Bikehut Chain Cleaner Kit review

It’s good to be lazy. It’s winter at the moment and to keep my bike running well I have to clean my chain around once a week. Obviously as you will know this is a bit of pain and anything that saves me time is good in my mind.

If you picture your bike chain spinning around at high speed it goes through all those expensive drivetrain components. As metal touches metal if there is dirt on the chain it slowly wears away at the components. These then need replacing which is expensive and a lot of hassle.

Therefore any bike mechanic will tell you: keep your chain clean. Thanks Mr Mechanic, I’ll add it to the list of hundreds of things I need to do right after; clean the lounge, return the Titanic DVD and take over the world.

If you finally do get through your to-do list and reach the clean the bike chain task then you generally have three options:

A) Clean the bike chain with a brush and hot water

B) Take the chain off the bike and leave it in solvent

C) Use a chain cleaning kit

Now, B, is the most thorough but some mechanics recommend against it as taking your chain off the bike can cause it to weaken. A is great if you clean frequently otherwise it is tough to do a thorough job. This leaves C. The chain cleaning kit. The lazy option, which is also my new favourite!

Comparison of different bike cleaning kits

Price
Bikehut Chain Cleaning Kit £16.99
Parktool Chain Cleaning Kit £24.65
LifeLine Chain Cleaning Kit £14.39
Finish Line Chain Cleaning Kit £30.83 – Wiggle
$25.99 – Amazon.com

Everyone knows the Parktool one is really good but it is a bit punchy on the price. I haven’t tried the Lifeline or the Finish Line ones so I can’t really say much about them.

The one I went for is the Bikehut chain cleaner kit because I knew I could reserve it online and then go into Halfords and pick it up.

Packaging of the Bikehut chain cleaning kit

What is included

  • Chain cleaning unit
  • Clear instructions on how to use it
  • Small bottle of chain degreaser

Using the Bikehut chain cleaning kit

To clean your chain using the unit you place it onto the bike chain when you are in a small rear sprocket, the lid goes on and then the arm hooks behind the jockey wheel. Then you fill it up with the degreaser.

Pouring degreasing into the Bikehut chain cleaning kit

You then spin the pedals backwards and as you do so it goes through the little brushes in the unit which do a good job of getting in-between each chain link.

It takes quite a few full rotations to really get the chain clean and it is useful to keep one hand on the unit to keep it steady.

Spinning the chain backwards so the halfords bikehut chain cleaning kit can work its magic

Then once that is done you wipe the chain down with a wet cloth to get any degreaser off and empty out the unit. The amount of dirt it picked up is pretty amazing.

Halfords bike cleaning kit in two parts with a lottle of dirt at bottom

Finally once the chain is dry you can lubricate it.

Review

The Halfords Bikehut Chain Cleaner did a good job of getting the dirt off the chain. It looked and felt much cleaner and there was hardly any muck left stuck in-between each chain link. So basically it does well at performing the job it was meant for.

It made the process of cleaning the chain a lot easier and less messy. For the first time after cleaning my chain I didn’t have a load of oil on my hands. It was also pretty quick to use. It took less than 5 minutes from dirty to clean.

I do however have some reservations. Whilst the unit was simple to use it did feel a little bit flimsy and the lid popped off too easily when it wasn’t in the locked position. This didn’t give me much confidence in the long term strength of the chain cleaner. In particular I could see the tiny brushes wearing out. Considering the low price tag however I can’t say I would expect that much more.

It was also a bit annoying that they only give you a tiny 75ml bottle of degreaser that is only enough for just over one use. To buy a litre bottle of degreaser is £10 which will last you for around 20 cleans.

What I liked

  • Good value
  • Did a good cleaning job
  • Saves you time
  • Makes cleaning the bike chain a lot less hassle
  • Means I’m more likely to actually clean my bike chain

What I didn’t like

  • Very small 75ml bottle of degreaser
  • Construction doesn’t feel very solid so not sure how long it will last
  • Can be a bit flimsy with lid popping off

Conclusion

Looking back I probably would have preferred paying a bit more and buying the Parktool chain cleaning kit as I think the better quality is worth the money. However, I was impressed with Halfords attempt at producing bike products and I would recommend it to others. I will definitely be using the unit a couple of times a month when the chain gets really mucky so this will be a big benefit to my bike. If you’re short on time, bit lazy like me and want to keep your bike clean then I would definitely think they are worth a purchase.

Where can you get it from?

The chain cleaning kit is available from Halfords and so is the degreaser. The advantage with Halfords is you can reserve it online and then collect it in store.

I want your thoughts..

