Cleaning the Steed gets friendlier with the Wash Buddy

Photo: Stephen Lam/

I love washing bikes.

For me, there’s something to be said about getting your hands dirty only to get the bike looking new, all lubed up and ready to rock.

I would never win a timed bike washing contest but I really don’t mind taking my time scrubbing and tweaking, granted made more enjoyable with some wine and music thrown in. Maybe it’s my personal woosah from the never-ending daddy/husband duty, including the realization I washed my bikes far more often than I washed my car last year.

We can talk about this love for bike washing all day, but you’re not here for that. And honestly, I am not going to write it either since what I’m supposed to tell you about is this Team Issue Washer Buddy from Abbey Bike Tools.

Amongst the unsung heroes in my cleaning kit has been the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper that I reviewed a few years ago. In fact, I loved it so much I bought a second one for traveling and washing multiple bikes. It is a bargain for $7. But as much as it was stupidly affordable and extremely durable, it had its limits, namely the inabilty to shift the rear derailleur, and lately, its incompatibility with thru axles.

There are products from other brands made specifically for thru axles, but I wanted a chain keeper that could do it all.

It seems I’ve finally found the perfect buddy.

Designed by Jason Quade who bought us the ingenious Crombie tool, the Team Issue Wash Buddy is hands down one of the most well-made chain keeper I’ve ever had my hands on. So good it should be on everyone’s holiday stuffers list this year.

At its core is a pulley made with DuPont Delrin for low friction and chemical resistance to solvents. Coupled with the stainless steel spindle where the pulley spins on, the Wash Buddy is made to last. And instead of a set stationary location where the pulley stays during use, the Pulley on the Wash Buddy is designed to glide along the spindle to allow shifting of the rear derailleur.

Plenty of room for the delrin pulley to move as you shift. Photo: Stephen Lam/

On my 11-speed bike, I was able to shift to all but the 2 smallest cogs without the chain popping out of the pulley’s deep channels. It’s a small but welcoming design detail I found to be super helpful whenever I need to rid the gunk trapped between the derailleur body.

To top it off, Abbey uses a gorgeous custom skewer from Chico’s Paul Component for its quick release. It’s the same proven design off Paul’s wheel/seatpost skewer, and the lever action has stayed buttery smooth even after repetitive pressure washer treatment.

Smooth curves and small details. Photo: Stephen Lam/

So what about bikes with thru-axles? Well, the easiest way, as Quade personally showed yours truly at Sea Otter, is to insert only the pulley onto your bike’s axle. While it is entirely possible to use the entire Wash Buddy with the included Paul Skewer by unscrewing and reconnecting the quick release as I did on my very first try, I wouldn’t recommend doing just that though since the whole installation felt rather awkward.

The Team Issue Wash Buddy retails for $75 with the Paul skewer. But Abbey will also sell you just the pulley for $15 should you wash your bike so much you manage to FUBAR yours, or are already all-in with 142×12 thru-axles.

All scuffed after repeated washings but everything still works as new. Photo: Stephen Lam/

Keep it Clean With the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper

The center of the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper, where the chain rests just deep enough that it wouldn't fall off during cleaning. Photo: Stephen Lam/
The center of the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper, where the chain rests just deep enough that it wouldn’t fall off during cleaning. Photo: Stephen Lam/

Why do I even need a chain keeper when I can just leave my rear wheel on and clean the cassette while I’m at it?

Well you can do that, and I must admit that I do leave my rear wheel on sometimes when I am in a rush, but I’ve been digging this Morgan Blue Chain Keeper.

Hey I can really clean the nooks and crannies with the rear wheels off, and leave no grease marks on my chainstay now. Sweet. And I am sure my rear hub thanks me for that too.

At first glance, the chain keeper looked like it’s a Frankenstein byproduct of mating a downhill chain guide roller to a bolt and wingnut to hold it on the dropout. But rest assured, this thing is ready to be used and abused.

I have yet to drop a chain since I started using this nifty gadget. The groove where the chain stays is just deep enough in that it’ll require some effort to derail the chain.

It’s a well-made, idiot-proof design. And the best part of this chain keeper? It’s $7. Yes, $7. Cheaper than a fast food dinner of your choice, or a cup of hand-roasted fair trade organic latte with almond milk plus pastries from the Mission.

And for shits and giggles I ran my chain through a chain cleaner just to see if the chain would fall out. Nope. Chain is still on the keeper.

One would say the design of the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper is rudimentary with its wing nut and bolt. But I'd argued that it'll make part replacements a lot easier and cheaper. Photo: Stephen Lam/
One would say the design of the Morgan Blue Chain Keeper is rudimentary with its wing nut and bolt. But I’d argued that it’ll make part replacements a lot easier and cheaper. Photo: Stephen Lam/