chain cleaning
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Thread: chain cleaning

  1. #1

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    chain cleaning

    What is the best way to clean my chain? There is a fairly thick buildup on it.

  2. #2
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    Get yourself a chain cleaner

    This one by Park Tool is great.
    http://www.parktool.com/tools/CG_2.shtml

    Use it every week or two, depending on how much you ride. Don't foregt to lub afterward
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    Last edited by Bertrand; 05-01-2011 at 03:36 PM.

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    Thanks. What do you recommend for lube?

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    Quote Originally Posted by raa1976
    What is the best way to clean my chain? There is a fairly thick buildup on it.
    If you use SRAM chains (and some others), they come with a link that allows you to take the chain off without any tools. Then you can soak the chain in degreaser. I like to put it inside a jar with degreaser, then shake it all up for a minute or so. Even better, put it on top of your washing machine during a load! Let it soak for a bit, wash it off, put it back on and you are good to go. Doing this takes about the same time as using a chain cleaner, and it's a thousand times more effective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertrand
    This one by Park Tool is great.
    Yeah, I like the Park cleaner as well. The brushes on my Finish Line cleaner disintegrated fairly quickly.

  6. #6
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    chain lube

    Quote Originally Posted by raa1976
    Thanks. What do you recommend for lube?
    I would ask your bike shop for their recommendations. Just don't use WD-40 or 3-in1!

  7. #7
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    No need to clean

    Quote Originally Posted by raa1976
    What is the best way to clean my chain? There is a fairly thick buildup on it.
    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 chainrings clean with a rag.
    2 - drip on lube while pedaling (forward is better) 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 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
    4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
    5 - repeat steps 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

    If you do this every 300 miles or so (or when you get caught in the rain), you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain.

    No lube is "perfect." A brite shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink is the best compromise.

  8. #8
    Arrogant roadie.....
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    Chain cleaners really don't do a very good job, and unless you ride through dirt and mud on a daily basis, they create more mess than they clean (mostly on your hands and garage floor). Also, they really only clean the surface of the chain, not the bearings. A simple wipe of the surface with a rag will accomplish as much and save you the $20+ for a useless gadget that you'll give up on after only a few uses.

    If you wish to clean a chain, remove it and put it in a bottle of solvent, agitate, rinse, and re-lubricate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Stohler
    Chain cleaners really don't do a very good job, and .... they create more mess than they clean (mostly on your hands and garage floor).
    I agree wholeheartedly. I bought one of these contraptions years ago, tried it a couple of times, and then gave up in disgust. It's still sitting at the bottom of a toolbox somewhere. Want to buy it cheap?
    ---- Perfection is our goal, but excellence is tolerated. ----

  10. #10
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    One thing I'll add. Spray some White Lightning Clean Streak http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Tools/product_86650.shtml on the rag before performing step one. I've been really impressed with this stuff. It takes off as much of the build-up as a chain-cleaning device without the mess. Grease and other grime instantly wipes off. Very good stuff, IMO.
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    This is probably a dumb question, but oh well. Is there a certain degreaser/solvent I should use? Where would I buy it?

  12. #12
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    I spray a bit of WD-40 on a paper towel, and use it to wipe the dirt off the chain while turning the pedals backwards. Then lube with a light oil, and wipe the excess off. It takes only a few minutes, so I do it every couple rides.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mohair_chair
    If you use SRAM chains (and some others), they come with a link that allows you to take the chain off without any tools. Then you can soak the chain in degreaser. I like to put it inside a jar with degreaser, then shake it all up for a minute or so. Even better, put it on top of your washing machine during a load! Let it soak for a bit, wash it off, put it back on and you are good to go. Doing this takes about the same time as using a chain cleaner, and it's a thousand times more effective.

    I use a old plastic gatorade powder container with automotive degreaser and shake it up and let it sit while I am cleaning the rest of the bike. When I take the chain out, it looks brand new. I do the same thing with new chains to get the factory lube off before putting them on the bike. I use Finish Line teflon stuff, but it is all personal preference and your riding conditions that determine what lube is right for your bike. I take the chain off every two weeks for cleaning. I live in Hawaii, a volcanic island, so you can imagine how abrasive the dirt is here. I only get 1800-2000 miles out of a chain even with frequent cleaning. New back tire equals new chain, about the same mileage.

