When I was a kid I learned that cleaning and lubricating the chain on my bike was an important part of taking care of it. I would often clean and lube the chain after completing my paper route (no, I’m not quite old enough to have lived a Norman Rockwell painting). It always made my bike feel faster!
Fast forward a few decades and I still clean and lube the chain on my bikes after nearly every ride. For years I’ve used Park Tool brushes and rags to do this. This spring I started using a new-to-me product called the Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine to clean the chain on my bike.
How It Works
The Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine is a tool that clamps onto your bike’s chain. There is an upper and lower part component to it. Both parts have little brushes that clean your chain while you turn the crank on your bike.
The top section of the X-3 Dirty Chain Machine has a little refillable reservoir of cleaning liquid. The cleaning liquid drips onto your chain while you spin the crank. All of the used liquid and grease drips into the lower section of the X-3 Dirty Chain Machine.
How Well Does It Work?
Overall, I’m really happy with how well it works. That said, there are some quirks to it that are worth noting. First, the little handle that comes with it is mostly useless because, as you’ll see in the video below, you have to hold down a little button on the top of the unit to release the cleaning liquid. I’ve found that I can’t hold the handle and push the cleaning liquid release button at the same time. The other quirk of operating the X-3 Dirty Chain Machine is that you have to be careful not to twist your bike’s chain with it or else it jams.
As for how well it actually cleans, I’d rate it 8/10. It does a great job of cleaning the outer links of the chain and inside of them. But to get my chain sparkling clean I still have to take a rag and individually wipe the inner links.
I recorded a video of using the Muc-Off X-3 Dirty Chain Machine. In the video you’ll see how it works, a bit of my commentary about it, and you’ll see a guest appearance by my puppy. Watch the video here or as embedded below.