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Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine



Very effective and clean drive chain cleaner

At 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 Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine won't appeal to everyone, but those that don't want to fiddle with a tub of white spirit and a paint brush will find that Muc-Off have produced an excellent chain cleaner that gets the job done in five minutes flat with the minimum of fuss and mess.

As a father of three boys with a hectic life of family, work, and riding, I, like many readers will recognise, am very pushed for time for bike cleaning, sometimes just spraying GT85 on a dirty chain and then relubing (gosh yes, I know it's bad). What Muc-Off have done is produced a quite novel device that can clean a chain quickly and effectively in just a matter of minutes.

Most cleaners of this nature seem to just regurgitate the filthy chain cleaner around the chain again, effectively grinding in the dirt even more but Muc-Off have managed to keep the dirty liquid separate from the clean in the device to avoid just that.

You pour the included chain cleaner into the top reservoir, attach the main body of the unit to the chain, reattach the reservoir and feed the chain through the device. While holding the machine you press a little button to trickle the cleaner into onto the chain and – hey presto - a clean chain comes out after just a few crank revolutions. It's that efficient.

The machine does a great job of reducing waste by collecting the majority of cleaner back into the device. I tested this by cleaning the chain in the bath and I was genuinely surprised by the lack of fluid in the bathtub. It wasn't zero, but it was very minimal compared with previous devices.

The included cleaner is fully biodegradable so can be safely poured down the drain, and while the bottle included won't last long (three deep winter cleans) it's a good start and did a great job of clearing some proper filth of the drive drain.

At £30 it's certainly more expensive than a plastic tub and white spirit, but it's an easy solution to a ganky problem and is pretty much mess-free, which appeals to me massively.


Very effective and clean drive chain cleaner

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Make and model: Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine

Size tested: n/a

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?

Designed to clean your chain in seconds, this seems an ideal solution to keep the running costs of cycling down. It certainly does an excellent job, and I've find myself cleaning my chain more frequently because of it.

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

Easily removes grease, grime and chain oil in seconds

Deepest clean thanks to 120 contact points

Easy to clean and re-use

Heavy duty construction that's built to last

Includes 75ml Muc-Off Drivetrain Cleaner

Perfect for Road, MTB or Cyclocross bicycle chains

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Very few parts to touch and/or break so held up well.

Rate the product for performance:

Super effective, cleaned the chain in less than 5 minutes (including assembly and packup).

Rate the product for durability:

Solidly built, should cope with life well.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Can be a bit fiddly to hold the device, press the button, and turn the pedals, but it's not the end of the world.

Rate the product for value:

I value my time, and less time was spent on faff and clean up, so that seems like good value.

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

Very well, a clean chain with minimal mess in a jiffy.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The lack of mess created from the cleaning.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Can be a little fiddly.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

If you are averse to white spirit and brushes then this could be the ideal chain cleaning solution - comes at a, justifiable, price!

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 176cm  Weight:

I usually ride: WyndyMilla Massive Attac, Raleigh SP Race, Hoffman BMX  My best bike is: WyndyMilla Massive Attack

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Adventure-packing, crossing-countries


Add new comment


Okinawa | 8 years ago

I use my soiled knickers. Nothing to waste: the elastic strap line I use to get deep into the cassette.

themartincox | 8 years ago

I think the comments here are missing the crucial part of the review, because yes it's expensive, and yes there are perhaps more thorough ways of doing it, but "Muc-Off have produced an excellent chain cleaner that gets the job done in five minutes flat with the minimum of fuss and mess."

no fuss, no mess, and does the job.

I'm happy to pay a premium of that, and it's so easy to use that I clean the chain more often because of it!

kev-s | 8 years ago

my point is if you use a cleaner as often as i do (every 1 to 2 weeks as i ride in all weathers for 100+ miles a week) then why waste the money on a expensive cleaner when there is a much cheaper and more readily available alternative

plus the money saved can be invested into new bike parts  4

rnick | 8 years ago

Chapeau, I can only admire a man who uses the bath to check if his chain is clean. So, do you wash the kids before or after the chain? Perhaps mumsnet could help here?!

kev-s | 8 years ago

Thats not cheap!

ill stick to the white spirit and a tub method, £1.50 a bottle, 3 cleans to a bottle, thats 50p per clean, plus u can clean your grubby cassette & crank

Been doing this to ultegra chain & cassettes for years, brings them up like new, a quick lube and there good to go again

Nick T replied to kev-s | 8 years ago
kev-s wrote:

Thats not cheap!

ill stick to the white spirit and a tub method, £1.50 a bottle, 3 cleans to a bottle, thats 50p per clean, plus u can clean your grubby cassette & crank

A grand on a bike?! No chance! The bus is only £1.35 a ticket!! I'll get a travelcard, that's 60p per journey, plus you get a seat etc. etc.

darrenleroy | 8 years ago

If it lasts a few years I'm up for it.

RoadRev | 8 years ago

No way I'd buy the device but that cleaning fluid is excellent...I paint that on my chain and then rinse off.

Takes appx 8mins.

edvelo | 8 years ago

£30 for a chain cleaner - I'll stick to my Juice Lubes Dirty Little Scrubber thanks at £13

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