Pros: Cleans better than paste waxes. Adheres better than most wipe-ons. Leaves no cleaner residue. Leaves no hardened wax chunks. Polishes topsheets.
Cons: Elbow grease required to get deep cleaning effects.
XCD skis, particularly XCD skis with fishscale bases, particularly urban XCD skis with fishscale bases, get a lot of abuse. These are the skis that you pull out when there's too much snow, as in too much to even think about shoveling let alone driving anywhere. So you go and you ski out your front door, over curbs, across snowplow berms, over salt, over road grit, over sand. These are also the skis that you pull out when there's too little snow, either because you're trying to ski on the quarter-inch of white that's on your October grass, or because the only unmelted snow left is half mixed with pine needles, tree sap, and yellow pollen.
So, when Kaeps sent me a sample of this stuff to try out, I knew exactly which pair of skis was going to get the cleaning treatment. Of course, for thoroughness' sake I also tried it on factory-fresh bases, both sintered and extruded, but those were really slow pitch softballs compared to the real task ahead.
it was a daunting prospect. The tips of the originally-white bases were grey with salt and road grit. The fishscale areas had rust streaks, yellow pollen streaks, and grey grit chunks in them. The tails were mostly off-white with occasional pinkish hue of the original wax, the occasional rusty tinge, and a fair bit of brown tree sap. Ooof.
The directions on the WinkWax package say to use a paper towel with the product. Well, one look at these bases and it was obvious that that wasn't going to do much before it tore to shreds. So I used a white (nonabrasive) Fibertex pad instead.
First pass (fresh hands, fresh elbows, full cup of coffee): I can see that the product is working since the Fibertex pad has turned from white to grey. I don't see much immediate effect on the discoloration of the tips. Moving on to the fishscale bits - wow the rust and pollen is coming off immediately. I have to dig the grey grit chunks out but the product is leaving a nice slippy finish so the grey grit is easy to whisk off after it's been dug out. Hand is getting a bit tired, moving to the tails. Again rusty tinge in plastic is gone almost immediately. Pinkish wax residue requires pressure and rubbing. Tree sap - what tree sap?
Ok, step back, have coffee, look at work - tip has nice sheen but still not clean; fishscale kick area is clean and shiny, cleaner than I'm used to really; tails have a few smudges near the edges but clean overall.
Second pass (hands tired, elbows good, half cup of coffee): I'm really digging in at the tips now. Almost got all the grey road grit residue off. Almost. Almost. Ok, stop. Fishscale area is clean already, I'm really just playing with the slick finish now (oooh! that feels good!). I can hardly muster up the effort to work on the tails, but fortunately the new pad and an extra dollop of WinkWax mean it doesn't take much. Done.
Ok, step back, finish coffee. Hmm, I have this pad that's saturated with WinkWax, lets see what it does for the topsheets. Flip skis over. Wipe-Wipe-wipe...hmm, that looks nicer and the scratches are covered. Dang, I might want to keep these skis. Note to self: List danger of wanting to keep skis under Cons of product.
Pour more coffee. Get on with day.
Similar products used:
Maxiglide XC Quick Wax pro: well-known product, stocked most places con: slightly worse than Winkwax at cleaning, no good on topsheets.
Other products used with some functional overlap:
Zardoz Citrus Base Cleaner pro: faster cleaner than Winkwax, cleans fluoro waxes. con: leaves slimy residue, does not leave fishscales treated.
Swix Liquid Base Cleaner pro: faster cleaner than Winkwax, cleans some fluoro waxes. con: leaves slimy residue, does not leave fishscales treated.
Simple Green spray cleaner pro: commonly available, cleans topsheets, cleans rust tinge con: doesn't clean embedded grit, doesn't clean old wax, doesn't leave desirable finish.
Swix F4 Paste wax pro: leaves skis well waxed. con: doesn't clean, leaves chunks of congealed wax in fishscales, doesn't work on topsheets