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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 11-30-06, 05:55 PM   #1
RatherBeBiking
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Cleaing a chain (but wait!)

Supplies -
Soapy water
Paper towels
Prolink gold chain lube.
wd40
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...3&category=208

what should i use, in what order.

(its just that i've read SO MUCH about all the different PERFECT ways to clean the chian) what should i use in my case?
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Old 11-30-06, 06:22 PM   #2
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For cleaning, pretty much none of the above apart from paper towels.

Additional equipment depends on whether your chain has quick link or not. If it can't be removed, then you need a on bike chain cleaner and citrus degreaser. If the chain can be removed easily, then just get a coke bottle and citru degreaser. Park Tools is a good source of these material, or eBay if you know what you are bidding.
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Old 11-30-06, 06:28 PM   #3
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Just say no to WD-40
Citrus degreaser is great if you can get the chain off the bike, Or simple Green even. Toss it all in a plastic coke bottle, and shake it around.

On the bike, use the Park or Pedros chain cleaner.

Rinse it, let it dry, then use the pro-link to lube it.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:20 PM   #4
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I take the chain off and put it into a bottle, then use WD-40 as a solvent to cut the existing lube and dirt. Shake well. If it's especially dirty, it might need some scrubbing with a toothbrush. Rinse with water, pour in Simple Green and hot water to get rid of the WD40. Shake well again. Rinse, and dry with towels. Put the chain back on the bike and lube.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:22 PM   #5
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Gatorade bottle and gasoline (done outdoors of course).
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Old 11-30-06, 09:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capwater
Gatorade bottle and gasoline (done outdoors of course).
Diesel is much better. It's what we used to use when cleaning filthy ATB chains. It does not carry the fire/explosion risk gas does. Leaves a nice oily film.

Actually, KMC says never use a solvent! I clean and lube with ProLink.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fixed.rider
Just say no to WD-40
Citrus degreaser is great if you can get the chain off the bike, Or simple Green even. Toss it all in a plastic coke bottle, and shake it around.

On the bike, use the Park or Pedros chain cleaner.

Rinse it, let it dry, then use the pro-link to lube it.
wd-40 does a decent job CLEANING the chain, and is ok for in a pinch. Simple green works better though.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherBeBiking
(its just that i've read SO MUCH about all the different PERFECT ways to clean the chian) what should i use in my case?
Like you I have read gobs of stuff on chain cleaning. Some knowledgeable people even say that if you can't get the chain off the bike and really clean it you should not even bother. Having said that, here are some important points. Go with diesel or kerosene but not gas if you are determined to go that route. Gas is a bit too dangerous even outdoors. If you use Simple Green, don't leave the chain in it for extended periods of time (even Simple Green manufacturer says so). I clean the original "crap" off the chain (Wippermann nickle plated) with keorsene before first use. Then about every 600 miles I take my chain off the bike, clean it with Pedros biodegradable cleaner, rinse with water, let it completely dry and then lube with Pro Link. I can get up to 4000 miles before wear is detecable with a Park chain checker. But I am lucky and live in an area where I never have to ride in foul weather and the comensurate gunk never gets in the drive train. So there is yet another PERFECT way to clean the chain.
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Old 12-01-06, 11:55 AM   #9
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Kerosene is a good enough, cheap solvent for cleaning.
It is much easier if you run 2 chains. Dump the dirty one in a jar of solvent and leave it there for a week. At your convenience, brush it clean and dry it, maybe wipe it with an lightly oiled cloth to prevent surface rust.
When your in-use chain gets dirty, unclip the powerlink, dump old chain in kerosene and clip in new one. Lube and go.
You can re-use the solvent for ages. Let it settle and pour the solvent off the sediment into new jar.
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Old 12-01-06, 12:20 PM   #10
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Don't clean it at all. Just wipe the chain with a paper towel every time you ride it (takes about 30 seconds), and lube it (with anything) every couple of times you ride it and don't worry.

