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Old 09-04-07, 11:20 AM   #1
hjeand
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How do I get my new chain clean?

I recently bought a new bike and the chain has this sticky, waxy crap on it. It picks up dirt like mad, so I went to clean it with Simple Green and my trusty cog brush. To my surprise the Simple Green didn't take it off. What should I use to remove this gunk off my chain? The LBS said it's the stuff that the chain comes with from the bike manufactorer.
Help!
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Old 09-04-07, 11:39 AM   #2
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I usually take the new chain & place it in a 2 liter bottle with Simple Green & water, shake until tired, rise and install the cahin.
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Old 09-04-07, 11:40 AM   #3
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That stuff your removing is the best chain lube there is. Leave it on, your chain will thank you. After is starts to wear off, then start lubing with your normal lube.
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Old 09-04-07, 01:20 PM   #4
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The stuff you are taking off is in fact, NOT the bast chain lube there is. It is nasty wet greasy gunk that needs to be removed so the chain can be dipped in hot paraffin.

I have always used mineral spirits with great success. in a plastic trim painting bucket with a toothbrush. I let it soak, then scrub, then let it soak some more, then remove and hang to dry.

Sheldon
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Old 09-04-07, 01:40 PM   #5
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The stuff you are taking off is in fact, NOT the bast chain lube there is. It is nasty wet greasy gunk that needs to be removed so the chain can be dipped in hot paraffin.

I have always used mineral spirits with great success. in a plastic trim painting bucket with a toothbrush. I let it soak, then scrub, then let it soak some more, then remove and hang to dry.

Sheldon
Hmm, not that Im saying your wrong, but If I remember correctly Sheldon Brown may have said that in a thread somewhere, thats why I suggested it. Maybe Sheldon Brown will see this and clear it up for us. I am genuinely curious now myself. I was also lead to believe that Parraffin Wax is actually not a very good lube as well. Dirt doesn't stick to it very well, BUT its has no where near the lube qualities of an oil. Frequent application of light Tri-Flow is considered one of the best from what I hear.
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Old 09-04-07, 01:49 PM   #6
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I'm of the "factory lube is the best" opinion, and would suggest that you clean the outer plates of the chain and leave the rest alone.
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Old 09-04-07, 01:52 PM   #7
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I was worried about having that sticky stuff on my new chain also. I was going to clean it off but never got around to it. Instead I just did what I do on any chain, which is wipe it down with a rag while spinning the crank, then apply Tri Flow lube and wipe it down again. After doing this every week or so I can no longer tell that sticky stuff was ever on there. Under normal conditions I don't think you need to worry about it causing any problems.
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Old 09-04-07, 02:02 PM   #8
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its great for those who never oil their chain

not me, but i fix up peoples bikes sometimes (neighbors/friends) and i usually find rusted chains, on held there by the rust sticking to itself. i hate working with the stuff on the chains (shimano is the worst yet) because it takes forever to was off. any tips?
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Old 09-04-07, 02:12 PM   #9
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For one it isn't lube like you would normally use. It's for packaging and is way too gummy to be a decent or reliable lube.
And for two SB isn't God.
Clean your chain with any sort of detergent. I use Dawn dish soap and then use a lube that doesn't build friction through heat. And is clean after running a few weeks of riding. If your lube changes color rapidly, like grey or black and is thick from picking up debris it's time for a change.
And three with lubes less is more and should be maintained like the air in your tires.
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Old 09-04-07, 02:43 PM   #10
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The answer to the old bicyclists tale about that gunk being the 'best lube ever' is in your fingertips. Run your fingertips back and forth along the length of the chain. Can you feel the rollers turning smoothly and easily? No? Then it is not even lube at all. It is there to protect the chain from rust, until sold. I take mine to my car mechanics shop and clean it with the parts cleaner. Then I blow it dry with compressed air. No water or acidic degreaser ever touches the chain. Later on, I clean it with Brake Klean on a towel. Again, no water or acidic degreasers, which should never touch your chain. bk
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Old 09-04-07, 02:45 PM   #11
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I still have the factory applied stuff on mine, and the bike runs very quietly. However, once it starts to attract dirt, I clean it in something like Simple Green and apply Pro Link.
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Old 09-04-07, 08:25 PM   #12
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As you might be able to guess since there seems to be two solid sides to this issue, it likely really doesn't matter which you choose to do. But do choose to care for it on a regular basis by keeping it clean and lubed. There are many choices on both the cleaning and lubing. Pick one and do it regularly and you won't be dealing with the rusty, dirty chain we likely all have seen on friends and neighbors neglected chains. Which ever you choose, if done regularly, will give you good chain and cog life.
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Old 09-04-07, 09:44 PM   #13
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Go to the hardware store and get a container of lanolin (active ingredient in citrus degreaser, but MUCH cheaper at the hardware store then any bike shop), put it in a bottle then shake it. If you're cheap like me, use a coffee filter to filter out the particles so you can use it again. Just keep in mind you can only do this so many times, as with any of the organic solvents, they will reach a saturation point eventually.

