Bike Cleaning

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by bhouse, May 7, 2012.

  1. bhouse

    bhouse New Member

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    I have been trying to clean my bike for the last couple of days and it has been quite the disaster. The amount of grease that has accumulated is unbelievable and I can't seem to get it off. The first thing I did was take a nylon brush to the whole bike, although as soon as I started scrubbing the drive train it got caked in grease and was pretty disgusting.

    I had degreaser, so I spent some time spraying that on my chain as I rolled it through an old t-shirt. I did this for a while, removing loads of grease each time. I got fed up with how much grease there was and started just spraying it all over my drive train, mostly the chainrings and derailleurs. I went through almost an entire thing of degreaser, grease dripping off the whole time. The rear crankset was pretty clean, but there was still generally a lot of grease.

    The next day I bought a chain cleaner (white lightning clean streak, which is a POS) to see how that would work. Once I finally got it working I did about 7-8 run throughs, each time the degreaser turning deep black. It was also slowly splashing my crankset in more grease... I feel like I need to just dump my bike in a pool of degreaser to get this thing clean. Is there anything I can do? Are there some good guides out there for bike cleaning? How clean can it realistically get? I have had the bike for less about 2.5 years (bought it new) and taken it for about 3 tune-ups, where they cleaned it each time, so I don't know how it accumulated so much? Thanks for the help!
     
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  2. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Like the old saying goes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping your bike clean is quick and easy.

    The best bet is to do a little disassembling. Remove the rear wheel and clean it thouroughly with the nylon brush. This way you dont transfer the dirt and debris onto the rest of your bike. Remove your chain and soak it in a diluted solution of simply green rinse with warm water and dry completely. Clean your crank with the simply green solution and rags while on your bike. You made need loads of rags to clean and dry.

    You can then clean your entire frame with warm soapy water and clean rags. Do not use a high pressure hose to rinse your bike. You can pour water over it and dry after.
     
  3. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    WD40 is an excellent de-greaser.

    Elbow grease and a bit of perserverance too.
     
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  4. bhouse

    bhouse New Member

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    Ill will try some simple green and wd-40, maybe they will work better. Isn't it bad to soak your chain in a degreasing solution like that though? I thought I read somewhere that it will strip the lubricant that is deep within the chain's parts, but maybe that was just the derailleur.
     
  5. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Yea the final verdict has not been settled in the chain soaking debate. Some say yes and some say no. Sheldon Brown suggest using a soda bottle to soak and clean your chain in. By the description of the cleaning job you are trying to undertake I would only assume that your chain needs replacing anyways.

    Soaking your chain is better for it than neglecting it. Apply fresh lube when you are done cleaning. WD40 is not a lube but it is a handy cleaning agent.
     
  6. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    A bike whose filthiness has gotten out of hand just needs to be partially disassembled. Remove chain, derailleurs, cassette, and cranks. Soak and scrub in a good solvent, keeping the solvent away from sealed bearings. I've used kerosene, Gunk (available at auto parts stores), and a citrus degreaser I got a Home Depot. They're all good. Remove sealed bottom bracket and clean, and clean the interface on the frame. Replace worn, frayed, corroded, or kinked cables. Clean frame using soap and water or spray cleaner. Dry, lube chain and pivots, and reassemble. Finish with clean handlebar wrap. Remind self to wipe excess lube from chain religiously from now on.
     
  7. Roadbiker63

    Roadbiker63 New Member

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    Go to the auto parts store and buy a can of brake clean, it'll take the grease off the chain and gears just fine and if you use the straw that comes with it you can pin point your spray.
     
  8. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Suggest you keep brakecleen and any other strong solvents away from the bike, particularly in spray form. Brakecleen is great at rinsing away grease, which means if you get any spray into your freehub bearings or RD pivots, you'll wash out the factory lube. By the time you got done spraying, you'd have grease all over the place, and then need something else to clean up the mess. Also it wouldn't be the best thing to get on paint, plastic parts or clearcoat on CF; the volatile solvents in brake cleaner work great as paint strippers. As bobcat said, if your drivetrain is really that flithy, best to just take off the cassette and chain (and chainrings too), and soak them in citrus degreaser.
     
