Review: Pedro's ChainPig, Degreaser and Cleaning Brushes
Review: Pedro's Pro J Degreaser and Bye Grease Degreaser
The first thing to add to your cleaning bucket, is a high quality degreaser. I've heard of people using washing up liquid, brush cleaner and white spirit to clean chains before; but really, the most effective and safest bet for your bike, is to use a dedicated bike degreaser, from a well-reputed brand.
My current go-to option, is the Pro J Degreaser from Pedro's. It's a 'professional strength' product, which makes light work of caked-on lube, brake dust and road grime. Spray or brush it on, leave it for a few minutes whilst you work on other areas of the bike; then, give the chain, sprockets and chain rings a good scrub, and the dirt just washes off.
Pedro's also do a great 'Bye Grease' degreaser, which although a bit more gentle than the Pro J, is fully biodegradable. So, if you (or your other half), are a bit worried about what the chemicals in your bike cleaners might be doing to your lawn and nearby flowerbeds, then this could be a wise option!
There's no point in struggling to move stubborn muck with a weak, cheap degreaser. This is a product worth spending a bit of extra cash on, and these two options from Pedro's are up there with the best.
Review: Pedro's Chain Pig Chain Cleaner
Sometimes, brushing the outside of the chain isn't enough to shift the stubborn muck, especially from within clogged-up rollers and links. This is when a proper chain bath can really come into its own!
A chain bath, like the Pedro's Chain Pig, puts your chain through a three-part process: one brush cleans the outside plates, a second set of brushes cleans the internal rolled spaces, and then a sponge wipes off the muck and leaves it housed in the bottom of the 'bath'. It's an incredibly thorough way to clean a chain, and will strip it of all the lube and dirt that is stuck both to the inside and outside.
The Pedro's Chain Pig is one of the best examples of a chain bath that I've used. Yes, you can buy cheap versions of this kind of product, but a higher-end one will last longer and do the job better, in my experience. The Chain Pig is made of robust plastic, and features good quality brushes and wiping sponge.
To use the Pig, you separate the unit's two halves, clip it over the the bottom chain-line, and hook the 'tail' of the Pig round the lower jockey wheel of the derailleur. A little funnel on the top then allows you to top the bath up with degreaser to the fill line, which begins to soak the brushes in the fluid. Then, it is simply a case of rotating the crank arms backwards, and letting the chain pass through the Chain Pig until it looks and feels gunk-free.
It is pretty darn effective. The Pig's tail does a great job of keeping the unit in place, and frees up your second hand to scrub other parts of the drivetrain with a brush at the same time. The Pig's brushes and sponge do a great job of stripping away muck, whilst the bath itself does a great job of housing it, so you can carefully tip it down the drain when you've finished. Once you have finished with it, just rinse the chain off thoroughly, and rinse out the chain bath. Simple, neat and very effective.
Review: Pedro's Professional Cleaning Brush SetThe final object in this 'Pedro's Grouptest', is their Professional Brush Set.
Much like degreaser, there are many cheap alternatives out there when it comes to cleaning brushes. However, bike cleaning is a fairly dull task at best, and a proper set of dedicated bike cleaning brushes makes it quicker, easier and more thorough. So, in my opinion, they're a good investment.
The Pedro's Brush Set comprises four pieces, all of which come in a neat draw-string bag. From left to right in the image below you get: a parts cleaning brush, a wheel and frame cleaning brush, a cone brush and a drivetrain toothbrush. The parts cleaning brush is designed to degrease components, and if you've got a chopped-down bottle with some degreaser in, this makes the ideal brush for "painting" on the mixture and really giving components a fine clean. The large frame and wheel cleaning brush is great for larger surfaces, and has stronger bristles for shifting caked-on muck. The cone brush, is really useful for hard to reach places such as behind brake calipers and spokes. Finally, the drivetrain toothbrush is fantastic for getting between the teeth of cassette sprockets and chainrings. As a complete set, this brush kit should leave no component or bike part untouched!
All the brushes have high quality bristles, and the strength of the bristles varies depending on the kind of component they are intended to clean, which reduces the chance of scratching delicate parts. The brushes also all have comfortable handles, and useful holes for lanyard attachments so you can hang them up to dry when you're finished.
These are quite easily the best bike washing brushes I've used, and if you look after them (clean them thoroughly after each use), then they should last a long time. A worthwhile investment, just like the other Pedro's products in this post.