But do checkthe chain for wear often and replace it well before the wear limit to get the most life out of your freewheel/cassette.
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Old 12-02-06, 12:12 AM   #11
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Anything with water is not a good idea for chains. The acidity of citrus cleaners is a no-no too. I ride on a paved trail and try to keep the chain really clean. When I do clean it, I use Brake Klean, spraying a small spot on a shop towel and running the chain thru it. Repeat 3-4 times, then once around with Ream & Clean pipe cleaners to get between the links. Twice more with Brake Klean and you're done. It takes 20 minutes to do the 9 1/2 foot chain on my recumbent. Floss the cassette with the edges of the shop towel and lube. Ready to ride. This works real well lon relatively clean chains. Muddy mtb chains? Fuggedaboutit. BK
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Old 12-02-06, 02:33 AM   #12
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Why not WD40?
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Old 12-02-06, 08:21 AM   #13
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It's amazing to see so many threads pop up concerning chain cleaning - must be a lot of concern/confusion about this subject.

Having participated in several of these LONG threads, myself, I have come to the conclusion that cleaning/lubing basically serves a "cosmetic" purpose only - not just appearance, but the lube keeps the chain quiet, also (I can't stand riding with a chirpy chain - has happened to me once or twice when I thought I had it well lubed, but turns out my effort was not sufficient).

As for wear, I am convinced that, if you put miles on the bike, the chain will pretty much wear no matter if you lube conscientiously or not. I have done no blind tests, but, in my own use, the last chain that I replaced was shot after 1500 miles - really stretched so that it ruined a couple of cogs (the ones I obviously use most) on my rear wheel. I replaced the chain and all the cogs (joy in Millville again). Now, the subject chain received the best care I could possibly offer - regular cleaning, plenty of lube at all times - clean cogs/chain rings at all times, also. Yet, it wore out after just 1500 miles.

I was riding hard (lots of climbing in longer gears) - I don't know if that makes a difference - but it makes sense to me that it might make a difference. I'm guessing that if you ride mostly flat/rolling terrain that the chain may last longer. Perhaps if you rode mostly granny gears uphill, that could possibly put less strain on the chain - I don't know, though. Just guessing.

I have resigned myself to more regular chain replacement to prolong the life of my cogs - I'm guessing that cogs should run a really long time if the chain in use is always in great condition - maybe I'm wrong on that score, as well.

For me, the bottom line is that, if I want to continue riding a lot and riding hard, then, I will have to also live with the reality that the drive train of my bike will need regular upkeep beyond simple cleaning and lubing.

I would love to hear input from others on this aspect of chain/bike maintenance.

As to Sprint75's question regarding use of WD40, it is a penetrating oil, designed really to degunk nuts/bolts that are stuck and won't turn. It's not designed so much for lubing. That's why you see folks on this forum using it in the cleaning stage, but then using some other lube in the final step.

I have Crankbrothers Candi-TI pedals on my C'dale. Once while out riding, they developed a really annoying squeak. The only lube I could find at that late hour was some WD40. I assumed (correctly, I think) that the squeak was caused more by the rubbing of the plastic (or whatever) washers on the inside of the pedals than the inner bearings (I guess that's what's in there, have never disassembled them to have a look). I'd spray it on, ride five miles or so and have to stop to reapply.

BTW (and this, I know, is a little OT), I love the Crankbrothers setup where you just screw in the little adapter and pump in your lube. My LBS guy sold me some lube from a can that he uses on these pedals instead of grease - I've been using it for a while with no complaints from the pedals - curious to hear comments on this also).

Some forum members will probably be annoyed at yet another lubing thread, but, I love reading them - seems like each thread, at some point, has some little new point for me to pick-up.

Caruso
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Old 12-02-06, 10:55 AM   #14
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I don't even bother taking the chain off the bike. I spray the crap out of my drivetrain with WD-40 (case of WD-40 is cheap) and let it work itself, loosening grit and grime. Then I'll rinse with water, followed by soapy water and brush, rinse again, let dry, and lube. I've been doing this for years, works for me and it's quick.
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