Cleaning a bike chain..

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Vo2, Oct 6, 2001.

  1. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

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    Just finished cleaning my bike. This is usually a 1 to 2hr session. I HATE cleaning the chain! Was wondering how you guys cleaned your bike chains?
     
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  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    How do you clean a chain? Usually, I take a can of WD-40 and just gas it [my chain].

    As you can tell, I'm a novice...
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    remove the chain, let it sit in a container of degreaser for about an hour. the grease and gunk will be easy to get off with an old rag. remember to get all the degreaser off before you apply your oil ;) sachs chains are easiy to remove and put back on.
     
  4. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

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    Won't removing the chain weaken it though?
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    sachs chains have a links the you can pull apart without any tools. you could pull it apart and put it back together 1000 times and it wouldnt make if weaker. with shimano chains you have to replace the pin if you break the chain. IMO shimano chains are like windows - campag/sachs is like unix/lunix
     
  6. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

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    I like the comparison there Johno28 ;)
    The Campy chain on my bike is still the original one. Once it needs replacement, I'm going to check out the Sachs.

    I bought a neat chain cleaner goodie the other day. You don't need to remove the chain. It clips over the chain and has a number of scrubbing brushes inside. You just add degreaser/cleaner and back pedal. Works well, although cleaning the chain cleaner goodie is a schlep.
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Another way to clean your chain is to use normal dishwasher with lemon added in the soap on a wet rag. Apply a liberal amount on the rag and fold and hold it around the chain. Turn the pedals in reverse and keep on doing it untill the rag shows no gunk. Wash the chain afterwards (never use high pressure on a bike !!!!) and allow to dry. Apply White Lightning drop by drop on the links. Parrafin as a degreaser leaves a fatty residue and your lube wont stick to the chain. Prepsol (a degreaser) also works well, is water based and is quite cheap.

    Keep those pedals turning!!!!

    Big H
     
  8. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

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    Is Prepsol available in supermarkets, Big H?
     
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    A clean chain is one of the best ways to make you go better. I see so many people with dirty chains, they take little effort to clean and the results are sell worth it :D

    cheers!
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I second that, it is also eaiser if you can remove the chain before you clean it.
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Big_h you mention not using high pressure on a chain. Why is this ?

    I normaly spray de-greaser on the chain, leave to soak and then blast off with a high pressure cleaner. I then take to the chain with the de-greaser and a toothbrush.
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I use a mixture of 4 to 5 parts mineral spirits to one part synthetic motor oil to "clean and lube" the chain. Apply the mixture heavily, to the lower section of chain between the rear derailleur and the crank. Catch the excess with a folded paper towel, held under the chain. Wipe each section of the chain, before rotating the crank to the next section. When the entire chain has been lubed, spin the cranks several turns, wiping with the wet towel. The wet towel can also be used to clean the cogs and chainrings. Follow up with a dry towel. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes. If done at least once a week (more often in dirty conditions), the chain will never need removal for additional cleaning. If you happen to neglect the chain for more than a week, apply the lube twice, to enhance the cleaning effect. The lubing should be done long before riding, to allow time for the mineral spirits to evaporate.  The small amount of synthetic oil left behind is easily adequate for a week of riding. I also give the chain a quick wipe with a dry paper towel after each ride to keep it looking as clean as possible between lube sessions. I hate a dirty looking chain.

    I've used this technique for 3 years and get excellent chain life.  This lube is great for campy 10 speed users, who can't readily remove the chain for cleaning.
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    That's a good method, C-40. Mine's similar - wipe the chain with a rag dipped in kerosine, clean between all the sprockets, wipe dry, then oil. Good for when I need that bike in a hurry, and there's no time for removal and soak.
    For my best bikes, I keep a spare chain ready in a plastic bag. The dirty chain comes off and is soaked in kerosine. The sprockets and derailleurs are thoroughly cleaned, and the spare chain goes on. Derailleurs (and cables, if ness.), are lightly oiled. The dirty chain is swished and swilled in the kero bath, the kero filtered through a rag or sieve, the grit cleaned from the bottom of the container, then swish again. Removed, wiped down, hung up to dry. Next day or so, soak in clean engine oil; next day hang up to drain, with a container unerneath to catch the drips. Another day, finally, wiped down and stored away, ready for next time.  It's a long and involved process, but it's well worth it. I get great chain life, clean, crisp gear changes. The Sachs/Sram chains are great, though I don't use the q/d link, but prefer to simply break the chain with a chain tool, i.e. push out the rivet. I've never had any trouble whatsoever, and don't believe one iota of the old men's tales about weakening the chain.
    By the way C-40, are you related to WD-40? :)
    Cheers.
     
  14. Brian Cotgrove

    Brian Cotgrove New Member

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    G'day Vo2, Cleaning chains is a piece of cake, just buy a chain cleaner, from your bike store. Here in OZ they are about $25. It's made of plastic and has a set of hairy wheels inside, it comes apart top from bottom, with clips on each end to hold the two part together. Change the chain onto the small cog rear and small inside ring on front chainset.

