Chain Degreaser Machine (Richard Behague)
After the summer we’ve had it was the perfect opportunity to test a chain cleaner. My current device is a Muc-Off X1 which I find very useful, chuck in a bit of degreaser and away you go.
When I opened up the parcel containing the chain cleaner I was pleased to see a bottle of cleaner/degreaser included. I like to give my chain a clean after every ride. I don’t go mad on it, just remove all the surface grime and get it fairly shiny, so to give it a true test I gave it about 3 very grotty rides then decided it was time to give it a whirl.
After reading the instructions on the rear of the box, I set at it. I decided to use the hooked end to attach to my derailleur cage, unfortunately SRAM rear mechs don’t play well with the hook. It kept slipping off, so I decided to hold it instead. The instructions tell you to put 50ml of cleaner into the reservoir in the top and allow the cleaner to drip onto the chain whilst you spin the cranks in reverse.
I added the 50mls, well some of it anyway, most of it ended up on my hand or running down the machine onto the floor. What didn’t help my case is the fact I run a chain guide, so the chain comes into the cranks at quite a steep angle. All of the cleaning fluid ended up at one end of the reservoir then immediately flooded into the bottom section before I got chance to turn the cranks. Not a good start.
I removed the chain guide and tried again, slightly more success this time, but the drip feeder is a touch to large as most of the fluid had dropped before a full chain revolution had occurred. All this was performed with the bike on the floor, I tried it a workstand after so it was pointing front wheel down but this didn’t alter anything.
The cleaner fluid appeared to do a pretty decent job of actually cleaning the chain, it foamed up well which removed some of the grime from inside the plates. Unfortunately this foam seemed to linger and kept reappearing even after a thorough rinse down. It was everywhere by the time I finished.
In conclusion, I feel a few alterations would be needed to both the cleaner fluid and the machine. The machine needs some form of handle to help with those who are not able to correctly use the mech hook. And the top reservoir needs to be either changed to allow easier input of cleaning fluid and slower distribution or removed all together and use a design similar to the X1 where the cleaning fluid is held in the bottom section and the brushes pick up fluid as they rotate.
The brushes in the machine did a very good job, I would say better than the Muc-Off I currently use, and if the cleaner fluid foamed less or was easier to wash off it would definitely replace my current degreaser.