Bicycle Mechanics - cleaning chain, cassette, & chainrings
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Jean Beetham Smith
12-30-00, 10:06 PM
I've been commuting any time there is not actually ice on the roads. Once a week I've been putting bike on workstand, running the chain thru a Pedro's chain scrubber, taking tooth brush, paint brush & rags to every thing I can reach in the drive train. Finally I use a blast of WD 40 to clean the places I can't reach. I'm concerned about some of the hard to reach places, like where the chain rings are joined together. They get really significant amounts of grunge and now salt. Is there any way to clean them better without removing them? (I'm chicken) It's tough enough for guys to show up at LBS with bike in parts, I don't want to contemplate the kind of **** middle-aged broads get in the same spot.
Jean the first thing I would reccomend is DO NOT USE WD 40 ON YOUR BIKE! Take it from a former mechanic. Second Park makes a cleaning brush that will easily reach your hard to reach places. Third you can safely use a biodegradable citrus degreaser on your components that will get rid of most any dirt and grease. Pedro's Ice Wax for your chain is great stuff. It does not pick up crud easily and it lasts. Now lastly if you are picking up alot of salt and crud like that you also need to disengage your brakes lightly shave your brake pads with like a nail file (not the metal ones) of medium grit sandpaper. Then use hot soapy water and a kitchen sponge to clean the braking surface of your rims. Alchohol and rags work but hot soapy water is faster. Also if your headset and hubs are not sealed you might want to think about having them overhauled after the winter season.
It appears to me that if you are taking the time to clean your chain every week, you are either an immaculate mechanic, or you are in love with your bike and don't want it to suffer.
For winter riding in areas where salt is used on the roads, I suggest you get a disposably cheap bike. The salt will eat your bike no matter how hard you try to keep it clean.
You will notice that most winter bike commuters ride crummy bikes - myself included. Even bikes made mostly of non-rusting alloys take terrible abuse from the salt, sand, and slush.
Check out sights like http://www.icebike.org or even the Winter Biking forum on this site. You will find that true winter bikers goo-up every part of their bike with some kind of protective coating just to make it last through the winter.
I spray coat ALL practical surfaces (including spokes) with clear enamel. Other parts get coated with wax, grease, or oil.
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