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Finish Line Pro Chain Cleaner Kit

8
£24.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Impressive cleaning performance from a well-designed and sturdy device
Works efficiently
Secure fit
Sturdy brushes remove a lot of dirt
Magnets deal with iron filings
Doesn't clean all of the dirt from the sides of the chain
Weight: 
209g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Finish Line Pro Chain Cleaner is simple to use and holds firm on the chain without a huge amount of input from you. Neat additions like a removable handle and magnet for collecting metal filings goes a long way to justify the price, but there are some much cheaper alternatives.

If you ride in all sorts of weather then your chain is going to need frequent cleaning and re-lubing. While removing the chain is often recommended to get the best results, for most of us that isn't a viable solution, especially if you are a daily commuter, but tools like the Finish Line Pro make for a much easier life.

Releasing the clip-over clamp separates part of the upper section from the lower, allowing you to place the chain in between, and to pour some degreaser into the bottom part. A small indicator line shows you how much you need.

It's then literally a case of clamping the two pieces together and rotating the cranks to drive the chain through the various brushes.

To keep the chain cleaner in position, the Finish Line comes with a small plastic handle which is big enough to be a good fit in the hand and keep the unit stable. It is also removable, which means the cleaner takes up less room in storage, handy if space is tight.

> The lazy way to clean your bike

Brush-wise you get three, which sit vertically and rotate as the chain passes through them: atop the two end wheels and below the middle wheel. These are designed to clean the pins and the inside of the chain.

For the outer plates there are two ribbed sections sitting at one end of the cleaner, which drag across the outside of the chain.

Cleaning prowess

As for performance, the Finish Line Pro works well.

I used it to degrease the chain on my road bike which wasn't massively dirty because of all of the dry weather we've had, but it still had plenty of old lube and dust surrounding the pins.

I also used it to clean my gravel bike chain, which hasn't been cleaned for months and also had coatings of old lube, mud, dust and dirt.

Both chains cleaned up very well indeed, especially on the insides thanks to the brushes doing a fine job of loosening everything up and then wiping it off into the bottom of the cleaner unit.

On the base of the unit a strong magnet sits on the outside of the body which catches metal filings and the like from your drivetrain, stopping it being passed back onto the chain from the brushes.

The fins for cleaning the side plates works well on the wider sections but do miss some on the narrower sections of the chain. It wasn't a huge amount, though, and the fins had softened the dirt enough that they came off with a wipe from a cloth.

Value

It's a sturdy unit and decently made, which it needs to be to justify the £24.99 price tag.

It's cheaper than Muc-Off's X-3 Dirty Chain Machine, which costs £34.99 (including 75ml of degreaser). It's a similar device, although a fair bit smaller. I have one, and while the performance is similar to the Finish Line Pro, the latter just takes the edge.

You can buy cheaper units though: Lifeline's Pro Chain Cleaner is also a bit smaller than the Finish Line and costs £19.99, and Adam was very impressed with Juice Lubes' Dirty Little Scrubber, which again is a smaller unit and costs just £12.99.

Conclusion

Overall, the performance from the Finish Line Pro is impressive and I would highly recommend it. It's not the cheapest on the market, but the brushes look to be durable and the neat addition of the magnet underneath should further protect your chain from wear and tear.

Verdict

Impressive cleaning performance from a well-designed and sturdy device

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Finish Line Pro Chain Cleaner Kit

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Finish Line says: "Finish Line began innovating chain cleaners back in 1988 when its patented rotating brush design set the standard. For the first time a bicycle chain could be thoroughly cleaned in a minute or two without taking it off the bike. Quick, efficient and easy to use.

Since 1988 Finish Line has innovated two new generations of chain cleaners. Our new third generation chain cleaner has once again redefined the way bicycle chains are being cleaned, both in shops and at home.

Finish Line's proprietary rotating brushes are still utilized in the third generation unit. However, the exit angle has been changed from 90 degrees to 47 degrees, which virtually eliminates drips and spills. An additional row of scrapper pads have been added for enhanced side-plate cleaning. A large magnet has been added to attract and hold magnetized wear particles and is located at the bottom of the chain cleaner. New shop quality plastic prevents shattering when dropped."

