We’re always excited to try out some Euro-goodness here at Bike Rumor, so when Roel at Belgium Bike introduced us to the Morgan Blue products he is importing from Belgium, we jumped at the opportunity to test it out. We had high expectations for this stuff – it’s the same massage and bike maintenance product used by the likes of Mark Cavendish and Andy Schleck during the 2010 season. It’s made in Belgium, and is quite popular in Europe. But does this stuff really work or is its Euro popularity just the result of a massive sponsorship budget? See what we found after the break.
Ask any cyclist and they will swear by their chain lube, embrocation cream, or bike wash. But it’s hard to describe why this stuff is so great, other than saying that it “just works.” You never notice your chain lube until your chain starts squeaking, never notice your bike cleaner until you can’t get that grease spot off the chain stay, and never notice your embro cream until you are freezing and sore halfway into your ride (or you apply it a little too high up the leg.) Well, I’m happy to report that I hardly noticed the Morgan Blue product, perhaps the highest praise I can give it.
While Morgan Blue offers a total of 49 products, from chain cleaner to handsoap, we we tested 4 of the more competitive product categories; bike wash, chain lube, body wash, and a muscle warming solution which they call “muscle oil color 2.”
First off, a quick note; while this product is Morgan Blue, it is imported to the US with a custom label by Belgium Bike. Same stuff as the Euros use, different label. In fact, Belgium Bike can hook you up with your own custom order for shops, teams or clubs.
Now, on to what’s inside. We tested the dry lube on a mountain bike, with an almost brand new chain that was stripped and cleaned, treated only with Morgan Blue lube. The first ride, the stuff felt great, it shifted smooth, felt smooth, but was just a bit noisy. Now, there was no squeaking or squealing whatsoever, just a bit of your typical chain noise, a natural occurrence when you rub two metal things together.
It did a nice job of repelling dirt during the early applications, but if we skipped an application or two, dirt started to collect on the chain. So keep the chain lubed up and it should be good to go (that is, if you don’t have a team mechanic servicing your bike after every ride/race.)
It’s chain lube. It’s not a miracle product, but is certainly up there with some of the higher end products.
NOTE: According to the bottle, this stuff is far from eco-friendly. In fact, there is a warning on the back, featuring a depiction of a dead fish and a bare tree which reads; “Dangerous for the environment.” We laid some newspaper down under the bike to absorb the excess in the interest of keeping the environment safe, but we are still unsure of what to do with this chain lube-soaked newspaper. Suggestions?
I’ll be honest. I’ve always thought bike wash was kind of a joke. I’ve traditionally used a magic cocktail of dish soap, warm water, and elbow grease to get my rides clean. But, I vowed to give Mud Off an unbiased, objective try. I neglected cleaning my mountain bike for a few rides, and when it was finally unbearable, I broke out the Mud Off.
The packaging contains a “corrosive” warning on the back, and the tiny print you see at the bottom, of the picture above starts off with “Causes severe burns…”. The directions say that you can simply cover the entire bike with Mud Off, but I opted for the “alternative” application method, and mixed 100cc’s of Mud Off with 10 Liters of water in a bucket.
It may be corrosive, but it sure does work. Mud immediately started dissolving off the bike as I applied the concoction, I let it sit, gave the frame a quick wipe down with a brush, and hosed it off. This was the least effort I have ever put into cleaning my bike, and it’s also the cleanest I can remember this bike being in a while.
So does it work? Yes. But it also killed the plot of grass on my lawn where I cleaned the bike. So, use sparingly, and wash your bike on concrete.
So after the bike was nice and clean, I headed inside to clean myself up. I usually don’t have much trouble getting clean after a ride, but if I let my leg hair grow out, it can be a bit of a process, especially if there is chain grease on there (yes, I still get the amateur “chain tattoo” on my calf from time to time.)
I checked the label, and although there is a “highly flammable” warning on the back, my mind was put at ease after reading the ingredients; water, alcohol, and eucalyptus. I assumed the flammability warning was simply because of the alcohol content, and squirted some on my legs.
It cleans very well, but just a slight bit better than a body wash you could buy at your local pharmacy. The entire room immediately smelled of eucalyptus, and the wash was actually quite soothing to my skin. It’s almost like Icy-Hot Body Wash, but it’s much more mild, only lasts for a few minutes and easily washes off under water.
Muscle Oil Color 2
While embrocation cream seems to be all the rage lately, Morgan Blue’s “warming up” product is a liquid/oil consistency. The package says it “gives the skin a tanned look” (so Euro) but I didn’t notice much change in my skin tone. It does give the skin a bit of a shine, but nothing over the top.
After I was done obsessing over how my skin looked, I put on some leg warmers and started riding. The eucalyptus in the product quickly penetrated my skin and began to get the blood flowing in my legs, a welcome sensation on a cold day. It’s a nice, mild sensation without being too over the top. Just a mile or two into my warm up, I was pleasantly surprised with how my legs were feeling – it usually takes 15-20 minutes of warm up without any cream or oil to get my legs to where they were.
The sensation lasted about an hour, but after my legs were warmed up, there wasn’t much use for it. There was an oily residue on my legs when I got back from the ride, but the Morgan Blue body wash quickly washed it off, although I was starting to get tired of the feeling of alcohol/eucalyptus on my legs at that point, but felt back to normal after stepping out of the shower and drying off.
The Bottom Line
This is true pro-level stuff, but may be overkill for some weekend warriors.
There is a list of shops who have Morgan Blue product here. Shops or teams interested in custom orders (including custom labels) can find contact info here, and be sure to explore the rest of the Belgium Bike site for some more cool cycling gear imported straight from Belgium.