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  1. #1
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    chain cleaner.......

    this might belong in 'components, wrenching' but I decided to post it here anyway. so these snap on brush wheel fluid chain cleaners. you know the ones. clear blue plastic with round, gear like brushes that spin with the chain. you guys use these? what solvent do you put in them? how often do you do a deep cleaning on your chain? what do you use to re-grease your chain? chain is brand new as bike has less than 20 miles, but i'm asking because I've been building a decent set of bike tools. ebay has these cleaners for less than 5 bucks. good investment?

  2. #2
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    If I used one, it would have citrus degreaser in it. Probably the Zap kind from Home Depot or whatever.

    Seeing how I use a wax lube, I don't degrease at all anymore, so I have no need for them.

    If for some reason I felt the need to deep clean my chain, I'd remove it and soak it in solvent, but that doesn't happen.

    I just keep applying new lube. Before each application I will clean off the jockey wheels and give the chain a quick rub on the outside, that's it.

    Those ebay cleaner things are pretty junk. The Park ones aren't that much better though.

    Seeing how I use a wax lube, there's never any grease on anything. That means I can touch my chain and it just wipes off. I clean my cassette in my kitchen sink with soap and water. I suppose I could clean my chain too with soap and water but I can't be bothered, it's not a problem.

    Wax lubes are the best thing ever for a lazy person.
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  3. #3
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    i use a dry rag.

    a q-tip between links every once in a great while.

    wax when clean to keep clean.
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  4. #4
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    I had one, and still do. Don't really use it anymore, but it did a pretty good job when I did. It seemed handy when doing 4 bikes at once (not really, but it seemed that way). It definitely was useful on long mtb camping trips, when things got filthy fast and cleaning options were few. Made the second week chainsuck free.

    You can use any solvent you like. Citrus based, but you need to rinse afterwards. WD-40 will work.

    I don't really bother cleaning the chain more than just a wipe with a rag sprayed with WD, then lube, then wipe. Good enough for me. If I am doing more than that, I am doing a good clean on the whole bike, then a lot of soapy water will get into the links when I brush the cogs and rings. That pretty much works fine as a flush.
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  5. #5
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    bought one, used it twice, gave it away. was a messy POS.

    replaced it with an old t-shirt.
    the 45th POTUS is inept, corrupt, and a pathological liar. and those may be his better qualities...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    bought one, used it twice, gave it away. was a messy POS.

    replaced it with an old t-shirt.
    ^This^ If you aren't a complete slob and can appreciate a tool that works properly this is the response you should have. Chain cleaning devices are complete overkill and generally a big mess. A t-shirt on the other hand is just enough 'tool' and not messy.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliethetuna View Post
    this might belong in 'components, wrenching' but I decided to post it here anyway. so these snap on brush wheel fluid chain cleaners. you know the ones. clear blue plastic with round, gear like brushes that spin with the chain. you guys use these? what solvent do you put in them? how often do you do a deep cleaning on your chain? what do you use to re-grease your chain? chain is brand new as bike has less than 20 miles, but i'm asking because I've been building a decent set of bike tools. ebay has these cleaners for less than 5 bucks. good investment?
    I've tried a few of these over the years. As others have mentioned they are messy and they inevitably end up breaking. They are more trouble than they are worth. Just use a rag

  8. #8
    JSR
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    I've recently gone back to using a Park chain cleaner. I use some kind of generic orange solvent, wipe it down, then apply a liquid lubricant. I do it frequently.

    I used to be a wax guy, but I moved to Oregon from SoCal about 18 months ago. The sloppy wet here means the drivetrain accumulates massive amounts of gunk. Just running a lube bottle along the chain I can feel the crud. It's like nails on a chalkboard.

    As has been mentioned the chain cleaner can make a mess in the garage. I bought a $4 boot tray at Walmart and keep it under the bike in my repair stand. It helps a lot. It also catches some of the copious amounts of detritus that falls out when I brush the underside of the fenders. Did I mention the sloppy wet?

  9. #9
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    Agree with the others here that the Park Tool chain cleaner is terribly messy. It spatters as you run the chain through it. If you like wearing road grime mixed with cleaner, it's great!

