For me, cycling has always meant freedom. My first set of wheels provided early independence. Bicycle touring opened up exciting new experiences, meeting interesting people, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. Even later in life, riding on a recumbent tandem with your favorite stoker, immersed in the moment, takes you away from the humdrum rumble of life. Freedom.
Until you have to clean the chain on that long wheelbase recumbent! The thing is about as long as a school bus and uses 5 regular bike chains. So one day, after riding the sand-laden trails of Western Michigan, the chain had to be deep cleaned and relubricated. I knew it would be a monumental and messy task and thought there had to be a better way. To be able to deep clean the chain while still on the bike in an environmentally intelligent way. And then lubricate it precisely. And while I’m at it, provide a way to apply hot wax to the chain. All done in minutes with no mess.
It began as a garage project. An initial chain cleaning prototype was created by utilizing leftover bits, some industrial surplus, and with what little machining knowledge I possess. And it worked exceedingly well on my bikes and the ones in the neighborhood. But would it work on all the other bikes out there? And would this concept be accepted in the bicycling community? To find out, the company Von Buck was created, and the prototype loaded up and taken to any Midwest bike event that would let us set up and clean chains. The response has been extremely positive. But what to call the device? At an early event, the Chequamegon Mountain Bike Festival, one of the racers quipped (after a few trips to the beer tent) that a name is easy- “It’s the VonBuckinator,” And the name has stuck.
What is the future for the VonBuckinator? The current prototype can deep clean a chain and apply a liquid lubricant very effectively on over 90% of the bicycle types out there. The next step, hot waxing was added to the initial prototype. However, the larger equipment size limits the bike types that could be serviced. The design and build of a second-generation VonBuckinator is currently in the works to address this.
The development of the VonBuckinator concept has been driven by passion and whatever funds we have been able to find to support our efforts. The VonBuckinator can solve a critical need for bike shops, professional cyclers, avid hobbyists, and budding enthusiasts. This chain cleaning machine offers a simpler and more effective way to clean, lubricate and hot wax bike chains without removal, eliminating the hassle for everyone. Could you help us make it a reality?
Von Buck LLC