Chain cleaning for poor people

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Doug Kanter, May 2, 2003.

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  1. Doug Kanter

    Doug Kanter Guest

    Not-so-hypothetical situation: After driving all day with a bike in the back of my pickup, the chain
    is sometimes dirty, just from highway dust, or perhaps that and a combination of that and whatever
    it picked up during the last few bike rides.

    Between fishing and boating, I've already got too damn many little maintenance toys stashed
    under/behind the seats. Do I really need one of the fancy chain cleaning gadgets I see at bike
    shops, or is an old toothbrush and a can of spray silicone enough to rinse off dirt? I'm assuming
    that sometimes, I'll need to clean the chain in a place where I have no access to a garden hose.
    Matter of fact, I live in an apartment. I *never* have access to a garden hose. -Doug
     
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  2. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:
    > Between fishing and boating, I've already got too damn many little maintenance toys stashed
    > under/behind the seats. Do I really need one of the fancy chain cleaning gadgets I see at bike
    > shops, or is an old toothbrush and a can of spray silicone enough to rinse off dirt?

    I've heard of people cleaning their chains with a sponge and toothbrush. I don't see how this can
    clean the inside of the chain (what really matters). My method is to take the chain off the bike and
    put it in an empty plastic bottle (e.g., a 1L or 2L soda bottle). Add an inch or so of your favorite
    degreaser and shake for a minute. Let the chain soak for another minute, then shake again. If the
    chain was really dirty, repeat once. Depending on the degreaser you used, you may need to rinse with
    water. Oil the chain and put it back on the bike. Used degreaser is toxic waste, so treat it
    accordingly.
     
  3. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Not-so-hypothetical situation: After driving all day with a bike in the
    back
    > of my pickup, the chain is sometimes dirty, just from highway dust, or perhaps that and a
    > combination of that and whatever it picked up during
    the
    > last few bike rides.
    >
    > Between fishing and boating, I've already got too damn many little maintenance toys stashed
    > under/behind the seats. Do I really need one of
    the
    > fancy chain cleaning gadgets I see at bike shops, or is an old toothbrush and a can of spray
    > silicone enough to rinse off dirt? I'm assuming that sometimes, I'll need to clean the chain in a
    > place where I have no access
    to
    > a garden hose. Matter of fact, I live in an apartment. I *never* have
    access
    > to a garden hose. -Doug
    >

    Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with water
    from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.
     
  4. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Bob Garrison writes:

    > Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with water
    > from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.

    I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it will not
    clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and become longer
    because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain, not on the surface that
    can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to where it can do damage and there
    is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet in the hinge pins.

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

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  5. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Bob Garrison writes:
    >
    > > Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with water
    > > from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.
    >
    > I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it will
    > not clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and become longer
    > because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain, not on the surface
    > that can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to where it can do damage
    > and there is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet in the hinge pins.
    >
    > http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
    >
    > Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA

    It works for me. My chains last appox. 2000 miles.
     
  6. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Bob Garrison writes:

    >>> Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with water
    >>> from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.

    >> I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it will
    >> not clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and become longer
    >> because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain, not on the surface
    >> that can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to where it can do damage
    >> and there is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet in the hinge pins.

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

    > It works for me. My chains last appox. 2000 miles.

    Nice but my chains last 10,000mi+ and I clean them inside (as well as out). In the old days, of real
    chains, they lasted 20,000 miles.

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  7. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Bob Garrison writes:
    >
    > >>> Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with
    > >>> water from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.
    >
    > >> I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it
    > >> will not clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and become
    > >> longer because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain, not on the
    > >> surface that can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to where it can
    > >> do damage and there is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet in the hinge
    > >> pins.
    >
    > http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
    >
    > > It works for me. My chains last appox. 2000 miles.
    >
    > Nice but my chains last 10,000mi+ and I clean them inside (as well as out). In the old days, of
    > real chains, they lasted 20,000 miles.
    >

    That's fine, but chains are cheap and I'd rather not spend my time cleaning them any more than
    necessary.
     
  8. "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > Do I really need one of the fancy chain cleaning gadgets I see at bike shops,

    No, and in fact, these break (at least the one I tried out) after a few uses.

    > or is an old toothbrush and a can of spray silicone enough to rinse off dirt?

    Ken suggested the soaking method, but I am of the old toothbrush school. I use an old toothbrush,
    some rags, Q-tips, and degreaser.