    The best cleaner I have found is a WD-40 soaked rag. But remember, while WD-40 is a great solvent and cleaner, it has no lubricating qualities. It will strip any existing lubricants away. So be sure to re-lube before you ride again.
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  10. #10
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    If you really want to spend money and not use an old rag as others suggest then I'd buy some quick links appropriate for your chain. You'll have to do the research into which one is best for your particular chain. Then it's easily removed and swished around in some odorless mineral spirits to clean.

    If you are really feeling rich then also get these MLP-1.2 Master Link Pliers | Park Tool. They do work exceptionally well as opposed to doing it by hand since some quick links can be tight.
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  11. #11
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    I have one, and agree they are a pain and not worth it. I use 3 in one oil or WD40 on a paper towel, just run the chain through it while moving the crank backwards until it looks clean and then lube it.
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  12. #12
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    I bought one once and used it a couple of times. I found it to be a hassle, messy and not necessary.

    Nowadays, for normal riding, I just use the chain lube to clean the chain - apply liberally, spin around a few times and wipe clean a couple of times. If I ride in the rain and get muddy, I might take it off and swish it around in a jar of mineral spirits and then hang to dry before re-lubing. I'm not super OCD about chain cleanliness though, ymmv.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    bought one, used it twice, gave it away. was a messy POS.

    replaced it with an old t-shirt.
    I found a use for old cotton socks - they make a great rag for bike work. You can put your hand in it and it works well and no chance of getting caught in the sprockets. Also handy for wiping down the bike tubes.

  13. #13
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    This may sound crazy, but I finished off a can of Finish Line Speed Bike Degreaser and was wondering if there was something much less expensive that basically worked the same way. (I did like the ability to spray a bike part and see the gunk drip off and the part dry in the process.)

    Long story short, I thought about brake cleaning fluid some had recommended, then I remembered that I needed a new can of that hand cleaning stuff that I use after cleaning my bike to get the grease and gunk off my hands (soap doesn't do anything to help with that). I figure it can't be as nasty as most of the stuff people recommend or use, since it is meant to clean skin off.

    And guess what: it takes gunk off your bike and parts just as easily as it does off your hands. Just put some on an old rag, then rub the bike part, and off goes the gunk! A tube of it costs $3 at the hardware store.

    Has anyone else used this stuff? Can you see any reason not to?

    JJPZ

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliethetuna View Post
    this might belong in 'components, wrenching' but I decided to post it here anyway. so these snap on brush wheel fluid chain cleaners. you know the ones. clear blue plastic with round, gear like brushes that spin with the chain. you guys use these? what solvent do you put in them? how often do you do a deep cleaning on your chain? what do you use to re-grease your chain? chain is brand new as bike has less than 20 miles, but i'm asking because I've been building a decent set of bike tools. ebay has these cleaners for less than 5 bucks. good investment?
    Assuming we're talking road riding, use the following technique for successful ProLink or homebrew lube (1 part motor oil to 3-4 parts odorless mineral spirits) application and use:

    1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chain rings clean with a rag. If there is gunk on the cogs, floss between them with a rag wet with OMS.
    2 – shift to the big ring and the smallest cog and drip on lube while pedaling slowly so that the chain just starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
    3 - keep pedaling the cranks for a minute or so to loosen all the dirt on the chain and to get full penetration of the lube.
    4 - thoroughly wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chain rings clean with a rag.
    5 - repeat steps 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

    Do this AFTER a ride, as you want to allow time for the solvent to evaporate before you head out on the road. If you do this every 300 miles or so (or when you get caught in the rain or other dirty conditions), you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to remove the chain or the cassette to clean it , and no separate cleaning is ever required. This leaves lube on the inside parts, and wipes it off the outside parts, minimizing dirt pickup.

    No lube is "perfect." A bright shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink/home brew is the best compromise among commercial lubes. Other people have different opinions.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    bought one, used it twice, gave it away. was a messy POS.

    replaced it with an old t-shirt.
    Agreed, a complete waste of money, time, solvent, etc.
    I use Rock & Roll Gold for on the bike cleaning—probably weekly. For off the bike;
    1. pop-off the quick-link,
    2. throw the chain in a 2-liter bottle with some orange solvent
    3. put the cap on the bottle and shake it for a few minutes
    4. pull the chain out and rinse with water
    5. dry and wipe the chain well with rags or paper towels (ya gotta bend the chain around a lot to get around all the links)
    6. put it back on the bike and snap the quick-link into place
    apply some Rock & Roll lube and you’re ready to go.
    The whole process takes about 20 minutes.
    If you don’t use a quick-link… good luck.

