An e-mail arrived the other day from the cycling club asking for articles for the newsletter and people’s recommendations for your favourite kit or equipment they could not do without. This got me thinking and my favourite gadget at the moment has to be the Park Tools CM5.2 Cyclone, I am just not sure if it is a chain cleaner or work of art.
I have cleaned my chain with toothbrush and white spirit for more years than I can remember I did not see the need to change. I have in the past tried another supposed chain scrubber and my opinion of the idea was probably jaundiced by this experience. My other cynical thoughts were that a lot of modern chains are of such poor quality that they would probably wear out before they needed cleaning and the relatively cheap cost of chains needed to be balanced against the purchase of expensive specialised degreasing fluid.
I had been told that Wiggle were selling the Park Tools CM5.2 Cyclone Chain Cleaner for £14.99 reduced from £24.99 but again my sceptical side wondered if the price reduction was because they wanted to get rid of remaining stock but given the price I thought I would take a punt although I wouldn’t throw out my trusty toothbrush just yet.
The chain cleaner duly arrived from Wiggle complete with complimentary Haribo and hydration tablets. My first thought on unpacking was of a superb piece of engineering for the money and although it would have been manufactured by an injection moulding process the sum of the parts suggested a well constructed piece of equipment.
The first operation is to read the instructions carefully and I was pleasantly surprised to read Park Tools endorsement of the use of washing up liquid for a final clean if the special solvent was not available, this to me read that washing up liquid that I had used for grease removal for years would do the same job as the expensive alternative.
The process very briefly involves filling the reservoir with cleaning fluid to the level line, clamping the cleaner to the lower section of chain and revolving the crank pedal backwards for 30 revolutions to clean the chain, this is repeated again for a final clean, dry the chain, a dose of chain lube and “jobs a good un”
A series of roller brushes clean the internal links and a sidewall brush assembly cleans the outer walls of the chain and a wicking sponge draws the solvent from the chain as it exits the cleaner. The unit also has a small magnet in the sump to attract any steel fragments effectively keeping them from being redistributed on the chain during cleaning and it is surprising the amount of debris that comes from a dirty chain.
I have now been using the chain scrubber for two months but I have substituted the specialist solvent for Aldi washing up liquid, the results are amazing, a sparkling chain every time and hopefully it will extend the chain life,
All in all an amazing piece of kit, well engineered and outstanding value for £14.99 that does a superb job and if I seem enthusiastic it is because I was so impressed that I am considering buying a second one to place on a pedestal in the lounge as an objet d’art. The final endorsement was the consigning of the toothbrush to the dustbin.