Friday, September 09, 2005

[Review] Park PFP-3 floor pump and Finish Line chain cleaner

I dipped into my bike parts piggy bank this week and treated myself to a new floor pump and chain cleaner. Here's my impression of both...

The Park PFP-3 is a floor pump aimed at the home mechanic. It's an attractive and quality pump, with a steel barrel and flashy curved chrome-plated steel handle. I also like the Park blue color, which helps it stand out amidst the clutter. The head, gasket and hose can all be serviced for extended life and positive ecological karma. It's an excellent buy at under $30, although if money were no object I'd get the PFP-2, which has a metal, rather than plastic ('composite') head.

The Finish Line Chain Cleaner replaces my trusty Park CM-5 and cost about $25. It was bundled with samples of their 'EcoTech' chain cleaner and some of their Teflon dry lube. The packaging states it is "Shop Quality" and it does seem to be durable. It works well enough, and I like the 30 degree curved exit port, designed to minimize dripping. Like the Park unit, it is rebuildable, with new brushes and foam pads available for about $10.

Now the downside; the cleaner forces the chain through a tortuous serpentine path that makes cleaning a single-speed chain pretty much impossible - you must have a LOT of slack in your chain to use this product. Also, the 'ergonomic handle' is anything but - it is much more awkward to hold while using than the Park unit. Lastly, the EcoTech degreaser has a really nasty cancer-causing petroleum distillate smell. Finish Line claims it's biodgradeable, and it works well enough at cleaning the chain, but if you plan on any sort of use inside, I'd go for a citrus-based cleaner.


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