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Old 08-11-10, 01:35 PM   #1
tligman
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Cheapest and easiest way to keep my bike clean?

I popped in the LBS yesterday and once again they tried to sell me an expensive degreaser compount, an expensive plastic thing to snap on my chain and fill with solution to clean that, and expensive lube for the chain.

Bikes don't really need some special different blend of chemicals do they? Is there something I can run to the auto parts store or order online and accomplish much the same? Does the plastic thing really make degreasing/cleaning the chain easier? What sort of chain lube should I use? Spray can of Teflon maybe? Can I squeeze more questions in here?
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Old 08-11-10, 01:46 PM   #2
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How about water and a wet towel? Garden hose and a sprayer? I never wash my bike, I wipe it down with towel occasionally or spray it off after a rain ride. Once every 4 months or so I wipe each spoke down to get the dirt off of it, but that's it.

To clean and degrease the chain, search this board, more than enough threads on that one. Same thing with chain lube.
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Old 08-11-10, 01:57 PM   #3
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I guess I just lumped everything together... And I'm more concerned with cleaning the moving parts, since one of the places I ride regularly seems to deposit a fine layer of grit on everything, and I'll be riding in winter this year... I'll see if I can find a hose somewhere and give that a try.
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Old 08-11-10, 02:39 PM   #4
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I wipe off the chain and the RD pullys with some Kerosene on a rag or paper towel wad.

Bucket of soap and water and a few brushes for the rest,
the Pro's mechanics put the bike in a stand and take the wheels off..
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Old 08-11-10, 02:48 PM   #5
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To clean my chain years ago, I used an old paint brush and paint thinner, with lots of newspaper on the floor to catch the drips.

Then I changed to one of those plastic chain cleaning tools that has brushes inside and drizzles the cleaning liquid over the chain. Still used paint thinner and lots of newspaper.



Now (because I'm divorced, I can do these things) I take my front wheel off and put the bike in the bathtub. I put generous amounts of liquid Sunlight dish soap all over the drive train, then use a small stiff brush on the chain and a paint brush on the rest. When the soap is well brushed in, I use my shower attachment which has a hose, to wash off the soap and grease. Repeat this procedure one or 2 times, until everything sparkles.



After everything is dry, I lube the chain with "Finish Line Wet" oil, and brush it in with an old toothbrush. I put a drop of 3in1 household oil on the joints on my derallieurs. I use more Finish Line in the winter, and less in the summer, because I don't like it picking up dirt.



I follow this procedure twice, or three times a year, or whenever I'm bored.

If you want, you can use lemon sented soap for an extra fresh smelling bike, but I don't.
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Old 08-11-10, 03:08 PM   #6
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When the bike gets dirty I wash it with Dawn mixed with water and sprayed on the bike. I use a brush to get the heavier crud off and rinse it off. When it is dry I wipe it down with Pledge furniture polish. It looks nice and is easier to clean next time.
I remove the chain every 700 to 750 miles and clean it in a cheap ultrasonic cleaner with Simple Green and water. I rinse it until the soap is off and dry it and put it back on the bike. I drip a mix of 4 parts unscented mineral spirits to 1 part chain saw bar oil on the chain while turning the cranks backwards. I wipe off the excess and ride and repeat.
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Old 08-11-10, 03:13 PM   #7
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Chain: Apply Pro-link, wipe, ride, repeat.

Everything else: bucket, hose, rag. Don't spray a hard stream near anything with bearings.
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Old 08-11-10, 03:48 PM   #8
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For the chain I use the plastic chain cleaner with diluted "Greased Lightening" that we buy in a gallon jug. I use regular chain lube. It isn't that expensive and works.

For cleaning, I use windshield washer fluid and an old towel. When one of the MTBs gets really dirty it will get hosed off but usually that isn't necessary.
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Old 08-11-10, 04:05 PM   #9
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I know the question of chain lube is one that can spark spirited discussion, but I'm beginning to think that any lube that reliably stays under the rollers is just fine. I think you could probably spend $5 on a quart or two of gear oil that would last almost a lifetime. I don't think you would notice any difference between using that and much more expensive chain lube.

Bicycle chains just aren't exposed to conditions extreme enough to warrant anything extraordinary. They don't move that fast, the tolerances aren't that tight, and there is no internal combustion. I think the most important thing is the chain receives regular cleaning and fresh lube, commensurate with usage and conditions.
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Old 08-11-10, 05:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vautrain View Post
Bicycle chains just aren't exposed to conditions extreme enough to warrant anything extraordinary. They don't move that fast, the tolerances aren't that tight, and there is no internal combustion. I think the most important thing is the chain receives regular cleaning and fresh lube, commensurate with usage and conditions.
OMG.....The chain will break and you might fall down and really hurt yourself or die!!!

I use dawn and a hose and then "GASP" WD40 on my derailers, wipe them off with a dry towel and then a few drops of 3 in 1 oil on them

Then for the chain I use white lightning....but I'm sure I'm doing it wrong and my chain will break one day...but I like living on the edge!!!
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Old 08-11-10, 05:22 PM   #11
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Soapy water to clean the bike and Rock and Roll Gold to both clean and lubricate the chain. Any three in one type all for all other lubrication.
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Old 08-11-10, 08:42 PM   #12
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I used to oil my chain. Then I bought a bottle of dry wax lube. I will never use anything else. The dry lube doesn't hold crud. My chain don't get dirty. I don't have to clean it! Just follow the directions on the bottle. Even Walmart sells it now. I've gone thru 1/2 a bottle for two bikes since the summer began, and I ride daily. The bottle cost $7. I think that's a deal.
Only thing I do special is if I ride in the rain I will spray A RAG with WD-40 then wipe down the chain after the ride. Keeps the rust away.
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Old 08-11-10, 08:57 PM   #13
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The cheapest and easiest way to keep your bike clean is to leave it in the garage. Thank you ladies and germs, I'll be here all week.

Wax works great to keep crud out of the chain but it starts to squeak soon. I tried putting a little prolink on a waxed chain. That stuff's so thin it still doesn't attract grit, but the chain doesn't squeak.
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Old 08-12-10, 12:44 AM   #14
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I find it takes less than 5-minutes to keep my bike clean:

1. spray 409 on bike

2. wipe off with rag

3. spray WD-40 on lower chain-run while spinning crank backwards

4. wrap rag around chain and wrap fingers all the way around

5. lightly squeeze rag while spinning crank back backwards 5-10 times

6. lube chain with top-secret mix of your choice, ride around the block a couple of times, repeat #5


If I feel like doing a better job, I may wax the frame.
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Old 08-12-10, 07:41 AM   #15
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Dont use it
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Old 08-12-10, 08:46 AM   #16
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if you like pets, get a dog with a taste for hydrocarbons and dirt. cats could work but only if you keep the bike laying on its side.
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Old 08-12-10, 08:50 AM   #17
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The easiest way to keep it clean is to not get it dirty I suppose.

I've switched to Squirt Chain lube this summer. No more chain cleaning. Great stuff. The key to the switch is to clean off the dino lube, then apply it about 2-3 times before you ride. Then apply some more after the first ride or two.
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