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  1. #1
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Best way to clean cogs?

    I have searched for past threads, but can't seem to find what I am looking for. I am meticulous in cleaning my bike after every ride. The one task that is a pain in the butt is cleaning the cogs. I have the usual cog plastic, curved cleaning devices, etc. Heretofore, I had been spraying chain cleaner on the cogs, and hosing them down, but I just read (I believe in Zinn's maintenance book), that the solvent can easily find its way to wheel bearing grease which of course it destroys.

    Does anyone have some great method (without cog removal) for making the cogs and spaces in between look as shiny clean as my chain?
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  2. #2
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Flossing with a rag. It also sucks.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Picked up a dental tool cheap at a flea market. Works great on the caked up stuff. Rag works good from there. Every once in a while, I'll remove the cogs from the body and clean thoroughly

  4. #4
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    I have searched for past threads, but can't seem to find what I am looking for. I am meticulous in cleaning my bike after every ride. The one task that is a pain in the butt is cleaning the cogs. I have the usual cog plastic, curved cleaning devices, etc. Heretofore, I had been spraying chain cleaner on the cogs, and hosing them down, but I just read (I believe in Zinn's maintenance book), that the solvent can easily find its way to wheel bearing grease which of course it destroys.

    Does anyone have some great method (without cog removal) for making the cogs and spaces in between look as shiny clean as my chain?
    Just wipe down the cogs if they're really muddy. Get a chain with a quick-link and clean that more thoroughly.

    Seriously!

    The main problem with dirt on the cogs is that it gets into the chain. Dirt in the chain wears out the rollers. Worn chain rollers lead to chain stretch, which causes stress on the cog teeth, which causes worn out cogs. The dirt itself won't directly damage the cogs, it's a worn chain that will damage the cogs because that's where you have the metal-on-metal contact. There's no reason to go all that crazy cleaning your cogs every day. If you want to go crazy cleaning something, make it the chain.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Just wipe down the cogs if they're really muddy. Get a chain with a quick-link and clean that more thoroughly.

    Seriously!

    The main problem with dirt on the cogs is that it gets into the chain. Dirt in the chain wears out the rollers. Worn chain rollers lead to chain stretch, which causes stress on the cog teeth, which causes worn out cogs. The dirt itself won't directly damage the cogs, it's a worn chain that will damage the cogs because that's where you have the metal-on-metal contact. There's no reason to go all that crazy cleaning your cogs every day. If you want to go crazy cleaning something, make it the chain.
    I do keep my chain meticulously clean. I find that my finishline chain cleaner and chain scrubber brush make it look like new. When I am finished, I can find no evidence of dirt. I also dry lube it at least every other ride. I just would love for those cogs - especially in between to be shinola shine a glaze!
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  6. #6
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    I do keep my chain meticulously clean. I find that my finishline chain cleaner and chain scrubber brush make it look like new. When I am finished, I can find no evidence of dirt. I also dry lube it at least every other ride. I just would love for those cogs - especially in between to be shinola shine a glaze!
    Hehe, I'm beginning to think this is more about appearance than about performance
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  7. #7
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Hehe, I'm beginning to think this is more about appearance than about performance
    It's really both - I am a bike performance freek (who else would have TI pedals ), but I also like to keep my bike meticulously clean which not only looks good, but certainly doesn't hurt performance.
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  8. #8
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    It's really both - I am a bike performance freek (who else would have TI pedals ), but I also like to keep my bike meticulously clean which not only looks good, but certainly doesn't hurt performance.
    A clean bike is a happy bike. So long as it gets wet or dirty for the right reasons I have no issues with cleaning it.