  14. #14

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    ProLink

    Prolink makes keeping your chain clean easy, because it cleans and lubes in one easy step. And it lasts alot longer in my exp. then wax-based lubes.

    It also keeps the rest of your drivetrain and bike cleaner.

    If you wipe the sides of your chain after each ride you can keep it relatively clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raa1976
    What is the best way to clean my chain? There is a fairly thick buildup on it.
    - A couple of thoughts for you. First, I would not recommend removing the chain. In many cases, regardless of type of chain or the reconnection link etc..you will decrease the durability of the chain. Plus its a pain in the a** and takes to long.

    The tool (park, pedros etc) is okay, but I've never been all that impressed and they are expensive etc.

    Therefore, the best way is with a few cheap and still brushes. Ideally, you should have a workstand. If not just lean the bike against the wall. Spray a good amoung of degresser. The best I have found is called "Big Orange" Let this soak for a minute. Then hold the brush against the rear cassette and move the chain backwards (so the bike doesn't take off) As you do this, you can move the brush around. After a minuate, spray with a light nozzle hose. Repeat until you can touch the chain without getting any black stuff on your fingers. Then re-lube and your good to go. BTW, campys lubrication is the best stuff made, period. Good luck.

  16. #16
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    What?

    Quote Originally Posted by carreraRC
    - In many cases, regardless of type of chain or the reconnection link etc..you will decrease the durability of the chain.
    I won't debate weather removal is required for cleaning (although clearly you can do a better job with less mess on the rest of the bike with it off) but a decrease in durability when a "master" link is used is 100% baseless.

    My current practice is wipe and relube weekly with homebrew.

    In a total over kill mode I will remove the chain soak shake in gunk, soak shake in Simply green, rinse in water, spray with WD-40 to displace the water and relube with homebrew. Probably a total waste of time but if I don't spend it on my bikes the wife will expect me to spend time with my kids.
    Last edited by Lifelover; 07-15-2005 at 12:44 PM.
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  17. #17
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    that's not totally true

    Quote Originally Posted by carreraRC
    - A couple of thoughts for you. First, I would not recommend removing the chain. In many cases, regardless of type of chain or the reconnection link etc..you will decrease the durability of the chain. Plus its a pain in the a** and takes to long.

    The tool (park, pedros etc) is okay, but I've never been all that impressed and they are expensive etc.

    Therefore, the best way is with a few cheap and still brushes. Ideally, you should have a workstand. If not just lean the bike against the wall. Spray a good amoung of degresser. The best I have found is called "Big Orange" Let this soak for a minute. Then hold the brush against the rear cassette and move the chain backwards (so the bike doesn't take off) As you do this, you can move the brush around. After a minuate, spray with a light nozzle hose. Repeat until you can touch the chain without getting any black stuff on your fingers. Then re-lube and your good to go. BTW, campys lubrication is the best stuff made, period. Good luck.
    "regardless of type of chain or the reconnection link etc..you will decrease the durability of the chain." if you use a sram or wipperman, or mavic chain, or a campy chain w/ a connex link, you can take the thing apart and put it back together 'til you're blue and it won't hurt a thing.
    i do agree w/ you about the chain cleaner being basically useless. those things suck. and, the orange cleaner stuff works really well. better than simple green, which i keep in the trailer as a back-up. the orange stuff rules.

  18. #18
    Arrogant roadie.....
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    sigh....here we go again.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifelover
    I won't debate weather removal is required for cleaning (although clearly you can do a better job with less mess on the rest of the bike with it off) but a decrease in durability when a "master" link is used is 100% baseless.

    My current practice is wipe and relube weekly with homebrew.

    In a total over kill mode I will remove the chain soak shake in gunk, soak shake in Simply green, rinse in water, spray with WD-40 to displace the water and relube with homebrew. Probably a total waste of time but if I don't spend it on my bikes the wife will expect me to spend time with my kids.
    Simple Green is a detergent, and you don't want to leave detergents between your links-it will attack any lube and leave your surfaces unprotected. Also, SG is extremely caustict and should never be used on any moving machinery parts. Keep it only for things like cleaning your barbecue or for getting tar off your bike frame. Don't use it as a solvent.
    We are the 801
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  19. #19
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    soak in paint thinner the whole day.

    brush off the remaining rewsidue then soak everything up in white lightning or a greaser afterwards. works wonders for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lifelover
    I won't debate weather removal is required for cleaning (although clearly you can do a better job with less mess on the rest of the bike with it off) but a decrease in durability when a "master" link is used is 100% baseless.