    Some quick-links are not reusable, so know what you have before trying this procedure.

    You gotta clean your cassette and chainrings too.. similar process for the cassette; break it down and submerge in orange solvent.

    Just use a toothbrush on the chainrings.
    Last edited by claudio_vernight; 1 Week Ago at 10:06 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Check out the Molten Speed Wax vids. I will never go back to dirty lubes ever again. This is the best way !!!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    IMO, ProLink/home brew is the best compromise among commercial lubes.
    FWIW, I once looked up the MSDS for ProLink lube and found that it is essentially prepackaged home brew with a splash of naphtha.
    Last edited by jjaguar; 6 Days Ago at 05:26 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Put some gasoline in a jar. Put chain in jar. Screw lid on jar. Shake. Rinse and repeat. Now your chain is cleaned. I have an old gravel driveway to dump the gasoline on. If you live in an apartment in a city then you can't do it this way.

  19. #19
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    Never mind.
    Last edited by drj564; 3 Days Ago at 05:06 AM.

  20. #20
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by siclmn View Post
    Put some gasoline in a jar. Put chain in jar. Screw lid on jar. Shake. Rinse and repeat. Now your chain is cleaned. I have an old gravel driveway to dump the gasoline on. If you live in an apartment in a city then you can't do it this way.
    OMG. DO NOT DO THIS!
    Gasoline is highly flammable. Just plain dumb to use it for cleaning purposes. And dumping it in your driveway? WTF.

    Get mineral spirits. Preferably odorless mineral spirits. Put in a pickle jar. No need to dump it out after you clean the chain. The sediment will all settle to the bottom of the jar. You can reuse it for years. Just top off with more mineral spirits as needed.
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  21. #21
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    *INHALES DEEPLY*

    Smell that boys? That's the smell of the first lube thread of the season. If you didn't already know by the rising mercury and later sunsets, high season is upon us!

    Anyhow, I use Rock and Roll Gold....apply liberally on rag the first pass cleans the chain. Apply on cleaner side of rag and the second pass lubes things us.

    Rock and Roll gold is great stuff if you ride in dry conditions.
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  22. #22
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    VOICE OF DISSENT! I have the Park Cyclone CM 5.2, and I love it! Here are some caveats:
    1. Yes, it is messy. I use it outside or in my unfinished basement.
    2. I only use it 2-4 times per season. It's most useful in the spring or fall when I'm riding in messy weather.
    3. I use it when I get a LOT of grit in the chain, to the point that the drivetrain makes that "scratchy" sound.

    I use Zep citrus degreaser from HD. It doesn't work with just water or a "mild detergent" Then I use diluted Simple Green to get the degreaser off, or I hose down the drivetrain.

    I also use Rock'n'Roll Gold lube.

    The chain tool really makes the drivetrain feel like new. The Park tool costs around $25 on Amazon. Pedros makes one too. I wouldn't waste $5 on a Chinese one from eBay. It's worth $25 to buy one that works and will last.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by siclmn View Post
    Put some gasoline in a jar. Put chain in jar. Screw lid on jar. Shake. Rinse and repeat. Now your chain is cleaned. I have an old gravel driveway to dump the gasoline on. If you live in an apartment in a city then you can't do it this way.
    wtf...?
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  24. #24
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    Yes to Chain Cleaner

    I agree with TiCoyote. chain cleaners have their place. Wiping things down doesn't get the gunk from between the chain links Yes, you could use a Q-tip on each link. But the chain cleaner is faster and I don't find it that messy. Just don't spin the crank too fast. Zep's citrus degreaser from Home Depot works great (or you can spend 10x's as much for Park's citrus degreaser). I wipe with a rag ever week or so and run the chain cleaner every month or two. Removing the chain to soak gets it a bit cleaner, but I find handling a greasy chain to be much more messy than the Parks cleaner (or Padro's chain Pig). Don't forget to clean the derailleur wheels and brush out the cassette and crank to get lube buildup or other gunk off.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by siclmn View Post
    Put some gasoline in a jar. Put chain in jar. Screw lid on jar. Shake. Rinse and repeat. Now your chain is cleaned. I have an old gravel driveway to dump the gasoline on. If you live in an apartment in a city then you can't do it this way.
    If you dont have a gravel driveway maybe you could just dump it in a local stream, or a neighbors kiddie pool

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