If you've got some MEK lying around, you can use that too... just don't breathe it in. Even gasoline will do wonders in a pinch.

After that, melt down some candles, add a pinch of graphite lube, dunk your chain in... let it harden, and break the chain so it can move again. As you ride the first 5 miles or so the rest of the excess wax will come off. This will seriously help you keep from having dust and grime collect on and in your chain.
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Old 09-04-07, 11:38 PM   #14
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After that, melt down some candles, add a pinch of graphite lube, dunk your chain in... let it harden, and break the chain so it can move again. As you ride the first 5 miles or so the rest of the excess wax will come off. This will seriously help you keep from having dust and grime collect on and in your chain.
It will keep out dust and grime but doesn't do much for lubing the chain moving against itself. Also, maybe you don't mind, but wax creates such a hard to clean mess all over you chain rings and derailers. Ive had to clean many a messy wax clogged bikes before.

You see wax does not flow. When one chain part moves against another on a waxed chain, it creates a mark groove whatever in the wax. The wax is permanently scraped away. The next time the chain moves in the same way, there is nothing between metal and metal. With a liquid lubed chain. The lube flows back into any areas that it has been displaced from almost instantly, ready for another cycle of lubrication.

The down side is yes a liquid holds more particulate matter. Thats why I suggested frequent wipe, and application of Tri-Flow.

Just my .02
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Old 09-05-07, 02:57 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by humble_biker View Post
For one it isn't lube like you would normally use. It's for packaging and is way too gummy to be a decent or reliable lube.
And for two SB isn't God.
Clean your chain with any sort of detergent. I use Dawn dish soap and then use a lube that doesn't build friction through heat. And is clean after running a few weeks of riding. If your lube changes color rapidly, like grey or black and is thick from picking up debris it's time for a change.
And three with lubes less is more and should be maintained like the air in your tires.


SRAM 9-Speed PowerChain II™ Chains
Delivering light weight, strength and smoothness to your drivetrain. BlackBox™ racers know – SRAM® PowerChain™ is designed to stand up to the toughest courses and competitors. From the convenient PowerLink™ connectors that eliminate the need for tools to the GLEITMO™ lube that protects against dirt and friction, these chains set the standard for durability and reliability.

Shimano suggests (strongly) not to use an alkaline cleaner on their chain.



I think I'd go with the manufacturers recomendations here.

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Old 09-05-07, 05:40 AM   #16
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Wipe down the outside of the chain. There is no reason for any sticky substance/lube on the outer surfaces of any chain. And for godssake leave the factory lube intact unless you really need to.
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Old 09-05-07, 07:13 AM   #17
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It will keep out dust and grime but doesn't do much for lubing the chain moving against itself. Also, maybe you don't mind, but wax creates such a hard to clean mess all over you chain rings and derailers. Ive had to clean many a messy wax clogged bikes before.

