All those who like to take care about their bikes, will probably be interested in this post, as I’m about to share some thoughts about a chain cleaner machine I bought some time ago. Everybody knows, that keeping the chain of your bike clean really helps to prolong its lifetime, but it is also good to remember, that it also prevents your gears to wear too early.
So let’s see what kind of chain cleaner I have here: it is a Park Tool Cyclone CM-5.2 equipped with three chain scrubber wheels and a sponge on the inside. The first scrubber through which the chain goes through is meant to clean the chain from both vertical sides, while the following two differently shaped scrubbers are meant to scrub the top and bottom part of the chain. These are also good to somewhat clean the inner gaps between individual chain links. At the bottom there is a liquid storing compartment and a mark on the side of the device to which extent it should be filled. If the device is filled up to this mark, two of the scrubbing wheels will be partially submerged into the cleaning liquid. The very bottom also sports a 2x2 cm flat magnet to collect washed off small metallic particles. The top cover, which also holds one of the cleaning wheels, is fixed using two metallic hinges, which I personally think is a superior design if compared to single-hinge designs of other manufacturers. These hinges hold the cover very firmly in place, there is no feel whatsoever that it is about to come off. Finally, there is a detachable holder, which comes in very handy during the vigorous movement of the chain while cleaning it. Overall, the whole things feels to be made of quality plastic, which would not break easily if handled properly. Let’s see a couple of pictures of the device itself:
I tested the device on the chain of my own bike. As the intro picture shows, the chain is covered with quite a lot of dust and some rust, as I use the bike in all kinds of weather on a daily basis, so keeping it clean is pretty much a futile attempt, but it should be done anyway. I used ordinary petroleum as a cleaning liquid, as it dissolves any kind of lubricating agent quite well, and is easy to get in any DIY store. After filling up the device and attaching it to the chain, I started the cleaning process by turning the crank arm backwards and continued the process for about a minute. After stopping the cleaning process and detaching the device from the chain, it was quite a sight to see how much dust was from the chain in such a short period of time removed. Checking the chain more closely revealed that a second run with clean liquid was not necessary, as the very small amount of impurity remaining on the surface came from the cassette and pulleys. But the sight was quite good already. After going through all parts of the drivetrain with a clean cloth the result was satisfactory.
There are some remarks I’d like to share though. Despite the fact that there is a sponge at the exit point of the device, quite some cleaning liquid will come out. It really does hold most of the liquid back, but it will not stop it all. Also, if one decides to fill the device with some additional cleaning liquid, there is no need to disassemble it, as there are some filling holes at the bottom of a funnel like shape found on the top side of the cover. These holes can also be the source for some liquid spills at very vigorous cleaning operations, so wearing rubber gloves is not a bad idea. Cleaning the device of collected dust is as easy as it can be, as all the internal parts can very easily be removed at any time, so there will not be any hidden, unreachable corners inside.
All in all, I would recommend this device to all bicycle enthusiasts, as it is well designed, made of quality materials, and performs quite satisfactory. So far, except for the spilling of cleaning liquid, I don’t have any complaints about it, it does its job quite well.
Thanks for reading, I hope it helped you if you are thinking about buying something like this. Cheers.