  9. jamesk20

    jamesk20 New Member

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    As others have said be careful with wd40 and heavy solvents. Wd40 is horrible for o rings and basically anything rubber. Take the bike apart and clean each individual part!! Good luck !
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Taking everything apart on a regular basis would be a P.I.T.A.

    Keep something like a Park chain cleaning tool primed and ready for action. It'll also leave enough fluid on the chain to pretty much start cleaning the chainring that the chains on. If you buy the "park chain cleaning kit" you also get the then stiff bush and the goop scraper. Personally, I'm all about the chopped off stiff bristled paint brush for chainrings and cassette. A couple of minutes and everything is good and shiny again. Wipe clean and leave to dry. Lubricate after a few hours - or if you're not riding until the next day do it then.

    If the Park chain cleaning tool and Park chain cleaning solution can't rescue your chain then it was destined for the garbage.

    In winter I'll use Mobil 1 motor oil and during the summer I'll due a dry telfon lube from 3M or similar.

    Stay away from gear oil like the plague. That sh1t will attract dirt from the neighboring fields by the bucket load. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif
     
  11. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Disclaimer: The following is not my recommendation, but just something I tried for the first time.

    I removed the Wipperman chain (Connex masterlink) from the LOOK yesterday and dropped it into the Ultrasonic bath because micro grit was too deep into the links to remove with the chain cleaner. It took about three cycles using Simple Green (I forgot the version name, but it is approved for use in ultrasonic tubs and for all metals - non-corrosive). It is pretty cool to see the ultrasonic tub go to work as you can literally see the grease/grit liquify. The chain looks brand new again, but the danger of using the ultrasonic tub is being able to get lubrication back into all the chain links. I added Progold to the chain, but will have to wait and see if it ruined the chain or not. Either way it was an expensive chain that was at the point of heading to the garbage can and now I think it may have plenty more months of use based on the test run around the block.

    Since I did not get to ride yesterday I cleaned two bikes, but the bike I use for indoor training got a more thorough cleaning by removing most of the parts. I was amazed where the salty sweat was caked in the threads around the stem, headset and pedals. I had trouble removing the right pedal and had to put the crankarm in a vise to break it loose using a heavier socket wrench with an allen head. Fortunately it did not damage anything, but salt was really caked in the threads. I need to do this type of cleaning more often.
     
  12. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Motor oil contains detergents that can actually remove lubrication from your chain. It is also designed to work at high temperatures under pressure. Not a godd chain lube IMO.
     
  13. bhouse

    bhouse New Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies! I picked up some ZEP citrus degreaser the other day from home depot. I am going to get a chain tool today, remove the chain, derailleurs, and cranksets and clean them individually in the ZEP/Water solution until they are like new. I have a chain cleaning tool and some brushes to use now as well, so I will make sure to clean my bike at least once a month, but probably every few weeks from now on. Hopefully today's cleaning will by my last major one! First I need to learn how to disassemble / reassemble those parts though.
     
  14. bhouse

    bhouse New Member

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    I just finished cleaning. The Zep degreaser worked wonders. I took off the rear derailleur and soaked that, although I didn't really have to soak it. I bought a crank puller only to realize I have some kind of a different setup on my bike (http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?sid=09Allez). I just used a brush and toothbrush to clean the crankset and front derailleur, and that worked well enough. The difference between using the Zep and the spray on stuff I was using before was night and day. Only bad thing was I broke my chain in the process. I bought a chain tool, but it was very hard to twist, and I went a bit too far and it just broke the thing... I definitely didn't do enough research on how to remove a chain, but I don't know what happened there.
     
