Home > Repair Help and Education

Repair Help and Education

Chain Cleaning using the CM-5.2 Cyclone® Chain Scrubber

Useful Tools and Supplies

This article will discuss the use the CM-5.2 Cyclone® Chain Scrubber. The concepts will also apply to other chain cleaners.

Dirt and grit on the chain will eventually cause wear on the chain rivets, inner plates, and rear cogs. Chains and chain lubricants tend to attract dirt, which may conatain small pieces of hard material such as quartz. The image below is chain dirt magnified 200 times, showing the mix of typical grit. Park Tool ChainBrite® solvents break down the grit by making it smaller, as seen in the right image, again magnified 200 times. It is then necessary to flush this grit way, which is what the CM-5.2 does.

Chain grit

Chain grit


To begin any cleaning operation, start by finding an area to work. Chain cleaning by its nature is messy. Hold the bike in a repair stand. Rotate the bike so the lower section of the chain is level. Shift the bike to the smallest cog in the rear and the middle chain ring in the front. Test for smooth back pedaling.

Place CM-5.2 under lower section of chain. Push chain down into the large roller.
NOTE: Check that the chain is fully engaged and properly engage on the teeth of the sprocket inside the large roller.

Place chain fully in large roller

Lower top cover into place and close each end clip. Practice spinning pedals with the CM-5.2 dry. Hold the CM-5.2 with the left hand and back pedal with the right hand. If the CM-5.2 is twisted side to side, it may derail the chain.

Install CM-5 without fluid

Fill CM-5.2 with solvent such as Park Tool CB-2 Citrus ChainBrite to the "Fill Line."

Install solvent

Hold CM-5.2 and backpedal. Count to at least 30 revolutions of the pedal. Remove the CM-5.2 and dispose of solvent.

Wash the CM-5.2 out and clamp again onto the chain. Fill with water and soap to the fill line. Back pedal to flush chain.

Back pedal to run chain through CM-5

Remove CM-5.2 and wipe chain dry with cotton rag.

Wipe chain after cleaning

It is often useful to also clean the sprockets. Use the Park Tool GSC-1 GearGlean® Brush to clean and scrape cogs. To get cogs even more clean, use a rag between cogs as a "floss".

Use GSC-1 on cogs

Floss the cogs

After the chain is dry, lubricate chain with your preferred lubricant. Place a drop of lubricant at each roller and rivet.