Product Review: Park CM 5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber
A year ago I would have rolled my eyes at the thought of writing a review about a chain cleaner. For years I always thought of these grimy plastic “tools” lying around our shop as nothing but a gimmicky toy akin to a Hot Wheels carwash play set, and I would instead opt to clean chains with a brush, a rag and a “pokey tool.” My opinion quickly changed last fall when I joined a stellar crew of volunteers and fellow staff at Cycle Oregon, detailing bikes.
Detailing multiple bikes a day, I immediately learned that chain cleaners not only work, but they can save a lot of time. The trick is, just like brushing your teeth, you have to use the chain cleaner for a couple minutes—running the chain through any cleaning tool, only a couple times, will not suffice. The chain cleaner that we use at Cycle Oregon, and here at the Community Cycling Center shop, is the Park CM 5.2 Chain Scrubber. After testing and researching a number of other chain cleaners, I’ve concluded that the CM 5.2 is your best buy.
Unlike some other cleaners, the CM 5.2 has two types of brushes that scrub the chain in multiple directions and I’ve found that this significantly improves both the speed and visual quality of the cleaning. As a HUGE bonus, you can also order replacement brushes and scrubbers for the Park cleaner. The CM 5.2 also has a large fluid reservoir and a port through which you can add more cleaning fluid, a feature some cleaners oddly don’t have.
For fluid you can use a solvent like Finish Line’s Citrus Degreaser, but I prefer a more benign cleaning agent like rubbing alcohol or Simple Green. Using a cheaper and less toxic cleaning agent alloys you to be more generous with changing the fluid during the cleaning, which helps ensure that you are not leaving excessive grime behind inside the bushings of your chain.
As a companion, I’d also recommend a cassette cleaning brush like the Park GSC-1. Combined with a toothbrush and a rag, these tools will allow you to clean you chain, cassette, chainrings and derailleurs, which will increase the longevity and precision of your drivetrain as a whole. After cleaning your drivetrain, don’t forget to re-lubricate your chain and jockey wheels. For more information on using the Park Chain Scrubber, swing by the Community Cycling Center shop and talk to one of our friendly mechanics—and, now that spring is here, treat yourself to a sparkly clean bike and a smooth, quiet ride!