Some people can't see the point of spending good money on cleaning a greasy bike. So what does the LifeLine Essential Bike and Chain Cleaning Kit give you that can't be achieved with a couple of washing-up brushes from your local pound shop? A gleaming chain in minutes, that's what, and a clean frame and wheels not far behind.
If you've never used a chain cleaning tool then either you have a dirty chain or you are doing things the hard way. They really do save a lot of time and trouble and a well-made one will last for years.
LifeLine's is moulded from strong plastic, with simple rotating scrubbing brushes that brought my chain up gleaming in under two minutes.
A sturdy plastic handle clips on the side and you fill the bottom half to the line with your favourite environmentally friendly degreaser. Clamp the chain between the two halves, which are fixed together with a robust spring clip. Be careful to hold the cleaner level as degreaser may slop out if you tilt it too far.
The rest of the cleaning set is just as well made and useful. There's a Christmas tree-shaped brush for the main body of the work, and an assortment of others for nooks and crannies. The combined bristle/scrubber does a good job on wheels. The brushes are stiff enough that they don't bend when pushing them into tight corners, and the handles are part-rubberised making them comfortable to use.
There's a claw tool for hooking muck out of cassettes and this fitted easily between my 10-speed sprockets. I don't own any 11-speed bikes so I don't know if it will fit so well there, but if you're getting your road bike transmission into that much of a state, shame on you anyway!
The kit also comes in a nylon drawstring bag, which allows you to hang it all up to air dry.
When you consider that you could spend nearly £20 on a chain cleaner alone, this LifeLine kit is a bit of a bargain, especially as it seems so well made.
Anything that reduces time spent cleaning bikes is good, and the value and good construction of this one make it even better
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road.cc test report
Make and model: LifeLine Essential Bike and Chain Cleaning Kit
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?
Wiggle says: "Used regularly, the LifeLine chain-cleaner will prolong the life of your chain and help your bike to continue to run smoothly, quietly and safely. The kit includes a chain cleaning/degreasing mechanism for effective cleaning without removing your chain. Simply add de-greasing fluid, close the mechanism around the chain and pull it through by turning the cranks anti clockwise until clean. A set of specially shaped brushes is included to help you clear dirt and grit from difficult areas such as your cassette, chainrings and derailleurs."
And that's pretty much spot on.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The kit includes the chain cleaning device with separate handle, one "Christmas tree" bristle brush, a flexy two-pronged bristle brush, a sprocket brush, a combined bristle/scrubber brush and a toothed sprocket scraper. The kit comes in a nylon mesh pull-string bag.
All the tools look sturdily made. The brushes are stiff enough that they don't bend when pushing them into tight corners. The handles are part-rubberised making them comfortable to use. The chain cleaner looks well made, of thick plastic, with simple, free-running brushes and guide wheels. Only the sponge wiper looks as though it will have a short life.
All the brushes are useful – the Christmas tree brush doing most of the work, the others getting into various hard-to-reach corners. The sprocket scraper fits easily between 10-speed sprockets (sorry, I don't have any 11 speed bikes!).
The chain cleaner is simple and efficient.
Any brush set will wear out, so taking good care of it will prolong the life and the same goes for the chain cleaning tool. Using a good degreaser will ensure the bristles remain useful even after cleaning heavily soiled chains. The sponge wiper may not last long, but is inessential, and could be replaced with a piece cut from a kitchen sponge.
It's possible to spend nearly £20 on a chain cleaner alone (eg Weldtite's comes in at £17 rrp including a small bottle of degreaser), so at this price the LifeLine kit is a bargain, especially as it seems so well made.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent – a clean bike and a sparkling chain with the minimum of fuss.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good build quality, ease of use, good results.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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 score
It's a useful selection of tools that do the job well. For the price there's little to complain about.
About the tester
Age: 50 Height: 6'2 Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 Dura-Ace My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking