SonicScrubbers Professional

Nippy Normans | Motorcycle cleaning tool | Product review




We've got this Triumph in the garage. A 750cc T140. No matter what we do to the rocker boxes, they leak, specifically at the rocker spindles. We first took the boxes off, and we replaced the "O" rings, and then we put the boxes back c/w new rocker box gaskets.




We tried again and did it the "lazy" in-situ way. Inspection covers off. Take the load off the pushrods. Loosen the domed nuts at the oil feed. Tap the spindle a few millimetres to the left. Prise off the old "O" rings. Check for any sharp edges. Lubricate the rocker spindle and the "O" ring. Push the spindle back carefully taking care not to nick the "O" ring (it almost always nicks it anyway). Anneal the copper washers. Tighten everything. Set the tappets, etc.


But the leak returned. So, despite not seeing anything wrong with the rocker boxes, we replaced them and fitted new "O" rings (again using plenty of oil and taking plenty of care).




So we bought the recommended service tool (a little tapered tubular doo-dah) and we went through it all again.




We tried "O" rings from a different supplier.




We tried a little sealant around the "O" ring.




Meanwhile, another T140 we built is fine. No leaks. Not there, anyway. But the leaky one is jinxed or something. Or, like us, just plain stubborn. So when we were asked if we had any use for a SonicScrubbers Pro, cleaning-wise, we immediately thought of the incontinent T140. That bike, we should mention, is a Sump hack that's been hanging around us for ten or fifteen years. It lives a hard life and gets used the way a motorcycle arguably ought to be used. Shopping trolley. Taxi service. Joy rides. Holiday transport. Consequently, it gets extremely oily, muddy, dusty and grimy. And anything that significantly reduces the hours spent skinning knuckles and splitting fingernails is worth consideration. So we agreed. Send us the SonicScrubbers. We'll give it a work out on the bike from hell.


SonicScrubbers brushes


Seven brushes in the kit. They're not sharp, not abrasive, and not edible. They simply reach the places where your natural digits can't. And they clean your fingernails pretty good too. Ask us how we know that.



So what's in the box?


The first thing to mention is that everything in the Sonic box looks and feels well constructed. This isn't the stuff of flimsy milk cartons. It's moulded from a fairly tough looking and smooth plastic that, we hope, will take some abuse. It's shaped nicely and feels comfortable to use. And the manufacturer made it the right colour. Orange. That's important because it's the kind of thing that you'll keep putting down, and that risks stepping on it. Sounds obvious. But when it's broken, it's broken.


Meanwhile, everything clips together like an assassin's rifle. The rechargeable battery snicks neatly into the bottom of the motor-unit (or whatever it's called). The battery also sits nicely in the charging station. The motor unit thingy carried a choice of two extensions. The brushes plug into one or t'other. And when you switch the device on it whirrs like a bassy electric toothbrush. We gave it a charge and left it running for the longest time. An hour or so. And it still had life in it.


Next, we need to make it clear that this is no grinding device. It's not a Dremel or a miniature angle grinder. You can press it against almost any part of your body and you're not likely to do yourself any harm (Tip: don't try it on your eyes, but everything else is open for experimentation). The brushes don't spin, by the way. They oscillate. And they don't have much bite.


Amal carburettors on a T140


It took us about two minutes and a liberal squirt of WD40 to get most of the muck and grime off this Amal Mk1.5 carburettor fitted to one of our T140s. Another two minutes dislodged the rest of it. But if heavyweight detailing is your thing, you'll still find yourself finishing the job with cotton buds or similar. However, as a time-saving and knuckle-saving tool, you'll greatly appreciate this device.



So if you've got some aluminium or chrome or stainless steel to polish, forget it. You'd be best advised to use the traditional fingertip-and-metal-polish technique with plenty of elbow grease. The SonicScrubbers Professional simply hasn't the power or the temperament for anything too adventurous. But where it comes into its own is when you're faced with all the nooks and crevices common to motorcycles in general, and classic motorcycles in particular.


We gave everything on our T140 engine a decent squirt of WD40, left it for a few minutes, and went to work. There are, as mentioned, two sizes of brush holder extensions. Let's call 'em little and large. The large one holds three supplied brushes of around 35mm in diameter. The little one holds a trio of smaller brushes, one shaped into a point. Some brushes are stiffer than others, and we're still experimenting with that aspect. Generally you need to fiddle around a little until you get what you want for whatever area you happen to be working in. Cylinder head fins. Rocker boxes. Carburettors. Allen screw heads. Cable ferrules. Choke linkages. Petrol taps. Etc. Just give the cleaning brushes a good push and they pop on, and a good jerk and they pop off. But the brush holders, note, have a twist and lock facility. Keep that in mind.



Cleaning a classic bike with a SonicScrubbers Professional


We first sprayed the engine with WD40. Then we experimented with brushes and handling pressure to see how deep this thing could go, which is pretty deep. The SonicScrubbers Professional won't make you throw away your current cleaning equipment. But it quite probably will be a very useful tool for when things need to be just so.



The SonicScrubbers device has a pretty good reach, and as such it will impress anyone who's fairly meticulous about cleaning and/or is trying to sell a bike. We found it necessary to first work the grease or grime out of an area, then stick the brush head in a paper towel and let it oscillate for a minute or two, and then sent it back into the front line.


Cleaning paintwork is a no-no. Actually, we can't see it doing much damage unless you're persistent. It's simply not a polishing tool. Instead, it's a grime remover for the fiddly bits, and it will reach places you'd more or less forgotten existed on your bike. We did try it with some washing up liquid, incidentally, and that works up to a point. But we don't much like those kind of salt-laden cleaners. We got the best results with the aforementioned WD40, and later with brake cleaner (Tip: wear a face mask when using either chemical).


SonicScrubbers brush tools


Flimsy plastic? Actually no. It feels well built and we can't see any reason why it won't last a long time if you look after it. Chances are you'll rationalise the brush choice to one or two favourites. But that's your call. Meanwhile, this device could show you what a dirty boy (or girl) you've been for so long.





If this gizmo was a little more powerful, we wouldn't object. And that would probably be easy enough for the manufacturer to engineer. But then you'd probably use it inappropriately and damage something. As we've said, this is really a device for detailing your bike and prepping it for a show or for a sale. Chances are that there are dozens of other unconsidered areas on a motorcycle that would benefit from this tool. However, you can discover all that for yourself when you buy one.


SonicScrubbers logoRecharging takes a couple of hours. Just pop the battery unit into the charging station, watch the red light come on, and wait until it turns green. The worst we can think of saying about this gadget is that it's a bit awkward getting the tight-fitting components out of the moulded plastic tray.


What's the price?


And where can you buy? Well there are a number of outlets which will sell you one. But ours came courtesy of BMW specialist Nippy Normans, so that's where we're directing you. The price is 49. A spare battery will cost you 9. And you can buy a three-piece replacement brush kit for 7.50.











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