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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Best way to clean rear cassette/chain?

    I think I over-oiled my chain a month ago and now my cassette is black and so is my chain.

    My common sense says take the cassette off and let it soak in a bowl of brake cleaner? What is the preffered method?
    "How did all those 'Keep Off the Grass' signs get there?"

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    Chief Chef BearsPaw's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is the preferred way, but I soak mine in Simple Green. I have not had any problems with this method.

    Simple Green is available pretty much everywhere; I get it at Walmart.

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    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearsPaw
    I don't know if this is the preferred way, but I soak mine in Simple Green. I have not had any problems with this method.

    Simple Green is available pretty much everywhere; I get it at Walmart.
    Automotive section?
    "How did all those 'Keep Off the Grass' signs get there?"

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    The nice thing about simple green is that you can flush the stuff down the toilet when you're done. No nasty solvents to get rid of. Grocery and hardware stores have it. It also cleans brake crud off the rims well if you use it with scotch cloth. Also at the hardware store. bk

  5. #5
    Senior Member intron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearsPaw
    I don't know if this is the preferred way, but I soak mine in Simple Green. I have not had any problems with this method.

    Simple Green is available pretty much everywhere; I get it at Walmart.

    i use simple green to clean chains too. a tip, put the chain in tupperware or something like that, spray a good dose of simple green, then add some boiling or really hot water, let sit for a a few minutes. the heat breaks down the grease. pop the lid on the contiainer and shake it like crazy. works real well to degrease. or use an old pot add simple green and water and slowly boil and mix chain around with something.

    be careful, i found that when using simple green on raw, unpolished/plated steel, rust will form on the chain pretty fast, so once dry oil it up.

    cheers
    rollin' and tumblin'

  6. #6
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    I like to scrub the cassette with a brush and simple green. And since most of the cogs come off I fcan get at them on both sides. For the rest I used the Park Tool brush to get in between the cogs. Prior to buying one I used a towel and wedged the towel between the cogs to clean them in between.

    As for the chain, I'm lazy so I recommend buying one of those chain cleaners that you "attach" to the chain while on the bike and it cleans it as you turn the crank. Then take the brush and spray the derailer pulleys with simple green and scrub really good. Then I usually dry everything off with a towel and proceed to oil the chain and put a drop or two of oil on the cogs and the moving parts/joints(?) of the derailers, brakes calipers, etc. Also, put a drop of oil on each chain link. Then wipe off any excess with a towel.

    Be sure not to over oil the chain and wipedown any excess or you'll attract a bunch of dirt and grime.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
    I think I over-oiled my chain a month ago and now my cassette is black and so is my chain.

    My common sense says take the cassette off and let it soak in a bowl of brake cleaner? What is the preffered method?
    I take the chain off, and clean it in kerosene. Then I take an old toothbrush and brush the cassette cogs with some kerosene, then use a rag and clean in between the cogs (like flossing your teeth).

    I will use Simple Green on the bike frame and other parts, but not any place where there's grease. Grease and water just don't seem to mix well, so I don't like using anything that is water-based to clean those areas. It gets enough water on the rainy rides without my help.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kk4df

    Grease and water just don't seem to mix well, so I don't like using anything that is water-based to clean those areas. It gets enough water on the rainy rides without my help.
    Simple Green is great for removing grease and oil- this quote was taken from their website:

    http://consumer.simplegreen.com/cons_tips.php "...Simple Green’s forte is breaking down petroleum greases, oils, tar and asphalt soils..."
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  9. #9
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    I would use a grease remover (any suggested elswhere in this thread -- I use mineral spirits since I have that around anyway) and a toothbrush on the cassette. Don't forget your rear der pulleys, which should be removed for cleaning.

    For the chain, maybe dampen a rag with WD-40 and wipe just the plates (sides) of the chain. I never clean a chain more than that (or a hose-drip after a rainy ride).

  10. #10
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I get a bucket and fill it half way with water set the wheel on top of that and spray brake cleaner on it.
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gee3
    As for the chain, I'm lazy....
    Cleaning your chain on the bike usually entails attention to avoid undue dripping of your cleaning solution and lube of your tire rims, plus a fair amount of clean-up afterwards. I find that it's less work to use a removeable link, take the chain off the bike, clean and lube, then replace. And because it's less work and easier, I do it more often.

  12. #12
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    Don't forget your rear der pulleys, which should be removed for cleaning.

    .
    i didn't clean my RD pulleys last time and came up with mysterious squeak. I thought it was my BB, cleaned the RD completely and squeak disappeared.
    I use the large bottle of Citrus cleaner at Home depot(10.00/gallon or such). It too can be poured down the drain.
    Ultimately though, I think using White lightning is the best way to go. Cleaning is seldom needed just frequent lube applications.

  13. #13
    Chief Chef BearsPaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
    Automotive section?
    *nod*

  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke
    The nice thing about simple green is that you can flush the stuff down the toilet when you're done. No nasty solvents to get rid of. Grocery and hardware stores have it. It also cleans brake crud off the rims well if you use it with scotch cloth. Also at the hardware store. bk
    You don't have to get rid of it but the waste system has to, along with the lubricant you dissolved off. Oil in the municipal waste water system isn't a good thing. You aren't going to polute the system by yourself but you and 20,000 of your buddies can do some real damage.
    Stuart Black
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by probable556
    Simple Green is great for removing grease and oil- this quote was taken from their website:

    http://consumer.simplegreen.com/cons_tips.php "...Simple Green’s forte is breaking down petroleum greases, oils, tar and asphalt soils..."
    SG doesn't "break down" anything. It dissolves it. Once in solution, the oil is still an oil and has to be treated. It doesn't just go away, not without fire and oxydation, anyway. kk4df is correct about keeping petroleum products away from water...at least if someone wants to use the water later.
    Stuart Black
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  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    For a cassette, probably the best way is to remove the cassette, take it apart and physically remove the old oil with a rag (old tee-shirts work well). One rag will work on dozens of cassettes. Dispose of the rag properly, of course, when done.