    I am not sure what your silicone spray is for.

    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky ([email protected]) Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
     
  9. On Fri, 02 May 2003 16:09:10 +0000, Doug Kanter wrote:

    > Between fishing and boating, I've already got too damn many little maintenance toys stashed
    > under/behind the seats. Do I really need one of the fancy chain cleaning gadgets I see at
    > bike shops,

    No.

    > or is an old toothbrush and a can of spray silicone enough to rinse off dirt?

    Not even that. Get a soda. Drink it. Use the bottle. Put kerosene in the bottle. Don't drink that.
    take chain off bike -- helpful to have those super-links for this, but however you have to go. slide
    chain in bottle. Put cap on, and shake. Take chain out -- which may require destroying soda bottle,
    but you wanted another one anyway. Swing the chain in a circle over your head -- outside -- then let
    it dry. Oil. Put back on bike.

    Those scrubber dohickeys do not nearly as well as this process, for only several times the cost of
    the kerosene and the soda. The big savings is not having to take the chain off the bike. If that is
    a problem, then go with it, but other than that I see no reason for it.

    I'm assuming that
    > sometimes, I'll need to clean the chain in a place where I have no access to a garden hose. Matter
    > of fact, I live in an apartment. I *never* have access to a garden hose.

    Garden hoses -- that is, water -- is not too good to use on a chain. It won't get the greasy
    dirt out, and will leave a lot of water behind that will take a while to evaporate, and will
    rust the chain.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | It doesn't get any easier, you just go faster. --Greg LeMond _`\(,_ | (_)/ (_) |
     
  10. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Matter of fact, I live in an apartment. I *never* have access to a garden hose.

    In that case, I'd do the degreaser-in-a-pop-bottle thing.

    I think kerosene is too stinky to use in an apartment.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  11. Gary German

    Gary German Guest

    "Bob Garrison" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Bob Garrison writes:
    > >
    > > >>> Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with
    > > >>> water from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.
    > >
    > > >> I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it
    > > >> will not clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and
    > > >> become longer because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain, not
    > > >> on the surface that can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to where
    > > >> it can do damage and there is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet in the
    > > >> hinge pins.
    > >
    > > http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
    > >
    > > > It works for me. My chains last appox. 2000 miles.
    > >
    > > Nice but my chains last 10,000mi+ and I clean them inside (as well as out). In the old days, of
    > > real chains, they lasted 20,000 miles.
    > >
    >
    > That's fine, but chains are cheap and I'd rather not spend my time
    cleaning
    > them any more than necessary.
    >
    >

    I'm with you Bob. When I was younger, I had more time than money...now, it seems like the opposite
    is more often true.

    If my time is worth, say, $1/minute, spending 30 minutes every 500 miles to clean my chain in order
    to extend it's life from 2,000 to 10,000 miles would actually cost me $490 more than the cost of
    simply replacing the chain every 2,000 miles (assuming chains cost $20).

    Plus, there's plenty of things I'd rather be doing than cleaning my chain.

    GG
     
  12. R.White

    R.White Guest

    "David L. Johnson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Fri, 02 May 2003 16:09:10 +0000, Doug Kanter wrote:
    >
    > > Between fishing and boating, I've already got too damn many little maintenance toys stashed
    > > under/behind the seats. Do I really need one of the fancy chain cleaning gadgets I see at bike
    > > shops,
    >
    > No.
    >
    > > or is an old toothbrush and a can of spray silicone enough to rinse off dirt?
    >
    > Not even that. Get a soda. Drink it. Use the bottle. Put kerosene in the bottle. Don't drink that.
    > take chain off bike -- helpful to have those super-links for this, but however you have to go.
    > slide chain in bottle. Put cap on, and shake. Take chain out -- which may require destroying soda
    > bottle, but you wanted another one anyway. Swing the chain in a circle over your head -- outside
    > -- then let it dry. Oil. Put back on bike.

    What about this idea?

    http://community.webshots.com/album/61364592XEKnkc

    It's a sonic cleaner made from and old pot and an Oster massager.
     
