Best way to clean chain & rear cogs?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Dennis, Apr 24, 2003.

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  1. Dennis

    Dennis Guest

    Subject says it really. Den
     
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  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Subject says it really. Den
    >
    >
    I find WD40 and a nice oily cloth (not necessarily at the beginning, but certainly by the end
    ;-)...worked thus far, then wack on the GT85, presto!!
     
  3. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Thu, 24 Apr 2003 20:20:09 GMT, "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote:

    Chain: The Sheldon Shake http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

    Block / cassette: use a scraper-outer to get the crud off, take a decent bit of rag, fold in half,
    add degreaser to the cloth and hold it level between the cogs; move cloth fore-and-aft and the cogs
    will clean and spin on alternate movements. Works for me.

    And, my £0.02, NEVER let WD40 anywhere near your drivetrain, it is singularly effective at washing
    out grease.

    Guy
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  4. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Chain: Remove and soak 'n' shake in a jar of white spirit. Repeat if really filthy. Using a
    Powerlink* makes chain easy to remove & fit. Afterwards, let crud settle to bottom of jar so spirit
    can be reused.
    * see www.sram.com

    If don't want to do that, a clamp-on chain cleaner works quite well, although a bit
    splashy & fiddly.

    Just wiping the outside of chain (with or without chemicals) is useless, and just hosing/flushing
    with water or degreaser is not good enough. Oiling a dirty chain is (probably) worse than useless as
    it flushes grit from the outside into the innards.

    Cogs: As Guy's method, and for Campag Mirage/Veloce: occasionally dissasemble the whole thing and
    clean the loose sprockets with a rag & WD40 (they're not pinned together like $himaNO's).

    You can do all this lots of other ways but you did ask for the best :)

    Chain lube: No perfect answer - use whatever /you/ like. Personally, I'm finding Castrol/Halfords
    Chain Wax is a good compromise between oil or spray grease (which lubes & lasts well but is messy)
    and hard dry wax products (which are ridiculously expensive and don't stay working long). It's a
    reasonably priced medium-soft waxy stuff that keeps chain relatively clean (compared to oil and most
    common lubes). Note. Takes an hour or two to fully set. Halfords own brand seems to be exactly the
    same stuff as Castrol's.

    ~PB
     
  5. Stan Cox

    Stan Cox Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    ><snip> Cogs: As Guy's method, and for Campag Mirage/Veloce: occasionally dissasemble the whole
    >thing and clean the loose sprockets with a rag & WD40 (they're not pinned together like
    >$himaNO's). <snip>
    >
    > ~PB
    >
    >
    Pete The 9 Speed shimano blocks have the top half of the cogs in two "clusters" but the rest of the
    cogs are loose as with Campag. The 8 speed are just held together with three bolts which have small
    allen key heads. A couple of seconds and you have 8 individual cogs to clean. This is how I and
    everyone I know do it. All the best.

    Stan Cox
     
  6. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > Chain lube: No perfect answer - use whatever /you/ like.

    It seems basically to come down to a choice between oil and wax. Oil is a better lubricant and is
    better in the wet but it is also much dirtier.

    > Personally, I'm finding Castrol/Halfords Chain Wax is a good compromise between oil or spray
    > grease and hard dry wax.

    In an aerosol spray? I tried this stuff once on the recommendation of someone I respect. I squirted
    it all over a thoroughly cleaned chain but the first ride I made with it was very wet and it seemed
    to be all gone after about 30 miles. When I got home I dried the chain very thoroughly with rags,
    put more spray wax on and wiped off the surplus. A couple of hours later I put yet more on, again
    wiping off the surplus. The next morning my chain was covered in rust. I now use chain saw oil -
    very effective, very cheap, but unfortunately very dirty.

    --
    Dave...
     
  7. Andy Welch

    Andy Welch Guest

    On 25-Apr-2003, "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

    > Chain: Remove and soak 'n' shake in a jar of white spirit. Repeat if really filthy. Using a
    > Powerlink* makes chain easy to remove & fit. Afterwards, let crud settle to bottom of jar so
    > spirit can be reused.
    > * see www.sram.com
    >

    Bit of an expensive option if you've gone down the campag 10-speed route and are using their
    HD-L chain.

    OK I guess I could use a Wipperman chain. But I've bought the fancy campag chain tool now!