    I clean chains in mineral spirits in a pop bottle. Feed the chain into the bottle, add mineral spirits, cap and shake. Pour the dirty mineral spirits into another bottle and allow any grit to settle to the bottom. Add more clean spirits to the bottle and chain and shake again (if needed). The mineral spirits will dissolve lots of lubricant before it has to be disposed of so hang onto it for a while and reuse it. I separate the dirt stuff from the relatively clean stuff too. That way the old dirty stuff will remove grit and the cleaner stuff will clean the lube off the chain.
    Stuart Black
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  17. #17
    the sun never sets on me alumrock12's Avatar
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    how do you guys dry your parts, not in the sun right? cuz that would promote rust?, just like with a paper towell, but how do you get inbetween the chain and stuff..

    also, whats your guys' main oil/grease that you use almost all over the bike
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  18. #18
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I have used simple green, WD-40, engine cleaner, and other solvents, but found that hot water and a very generous dose of palmolive dish soap works the best. Go figure. I also used the highly concentrated palmolive mixture on my car wheels and it worked better than the solvent wheel cleaner from the automotive section. That brake dust crud was stuck on my alloy wheels for years and I could never get it completely off with the so called wheel cleaners and even with brash brushes. But a little toothbrush and the palmolive did the trick.
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  19. #19
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    Gee3, I like your photo. I study Chinese myself and am used to seeing the chracters reversed from the way you have them, in other words "ming yun" rather than "yun ming". "Ming" is the part of fate you're born with and "yun" is the part after you're born that you have control over. Just curious.

  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alumrock12
    how do you guys dry your parts, not in the sun right? cuz that would promote rust?, just like with a paper towell, but how do you get inbetween the chain and stuff..

    also, whats your guys' main oil/grease that you use almost all over the bike
    Mineral spirits doesn't contain water, or anything else which promotes rust. It evaportates on its own rapidly. Water will also evaporate on its own but you set up a nice little electrochemical reaction that results in rust while it's doing it. That's one of the reasons that I don't use Simple Green - water and iron aren't a good combination.

    For chain lubricant, I use White Lightning. But I ride in an area that is usually very dry where WL shines. I've ridden elsewhere that was wetter and it's not as good a lube there.
    Stuart Black
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  21. #21
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeToWork
    Gee3, I like your photo. I study Chinese myself and am used to seeing the chracters reversed from the way you have them, in other words "ming yun" rather than "yun ming". "Ming" is the part of fate you're born with and "yun" is the part after you're born that you have control over. Just curious.
    Just pm'd you.

    I had a friend's father write that out for me. I actually have those characters tattooed on my arm. It is to symbolize "Destiny", which is also my daughter's name. and from my research on the 'net that's also how i found them to be used. Hopefully it's right or I'm scarred for life. hehe!

    Back to the OP's question... Do those quick removal links work for long term use? Or do you need to replace them once a year or something. I'd be worried about them breaking or falling off. Otherwise they sound good to use if they are reliable.

    Gary

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gee3
    JDo those quick removal links work for long term use? Or do you need to replace them once a year or something. I'd be worried about them breaking or falling off. Otherwise they sound good to use if they are reliable.
    Quite reliable. A new chain gets a new link.

  23. #23
    Year-round cyclist
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    My preferred method? Leave it there! Once in a while, I remove gunk deposits off the derailleur pulleys with a small screwdriver. I typically re-lube my chain when it's about to start to squeek and it's ok. But we have lots of rain and some snow (not this year yet) to keep the drivetrain clean. And I have fenders that prevent road grime from flying onto the drivetrain.

    But since you live in Las Vegas, you deal with more sand and much less rain than I do. I would therefore recommend that you use a "dry lube" to lubricate your drivetrain. Basically, compared to oil or "wet lube", a dry lubricant:
    - is an equally effective lubricant for slow moving parts like a bicycle transmission;
    - lasts almost as long, providing there is no rain;
    - wears out very quickly in rain;
    - is paraffine-based (or relatively similar to that), so it does not attract dirt.

    The last point is important for you. Whereas sand will stick on an oiled chain like mad, it won't stick on a chain lubricated with dry lube.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  24. #24
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke
    The nice thing about simple green is that you can flush the stuff down the toilet when you're done. No nasty solvents to get rid of. Grocery and hardware stores have it. It also cleans brake crud off the rims well if you use it with scotch cloth. Also at the hardware store. bk
    I use Simple Green too. It's bio-degradable so I pour it on my lawn. Bermuda grass seems to like it.
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  25. #25
    Lanterne Rouge
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    You can limit the amount getting soaked into the solvent by flossing the cassette (use the ratchet action to help you) while it's on the wheel with a strip of rag.

    Go between each cog, and you will get most of you grit and gunk off.

    Soaking in solvent will get the rest of the laid on oil off, but I've found that the rag dental floss method works really well, and is a lot quicker.

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