Written By
Published Jul. 18, 2019

You’re cycling with your friends when you notice you’re lagging behind. Try as you might, it’s impossible to catch up, and your constant gear changes aren’t doing the trick. By the end of the ride you’re completely wiped out; yet your friends seem chipper enough to go for another ride. Does this scenario sound a little too familiar?

Although many riders jump straight to their training, drivetrain resistance is one of the glossed-over factors that stops a rider from reaching his or her full potential. Thankfully, chain cleaners have revolutionized the riding game, allowing cyclists to spend only a few minutes washing their chain after a session rather than hours upon hours scrubbing  it with a mop and brush. Thankfully, we’ve done all the dirty work and made a list of the top bike chain cleaners on the market.

The Best Bike Chain Cleaner

Park Tool’s state-of-the-art CG-2.4 Chain Gang Cleaning System takes your cleaning needs seriously. All you need to do is attach the cleaning tool to the bottom section of the chain, pour cleaning solution into the top fill hole, and run the chain around. With a few other steps in between – depending on how thorough you intend on being – your chain will be squeaky clean.

This cleaning tool works like a charm on alloy, plastic, and rubber and includes loads of other cleaning goodies for the price. Yet what we love most about this innovative product is its sustainability – the wonderful eco-friendly cleaner is both biodegradable and plant based. It’s always wonderful to find a company that cares about its customers and the planet, and Park Tool ticks this box nicely.

Key Features
  • Designed to clean bike chains, rear cogs, and chainrings
  • A GearClean brush, Cyclone Chain Scrubber, and ChainBrite Chain and Component Cleaning Fluid included in box
  • Eco-friendly cleaner is biodegradable and plant based
  • Works well on alloy, plastic, and rubber
  • Improves the overall functioning of your bike
Specification
  • Brand Park Tool
  • Model QKCG24
  • Weight 1.1 pounds

You can equip your bike with all sorts of retro accessories, but it’s important to pay attention to the less aesthetically pleasing parts of a bike, such as the drivetrain. With Finish Line’s Bicycle Chain Cleaner Kit, you’ll start turning up to group rides with the shiniest bike on the lot. And it will be easy to do so thanks to the magnet that collects metal filings and contaminants.

What’s more, the inclusion of three rotating brushes will capture every last bit of dirt and grime left on your chain. Manufacturers promise that you’ll have a clean chain within 60 seconds. Don’t believe them? Set your stopwatch and take on the challenge.

Key Features
  • Reduction of drivetrain friction
  • Best-selling cleaner makes it easy to eliminate dirt thanks to three rotating brushes
  • 'Power Magnet' collects metallic wear parts
  • 30-degree exit angle removes dirt and grime
  • Cleaner clips directly on to chain
Specification
  • Brand Finish Line
  • Model C22006601
  • Weight 9.6 ounces

Although Park Tool’s Cm.5.2 Cyclone Chain Cleaner may look intimidating, your shiny chain will intimidate other riders as they’ll know you mean business. This device uses a solvent reservoir as well as a series of rotating brushes to eliminate nasty particles from your bike chain. There’s no need to be worried about the solvent sticking on your chain either – the sponge will draw it away as it exits the cyclone.

Does this product have any drawbacks? Buyers offer one piece of advice; put down something to catch any excess cleaner. Other than that, they affirm that it’s simple, fast, and works like a charm. Simply add your favorite cleaner and watch Park Tool’s creation work its magic.

Key Features
  • Sponge material extracts particles washed from the chain
  • Series of rotating brushes and extra solvent reservoir banish grime
  • Effortless process only takes a couple of minutes
  • Compatible with all multi-speed bikes and several single-speed models
  • Magnet draws particles scrubbed from the chain while exiting the Cyclone to reduce drips
Specification
  • Brand Park Tool
  • Model CM-5.2
  • Weight 10.4 ounces

Finish Line claims that their Grunge Brush Gear and Chain Cleaning Tool is the most used cycling lubrication in the world. Although there’s no concrete evidence to back this claim up, we wouldn’t be surprised as it’s so damn reliable! Significantly reducing drivetrain and bearing friction is what this ergonomically designed grunge brush does best thanks to its full surround bristles.

Likewise, the bristles are designed to withstand even the toughest chain grime. By using the long, bristled end of the brush to navigate around tricky corners, your sprockets and derailleurs will receive the deep-clean they deserve. Order it today and prepare for grunge annihilation!

Key Features
  • Four-sided cleaning facilitated by bristle blocks that surround chain
  • Multi-purpose brush able to scrub all biking components thanks to long bristled ends
  • Helps to maintain smooth operation
  • Brush bristle blocks can be easily removed for cleaning purposes
  • Available at an affordable price
Specification
  • Brand Finish Line
  • Model G50006601
  • Weight 3.52 ounces

Cycle With Style’s Motorcycle and Bike Chain Cleaning Tool will protect your bike through years of muddy trails thanks to the three-sided bristles cleaning all four sides assiduously. And if you want to give your tool box a splash of color, then the chain cleaner is available in blue, orange, and red.