    Cheers,

    Andy
     
  8. Guy Chapman

    Guy Chapman Guest

    "Stan Cox" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<Zl4qa.59$%[email protected]>...

    > The 9 Speed shimano blocks have the top half of the cogs in two "clusters" but the rest of the
    > cogs are loose as with Campag. The 8 speed are just held together with three bolts which have
    > small allen key heads. A couple of seconds and you have 8 individual cogs to clean. This is how I
    > and everyone I know do it. All the best.

    I do that once a year, in Spring when the whole bike gets its annual overhaul. In between times the
    folded-over rag is fine - but it probably depends on where you ride, and what lubricant you use. We
    (the Chapman family cycle club, 15 wheels, 10 saddles, 12 chains, 4 cassettes, 3 blocks) use wax
    lubes and ride almost exclusively on the road, so the sprockets don't get very dirty. An offroad
    bike with oil-based lube is likely to require the more thorough method more often, I guess.

    Guy
     
  9. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <snip>
    > And, my £0.02, NEVER let WD40 anywhere near your drivetrain, it is singularly effective at washing
    > out grease.
    >
    > Guy

    .....and all the dust particles etc. that the grease is holding lovingly onto your cherished chain
    etc ?... I haven't had any problem with this method Guy, but then I always apply WD40, wipe off with
    cloth until nice shiny chain, then apply GT85. Better than nothing, I suppose ?..possibly..? Dave.
     
  10. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Dave Kahn wrote:
    > "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    >> Personally, I'm finding Castrol/Halfords Chain Wax is a good compromise between oil or spray
    >> grease and hard dry wax.
    >
    > In an aerosol spray?

    Yes.

    > I tried this stuff once on the recommendation of someone I respect. I squirted it all over a
    > thoroughly cleaned chain but the first ride I made with it was very wet and it seemed to be all
    > gone after about 30 miles.

    Doesn't matter if there appears to be none left on outside. Any squeaking, though, would indicate
    that there's not enough in the innards.

    I wouldn't recommend the product for frequent wet use or long rides in heavy rain but I have found
    it survives more wet weather than Kyrtech does, for example. So maybe not so great for a commuter or
    tourer, but good for best road bike or general summer use, imo.

    It helps to make sure chain is as clean & dry* as possible before application, use liberally then
    wipe off excess before it sets, and to leave at least an hour before riding it.

    * Without any remains of white spirit, WD40 or anything.

    ~PB
     
  11. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Stan Cox wrote:
    > The 9 Speed shimano blocks have the top half of the cogs in two "clusters" but the rest of the
    > cogs are loose as with Campag. The 8 speed are just held together with three bolts which have
    > small allen key heads. A couple of seconds and you have 8 individual cogs to clean. This is how I
    > and everyone I know do it. All the best.

    Thanks for the info. I understand some cassettes use rivets (instead of ak bolts) which would need
    their heads filed off or something to remove.

    ~PB
     
  12. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Fri, 25 Apr 2003 13:34:23 +0100, "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> And, my £0.02, NEVER let WD40 anywhere near your drivetrain, it is singularly effective at
    >> washing out grease.

    >.....and all the dust particles etc. that the grease is holding lovingly onto your cherished
    >chain etc ?...

    Less of a problem than the fact that it will get iself into the wheel bearings and bottom bracket,
    and wash the grease out of them. It is specifically designed to penetrate, and is heavily laden with
    solvents. The mist of spray which you get, even with the little red tube, makes it very unlikely
    that you will manage to adequately clean a cassette or rear mech without endangering your bearings,
    unless you first remove the wheel and the cassette - at which point you might as well use citrus
    degreaser anyway :)

    Guy
    ===
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  13. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Fri, 25 Apr 2003 14:09:41 +0100, "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

    >I wouldn't recommend the product for frequent wet use or long rides in heavy rain but I have found
    >it survives more wet weather than Kyrtech does, for example. So maybe not so great for a commuter
    >or tourer, but good for best road bike or general summer use, imo.

    I'm a cycle commuter, winter and summer, rain or shine, and I use wax all year round. In winter it
    sheds the grit as it washes off, which is a Good Thing. I have to apply a couple of drops on the
    return idler on the 'bent every two to three days, but that is scarcely a big deal, and the short
    period I ran the triplet with oil rather than wax was a nightmare of black greasy marks on socks.
    Never again :-/

    Guy
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  14. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

    >> I wouldn't recommend the product for frequent wet use or long rides in heavy rain but I have
    >> found it survives more wet weather than Kyrtech does, for example. So maybe not so great for a
    >> commuter or tourer, but good for best road bike or general summer use, imo.

