Join Date: Jan 2006
Bikes: Concorde Columbus SL, Rocky Mountain Edge, Sparta stadfiets
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Follow these steps for a clean, low maintenance chain. You'll need:
A can of beans
Some of those obnoxious candles your relatives gave you for Christmas
A heat source
Eat the beans and clean out the can
Remove chain from bike if you've got a removable link
Melt candles and a tablespoon of Vaseline over the heat source
Drop in your chain
Remove it after the bubbles stop coming to the surface of the wax
The remaining gunk on the chain dissolves into the wax mixture or sinks to the bottom
If the wax is hot enough, it should come out looking clean
Wipe off the remaining wax while the chain is still warm
Apologize to your significant other for getting wax on the stove
Repeat 1500km from now, give or take (mud, wet conditions, abuse) using the same mix a dozen times, adding wax if needed
For chains that don't easily come off, I unhook the chain from around the front chainrings and bottom bracket so that it's hanging off the back of the front derailleur, going through the frame, and through the rear derailleur.
With the bike on the floor, set the can of molten wax under the chainstay. With the rear derailleur pulled forward with your fingers, you can loop a fifth to a quarter of the chain into the mix. Make sure it warms up sufficiently before you put the next section in. Wipe as you go. You'll need to return the chain to the heat a couple of times to get it hot enough.
I discovered this technique one desperate evening in front of a campfire in Moab. Used it ever since.