  13. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    "Gary German" <[email protected]_NOSPAMX_.net> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Bob Garrison" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > > > Bob Garrison writes:
    > > >
    > > > >>> Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with
    > > > >>> water from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.
    > > >
    > > > >> I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it
    > > > >> will not clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and
    > > > >> become longer because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain,
    > > > >> not on the surface that can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to
    > > > >> where it can do damage and there is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet
    > > > >> in the hinge pins.
    > > >
    > > > http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
    > > >
    > > > > It works for me. My chains last appox. 2000 miles.
    > > >
    > > > Nice but my chains last 10,000mi+ and I clean them inside (as well as out). In the old days,
    > > > of real chains, they lasted 20,000 miles.
    > > >
    > >
    > > That's fine, but chains are cheap and I'd rather not spend my time
    > cleaning
    > > them any more than necessary.
    > >
    > >
    >
    > I'm with you Bob. When I was younger, I had more time than money...now,
    it
    > seems like the opposite is more often true.
    >
    > If my time is worth, say, $1/minute, spending 30 minutes every 500 miles
    to
    > clean my chain in order to extend it's life from 2,000 to 10,000 miles
    would
    > actually cost me $490 more than the cost of simply replacing the chain
    every
    > 2,000 miles (assuming chains cost $20).
    >
    > Plus, there's plenty of things I'd rather be doing than cleaning my chain.
    >
    > GG
    >

    Yep, for example I'd rather yank my chain ;-)
     
  14. Pete Hickey

    Pete Hickey Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Bob Garrison <[email protected]> wrote:

    >That's fine, but chains are cheap and I'd rather not spend my time cleaning them any more than
    >necessary.

    I don't know if it I am frugal or if I ecological minded. Just because things are cheap, I don't
    like throwing them away. I find that we (society) throws out too much these days.

    And yes, I straighten and re-use nails.

    --
    --
    LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Did you know that 90% of North Americans cannot taste the difference between
    fried dog and fried cat?
     
  15. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    "Pete Hickey" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>, Bob Garrison <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >That's fine, but chains are cheap and I'd rather not spend my time
    cleaning
    > >them any more than necessary.
    >
    > I don't know if it I am frugal or if I ecological minded. Just because things are cheap, I don't
    > like throwing them away. I find that we (society) throws out too much these days.
    >
    > And yes, I straighten and re-use nails.
    >
    > --
    > --

    But do you re-use toilet paper?
     
  16. Rivermist

    Rivermist Guest

    When you replace your chain isn't a function of cleanliness is it? I thought it was because the
    chain stretches over time, which is why you measure it to see when you need to change it.

    So it wouldn't matter how clean you keep it, you change it when it stretches.

    "Bob Garrison" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Bob Garrison writes:
    > >
    > > > Spin the chain while holding it lightly in a rag well moistened with degreaser, rinse with
    > > > water from a spray bottle, let dry, relube.
    > >
    > > I assume you mean with the chain on the bicycle. Yes that will do a cosmetic cleanup but it will
    > > not clean the chain, there where the action is... inside the chain. Chains wear and become
    > > longer because the internal hinge pins and sleeves wear. This is inside the chain, not on the
    > > surface that can be wiped. Adding lubricant to a dirty chain only washes grit to where it can do
    > > damage and there is plenty of grit that can't be wiped away but is not yet in the hinge pins.
    > >
    > > http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
    > >
    > > Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
    >
    > It works for me. My chains last appox. 2000 miles.
     
  17. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

  18. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

  19. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Rivermist" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > When you replace your chain isn't a function of cleanliness is it? I thought it was because the
    > chain stretches over time, which is why you measure it to see when you need to change it.
    >
    > So it wouldn't matter how clean you keep it, you change it when it stretches.

    The chain doesn't really "stretch". Due to wear on the various points in the chain, the links get a
    little farther apart; this is popularly called "stretch", but isn't. Since it's due to wear, and
    keeping the chain clean can reduce wear, proper care of the chain can increase its life.

    There's more on this in the FAQ's: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bicycles-faq/part3/section-37.html
     
  20. On Sat, 03 May 2003 00:16:38 -0400, Tom Keats wrote:

    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    >> Matter of fact, I live in an apartment. I *never* have access to a garden hose.
    >
    > In that case, I'd do the degreaser-in-a-pop-bottle thing.
    >
    > I think kerosene is too stinky to use in an apartment.

    I agree -- kerosene reeks. I can't use it in a house either, even if I clean the chain outside; when
    I bring the chain inside, it would stink up the entire house in a matter of minutes. Mineral spirit
    (aka "paint thinner") cleans just as well but stinks far less.
     
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