I'd like to think that the webBikeWorld
articles that brought this problem to light had
something to do with the recent emergence of several new
motorcycle chain cleaning products...but more likely a couple of
smarter-than-me entrepreneurs and the "free" market are
responsible for filling the gap.
So in yet another forehead-slapping "Why
didn't I think of that?" moment, we now have the Tirox
Chain Cleaner -- a "system" actually, consisting of a
kerosene-based spray chain cleaning solution and a
unique spiral or screw-shaped nylon brush system that
gives 360-degree agitation around the chain for thorough
The "360 degree" part is important -- as
much as I like the Grunge Brush, it has only 3 sides.
It can be flipped over to clean the fourth side of the
chain, but the Tirox Chain Cleaner gets all 4 sides at
The Tirox Chain Cleaner system is
brand-new to the marketplace and distribution is very
limited at this point, but the product is available at
motorcycle dealers in Canada through the Parts Canada
and Drag Specialties (Canada) distribution network.
Hopefully it will be available at U.S.
dealers soon, and Tirox will be selling the product(s)
directly online via their website (see below) as soon as
production gets cranked up.
Most motorcycle manufacturers recommend
using kerosene to clean a motorcycle chain; this topic
has been covered many times in various webBikeWorld
articles (see the right-hand column for links to all of
the articles). But not everyone has a can of
kerosene in the garage, and the stuff is stinky and
I've always wondered why someone didn't
put it in a can and sell it as a chain cleaning
solution, and now we have it. I'm sure there are
some other secret ingredients in there, but the spray
smells just like kerosene and Tirox did a good job at
designing the sprayer and the right amount of pressure
to get a fine mist to cover the chain without a lot of
The directions call for spraying the
chain with the cleaner and allowing it to soak for a few
minutes before using the brush, and this does seem to be
the best method.
The Tirox Chain Cleaner system works
great with the
Chain Drain chain cleaning system recently reviewed
on webBikeWorld. I now use a Chain Drain whenever
I'm doing any chain maintenance, as it catches all the
overspray and drips and prevents the spray from soaking
the wheel, tire (dangerous), swingarm and the ground.
Put a few sheets of newspaper underneath just in case
and you're all set.
The guy in the video that Tirox sent us
sprays the cleaner over the chain without anything
protecting the wheel -- I guess you can get away with
that in a minimalist marketing video, but best not to
try that at home. He doesn't wear any gloves when
he's handling the stuff either, but we know better than
Photo Courtesy Tirox
The "heart" of the Tirox system is the
brush, which is stored in the extended cap on the can.
The bristles aren't as thick as those used in the Grunge
Brush, but they're pretty stiff and slightly more flexible.
The bristles are embedded in a metal spiral, twisted
into 2.5 turns. The metal is malleable, so it can
be bent and twisted into the desired shape.
This flexibility helps in two ways: first, the brush
mush be stretched and bent before it can be threaded on
to the chain; and once it's on, it can be stretched to
fit different sized chains and also to force the
bristles closer to the links.
Threading the brush on to the chain is
slightly tricky at first; it's best to thread it on at
about a 45-degree angle. The trick is to not be
afraid of stretching, bending and pulling the metal to
get the brush into a configuration that works for
threading on to your chain, whether on the upper or
It took me
several tries to figure out the best way to get it on
and off, but after you get the hang of it, it's pretty
easy. Don't forget the rubber gloves though --
as you probably know, messing around with a motorcycle
chain is dirty business.
After the chain has been sprayed with
the chain cleaner and left to soak for a few minutes,
thread the brush on the chain and slowly rotate the
wheel as you're holding the brush in place.
Don't forget there's a lot of leverage
when turning the large diameter motorcycle rear wheel,
and it's easy to
spin it too fast, which causes the chain to go through
the bristles too quickly. A steady pace seems to
allow the bristles to stay closer to the links and
spring back to the next link as the chain moves through,
and this provides better results.
The tension of the bristles on the chain
can be adjusted somewhat by stretching the brush out on
the chain, which brings the bristles closer to the
We've gone through so many different chain
cleaners and lubes recently that none of our chains are
totally loaded with grunge, so I can't tell how the Tirox Chain Cleaner system will work on a really
foul-looking chain, but it works great for regular
And that's really the key when you think
about it -- regular chain cleaning and lubing (and
adjustments) can make a real difference in chain life.
The Tirox Chain Cleaner system makes it just that much
easier to perform this often-forgotten or ignored chain
maintenance, and that's a real benefit.
Motorcycle Chain Cleaner
The Tirox Chain Cleaner system makes a difficult job
easier, so no more excuses about not cleaning your
chain! The system is easy enough to use that it
can be done before every chain lube or whenever the
chain starts looking icky.
The brush itself is also easy to clean, using either the
Tirox Chain Cleaner spray or, less expensive, soak it in
some kerosene or other degreaser. Just remember to
dispose of these chemicals in a responsible manner!
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "T.H." (5/10): "Just wanted to let you know based
on your site and review of the Tirox chain cleaner that I purchased a can
for cleaning a very grungy chain on a 2004 RC51. The chain is original
and has 4,770 miles on it.
The previous owner had the chain lubed at the dealer, which uses some sort
of nasty stuff that collects grime and doesn't feel very lubricated at all.
Following the directions on the can and the website, I rode the bike about
five miles to warm up the chain. Then I sprayed on the Tirox and let
it set for about five minutes (didn't want the chain to cool down too much).
The brush was threaded on and then I ran the chain about four cycles in one
direction and then four cycles in the opposite direction.
All the crud turned to a liquid and I sprayed it off with a lower power
pressure washer. Quickly air-dried the chain with low pressure air and
rode it again for five miles to heat it up. The whole process was
completed with a chain lube using the
DuPont Multi-Use Teflon spray also reviewed on your site. I can
now see the gold side plates on my chain!
This Tirox stuff works and it's probably the best route for cleaning your
chain on a bike! Thanks for the review!"
Editor's Note: Take care when using chain cleaner and
cleaning up afterwards with a pressure washer or other cleaner so that the
liquid is captured and doesn't get into the environment.
From "A.N." (7/09): "Based on your review, I purchased
the Tirox Chain Cleaner. This stuff works! My chain had about
700 miles on it since the last lube. I followed the directions printed
on the label.
Threading the spiral brush onto the chain was not a problem
thanks to your excellent video. Removing it was a little trickier but
also not a big problem. The all around nylon bristles really cleaned
the chain after just two complete revolutions. The rubber gloves are a
great advice as it quite messy. I'm quite happy with the results and
the ease of use."