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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road.cc test report
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
Very few parts to touch and/or break so held up well.
Super effective, cleaned the chain in less than 5 minutes (including assembly and packup).
Solidly built, should cope with life well.
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.
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!
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