gravel fiends.
Techwash is a staple item in my household. Every piece of technical clothing gets washed in detergent designed for it, usually Techwash. Baselayers perform better, midlayers last longer and jackets work, just that simple work.
Most jackets leak because they're dirty. This has 2 effects. One the DWR doesn't repel water because it has become contaminated and as a result hydrophilic. This means it draws moisture through the membrane. The other effect is the membrane itself becomes blocked so moisture can't escape therefore the user is bathing in their own condensation and sweat. Not pleasant. Using normal detergents has the same outcome so an expensive, well designed piece of kit becomes as useful as Chris Grayling.
Every so often the DWR might need a bit of a boost so a proofer might help. TX Direct Wash In is excellent here. I tend not to use very often, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year, but some use every wash and swear by it. To me if you're using Tech Wash you don't need to but for some softshell items I have found it improves performance. Either way it's an effective product and does exactly what it says on the bottle.
I'm not convinced by the Glove Proof for a couple of reasons. Firstly I've not used it because it's summer and I'm using mitts which would be pointless to try and proof and secondly I feel that the Tech Wash and TX Direct Wash in would do the job far better. Much as I don't use spray on proofer I wouldn't necessarily use this. Using a machine works far better but I suppose if you want a belt and braces approach to proofing then go ahead. Personally I'd swap it out for Base Wash which brings me on to a product I reviewed in 2019. Base Fresh.
Lockdown Cycling and Running has meant my baselayers have taken a lot of abuse. The one drawback of using the correct detergents is they are gentle and just occasionally a baselayer needs a little more. They wick less, feel horrible or cardboardy when putting on, even when freshly washed and they just aren't right. Well Base Fresh is a game changer here. I use it perhaps every third wash and my base layers feel like new, my 7 year old premium shorts are premium again. It's so nice.
The pack comes in a nice 10l dry bag which is perfect for commuting or chucking muddy shoes in after a cross race.
For £19.99 this is a great value kit. I warn you though, you'll keep using it so I advise bulk buying to keep costs down. On the other hand it's a lot cheaper than new kit every 18 months which is what happens if you don't maintain it properly.
More info on the Nikwax Cycling Kit can be found here
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