    The above was specifically about Castrol/Halfords Chain Wax and Finish Line Krytech (and I was being
    on the cautious side).

    > I'm a cycle commuter, winter and summer, rain or shine, and I use wax all year round. In winter it
    > sheds the grit as it washes off, which is a Good Thing.

    That's grit on the outside, isn't it? What about grit right in the innards? And does the chain
    squeak after 10 miles in the rain? If so, that means there's virtually no lube left (or dirt, for
    that matter) so you /might/ be just as well off using no lube at all! (?)

    > I have to apply a couple of drops on the return idler on the 'bent every two to three days, but
    > that is scarcely a big deal,

    There's bound to still be _some_ dirt/grit on the outside and I would worry that simply adding
    more lube would flush that into the rollers, etc. I try to either clean thoroughly then re-lube,
    or do nothing.

    How much do you spend on WL per year? And can you recommend anywhere to buy it from?

    When using £££Krytech (which is similar to White Lightening, I understand), I found I needed to use
    a /lot/ of it very frequently. A few drops was not good enough.

    Also, I remember you reporting that your last chain didn't last as long as usual after using WL.
    Although the theory that grit causes most of the wear seems reasonable to me perhaps loads of sheer
    lubrication (which can only be got from oil, really) is needed afterall to make chains last.
    Although, like you, I find oil horribly messy. We can't win :-(

    ~PB
     
  15. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    > Less of a problem than the fact that it will get iself into the wheel bearings and bottom bracket,
    > and wash the grease out of them. It is specifically designed to penetrate, and is heavily laden
    > with solvents. The mist of spray which you get, even with the little red tube, makes it very
    > unlikely that you will manage to adequately clean a cassette or rear mech without endangering your
    > bearings, unless you first remove the wheel and the cassette - at which point you might as well
    > use citrus degreaser anyway :)

    I find surrounding the mechs with a large rag and using the can up-close to them is adequate to
    protect bearings.

    I reckon it would take quite a lot of solvent to significantly degrease bearings so it's probably
    only the people who are unaware of the dangers or even think WD40/GT85 is supposed to be sprayed
    into bearings that are spoiling their equipment like this.

    ~PB
     
  16. On Sat, 26 Apr 2003 17:26:26 -0400, Pete Biggs wrote:

    > Also, I remember you reporting that your last chain didn't last as long as usual after using WL.
    > Although the theory that grit causes most of the wear seems reasonable to me perhaps loads of
    > sheer lubrication (which can only be got from oil, really) is needed afterall to make chains last.
    > Although, like you, I find oil horribly messy. We can't win :-(

    I think I've found a way to win. I use SRAM chains with powerlink "master links", which makes
    removing the chain very easy. I clean the chain by immersing it in mineral spirits (your "white
    spirits", aka "paint thinner") then wash in the same detergent solution as I'm using to wash the
    rest of the bike, and rinse with clear water.

    I too use the "two coffee can, let the spirits settle" technique described earlier in this thread;
    since I have a bunch of drip coffee filters and don't use that type of pot, I strain the remainder
    through a coffee filter rather than just discarding the really dirty remainder. A little spirit goes
    a long way, here.

    After the chain dries, I lubricate it with Boeshield T-9. This stuff was originally developed to
    protect against corrosion in aircraft and boats. It's got a mineral spirit base (so it penetrates
    very well, and you can use it on the road when thoroughly washing the chain's simply not an option)
    and dries leaving a waxy coating (that unlike "parrafin", doesn't chip or flake right off) that
    keeps the chain running quiet and clean for a long time. The company says it "lubricates and
    protects for 150 to 200 miles per application".

    Unlike "hot wax" you can ride through many hours of heavy rain and not have the chain squeak, and
    it's far less messy than oil. It takes a special technique to put it on (you don't just slather it
    on and then go riding; you've got to let it dry overnight) but that happens to match exactly the way
    I normally maintain the chain, so it's no problem for me.

    I've tried a lot of things over the years, but this stuff is far and away the best.
     