    My current practice is wipe and relube weekly with homebrew.

    In a total over kill mode I will remove the chain soak shake in gunk, soak shake in Simply green, rinse in water, spray with WD-40 to displace the water and relube with homebrew. Probably a total waste of time but if I don't spend it on my bikes the wife will expect me to spend time with my kids.
    You'd have a lot more time to spend with your trusty bikes; and life's a lot easier: If you're not ( "committed" ) being married, and worse ---- having kids. You'd be getting more done. I have the best in My life being single, and living with My bikes!!!!
    Last edited by carbfib; 07-22-2005 at 09:47 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by biknben
    One thing I'll add. Spray some White Lightning Clean Streak http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Tools/product_86650.shtml on the rag before performing step one. I've been really impressed with this stuff. It takes off as much of the build-up as a chain-cleaning device without the mess. Grease and other grime instantly wipes off. Very good stuff, IMO.
    I wonder how long before it destroys the carbon on my bike.

  22. #22
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    My tidbits of knowledge on the chain cleaning debate:

    The SRAM and Wipperman links are GREAT. I started to use them a few years ago and now consider them to be necessary equipment on all my bikes.

    If you fall into the take the chain off camp, use mineral spirits to clean (paint thinner - odorless is only $3 more per gallon and stinks a whole lot less), it's cheap and is fairly safe if you get it on your skin.

    I also like to use cheap disposable gloves when handling a chain. Latex works ok but the paint thinner will eat through them, vinyl or the blue rubber jobs work better because they last longer in the solvent.

    After cleaning the chain, pour off the black thinner into a clean storage container (2 liter soda bottle works great). Over the course of a few days, the black sludge settles down to the bottom and you can reuse the clean thinner the next time you need to clean your chain (pour off the clean stuff into another clean container before dropping in the chain).

    The key thing about cleaning your chain is to DO IT. Use whatever method you like and be happy. I've used a Finish Line on-bike chain cleaner and thought is worked just fine with the factory degreeser that comes in the package. For ongoing usage though, that stuff is expensive so I ditched the cleaner. Also, it's much easier to clean the cogs and crank with the chain off the bike so I went the removable link route.

    A passable job of chain cleaning can be done with WD-40 on a rag. You can't get between the roller however but fortunately, the grit that stays there doesn't seem to hurt anything since it's out of the way.

    Not sure this info helps but thought I'd share.


    Ed
    Last edited by Nessism; 07-23-2005 at 06:10 AM.

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    White Lightning Lube...

    Has anybody tried this self cleaning wax lubricant? I just picked some up last night and was wondering if anybody had any positive reviews on it. I have always used the finish line product but I thought I would try something new.


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoothflyin
    Has anybody tried this self cleaning wax lubricant? I just picked some up last night and was wondering if anybody had any positive reviews on it. I have always used the finish line product but I thought I would try something new.
    I'm not a big fan of wax lube. They don't last very long (about 15-20 miles). Also, they tend to cake off during your ride and gum up the cassette.

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    Don't Use Simple Green!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Stohler
    Simple Green is a detergent, and you don't want to leave detergents between your links-it will attack any lube and leave your surfaces unprotected. Also, SG is extremely caustict and should never be used on any moving machinery parts. Keep it only for things like cleaning your barbecue or for getting tar off your bike frame. Don't use it as a solvent.
    Also it should be noted that Simple Green ATTACKS ALUMINUM, making it brittle. SG is a big no-no in the marine and aerospace industries for a reason. I know that everyone on this forum (RBR as a whole) is smart enough to also never get any kind of Chlorine near your Al bike either as it will DISSOLVE it. Even Chlorine vapors can have a bad effect on Al, so if you have a pool or spa and lean your bike up againt the shelves in the garage where you keep the chemicals, you might want to rethink your parking space.

    Interestingly enough, Chlorine doesn't effect carbon one bit. We use it in composites for dissolving Al mandrels out of carbon parts, with no measurable effects (to the carbon).

    cheers-
    Alexander-

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