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What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi,

Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning mountain
bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to take
the chain off.

Is the Finish Line Chain Cleaning Kit the best? And how about the
degreaser? Is it worth spending money on an expensive de-greaser or will
white spirit / washing-up liquid to the job?

And does anyone have any cunning trade secrets they'd like to give away
regarding cleaning the rest of the chainset? Or does everyone just use
de-greaser and a tooth brush?

Many thanks,
Jack


PS - Sorry if this message appears twice - problems with Outlook Express!
post #2 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Daniel Kelly (AKA Jack)" <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:c4e41f$28sq$1@uns-a.ucl.ac.uk...
> Hi,
>
> Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning

mountain
> bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to

take
> the chain off.
>
> Is the Finish Line Chain Cleaning Kit the best? And how about the
> degreaser? Is it worth spending money on an expensive de-greaser or will
> white spirit / washing-up liquid to the job?
>
> And does anyone have any cunning trade secrets they'd like to give away
> regarding cleaning the rest of the chainset? Or does everyone just use
> de-greaser and a tooth brush?
>
> Many thanks,
> Jack
>
>
> PS - Sorry if this message appears twice - problems with Outlook Express!
>


Go to Home Depot and get some Orange Zep. It's about $8 gallon (way cheaper
than buying bicycle branded citrus cleaners.) Dilute it with water in a
spray bottle for most of the bike, and use it straight up for the chain...

HTH,
Cat
post #3 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

Daniel Kelly (AKA Jack) wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Please may I ask your advice?



Not to every freakin' cycling group on the 'net.

Dan
post #4 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

I'm a longtime user of Citra-Solv. The local food co-op sells it, and
I think you can also buy it at hardware stores.

As for scrubbing the chain clean, I prefer to use that special Park
Tool brush. The brush part is removable, which is a good thing because
the brush doesn't last very long.

Hope this helps!

Martha Retallick
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Bicycling postcards, notecards, coffee mugs,
lunchboxes, tile boxes and more!
http://www.CafeShops.com/Postcarder
post #5 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

Daniel Kelly (AKA Jack) wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning
> mountain bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me
> having to take the chain off.


I hardly ever "clean" my chain. Run it thru a dry rag (backpedaling) and
then add White Lightning.

Meets your criteria of cheap and easy.

Bill "no ex-wife jokes, please" S.
post #6 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

Daniel Kelly writes:

> Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning
> mountain bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without
> me having to take the chain off.


http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html

> PS - Sorry if this message appears twice - problems with Outlook Express!


But it appeared in too many newsgroups!

Jobst Brandt
jobst.brandt@stanfordalumni.org
post #7 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Daniel Kelly \(AKA Jack\)" <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> wrote in message news:<c4e41f$28sq$1@uns-a.ucl.ac.uk>...
> Hi,
>
> Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning mountain
> bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to take
> the chain off.
>
> Is the Finish Line Chain Cleaning Kit the best? And how about the
> degreaser? Is it worth spending money on an expensive de-greaser or will
> white spirit / washing-up liquid to the job?
>
> And does anyone have any cunning trade secrets they'd like to give away
> regarding cleaning the rest of the chainset? Or does everyone just use
> de-greaser and a tooth brush?
>
> Many thanks,
> Jack
>
>
> PS - Sorry if this message appears twice - problems with Outlook Express!



Just buy a new chain. It's probably worn out anyway. $20 will get you a new one.
post #8 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Werehatrack" <rault00@earthWEEDSlink.net> a écrit dans le message de :

> This has been discussed endlessly. May I suggest that a few hours
> spent Googling the prior threads should either leave you completely
> confused or extremely well-informed, or somewhere between those two?


Well, perhaps he did (look) and did (get) confused. Perhaps he wanted to
get some answers here, evaluate them, and act.

Googling is neither obligatory nor necessary in a discussion group. What a
snotty reply that got nowhere. Not even your own meagre offering.
--
Bonne route,

Sandy
Paris FR
post #9 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Daniel Kelly (AKA Jack)" <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:c4e41f$28sq$1@uns-a.ucl.ac.uk...
> Hi,
>
> Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning

mountain
> bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to

take
> the chain off.


There are several on-bike chain cleaner devices. They all work about the
same. The key is that you have to replace the solvent several times during
the process, until it runs clean. You actually get a cleaner chain with
these devices than you do by simply soaking your chain in solvent, unless
you're able to agitate the solvent while flexing the links of the chain. Not
sure if it's any faster than removing the chain though.

> Is the Finish Line Chain Cleaning Kit the best? And how about the
> degreaser? Is it worth spending money on an expensive de-greaser or will
> white spirit / washing-up liquid to the job?


Never use water-based solvents on a chain. Kerosene or mineral spirits are
fine.

> And does anyone have any cunning trade secrets they'd like to give away
> regarding cleaning the rest of the chainset? Or does everyone just use
> de-greaser and a tooth brush?


Toothbrushes work well. Also sometimes pipe cleaners are useful. Sometimes
compressed air is helpful.

After cleaning, the best way to lube your chain, on the bike, is with
foaming motorcycle chain lube. Off the bike, soak it chainsaw oil.
post #10 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Jonesy" <beelzebubba@hotmail.com> a écrit dans le message de :
news:73da2590.0403311412.48421e42@posting.google.com...
> "Daniel Kelly \(AKA Jack\)" <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> wrote in

message news:<c4e41f$28sq$1@uns-a.ucl.ac.uk>...

