Are your cogs and gears all silvery and shiny?
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  1. #1
    Overequipped, underlegged
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    Are your cogs and gears all silvery and shiny?

    Because mine were and they have now turned black. i was wondering if it was time to take the bike to a shop, have the drivetrain dissassembled and thoroughly cleaned. The grase it has on it is BLACK and the kind that when u get a stain in your hand is impossible to get off. Is this just a cosmetic issue or should i take it for servicing? i usually wrench myself, but i lack the equipment for this.
    Any day is a good day to take care of one of your vehicles!

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb

    ... aside from a bit of brunishing caused by metal on metal contact, your drivetrain should remain fairly shiny over it's service life... the black deposits you describe sound most likely to be a melange of old chain lubricants, dirt, debris kicked up from the road and your own sweat... sounds like it's time for a cleaning...

    This, however may not include nor need the services of a shop for a rebuild/repack of the wheel's bearings... There are a variety of methods for hand cleaning that range from old rags, degreasers (a choice of detergent based), WD-40 (not as a lube but as a solvent) water and perhaps an old tooth brush or two... or one of several purpose built (and relatively inexpensive) tools for cleaning cogs and chains.


    picked up a Cyclone a couple years ago at a swap meet, and use it with Goo Gone citrus based solvent... works for me.
    https://www.parktool.com/tools/CG_2.shtml

    ... of course, a budget method simply requires a few old rags, a solvent/degreaser (used carefully so's to avoid contaminating the bearing or cassette innards) and a bit of water (warm seems to work best). There's no need to remove the cassette from the hub, but it might be easier to clean the assembly with the wheel off the bike... you can use a rag with solvent/degreasers in a sawlike motion to cog and clean both sides of the cogs as well as the cassette hub body. Likewise, you can "backpedal" the chain through a like rag to clean most of the exterior surfaces... though it'll take a bit of time and effort to flush out the pin bushings. This is where a used toothbrush (or the EX's if you can get it... and no, I'm not bitter...) comes in handy... it's also useful for cleaning the cogs and derailleur pulleys.

    Once everything is reasonably clean (of gunk, degreasers and solvents) and dry, you simply apply your favorite lube and off you go. Note: as I mentioned above, you can use WD-40 as a solvent... and a way to displace a bit of water used to clean the chain (WD stands for Water Displacement)... but not as a primary lubricant... if you use WD-40, take a bit of extra time to remove as much of the solvent as possible (much will evaporate under average summertime conditions round here) before relubing.

    That's my method... others may have their own (some folks will break the chain and clean it seperately).

  3. #3
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    Once you get it clean....

    occassional applications of ProLink on the chain (along with wiping the chain dry) will extend the time between major cleanups.... Black chains,and clusters (& greasy calves)are a good indication of neglect....read up on proper care of your bike. ('shiny' is not necessary, but 'black' tells you that the system is in dire need of attention....)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    Because mine were and they have now turned black. i was wondering if it was time to take the bike to a shop, have the drivetrain dissassembled and thoroughly cleaned. The grase it has on it is BLACK and the kind that when u get a stain in your hand is impossible to get off. Is this just a cosmetic issue or should i take it for servicing? i usually wrench myself, but i lack the equipment for this.
    How are you lubing your chain?

    Spend a bit of money for a lockring removal tool and build your own chainwhip if you are on a budget- that way you can remove your cassette and brush its teeth with an old tooth brush and some degreaser. If your chain is even remotely old, throw in the towel and pay $30 for a new one and start fresh.

    You aren't "oiling" your cassette, are you?

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    This a problem I have never been to able to deal with...

    I ride 200 a week, clean my chani almost every week (park cleaner & Chain brite), I break down the cog every 6 months or so for a compelet scrubbing. I use t-9 as a lube.

    My chain and cogs turn back in no time......I just don't get it...

  6. #6
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    Try using white lightening chain wax
    Pain is weakness leaving the body.

  7. #7
    Adrenalina Italiana
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    I second the White lightning.

    Plus Purple Power does wonders for cogs and does a good job on rims as well! I find that if you clean your drivetrain at the end of every week, it doesn't take that long to clean.
    " the odds are good, the goods are even odder."

  8. #8
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    Ditto White Lightning...

    I wipe and lube my chain after every 1-3 rides depending on how I feel, I also judiciously clean my whole drivetrain with lots of 409, a toothbrush, and a couple of rags once every month or two during the warmer months. There's something very deeply satisfying after having washed and waxed your bicycle, the drivetrain and wheels sparkling in the late afternoon glow, the liquid gloss of freshly waxed frame tubes and carbon fiber, the bartape so fresh and inviting, ummm excuse me I think I've got to go get a bucket of soapy water and some rags.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Don't waxed based lubes attract dirt & build up at the derailiuer cogs? Last month there was a thread regarding White Lighting vs. all others..

    White lighting lost big time...

  10. #10
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    White Lightning build-up on pulleys

    Quote Originally Posted by OwenMeany
    Don't waxed based lubes attract dirt & build up at the derailiuer cogs? Last month there was a thread regarding White Lighting vs. all others..

    White lighting lost big time...
    The wax and dirt combo does build up on the derailleur pulleys, but with White Lightning it's much easier to remove than with other lubes.

    The gunk gets built up on the sides of the teeth in solid chunks, kind of like the semi-solidifed toothpaste that gets built up around the tube's threads, only the lube is not nearly as gummy or sticky. All you have to do is hold a flat tipped screwdriver lightly against the sides of the pulley while turning the cranks backwards. The screwdriver blades acts as a wiper and scrapes 99% of the gunk off in chunks.

    With other lubes, the crude stays on in a liquidy sludge that can't be scraped off. The only problem I had with White Lightning the need to apply it much more often, so the chunks of wax built up much faster. Too many people use White Lightning Race Day thinking it's basically the same as regular White Lightning. It's completely different. Race Day is the WORST of both worlds. It's messy like oil-based lubes, and it needs to be reapplied often like wax-based lubes.

    I do think that when it comes time to completely clean the cogs and chain, wax-based lubes are actually harder to clean off than oil-based lubes. Solvents don't really seem to break up the wax. They just turn it into a gummy liquid.

  11. #11
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    The grase it has on it is BLACK and the kind that when u get a stain in your hand is impossible to get off.
    You're worried about a black stain covering up your yellow nicotine stains? Ehhh, what do I care. Nevermind.

  12. #12
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    5-minute cure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    Because mine were and they have now turned black. i was wondering if it was time to take the bike to a shop, have the drivetrain dissassembled and thoroughly cleaned. The grase it has on it is BLACK and the kind that when u get a stain in your hand is impossible to get off. Is this just a cosmetic issue or should i take it for servicing? i usually wrench myself, but i lack the equipment for this.
    Any oily lubricant will create a black film on the chain and cogs in as little as one ride. The chain and cogs can be returned to a shiny appearance, by removing the wheel and brushing the cogs with WD-40, mineral spirits or a 4/1 mix of mineral spirits and oil, followed by wiping with a dry towel. Stand the wheel at an angle over some old newspaper, (with the cassette down) for a few minutes in case some of the cleaner drips off.

    The only tool required is a cheap 1-1/2" paint brush (under $1). There is no need to remove the cassette.

    If you use the 4/1 mix of mineral spirits and oil as a chain lube, applied every other ride and wiped thoroughly, the chain will never need removal for cleaning.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    yep! have a wipperman link on my c10 chain and take it off and clean it and the cogs and chainrings once a week. keeps everything clean and functioning well.

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