What’s more, if you’re a rider who’s fond of bikes with and without motors, then this multi-purpose cleaning product can be used to clean both motorcycles and bicycle chains alike. The manufacturer is so confident in its product’s success that it offers customers a money-back guarantee – no matter what. We challenge you to step up your riding game and join Cycle with Style’s biking community.

Key Features
  • Three-sided bristles suitable for four-sided cleaning
  • Sprockets and wheels can be reached with long bristle side
  • Avoids premature degradation of bike parts
  • Complete money-back guarantee
Specification
  • Brand Cycle With Style
  • Weight 1.4 ounces

Is there such thing as a product being too cheap? The scandalous pricing of Oumers’ Bike Bicycle Clean Brush Kit sometimes sends prospective customers packing. Yet these riders are missing out on one of the best deals on the market. With a tire scrubber, a tarpered detailing brush, and four other items all included in the price, it’s truly the deal of the century.

The kit can be used to treat all types of bikes – from hybrids to mountain bikes – to the chain makeover they crave. Made of high-quality materials, the long bristle won’t leave a spot of dirt on the chain. Bike maintenance is so important to improve your overall performance and increase longevity, and Oumers have made this luxury affordable for all.

Key Features
  • Avoids premature wear of your drivetrain whilst improving overall bike durability
  • Long bristle side can clean other parts of sprockets and wheels
  • Made of high-quality and durable material
  • Six different cleaning tools are included with purchase
  • Compatible with mountain, road, hybrid, and city bikes
Specification
  • Brand Oumers
  • Weight 4.2 ounces

Park Tool’s CM-25 Professional Bicycle Chain Scrubber doesn’t only look good, it will transform your bike chain from filthy to fresh in only a matter of seconds. The company uses durable A380 aluminum for long-lasting strength. Its commitment towards durability is why the CM-25 is 100-percent serviceable and rebuildable.

The brush and sponge cartridge will keep your chain in tip-top condition and can easily be replaced, so you won’t have to purchase a whole new kit. All you have to do is move the pedals and watch the rotating brushes attack all four sides of the chain. Finally, riders can enjoy a smooth ride without hours of prep beforehand.

Key Features
  • Brand offers a no-hassle lifetime manufacturer warranty
  • Made of durable A380 aluminum
  • Brush and sponge cartridge can be easily replaced to minimize expenditure over time
  • Brush rotates to facilitate faster cleaning than average models
  • Aesthetically pleasing bright blue case
Specification
  • Brand Park Tool
  • Model QKCM25
  • Weight 13.8 ounces

Pedro’s ‘Chain Pig’ is by far the cutest chain cleaner on the market. Not only is this product completely adorable in every way, it adds a dash of fun to a task often plagued with tediousness, turning it from a miserable chore into just another enjoyable part of the riding process.

With the pro-grade brushes and an absorbent sponge, the ‘Chain Pig’ is ready to eat away any piece of grime that it comes into contact with. And thanks to the derailleur cage hook, your hard-working piglet can independently clean away at the chain without you having to hold it whilst turning the crank. Believe us when we say that adopting little Pedro the Pig will be one of the best decisions you ever make!

Key Features
  • Adorable pink pig-like case is ergonomically designed as well as adorable
  • Offers a lifetime manufacturer warranty
  • 'Chain Pig' can attach on to bike chains with a quick-lock closure
  • Rear derailleur hook self-stabilizes whilst chain is moved though 'Chain Pig'
  • 'Pig' simplifies the cleaning process and reduces time spent cleaning dramatically
Specification
  • Brand Pedro's
  • Model PED218
  • Weight 8.5 ounces

Ozzy Outdoors have disregarded all ‘flimsy’ metallic pieces and impractical sponges and instead have created a practically indestructible product. We reckon this bike Chain Cleaning Tool could be flung from the Empire State building and would be found good as new. Compatible with all bike chains, the cleaner directly attaches to the chain and does all the dirty work for you.

Ozzy Outdoors’ model doesn’t hold back and soaks the chain thoroughly, meaning cleaning becomes much more efficient than using plain old sponges or brushes. The manufacturers have even backed their product with a lifetime warranty. In the rare cases when something has gone on, customers resoundingly praise their enthusiastic attitude to trustworthy and inexpensive cleaning gear. So, if you want to support a company that gives back, you can place your trust in Ozzy Outdoors and their creation.