You see wax does not flow. When one chain part moves against another on a waxed chain, it creates a mark groove whatever in the wax. The wax is permanently scraped away. The next time the chain moves in the same way, there is nothing between metal and metal. With a liquid lubed chain. The lube flows back into any areas that it has been displaced from almost instantly, ready for another cycle of lubrication.

The down side is yes a liquid holds more particulate matter. Thats why I suggested frequent wipe, and application of Tri-Flow.

Just my .02
With all lubes/waxes they're area specific. Triflow doesn't do a good job around here with the dust, its so problematic I would have to clean my chain thoroughly with every ride (been there, done that). When I feel like my chain needs more lubrication (you can hear it) I usually will follow it up with Pedro's Extra Dry or Pedro's Ice Wax (which is obviously also a wax). If I'm riding closer to the gulf coast... like Houston, then I'll usually go with the ice wax, because its so much more hydrophobic, around here in Oklahoma, I usually go for the extra dry.

I use triflow on my cables and dérailleurs, not my chain or cassette. And for the love of God, WD-40 doesn't even get to look at my bike. The real proof comes with experience, my chains last about as long as anyone else's... I just don't have to clean them as often.

Last edited by Dr. Jakal; 09-05-07 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 09-05-07, 08:32 AM   #18
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I leave it on and add a dry lube.

Remember, what's on the outside of a chain means nothing about what's on the inside.
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Old 09-05-07, 08:42 AM   #19
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I usually take the new chain & place it in a 2 liter bottle with Simple Green & water, shake until tired, rise and install the cahin.
Shimano says that a chain should never be removed for cleaning.

I can't speak to their reasoning on it. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they don't recommend or provide a quick-link, and breaking the chain is not good for it. But IMO it also has to do with the fact that soaking out all the lube is a dangerous operation. It's not all that easy to get lube back in everywhere without injecting dirt along with it.

Think about the nature of the OEM coating. It's waxy, right? That means it will squeeze out of the bearing surfaces and pile up around the place where the rivet enters the inner plate, sealing the bearing surface from dirt. The bearing surface is the only place on a chain where lube and dirt matter. If a sticky outer surface grabs the dirt before it gets there, that's a good thing!

All chains come with the same type of coating. NONE of them say to wash it off. I think we should trust the engineers on this one.
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Old 09-05-07, 08:44 AM   #20
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Meh, i soak mine in paint thinner for a while. Then let it dry, install, and lube.
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Old 09-05-07, 08:52 AM   #21
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In the olden days before timing belts to car engines, there were timing chains. My old Mercedes still has the timing chain. Maybe the next innovation would be that the chain, cog, and rings be covered, sealed.
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Old 09-05-07, 09:01 AM   #22
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The timing chain runs in an oil bath. Cover + oil = mucho weight.

But you're right. The stuff would last forever.
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Old 09-05-07, 09:58 AM   #23
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[QUOTE=DMF;5212150]Shimano says that a chain should never be removed for cleaning.
QUOTE]

Ah, that is what Wipperman Connex connectors are made for! No pins pushed out to take the chain off. I get 2500 miles (on average) out of a chain, replacing before the get to 1/8" stretch per 12". All my chains get cleaned with Simple Green, double rinsed, dried and then immersed in Pro Link. Relube as needed.
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Old 09-05-07, 10:00 AM   #24
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Well, timing chains do wear out. While it's an oil bath, it's still an oil bath with piles of contaminates.

I never thought about the super thick stuff "sealing" the roller; that makes sense. I've been cleaning my (old) chain every 100-150 miles, as it just gets this grey-black color. It is a thin oil I'm using at the moment (Pedro's something or another); but I'll rest a bit easier, now that I'm not imagining dirt making a beeline into those rollers.
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Old 09-05-07, 12:22 PM   #25
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Ah, that is what Wipperman Connex connectors are made for! No pins pushed out to take the chain off.
I said that. You're ignoring the other 5/6 of my post, as well.
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