    You leave the chain on the bike and fit the chain cleaner to the chain, between the derailer and the chainset, put some kerosine and degreaser in the chain cleaner you only need about 150 millilitres or in your language 1/3 pint then just turn the cranks. As the chain goes through the bath with the hairy wheels in contact with the chain, it gets all the shit off very quick smart.

    This stuff (the dirt dust and oily road grime) just drops into the bottom of the small tank in the chain cleaner device, which you wash out with kerosine afterwards. When finished with the device you dry it and store it away till next chain cleaning time, you might consider charging out your time to clean your mates chains and make a bit of spare cash to pay for the chain cleaner, just a thought? ;)

    Five minutes later you've got a nice clean chain, then all you need to do is wipe it with a nice absorbent rag, an old piece of towel is just fine, then oil it, then get out on the road and make it dirty again. :rolleyes:

    Then start all over again, it's like a dog chasing it's tail, you go round and round and round and round and round and you get the idea?

    Keep the wheels in motion, and don't look back, unless it's to see who you dropped on the last climb? TBC
     
  15. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Agree the little plastic chain cleaners are a great advancement. I have the Performance brand, which came with a water-based citrus cleaner that works just fine. Takes about 5 minutes to clean the chain and have it looking shiny.

    I don't do this often though, just when the chain is really dirty or gritty. Normally, just wipe down the chain and relube with Finish Line Dry Lube, one drop per bushing. The new lube seems to flushe the old gunk out onto the side plates.
     
  16. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I'm going to try Boeshield this year and see how that works out. It's a wax based lubricant so it shouldn't attract the dirt and grit from the road, thus (hopefully) keeping chain cleaning to an absolute minimum. I have two road bikes broken down in the living room for cleaning right now and am going to use it everywhere it makes sense - pivot points, cables, housings, chain (obviously), yadda yadda.

    Last year I used 3in1 to lube the chain and wiped off the excess with a rag sprayed with Simple Green. That worked OK if I did it twice a week. It didn't get too gunked up that way.

    I recently acquired a road bike from some guy that must have been using motor oil on his chain. What a mess. Almost had to use a hammer and chisel to break it off the der pulleys. Just threw the chain away and got a fresh one out of my stash. :p
     
  17. Absent_Husband

    Absent_Husband New Member

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    Just cleaned up the chain from my oooold Giant Nutra hybrid for my wife to use (making her first tentative steps into cycling.

    I painted heaps of engine degreaser over the chain, cogs, etc with an old paint brush. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then LOW-PRESSURE hosed it all off. Finished up by wiping off remaining excess, then going through the usual lube routine (I'm trialling "Inox" as a lube on this bike, to see if it works OK... :confused: )

    Cheers,
    Absent Husband
     
  18. Brian Cotgrove

    Brian Cotgrove New Member

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    G'day dhk, those chain cleaners are a definite step in the right direction, mine gets a workout at least every two to three months, I haven't had to buy a new chain for yonks now as they don't seem to wear out like they used to in the dark days of crispy bacon after the war. There maybe another reason why they don't wear out, I don't push so hard or go as fast now. ;)

    Just recently a friend of mine introduced me to "ROIL" it's obtainable from "Neways" organisation and is a metal conditioner, I've treated all the ball bearings, wheel axles, bottom bracket, head set, pedals, etc.etc., and seems to have made a difference. On my mates track bike we treated the ball bearings with the "ROIL", when he hangs the bike up between races the front wheel just keeps on spinning, almost as though it's being driven, no kidding.

    It was made to add to car engines and gearboxes, I've teated them also and the difference is very noticable, the gear changes are smoother and the engine seems to develop more power, noticably when I'm running the air condtioner.

    Ok that's it, keep the wheels in motion, and don't look back, unless it's to see who you droped on the last climb? TBC
     
  19. Brian Cotgrove

    Brian Cotgrove New Member

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    Good move Absent_Husband, them who ride together stay together, it's good to do get out on the bikes with the other half.

    I do occassionally, the only trouble with my wife is she rides so slow, last time we were out I fell off trying to keep up with her? :eek:

    Keep the wheels in motion, and don't look back unless it's to see who you dropped on the last climb? TBC
     
  20. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Yes, I'm over 5000 miles on my SRAM PC-99 as well with wear still less than the 0.75% side of the Park gauge. I'd like to think the chains and lubes are better now, not just that we are older and weaker!

    I only clean the chain when it's dirty or gritty, normally just reapply the Finish Line lube. But have been riding over some spots of caked mud and dirt here recently, and noticed it's time to get out the chain cleaner. Seems only a few miles of dirty road or rain can gunk up the chain, while riding a couple of hundred miles in ideal conditions hardly gets it dirty.
     
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