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
|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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally once the chain is dry you can lubricate it.
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
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?
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.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.