  15. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I work at a refinery that's current one of the largest producers of lube and base oil in the US. Word from the lab is that it ain't the ultimate bicycle chain lube oil but it's a million miles from being the worst. Given that I get about 5,000 to 6,000 miles out of a chain and my 5 year old cassettes and chainrings look in good condition I don't see a reason to change this anytime soon, IMHO.

    After you put any lube oil on your chain, you wipe most of it off. Very little remains on the chain. Tests done, and published in Chester Kyles HPV journals, show that lubrication has very little effect of chain efficiency. The Shimano uberlube that's on the Dura Ace chains (can't say what's on the other Shimano chains) would need a hot parafin dip for a good few hours and agitating in order to get it out - or stuffed in a hot tank at the local machine shop. A thin coat of Mobil 1 that's all but wiped off isn't really going to do much at all to it.
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Drape a towel over the bars, stem and top tube - it catches pretty much everything. Use that towel to towel yourself off with...

    An indoor trainer bike is a weird beaste - if you have a dedicated bike I'd consider using loctite blue on the threads - liberally - because it's very good at also keeping moisture and sweat from getting into threads, which is why it also works great on spoke nipples (not to stop the wheel from detensioning - a common myth - but to stop the crud seizing up the spoke nipples.) Liberal use of grease should do the trick too. Apply to both the crank and the pedal threads and leave a smear around the pedal axle (both on the inside and outside of the crank)

    A dedicated 15mm pedal spanner is a worthwhile investment.
     
  17. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Some great advice swampy and I will apply all of what you stated.


    I use a Cyclops terry cloth sweat protector, but it only protects the top tube. Kind of worthless I suppose for real indoor training. I was kidding with a guy in the LBS about draping a shower curtain over the entire bike (kidding of course), but I see how reapplying grease and or loctite to the threads on occasion and around the joints to help keep that sweat from penetrating the threads. Before seeing your post this morning I had put and anti-sieze on the threads yesterday, which I would think also help fill in the gap in the threads. I just need to put some surficial grease on the outside of the pedals.

    Talk about the damage that sweat has done to my bikes I have a mechanic friend call me last night since he has my old Felt and is prepping it to be sold. He too had trouble with that bike (long time dedicated trainer bike) while putting new cables and housings. He said he cleaned up a lot of corrosion from the sweat/salt damage. I wished I had your thought on putting additional grease on all the joints and places where it penetrates.

    Since I tend to watch the Garmin for wattage during training to stay at level it was hard to completely cover the bar and stem area, but after seeing how much damage can occur I think I am going to change up some things. I can use my iphone, ANT+ dongle and wahoo fitness app and set it out in front of the bike (larger screen) and then I can put a towel over the front of the bike and at least protect that area. The pedals will do fine with the additional grease. The guy at the bike shop suggested using Pedros Bike Lust to protect the frame and exterior surface of the components so I got a bottle of that. The C-dale six13 will now become my dedicated trainer bike once the Felt sells. Thank goodness my LOOK stays away from indoor training.
     
  18. Doris Lucero

    Doris Lucero New Member

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    Oh my god ..... I sympathize with you very much. What a pity that we can not clean bicycles with vacuums. It would be cool if we could clean our bikes with vacuum cleaners. Don't you think so? Let's imagine: we buy vacuum cleaners from the site BestVacuumReviews that recommends vacuum cleaners for people who have allergies and other types of vacuum cleaners, then go to our bike, clean it, and there is no more salve on the bike and the bike is clean. Eh, that would be wonderful, right?
     
  19. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    You should also get a Park Chain Cleaner and use a heavy laundry soap solution such as Dawn. You have to clean it several times with a fresh solution until the chain runs clean. Or you can remove the chain and soak it overnight in the soap solution and then wash the chain in the back yard with a hose where the grease don't hurt anything.

    You really shouldn't allow the chain that long before cleanings and if I do that I replace the chain. Connex are very long wearing chains and require careful attention to keep them clean since they are replaced so seldom.
     
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