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Park Tool Chain Gang Cleaning System

Review: Park Tool Chain Gang Cleaning System

scotj's picture

We Liked

Unfortunately Mother Nature has given me the perfect opportunity to test Park Tools Chain Gang Cleaning System. The ride started out well enough, the radar showed no precipitation within 75 miles, partly cloudy skies, and temperatures in low 60’s, with light winds. All in all a great day to go out a ride a Function Threshold Power Test. However Mother Nature quickly changed her tune, ten minutes into my test up Pumpkin Ridge Road, I could see a storm cell that had mushroomed up over the road ahead; I was going to get rained on before the end of my test. Well it happened sooner than later, Mother Nature started the show with a light rain just six minutes later, followed by the first round of many rounds hail two minutes after that. By the time I finished my test, I was pretty wet and chilled (the temperature dropped from 64 degrees to 46 degrees in less than 20 minutes!). Worse yet I am at the top of a sparsely treed hilltop clearing, when bolts of lightning were visible and a symphony of thunder rattled the ridge top! I couldn’t wait to get down the hill! Two miles into the 6.5 mile downhill it started raining really hard! Quickly my legs turned pink and the sweat from my earlier effort was now burning my eyes. At times the lightning was really close, the thunder instant, I could see there was heavy hail falling just around the next bend, and within a minute pebble size hail was pinging off my helmet and accumulating on my sleeves of my jersey. When I arrived at the bottom of the hill, the roadway was covered in hail, except where tire chains had cut grooves in the road; which had then become four torrent streams. Heading home, for the next half hour, I rode in and out of heavy rain and hail, witnessed a few spectacular lightning bolts, and heard some ear pounding thunder. One thing that boarded on obscurely strange was the sight of two storm chasing vans with Idaho license plates, passing by, one complete with exterior radar and weather station! Last time I checked Portland was nowhere near the Texas Panhandle, what were storm chasers doing in Western Oregon? When I got back to civilization, the skies really opened up and I was riding four to five feet away the curb just to avoid the newly formed neighborhood streams! Arriving home, I looked at my bike and the last 10 minutes of monsoon rains had done a great job of cleaning my frame, unfortunately the same could not be said of my now very gritty drivetrain! Yep the perfect opportunity to use the Park’s Chain Gang Cleaning System!

  • Solid plastic construction, strong metal locking clamp, easy to hold ergonomic handle
  • Durable nylon bristles brushes and sponge make for smooth cleaning and less mess
  • Magnet on bottom, which pulls debris to the bottom of the scrubber
  • Comes with a durable gear brush to get the grit out of the cog and derailleur pulleys.

In the grand scheme of working on ones bike, using the Park Tools Chain Gang Cleaning System might be the easiest of all bike maintenance tasks! I began cleaning my drivetrain by using the gear brush to remove the road grit, dirt and a surprising number of pine needles from the chain and derailleur pulleys. Next I poured the environmentally safe Citrus Chainbrite solution into the Cyclone Chain Scrubber, and then proceeded to run my chain through the scrubber for about a minute. After a minute I removed the scrubber, and then proceeded to wash the bike rinsing the chain, cog, derailleur pulleys and chainrings to remove the Citrus Chainbrite. I then wiped my drivetrain system dry, used my favorite lubricate and my bike was ready for the recovery ride the next day.

I would like to mention that it has been at least a decade (probably closer to 15 years) since I last used a Park Tool scrubber, I really liked the new scrubbers much improved locking clamp, and the scrubbers handle made it a lot easier to hold than the decade before. Additionally the combination of nylon bristle brushes and durable sponge make Chain Gang Cleaning System significantly smoother than the one I remembered. All in all it does an excellent job creating a sparkly chain!

We Didn't Like

The only dislike of Park Tools Chain Gang Cleaning System is it uses a lot of Citrus Chainbrite. To reach the minimum line the user must use about 3.0 oz of fluid; which is really only a little more than 2 applications per 8 oz. bottle.

The Final Say

The Park Tools Chain Gang Cleaning System is a great way to clean your chain, especially if a rider regularly uses a wax lube or ceramic lube on their chains. With Earth Day still fresh in my mind, my only suggestion to make the cleaning system better would be make the device a little smaller, so they would use less solvent and maybe a little less plastic. I bet with a little tinkering Park Tool engineers could reduce the amount of solvent by at least a 33% or heck even 50% and still get the same great cleaning results and use less plastic in the process!

Tip: I am a big believer in reduce, reuse and recycle, when I used to use a Park Tools Chain Cleaner regularly, I used to pour the leftover solvent and grime into a glass mason jar and covered it to prevent evaporation. The next time I cleaned my chain; I’d take my Mason jar, wad up some cheese cloth (old t-shirt work as well), place it over the corner of the Mason jar and slowly pour the filtered solvent into the scrubber. Using this method, I would go through maybe 2 16 oz bottles for 6,000 to 10,000 miles of riding per year.

Notes: How wet was it really? The Weather Underground station at the park across the street from my house measure .44 inches for the precipitation for 1 hour time frame. Maybe it wasn’t the panhandle super cell, but .44 inches is just about the maximum 1 hour rainfall amount I have seen in the Portland area. I not just a bike geek, but also a weather geek… I have to say that was my wettest hour on a bike since my Sacramento days in 1992. That afternoon in 1992 was so bad, for about half mile stretch I was dipping my cycling shoes into the icy storm water with each pedal stroke!

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