I recently read Ramped Reviews from Robb Sutton who does reviews for his bike blog and wanted to bring more reviews to London Cyclist of relevant good products people may want to try. I was just wondering what you thought about this and whether you would like to see more reviews?

This is only my second one after the Bicio GoRide iPhone bike mount.

See also:

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14 Responses to Bikehut Chain Cleaner Kit review

  1. Jim 19/11/2009 at 5:47 pm #

    That was really useful Andreas, thanks. Would definitely like to see more reviews like this.

    Jim

  2. Andreas 19/11/2009 at 8:30 pm #

    That’s good news. I have also had good feedback from the e-mails so I’ll def aim to get more reviews up :)

    Andreas

  3. Eliot 19/11/2009 at 11:12 pm #

    Good review man, full of excellent advice. I actually went for the muck off equivalent. 3 quid more gets you a similar cleaning tool but a much, much bigger aerosol stuffed full of cleaning solvent – not a environmentally friendly though I don’t think.

    My chain is spanking clean!

  4. Andreas 20/11/2009 at 12:48 pm #

    Thanks Eliot. Interesting, not tried the Muck off chain cleaner I didn’t even know they did one. I have a feeling they all work pretty well. As for buying the £10 bottle of degreaser I think you can get even cheaper if you shop around on places like eBay.

  5. Kevin Steinhardt 22/11/2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Very nice review. Please do keep ‘em coming; they really do brighten my boring coffee breaks.

    • Gerri 02/05/2011 at 11:57 pm #

      Wow, your post makes mine look febele. More power to you!

  6. Chewy 10/09/2010 at 11:32 am #

    I think this sort of thing is invaluable so we can all make more informed decisions…thank you for putting in the time..cheers C

  7. chris 04/02/2011 at 3:48 pm #

    well I was googling and came across this review. I have one of these. I bougth mine wait for it lol 10 years ago !! I was suprised that it was still around but I suppose if it works then no need to re design it. I have had to glue it up on the top – my mistake for dropping it. other than that it has lasted well. and the brushes still do the job. Rather than use the citrus cleaner though ( which i have done until recently) I think it cheaper to use paraffin and re oil with chain saw oil. The reason I was googling was to find another – use one for cleaning and another for applying the oil.

  8. dave 03/08/2011 at 8:43 pm #

    As a newbie cyclist starting on a bike that cost a hundred quid I am slightly put off at spending these prices on one tool for degreasing and another for lubricating, plus the fluids themselves. If I thought I could squeeze ten years use out of them it would be different, I would like to see something like the park tools cleaner with a more robust casing-stainless steel perhaps? at a correspondingly higher price, naturally. I will do my 1st proper clean this weekend, I am planning to use paraffin and chainsaw oil, they may not have the green marketing but considering you can put them through filter paper and reuse many times, this is a better price and, i think, better for the environment in the long run. I am nervous about using these materials in a plastic tool. I’ll DIY it.

  9. chris 04/08/2011 at 12:11 am #

    re relubing after it has been cleaned. One idea I have been toying is to buy a tub of lithium or molybenium grease, melt it in a water bath to make it liquid then immerse the clean chain in it – This I used to do on my motor bike chain long time before they had O rings. There was even a product called LinkLyfe i think it was called that you used in this way. The large tub of grease lasted a long time and the grease in its liquid form got into the insides of the chain and when cooled remained there – this is probably how the chain makers do it?

  10. Bill Reynolds 17/09/2011 at 10:20 pm #

    I purchased a ‘Bike-Hut’ chain cleaner last week as my old ‘Finish-line’ one cracked after 10+ plus years of use. The Bike-Hut one has cracked on the top cover already and the lid does not seal very well. To my disgust I find the Finish-line chain cleaner is still for sale after all this time….and I purchased the flimsy Bike-Hut cleaner…give me strength!!

    • Axel 11/04/2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Thanks for the heads up, I had bought a BikeHut one but fortunately read your comment before opening the packet – have taken in back for a refund, have decided to pay a little bit extra for a Park Tools one off the net instead. “You buy cheap, you buy twice” – or rather, “You buy from Halfords, you buy twice!”

  11. Bill Reynolds 28/10/2011 at 9:00 am #

    Thank heavens for after sales service! Notice how this Halfords cleaner rests against the pony wheels? Mine got cracked by being there. I took it back for a refund!

  12. Bill Gill 07/01/2012 at 8:12 am #

    Would not use paraffin to clean a chain as it as corrisive elements. Diesel fuel cleans well and also lubricates you can use in a cleaning device or soak the chain in it and brush lightly. Much cheaper than buying cleaner.

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