Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Chain Cleaner Gizmo

Over the wkend, Brumster was praising his chain cleaner and how easy it makes the whole process of cleaning the most moving parts on your steed, especially after a grubby ride. Although I've used one for years I'd kinda lost sight of just how useful and efficient they are.

We both use an early incarnation of FinishLine's kit which snugs shut around the chain and rear der allowing you to back pedal the chain through three scrubbing brushes and a set of cleaning pads. Prior to clamping the chain you need to put in a few mills of degreaser, citrus based is more eco friendly. After just a few cranks the degreaser starts to dis-colour and the chain to gleam again. It only takes a dozen revolutions or so - but a few more won't hurt :p Incidentally, the manufacturer's website has some snazzy video's that explain the whole process much better than I can.

But why bother ? First and foremost a clean chain means crisp, clean shifting which gives a much more pleasant ride. Secondly, a clean drivetrain will last longer and not need costly replacement if you regularly clean it down. A chain is so cheap but if it's left dirty then it'll take no time at all down grind down the more expensive cassette, chainrings and der's.

Over the years my cleaner has proved itself and is still going strong which is probably down to how simple the construction is. It's very easy to take out the brushes out for the occassional clean as they just rest inside a couple of grooves. I dread to think how much degreaser I've used but atleast it's mostly been environmentally friendly stuff.

I see that most of the latest FinishLine kits don't have a der hook and rely on you holding the unit whilst cranking, which is fine if you have a stand to hold the bike.

Update, Mar'06 : As one of the brushes within my original kit is now reluctant to stay put (the sides have splayed out) I figured that it was time to acquire a replacement kit. After some surfing it appears that the "old" design has been replaced with this "new" unit.
Although it now no longer seats on the rear der the new unit is sweet to use and the magnet in the base helps to retain any metal shards, the angled operation and extra tension, sealed exit and new brushes mean that the chain comes out much cleaner - definite proof that it needed replacing. So it seems that they've improved a product that was already a winner.