  17. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Steve Palincsar wrote: .........
    > After the chain dries, I lubricate it with Boeshield T-9. This stuff was originally developed to
    > protect against corrosion in aircraft and boats. It's got a mineral spirit base (so it penetrates
    > very well, and you can use it on the road when thoroughly washing the chain's simply not an
    > option) and dries leaving a waxy coating (that unlike "parrafin", doesn't chip or flake right off)
    > that keeps the chain running quiet and clean for a long time. The company says it "lubricates and
    > protects for 150 to 200 miles per application".
    >
    > Unlike "hot wax" you can ride through many hours of heavy rain and not have the chain squeak, and
    > it's far less messy than oil. It takes a special technique to put it on (you don't just slather it
    > on and then go riding; you've got to let it dry overnight) but that happens to match exactly the
    > way I normally maintain the chain, so it's no problem for me.
    >
    > I've tried a lot of things over the years, but this stuff is far and away the best.

    I might give it a go if I can find it for a reasonable price in the UK - if it's much different from
    the Halfords/Castrol wax I'm using at the moment. If it's very expensive, however, I'd be inclined
    to buy a new chain every month or two instead!

    Is T-9 a hard or soft wax? Dry? (The Castrol stuff is medium-soft and slightly sticky but still
    cleaner than oil.).

    ~PB
     
  18. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Pete Biggs <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:
    >
    > I might give it a go if I can find it for a reasonable price in the UK - if it's much different
    > from the Halfords/Castrol wax I'm using at the moment. If it's very expensive, however, I'd be
    > inclined to buy a new chain every month or two instead!
    >
    > Is T-9 a hard or soft wax? Dry? (The Castrol stuff is medium-soft and slightly sticky but still
    > cleaner than oil.).
    >

    I use Boeshield but I'm pretty sure its not available in the UK - I stock up when I'm in the US. As
    Steve says it works well. I find with all the waxes and particularly Boeshield that its not a good
    last minute lubricant. If you apply shortly before a ride it doesn't last. It needs to be at least
    the day before and then it works well.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  19. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 26 Apr 2003 22:26:26 +0100, "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

    >That's grit on the outside, isn't it? What about grit right in the innards?

    None perceptible; chain life seems adequate (I shredded one when a return idler went haywire, but
    the rest seem to have lasted the required 12 months / 4,000 miles OK).

    >And does the chain squeak after 10 miles in the rain? >

    No, because...

    >If so, that means there's virtually no lube left (or dirt, for that matter) so you /might/ be just
    >as well off using no lube at all! (?)

    Quite. If it did that I'd be using something else :)

    To be fair after a hard ride in really disgusting wether I usually top up the lube after the bike's
    dried out anyway, just out of kindness.

    >> I have to apply a couple of drops on the return idler on the 'bent every two to three days, but
    >> that is scarcely a big deal,

    >There's bound to still be _some_ dirt/grit on the outside and I would worry that simply adding more
    >lube would flush that into the rollers, etc.

    As I understand it wax is /supposed/ to be topped up, one way it keeps the chain clean is by
    sticking to crud particles and dropping off taking said crud with them. It certainly takes a very
    long time (in the order of several months) to accumulate enough dirt on the chain to warrant
    cleaning, and less washes out at that point than I used to get in a fornight when using Finish Line.

    >How much do you spend on WL per year?

    Not sure - a bottle lasts about two to three months, longer in winter, less in summer (more bikes
    and more miles in summer). And that's applying it inna Henry Cooper stylee...

    > And can you recommend anywhere to buy it from?

    I just get it from the LBS. I suppose I should buy gallon tins from the cyclists' equivalent of
    Makro, but I never get round to it.

    Guy
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  20. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 26 Apr 2003 18:54:05 -0400, Steve Palincsar <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I too use the "two coffee can, let the spirits settle" technique described earlier in this thread;

    Reminds me of when I used to maintain the family fleet of Minis. I had two ten-gallon drums of
    paraffin on the go and a number of gallon cans of varying dirtyness, graded from "first wash" to
    "final clean." The last act was to rinse the part with a garden spary full of clean paraffin, with
    the runoff going into the final clean can.

    One day I dismantled a gearbox into its component parts and laid them out on newspaper in order of
    disassembly. I came into the workshop the next evening to find that Dad had helpfully put them all
    in the paraffin bath for me "to soak." All those tiny little needle bearings, springs, ball
    bearings, funny shaped bits...

    Guy
    ===
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