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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
About the tester
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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!