> SMMB: Googling is not obligatory, but it certainly is a good way to
> get a baseline set of data. From that data set, one could then ask
> focused questions for clarity.


I see ...
That's to leave the available bandwidth for all the original thinkers who
post here.
Please pardon my silly comment.
--
Bonne route,

Sandy
Paris FR
post #11 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

It depends on what you used to lubricate the chain. I use butter. It may
be a bit more costly than margarine but sometimes paying for quality is
worth it. Cleaning the chain is then quite easy: my neighbor's dog licks
it off, usually at the end of the ride. Sometimes he doesn't like to wait
that long and I get his companionship during the ride. Perhaps you may
think this sounds a bit odd but, have no fear, dog saliva is antiseptic.

Two hints:
1. Sweet, not salted, butter.
2. Rather than melt the butter and drip it onto the chain, I wait until it
softens, spread it generously onto a slice of bread, and wrap the buttered
bread around the chain as I turn the crank. White sandwich bread is best
for this; whole wheat works in a pinch. Baguettes or bagels? No.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

Hi,

Thank you loads for your help, everyone. Incidentally, I did spend an hour
or so Googling before I posted my newsgroup question. But there are a lot
of opinions out there and I wanted to see what the current status quo is.

Thanks again to those who took the time to write helpful and constructive
comments.

Jack





"Daniel Kelly (AKA Jack)" <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:c4e41f$28sq$1@uns-a.ucl.ac.uk...
> Hi,
>
> Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning

mountain
> bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to

take
> the chain off.
>
> Is the Finish Line Chain Cleaning Kit the best? And how about the
> degreaser? Is it worth spending money on an expensive de-greaser or will
> white spirit / washing-up liquid to the job?
>
> And does anyone have any cunning trade secrets they'd like to give away
> regarding cleaning the rest of the chainset? Or does everyone just use
> de-greaser and a tooth brush?
>
> Many thanks,
> Jack
>
>
> PS - Sorry if this message appears twice - problems with Outlook Express!
>
>
post #13 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Werehatrack" <rault00@earthWEEDSlink.net> wrote in message
news59m601vlmpubb6unrckdpfubr41mgda67@4ax.com...
> On Wed, 31 Mar 2004 10:47:29 +0100, "Daniel Kelly \(AKA Jack\)"
> <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> may have said:
>
> >Hi,
> >
> >Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning

mountain
> >bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to

take
> >the chain off.

>
> This has been discussed endlessly. May I suggest that a few hours
> spent Googling the prior threads should either leave you completely
> confused or extremely well-informed, or somewhere between those two?
> (The result will be little different from Yet Another chain cleaning
> thread, in that regard.)


Indeed.

However, I would like to say, cleaning a chain actually does it harm! It
gets oil away from the load surfaces, and crap in! You should just keep
re-oiling it, lasts 2 to 5 times longer that way. Excess crud removes itself
via the critical mass method, same way and MTB cleans itself.

HTH educate those who don't know this.



Shaun aRe - If google is you friend, who buys the first round?
post #14 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Stewart Fleming" <stewart.fleming@paradise.net.nz> wrote in message
news:AuJac.5938$u%1.647971@news02.tsnz.net...
>
>
> Werehatrack wrote:
> > On Wed, 31 Mar 2004 10:47:29 +0100, "Daniel Kelly \(AKA Jack\)"
> > <d.kellyNOSPAM@NOSPAM.ucl.ac.uk> may have said:
> >
> >
> >>Hi,
> >>
> >>Please may I ask your advice? What's the best device for cleaning

mountain
> >>bike chains? I'd like it to be cheap and to work without me having to

take
> >>the chain off.

> >
> >
> > This has been discussed endlessly. May I suggest that a few hours
> > spent Googling the prior threads should either leave you completely

>
> We are no longer allowed to Google for previous threads over here in
> rec.bicycles.racing.


Why?

> We have to pay attention the first time round.


You're in trouble then, 'least until tomorrow.



Shaun aRe
post #15 of 31

Re: What's the best chain cleaner & degreaser?

"Jonesy" <beelzebubba@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Back to topic: I also have had poor luck with citrus-based solvents.
> They are good for degreasing clothes, or removing glue residue, but
> not for chain cleaning. I use good ol' paint thinner in a soda
> bottle. Put in the chain. Shake. Pull the chain out and wipe. Let
> dirt settle out. Pour off clear (no dirt particles) supernatant to a
> new bottle, remove dirt from old bottle. Put chain in new bottle.
> Shake. Rinse, lather, repeat until no dirt comes out of chain. Dry
> thoroughly, such that NO solvent is left in the chain.


I find a flame works best for this.

> Soak in
> lightweight motor oil overnight. Pull out, let drain, wipe down with
> solventy rag. Install, let sit, wipe it down again. Ride for three
> minutes until it's dirty again.
>
> After having seen at least one experiment in r.b.t., I think the "wipe
> real good, re-oil, wipe real good again" is the best method for chain
> lubrication. Skip the cleaning, and replace the thing when it gets
> really filthy.


Yes, clean chains are a tool for the poser, and nothing else.

> I run oil in the winter, drier lube (wax-based) in the summer. Seems
> to work OK. Then again, whenever I pull the chain for cleaning, I
> pull the cassette too. While I'm waiting for some of the steps, I
> clean the chainrings and jockey wheels.
>
> But if you Googled, you might have got all that already.


Googling makes me dizzy. All that jumping up and down.

Shaun aRe
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