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  1. #1
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    Bike dirty after riding in the rain

    So, today I rode in the rain for 10ish miles. I came home and decided it would be a good time to clean my bike. I wiped everything down, and then I cleaned the chain the best I could and lubed it. But as I pedaled, there was still a gritty sound. So I took off the the rear wheel and tried to clean the cassette (is that what it's called?...this) because I could see there was dirt in it.

    I scrubbed it with a toothbrush and water, and I got as much dirt as I could out of it. I didn't take the axle out or anything, though. Then I cleaned the front chainring (not sure if that's the right term either - sorry I'm a noob ) So I put the wheel back on, and the gritty noise was still there. How do I make it go away? I don't want to be riding if my bike isn't cleaned well enough or lubricated enough to the point where it effects how fast things wear down. Can someone explain to me what I'm missing here?

  2. #2
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    Remove the chain, drop it in a plastic jar with Simple Green or solvent and shake it for a few minutes. Remove the cleaning liquid and rinse the chain until the cleanser is gone. Dry it, put it back on the bike and lube it.

  3. #3
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    if you're in a warm area, the first and maybe best thing you can do when you get home after a rain ride is to rinse the bike off with a garden hose. Don't use a high pressure stream from the nozzle, ir if you do, don't spray it near the openings of any of the bearings.

    Just use a low pressure flow like you'd get without a nozzle, and run it all over the bike to rinse dirt and silt off before it dries. I'm an extreme case, so this may be unacceptable for mot, but when I get home on my commuter in the rain, I leave it outside for the rain to rinse off for me. Rain isn't what get's bikes dirty, it's the spray from the road, so a rinse it all that's needed.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    I don't have a chainbreaker, so I can't put the chain in a tub or anything. I did use a garden hose to spray down the bike, before and after I cleaned the rear cassette.

    I rode it for about 4 miles and stopped and hung out with a friend for an hour or two - I assume that's the problem, because the grit had time to dry? It was raining on my way home, too, but not that bad.

    It's not THAT dirty but I'm not sure how clean it's supposed to be. Since there was definitely a difference after I cleaned it the first time, should I just do it all again tomorrow and see if that fixes it?

  5. #5
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    You'll often hear grittyness while and after riding in the rain. That's usually because road grit gets sprayed up onto the chain and sprockets. This noise will go away on it's own after riding dry a short while as the chain's movement pushes it to the area at the base of the sprocket teeth where it stays as part of the characteristic buildup there (line the line at the end of the windshield wiper stroke).

    Decent chain lube (I'm biased here) does a decent job of keeping water and road grit out of the chain so that shouldn't need attention. However if you use a lube that washes off easily, you'd want to dry the chain and relube asap to avoid rust on the inside where it'll shorten the chain's life.

    there's also the chance that water or grit gets into the bottom bracket and/or the hub bearings, where there's no way to remove it short of field stripping. Water will dry out if the bike is put in a warm place, but grit or salt deposited there is there for life. Most hubs and bottom brackets are of necessity resistant to grit entry, but if a spinning wheel sounds gritty after it's dry then it wants service. Likewise for a bottom bracket that grinds when cranks are spun with the chain off. No need to open the chain, derail it to the inside and park it on the BB shell to check the bearings.
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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    Park Tool and others make a chain cleaner which clamps over the chain to clean it on the bike. These work fairly well when used with one of the citrus cleaners. You will probably need a few changes of cleaner until the chain comes clean. Be certain that the chain is dry before re-lubing it. A rinse with denatured alcohol will help remove the remaining water, as will heating the chain with a hair dryer.

    When you replace the chain you can get one with a removable master link which can be opened to remove the chain without using a chain tool.

  7. #7
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    Buy a chain tool and a master link and you will be set.

  8. #8
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    +1 Isolate the problem. Derail the chain and spin the wheels and crankset separately. If those are ok, the problem is in the chain. Chain cleaning/lubing methods are argued frequently but obviously a gritty sound is not good. I'd recommend getting a chain tool and dumping the chain in a bottle of mineral spirits/paint thinner then lubing with bar and chain oil.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  9. #9
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    Today, I cleaned the chain again - got a lot of more grease out of it. Then I took off the chain and spun the pedals and the crankset didn't make any noise, which was good. So I spun the rear cassette, which didn't make any bad gritty noises as far as I could tell. I put the chain back on and lubed it.

    But now there's this odd popping/creaking sound? Not too sure what it is. It doesn't happen when I just spin the pedals without me being on the bike, so I guess it's from the pressure of me pushing down on the pedals. Help?

  10. #10
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    How old/how many miles on this bike? When chains/cassettes get really worn out the chain will ride up the teeth and skip. If you haven't made any adjustments to the bike, this is what I might suspect. You can measure the wear on the chain with a good 12" steel ruler. If 12 links measure more than 12 1/8" your chain is worn out.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  11. #11
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    How old/how many miles on this bike? When chains/cassettes get really worn out the chain will ride up the teeth and skip. If you haven't made any adjustments to the bike, this is what I might suspect. You can measure the wear on the chain with a good 12" steel ruler. If 12 links measure more than 12 1/8" your chain is worn out.
    Only a month and a half old, with around 400 miles on it.

    I'm afraid I did something wrong putting the rear wheel back on. Could I have put it too far back/too far forward? I made sure the chain was as tight as it normally is. Sorry, I'm new to this

  12. #12
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    Fenders will help.

  13. #13
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    The sound went away, so I guess everything is fine now. I have a suspicion I was being stupid and my shoelaces were making the sounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFourOne View Post
    The sound went away, so I guess everything is fine now. I have a suspicion I was being stupid and my shoelaces were making the sounds.
    Sound went away. THAT is the important part. Who cares if it was your shoelaces? Your bike was making a new unknown sound and you paid a lot of money for your bike so you wanted it fixed. Its now fixed! Good job. And it was a free fix.

  15. #15
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    Exactly haha

  16. #16
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    I once had what I thought was a creak that turned out to be my rubber soled shoe being too close to the crank and rubbing with each revolution.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  17. #17
    Senior Member RubberLegs's Avatar
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    Glad I'm not the only one, I have had shoe lace "Ticks" and shoe squeaks! Drove me nuts till I figured out what was causing it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member TwoFourOne's Avatar
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    Yup, shoe squeaks happen to me, too. Figured that one out pretty quickly though

  19. #19
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    I had a click sound that seemed to only happen when I peddled, and it would at times go away and then return.

    It drove me crazy trying to figure it out, until one day I checked my spokes while cleaning the bike and one was just a little bit looser than the rest.

    As I moved the spoke I heard that click noise that I'd been hearing. I temporarily put some tape on the spoke where it intersected with the other spoke and sure enough, that was the culprit.

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