Key Features
  • Exclusive single-clamp design in the middle of device locks the product together when cleaning
  • Compatible with all makes and shapes of bike
  • Cleaner directly attaches to the chain
  • Heavy-duty plastic designed to withstand substantial wear and tear
  • Backed up by a lifetime warranty
Specification
  • Brand Ozzy Gear
  • Model FBA_20150421
  • Weight 6.4 ounces

Last but certainly not least, we present to you Muc Off’s heavy-duty Chain Cleaning Kit. The packaging gives off a mad scientist kind of vibe but, like most mad scientists, will stop at nothing in order to get the job done. Any grime or grease that’s made your bike chain home will be evicted in mere seconds thanks to the whopping 120 different contact points on the scrubber.

Why everybody claims that biking pros don’t use these chain cleaners is a mystery. Your chain will be immaculate in seconds, meaning that you have more time to get out of the garage and into the saddle. Plus, the included 75ml of Muc-Off Drivetrain Cleaner is completely awesome. All in all, it’s a must-have product if you value your chain and your bank balance!

Key Features
  • 120 contact points give your bike chain the clean it deserves
  • 75ml Muc-Off Drivetrain Cleaner included in price
  • Ergonomic design scrubs dirt and grime right off
  • Works with road, MTB, and Cyclocross bicycle chains
  • Chain will be clean in a minute!
Specification
  • Brand Muc Off
  • Model 277
  • Weight 13 ounces

Best Bike Chain Cleaner Buying Guide

What is a Bicycle Chain Cleaner?

Not using Bicycle Chain Cleaner on your bike is like not warming up or down after you exercise: over time, you’ll be bugged down by injuries and will eventually have to stop completely. Your average chain cleaner has substantially stepped up since the days when cyclists scrub their chains with a toothbrush. Simply fill up these ergonomic devices with liquid degreaser, clip or attach it on to the chain, and spin your wheels around. The sturdy brushes inside the device will leave your chain looking spick and span.

Bicycle mechanic in a workshop

Things to Look for in a Bicycle Chain Cleaner

Extra Goodies – While saving your chain from deterioration, you may as well save some cash while you’re at it, right? Purchasing a Chain Cleaning Kit will save money as well as the time and effort spent trudging down to the hardware store. Muc Off’s 277 Yellow X3 Chain Cleaning Kit is one of our personal favorites.

Carefully placed rotating brushes The heavy-duty bristles should be positioned at all angles around the chain so even the toughest nooks and crannies can be reached. And if you purchase a rotating brush, even better!

Clip-On Chain CleanerWe all know too well how it feels to return from a training session in the saddle to be completely and utterly wiped out. In these crucial moments, clip-on chain cleaners will be your saving grace – there’s no need to remove the chain from the bicycle to keep your chain clean.

Why You Should Clean Your Bike Chain

So, you now know how bicycle cleaner works and what features to opt for. But what if you don’t care about how shiny your bike looks when cycling down the street? Even if you’re not hung up on appearances, you’ll need to clean your chain regularly for the following reasons:

Your bike will be around for years to comeIf your chain is always in tip-top condition, the rest of your bike will follow suit. And with this reduction in overall wear and tear, your bike will see you through years of riding glory.

Who doesn’t love smoother gear changes? – Having a clean chain leads to smoother and faster gear changes. And we guarantee that your fitness levels will spike as a result!

How to Use Bike Chain Cleaner

As described above, if you’re looking for a quick clean, then simply clip your cleaner on to the chain and spin your wheels round for exceptional results. However, if you need a more thorough clean, allow your chain to soak for several hours in a bucket of degreaser. This should be easy enough: there is usually a quick-release master link that allows the chain to slide on and off whenever it pleases. After your chain has enjoyed its relaxing soak, wipe it with a clean cloth before applying the chain lube.

How Often Should You Clean a Bike Chain?

Ah, here comes the eternal question of shame that makes many cyclists quake in their boots… ‘How often do you clean your bike chain?’ Although bike-lovers out there may feel like they would muck up the process or just don’t have the time, we’re here to disprove both excuses. Firstly, because the process is simple if you purchase one of the handy little Bike Chain Cleaners reviewed above. Secondly, if you’re always short on time, a bike chain only needs to be cleaned and lubricated at least once a month with a deeper clean required every three. Yet if you have time to clean it after every cycle, we’re not here to stop you!

Man maintaining his bicycle for the new season

Our Top Pick

So, out of all the time-saving products compiled in this buying guide, what one would we trust to make our own bike chains spotless? It would just have to be Park Tool’s CG-2.4 Chain Gang Cleaning System. The CG-2.4’s feedback heavily focuses around two things: the magnets ability to catch dirt and grime and the effortless cleaning process thanks to the scrubbing brush. The instructions are extremely clear and easy to understand, even though the process itself is incredibly simple. Plus, if you’re a plastic-hater, then trust us when we say that this thick plastic is molded well and isn’t cheaply designed. Yet what satisfied customers love the most about this kit is that it gets them out in the saddle more often. Therefore, if you’re feeling like you’ve hit a plateau in your training, Park Tool’s nifty little kit could be your saving grace.

Sources:

  1. Everything you ever wanted to know about cleaning your bike chain – Bike Radar

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