  9. #9
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    It's really both - I am a bike performance freek (who else would have TI pedals ), but I also like to keep my bike meticulously clean which not only looks good, but certainly doesn't hurt performance.
    When I get rich, I will probably end up like you I like a clean bike too, but I really doubt anything more than a quick wiping between cogs will have an effect on performance.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    When I get rich, I will probably end up like you I like a clean bike too, but I really doubt anything more than a quick wiping between cogs will have an effect on performance.
    I was thinking in terms of a clean and lubed bike will perform the way it was designed. Non cleaning/regular lubing leads to wear and problems.
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  11. #11
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Kerosene, a tooth brush, and a rag.

  12. #12
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    I use a terry rag stretched across the edge of a tie plate, a flat metal square about the size of a credit card that sells for a few cents at any home improvement store. I spray the cassette with degreaser and then push the plate with the cloth into the gap between the cogs. I hold the plate stationary and turn the cassette on the freewheel with the other hand...this is with the bike on a repair stand. It cleans it down to the spindle and makes the job go quickly.

  13. #13
    la vache fantme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I think the best tool i ever got for cleaning was the pedros cog cleaner brush. I payed 3.99, it has large nylon bristles probably 1.5inch long at the longest part. That thing works on everything

  14. #14
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    I used to fret over my chain and cassette. I would spray so much degreaser around that i often flushed out my hub grease. Now I NEVER spray degreaser on the cassette and usually only clean it if it is really gummed up. At that time i try and just put the degreaser on the rag.

    I ride every day year round and after 5 or 6 thousand miles i learned that dirt on a mountain bike is just fine. Same with lube. I used to over do the lube on the chain. All it did was attract more dirt and draw more grime. I still lube but i just don't worry about it. Sometimes i lube, sometimes i don't. Only if my chain is really chattering do i worry.

  15. #15
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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  16. #16
    la vache fantme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    That thing works but i think the pedros is better because along with the thin nylon bristles it has coarse bristles on the bottom for other jobs.

  17. #17
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    I've heard a thin pedal wrench with a thin cloth around it works well. The right size cotton rope works well too.

  18. #18
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo
    I use a terry rag stretched across the edge of a tie plate, a flat metal square about the size of a credit card that sells for a few cents at any home improvement store. I spray the cassette with degreaser and then push the plate with the cloth into the gap between the cogs. I hold the plate stationary and turn the cassette on the freewheel with the other hand...this is with the bike on a repair stand. It cleans it down to the spindle and makes the job go quickly.
    That is a great idea. I was just at the LBS, and poised the question to their lead mechanic. He showed me a great technique - similar to yours but sans tie plate. He simply used the edge of a rag soaked with a bit of solvent like floss, and he was able to make the cogs sparkle in just a few moments. He also opined (painful thought for an anal guy like me), that that type of cleaning needed to be done only monthly. Thanks gang for all the great responses.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    I do have one of these. AAMOF, have two different brands of the same thing. Anal guys are never satisfied with just one cleaning device!
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  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    Flossing with a rag. It also sucks.
    I cut the rags into 2" or 3" wide strips. I get more rags to use that way, and I find a small piece a little easier to handle.

    I do it while having a coffee and watching TV to reduce the suck - shun.
    Last edited by 2manybikes; 02-11-05 at 01:06 PM. Reason: incomplete

  21. #21
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    I cut the rags into 2" or 3" wide strips. I get more rags to use that way, and I find a small piece a little easier to handle.

    I do it while having a coffee and watching TV to reduce the suck - shun.
    Great idea! Thanks, I will incorporate that.
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  22. #22
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    Anal guys are never satisfied with just one cleaning device!







    Too easy. You left an opening I could drive a truck through

  23. #23
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    === o^`o Ч's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    Flossing with a rag.
    always worked for me.

  24. #24
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn







    Too easy. You left an opening I could drive a truck through
    Well, it was a little easy, but I think you should get 10 points anyway just for presentation and picture.

  25. #25
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    It only takes, what, 10 minutes to take the cassette off, and properly clean the cogs. I use Finish Line spray citrus cleaner, and those gears back there are always clean. So, why even mess around with trying to clean them while they're mounted. And if you're really a clean freak, this is the only way you should be satisfied.

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