Dirt Wash Rotor Wipes
I must admit when this product turned up in the post for me to review, I was a little bemused. Not because of what the product does, but because of the way it's packaged.
The braking surfaces on your bike need to be maintained just like any other component. They need to be kept straight, smooth and clean. Brake contamination is something that everyone has almost certainly experienced, usually signified by that howling noise you hear as you are slowing down, causing everyone to turn and stare ! The brakes on your bike, especially if it's used off-road, are in the firing line for mud, water, and all sorts of other stuff and over time this builds up and can reduce brake efficiency.
Now, back to my bemusement. I clean my brake discs every so often, and whenever I fit new brake pads. I use an automotive brake cleaner in a can and a bit of rag. It does a fine job and hopefully makes my brakes work better for longer. When I opened the package from Weldtite, I found a nice little box of Dirt Wash Disc Rotor Wipes. They're in a nicely branded plastic case with the usual instructions in 12 different languages to tell you not to feed them to your rabbit. Inside the plastic box were 6 individually packed wipes. "These aren't going to last very long", was my first thought. Given that one wipe is likely to clean 1 rotor, I figured that I had, at best, 3 cleans before the kit was done.
I needed to change my rear pads, so it seemed like a good opportunity to give the wipes a try. Judging by the amount of black muck that came from my disc, the wipes work very well. The alcohol evaporates pretty quickly, and doesn't leave any residue behind. All good. But I still wasn't convinced. It still seemed like overkill to me for such a small number of wipes. I stashed a couple in my Camelbak and didn't think any more about it.
About a week later I was out riding with some friends, (their identities will remain secret to protect the clumsy). Half way through the ride we stopped for some lunch and before we set off again, one of my fellow riders decided that his chain needed some lube. You can probably see where this is going, and true enough he managed to get lube all over his rear brake disc. Now normally you'd wipe it off the best you could with whatever came to hand and hope for the best. Today was different. Today, we had Dirt Wash on our side ! I broke out the rotor wipes and it all made sense. A clean, decontaminated rotor and my reputation for being prepared for anything intact.
Even after my heroic cleaning intervention, I still have mixed feelings about the product. It works very well, and I'll certainly be keeping them in my pack. At a couple of pounds for 6 wipes, it's not going to break the bank, but it's also more expensive than my can and rag ! The packaging seems OTT to me. A plastic moulded case, even a recyclable one, to hold 6 wipes just feels wasteful and I can't help but think that a simple cardboard sleeve would be better. I certainly wouldn't carry the whole thing with me. I'd just take the wipes out of the box and carry them in my pack.
Maybe I'm being too critical. Maybe the whole point is that people only rarely clean their rotors, and that with a limited shelf life a smaller pack of wipes is the way to go. As I said, I'll keep some in my pack because they work well, and they weigh virtually nothing.
To sum up. The wipes are very good, but I think the package is wrong. In boxes of 10 or 20 it would make sense to me. I'd take a few out for my pack, keep the rest on the shelf in the shed and use them. I could see them on the counter of the local bike shop, being sold loose as an add-on at 10p a time.