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Friday Review: Park Cyclone Chain Scrubber

January 6, 2012

I’m an old fashioned kind of guy. I hold doors for ladies, I ride a penny-farthing (not really), and I clean my bicycle chain using a rag and elbow grease. But, I’m also all about efficiency and putting in the least amount of effort to get the job down (some call this laziness). So, when afforded the opportunity to get a clean drivetrain with less effort using the Park Tool Cyclone Chain Scrubber, I jumped at it.

The Cyclone’s design is simple enough: it consists of three rotary scrubbers and a sponge that clamps over your chain. You then fill the Cyclone’s reservoir with a degreaser (my kit came with Park’s degreaser, but any citrus degreaser should work fine) and turn the bicycle crank. Ta-da! Clean chain! Sort of.

I decided to test the Cyclone using my fair-weather single speed. The chain was clean, I believed, and I wasn’t expecting much to be removed. I latched the top and bottom ends of the Cyclone around the chain and added the degreaser. It spilled right out. I concluded that this was due to the chain not being level and would have been remedied if the bike was in a stand. In actuality, the drainage issue was due to my own oversight. I had placed the top half of the Cyclone on backwards. The fill hole was now at the back end of the Cyclone on top of the sponge. Still unaware of this mistake, I turned the crank, the chain slid through the Cyclone. At this point, I repositioned my body to a 45-degree angle. This wasn’t in the directions, but was necessary to hide the huge puddle of muck I was creating from my wife. More newspaper!

oops, some assembly required

Upon completing the mandatory 30 rotations, I removed the Cyclone. The reservoir was filled with a black sludge. And this was my clean bike – I couldn’t wait to see what would be removed from my mountain bike! The chain’s cleanliness was remarkable – brand new. However, it still wet with degreaser. You probably could use a hose to quickly rinse this off but since I live in an apartment, I finished the job using an old rag.

free-loading sludge

The Cyclone didn’t save me any time compared to my old rag and elbow grease method. Additionally, I still needed a rag to remove the degreaser and remaining muck. However, the end result was phenomenal. The extra step using the Cyclone was totally worth my time. Having a “slight” OCD personality, I could never again return to any other method.

To see how much the Cyclone actually leaks when configured correctly, I repeated the process on my Dahon (and although I don’t remember, it looked like I took it on a single track after a storm). Needless to say, when done properly the leakage from the Cyclone is minimal to nonexistent. It was only towards the end when the sponge became saturated, that small droplets appeared. The other results were similar to before – a shiny, factory-new chain and a very smooth ride.

If you get any more overspray than this, you may be doing it wrong

6 Comments leave one →
  1. kipp Williams permalink
    January 6, 2012 10:45 pm

    I know the feeling. When going on a week camping trip what was the one thing i forgot always as a young lad, a tooth brush. I would always vow to never forget it when returning because of the splendid freshness afterwords. Im likening my teeth as a bicycle chain, its nice to have them cleaned every once and awhile!! Don’t worry I practice healthy oral daily.

    • January 6, 2012 10:49 pm

      Dirty chain, dirty teeth, one toothbrush. What’s it gonna be hotshot!?

  2. January 12, 2012 11:40 pm

    Oooh, that sounds lovely. As I’m awful about cleaning my chain, it would probably be good for me to get one of those. Maybe it would motivate me to take better care of my bike!

    • January 13, 2012 11:22 am

      I’m also amazed how smooth my ride can be after a good cleaning and lube application – it’s definitely worth the effort.

  3. January 18, 2012 4:56 pm

    Love that scrubber! I have the same one and use it often.

    • January 18, 2012 5:24 pm

      Thanks for the comment, glad some shares my intelligence 😉

      What type of solution/degreaser are you using?

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