It's a durable unit that works well to clean grime from your chain.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Finish Line lists:

Shop quality plastic prevents shattering when dropped

Magnet added to attract and hold magnetised wear particles

Proprietary rotating brushes and side fins for cleaning

Removeable handle

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It cleans the chain well, especially the internal parts.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Sturdy unit that cleans the inside of the chain well.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not perfect at getting all of the gunk from the sides of the chain.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Muc-Off option is more expensive, but others from Lifeline and Juice Lubes are cheaper, if somewhat smaller, units.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Pro is a quality piece of kit that works well but is up against some competitively priced opposition.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment

16 comments

Avatar
chrisonabike | 1 year ago
6 likes

I use the Sheldon Brown method myself.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

Avatar
KiwiMike | 1 year ago
3 likes

I don't disagree with Stu that running a mucky chain through these cleaners generates an impressively black solvent, and they look clean. But to be clear: these things (every brand makes one) do two things: 1) they make the outside of your chain and between the plates clean - which really does not matter, because your chain wears between the inner plates and pin, inside the roller, and 2) they dissolve contaminated grease/oil to a point and thereby evenly distribute, but do not remove, fine particles sitting inside your chain. So when you re-lube your chain, what you're doing is adding lube to the gunk left inside your chain's rollers. You might give it 3-4 passes, using more and more volatile chemicals each time,  and think your chain was 'clean' inside - but no, it's really not. The 'cleaning' action is simply not violent and immersive enough to do a proper job. Is good enough good enough? that's up to you, and if you don't care for a 100% job and are happy to use lots of solvent, then this might be the product for you.

The only way to properly, completely clean a chain inside as well as out, is to immerse it in a powerful degreaser like turps / white spirit / UFO cleaner in a bottle or cleaner tank and shake or ultrasonically power the bejesus out of it. 

This PDF from chain guru Adam Kerin of Zero Friction Cycling covers the process: https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/CHAIN-Prep...

What's much easier, cheaper, longer-lasting and eco-friendly, is simply to use a lube that never needs degreasing because there's never any buildup, and where 'cleaning' your chain involves literally a wipe with a rag after each ride. Like Silca Synergetic: https://road.cc/content/review/silca-synergetic-drip-lube-286041 - I haven't degreased any of my bikes using Synergetic for over a year now. The ones where I was reviewing other lubes? Yes, had to clean those regularly. 

I speak this as a formerly signed-up member of the on-bike chain-cleaner-tool club. I've owned maybe five of these things in my life, used hundreds of litres of solvent, and wasted god knows how many drivetrains early in their lives as a result. Switching to Silca Synergetic and not having to degrease anything ever again has been the most transformative thing in cycling for me since tubeless. 

Avatar
check12 replied to KiwiMike | 1 year ago
0 likes

I find the same with rock and roll gold, get new chain, put in white spirit to remove transit grease, lube with rnr gold, re apply every month or so and chain never really gets dirty, new lube cleans and lines in one. 

Avatar
Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

I've never found these sorts of devices much good. Messy, use a lot of solvent/cleaner to make the mess. Maybe this one is better, but I've given up anyway and gone over to immersion waxing (I generally don't cycle in the rain).

However I am curious whether anyone has experience of "Fastchain". The idea seems sound, the device looks easy (but then they always do in promo videos). I understand that folk here will be sniffy about the lubrication claims for WD/GT type sprays - I'd be interested in using the device with an evaporating solvent/alcohol only, to prep new chains for waxing.
https://fastchain.biz/stories/v/easy-pre-ride-maintenance

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes

That Fastchain thing - Oh. My. God. 

It's hard to know where to begin with that horrorshow of environmentally terrible nonsense. 

See my link for article on chain prep. Adam knows his stuff. 

Avatar
Sriracha replied to KiwiMike | 1 year ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

It's hard to know where to begin with that horrorshow of environmentally terrible nonsense.

OK, so it's a piece of plastic. Beyond that?

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

The resources and chemicals required to needlessly create cans of WD40 et al must be off the charts. This is a really bad way to use a product like WD40. 

