Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Munising, Michigan, USA
Bikes: Gary Fisher Hodgepodge 26er Rigid
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
As for chain cleaning maintenance, ask a dozen knowledgeable people and expect 13 different answers.
LOL! Yes, the above is true. Chain cleaning is a "religous" topic.
I was planning to say that the one thing most riders agree upon is the utter uselessness of those plastic, chain-cleaning devices that fills with solvent and attaches to a chain. But then I saw MichaelW's post recommending one.
Some people like to remove their chains for cleaning, as you mentioned. If you decide to go that route, I recommend buying a removable link. You might already have one on your chain. If not, your dealer can sell you one for five bucks or so, and can show you how it works. I use the "remove the chain" method maybe once a year during my winter overhaul. Sometimes I don't even bother.
Others will clamp a rag over their chain while it's on the bike, and spin the chain so as to wipe crud off onto the rag. This is the method I use most often. You won't get shiny perfect results, but that's ok. You don't need to obsess over every spec of grit.
Some like those clamp-on degreaser devices. I tried one--Pedro's brand. The result was degreaser all over my bike and my workstand. My Feedback Ultimate stand to this day has discoloration from the degreaser splatter. Meh. Others like those devices, but I do not.
Bottom-line, I keep it simple. I wipe with a rag to get most of the crud off. Some crud will always be left in between the plates where the rag doesn't reach. What matters most is having lube insider the rollers. I don't sweat the small bits of crud between the plates.