Avatar
Sriracha replied to KiwiMike | 1 year ago
0 likes

So your issue is with WD40 then, not the Fastchain. I would only be interested in using a degreaser, something like IPA. Rather than sloshing the chain around in a bath of the stuff (think of the environment), use an applicator that directs it straight to the point of need.

Like I said to begin with, I'm only wanting to clean and degrease the chain once - thereafter it's hot waxing and no more cleaning, ever.

Avatar
Welsh boy replied to KiwiMike | 1 year ago
1 like

The use of the word "must" really says that you don't know but because it supports your argument you will post that suspicion anyway. 

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Welsh boy | 1 year ago
0 likes

Well obviously. My regime *doesn't need WD40 at all*. So using a lube and then a device that necessitates needlessly using cans and cans and cans of the stuff over time will be terrible for the planet and your wallet. 

Avatar
Sriracha replied to KiwiMike | 1 year ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

Well obviously. My regime *doesn't need WD40 at all*. So using a lube and then a device that necessitates needlessly using cans and cans and cans of the stuff over time will be terrible for the planet and your wallet. 

you keep banging on about WD40. Maybe read my original question, and my follow up. No WD40. I'm asking about the Fastchain device, how good is it (if anybody has actually used one), in lieu of just sloshing your chain around in a pot of degreaser?

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
0 likes

I said WD40 *et al*. Ie anything in a can. 
If you need a can of propelled stuff to clean a chain, you're wasting money and creating needless waste. 

Avatar
ktache replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

I rate my Park tool one. Second iteration. Use with finish lines solvent degreaser.

But KMC chains on my Getting to Work bike and Ultimate Commuter, and I'm following their no degreasing advice. Makes my life simpler. Started using shoe brushes to get more filth out of the Ultimate Commuter's chain, single speed rohloff setup, so good tension. But never a truly shiny chain.

Now the good bike, I like that to have a shiny chain, at least once in a while, and they are all mountain bikes and I always use wet lubes, I prefer the silence, and even finish lines cross-country lube hasn't lasted all the way home from my commute, if the rain has been hard and the filth deep. Though they have surfaced the filthiest part of the canal and that was the truly chain killer part, I'm quite sure the lower jockey was dragging through the filth.

But back to the chain cleaning, always wipe, wipe and wipe some more, floss the cassette, wipe the jockeys and the chainrings, then wipe the chain some more. Chain on middle at front, small on rear. Attach the cleaner and pour in 60ml of degreaser . Pedals rotated 50-60 times, lots of newspaper under as it will get messy. Remove the scrubber, carefully. Dispose and rinse with a lot of hot water, the wiping sponge needs some washing up liquid to get anywhere near clean.

The chain at this point is still full of grindy filth, you can hear it with a little twist, and its the further washings that will get rid of this, but I can't afford multiple solvent goes, so...

Now I have a measuring cylinder for this. There will be a trace of degreaser left, small amount of hot water, squirt to washing up liquid, hot water topped up to 60ml, shake to mix, into the scrubber. 60-70 turns of the pedals.

Still filthy, so with a cleaned scrubber and clean hot water one or two rinses, depending on how dirty it becomes. 70-80 turns for this bit.

Wipe till dryish with a clean cloth, then allow to dry. Maybe remove the cassette, jockeys and chainset for the occasional deep clean, though I am avoiding removing the quick link too much these days. Lube twice.

It works as best as I can get.  I used others scrubbers before the park, and this is the second mark of the park.

During the dying and lubing bit there will be some slight grey on a white cloth, so not perfect, but then within a couple of miles it could be filthy again.

 

 

Avatar
mike the bike replied to ktache | 1 year ago
5 likes

Some good stuff here ktache and very useful.  I shall make certain my lady reads and re-reads it 'cause I like my bikes clean and would hate her to miss something critical.

Avatar
TheBillder replied to ktache | 1 year ago
0 likes

Ktache, have you tried other degreasers? I use a Park gadget like this and get the expected adequate results with a citrus degreaser marketed as suitable for chip shops, diluted 2:1. I think 5 litres was under £20, including delivery.

Avatar
ktache replied to TheBillder | 1 year ago
0 likes

Tried a few different ones in the early days, just stuck with the finish line. They did some weak arse stuff for a while.

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