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  1. #1
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    chain cleaners or off the bike?

    Ok, I currently remove the chain and do the shake in a bottle technique, but want to see who uses the chain cleaner machines and how effective they are compared to removing from the bike. If you use a cleaner, type, degreaser solution, etc. with my technique, simple green is not very effective, especially compare to Pedro's or park degreasers bu I'm not a fan of paying that much for a biodegradable degreaser. Also I want to clean the drivetrain weekly because of the nasty commute I have but don't want to get it up on the stand every Saturday. I have other bikes I'm building!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mr. Hairy Legs's Avatar
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    I use chain cleaners occasionally and find them pretty convenient. The whole process takes maybe 3 minutes. Good enough for my low standards.

  3. #3
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I'm in the "off-the-bike" camp. If you use the right lube and wipe the excess off like you should, there's no need to service it every week.
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    happy bike wishes Turtle Speed's Avatar
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    I was all hyped up to use the Park chain cleaner, but I found it to be a pain - potentially messy, and a waste of time with pouring the degreaser in and then rinsing, etc.

    Bathing the chain in OMS (the real stuff, not the "green" type which is made from something else) seems to do an awesome job, and you can use the OMS again and again. Less work than messing around with chain cleaners.

    I also think once a week is excessive unless you're right in the middle of some serious winter slop. It doesn't make sense to me to waste so much time using a chain cleaner constantly in order to try to squeeze out an extra 500 miles out of your chain. On a commuter bike's chain, that's like hours of work to try to save $3 worth of chain life.

    Life is short - I do a fast wipe and relube every few weeks and give it an OMS bath twice a year.

  5. #5
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    For fourty years I used the shaker bottle bottle like you. This year I broke down and bought the Park chain cleaner and really like it. It does make it easier to clean the chain more often and that has to help the chain life. I don't feel it is extra messy to use. I just put a paint tray under the bike to catch any drips, and the rinse water. I thought it was a really lame gadget before, but now I can't see going back. I use Simple Green also, Pedros and Park's cleaners are just too rich for me. Simple Green works fine.

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    I use Zep heavy duty degreser. Cheaper and more effective than any overpriced. Bproduct sold in bike shops.

  7. #7
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Hard to beat a Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner for $65 with coupon and some Dawn dish soap.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
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    Chain cleaners on the bike work great. Done in 5 minutes - no muss, no fuss. Why would you mess with anything else?

    J.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
    Hard to beat a Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner for $65 with coupon and some Dawn dish soap.
    I assume you use this with other bike bits too?

  10. #10
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    chain cleaners or off the bike?

    Thanks for the info! Anybody use other brands other than the park cleaner? Saw a couple for half the cost, don't mind paying for the park if its twice as good, or lasts twice as long, but I'd rather save a few bucks if the reliability is there.

  11. #11
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I assume you use this with other bike bits too?
    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-889737.html

    It's the cat's pajamas
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
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  12. #12
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
    hmmm, might have to check one of those out.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  13. #13
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    I used on the bike style for a long time. couple of different park tool models which eventually broke. I find them messy and not as thorough but OK in a pinch. I put SRAM powerlinks on all my chains and clean them off the bike every time now. It's easy not as messy and I think it works better.

    but that ultrasonic cleaner ^ looks like something I'd like to add to my shop.

  14. #14
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I use Pro Link Gold and usually just wipe down the chain; lube; and wipe off excess then let sit over night before riding. I do this about every 200 miles.

    However I will use a chain cleaning tool if the chain gets very filthy such as riding on a dusty trail or long distances in the rain. BUT I don't use a solvent. Instead I use Pro Link Gold yet again. It cleans and lubes at the same time. I buy the stuff by the quart so it isn't all that expensive especially when I only do this occasionally.

    Even though I'm over 200 lbs, I get at least 4K miles out of a chain and I often change the chain sooner than needed. I use a Park's chain checking tool at least once a month to make sure I'm not riding on a worn out chain.

    Note: I'm seriously considering waxing when I get a new chain. I have an old crock pot and recently read a report by the Friction Facts people that paraffin wax uses the least watts plus lasts the longest. The difference between a chain freshly lubed with paraffin wax and Pro Link Gold is about 2.5 watts. And the paraffin wax job actually gets better by about a half watt with use.

    BTW: Rock-n-Roll Gold Chain Lube comes in a close second to paraffin wax with a fresh lube, but wears out quicker.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    For the past several chains I have left them on the bike and just wiped them down with a rag wet with brake cleaner and re lubed. I like keeping the factory grease in the rollers. Hasn't made a lick of difference in terms of chain life and honestly they run quieter.

  16. #16
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    I am in a different camp.. I am in the camp of constant maintenance has worked wonders on my bicycles and motorcycles.

    With the motorcycle(sport-bikes), all my chains go 30,000+ miles and always look new. Never had to take one off to clean it..

    On the bicycle, I lightly oil my chain every other use..On both the motorcycle and the bicycle, I WIPE off the excess oil..

    The wipe off action makes the oil also function as a cleaner too. Result, my chains NEVER get dirty and cruddy. On the motorcycle, I never need adjustment unless I am changing tire/wheel.

    Just my two cents on what works for me..
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  17. #17
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I bought a Finish Line cleaner after years of removing the chain and doing the bottle shake thing.

    The Finish Line cleaner gets the chain FAR cleaner than I ever got a chain when removing and soaking. There's just no substitute for actually scrubbing with brushes. Getting the job done in 3 minutes without having to get all greasy or crack the chain off the bike is a double bonus. In fact since I switched to a rear axle kickstand, I just throw the cleaner on and crank for a couple minutes, I don't even have to put the thing up on a stand or anything.

    The reviews indicate that the Finish Line cleaner is superior to the Park cleaner as far as durability and build quality.

    I've just picked up some "Chain-L" lube - it seems pretty good. It's very thick and the chain runs VERY quiet with it on as opposed to other stuff I've tried (motor oil, other name brand chain lubes, DuPont Wax/Teflon, Boeshield T9). It's pretty inexpensive too.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  18. #18
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirtirithon View Post
    For the past several chains I have left them on the bike and just wiped them down with a rag wet with brake cleaner and re lubed. I like keeping the factory grease in the rollers. Hasn't made a lick of difference in terms of chain life and honestly they run quieter.
    +1
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  19. #19
    Senior Member moochems's Avatar
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    I use graphite and paraffin as per Garth's recommendation. Gary is on another forum but a google of graphite paraffin chain , will get you there.

    Works great, I don't spend much time cleaning the chain. Really I just wipe it off with a clean rag. I take the chain off, but because it is so clean and I use a powerlink that is very easy. It takes longer to heat up the croc pot than it does to lube the chain and re-install it. I chose this method because Garth claimed it provided more longevity. I haven't been using it long enough to know, but so far it is a great method.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirtirithon View Post
    For the past several chains I have left them on the bike and just wiped them down with a rag wet with brake cleaner and re lubed. I like keeping the factory grease in the rollers. Hasn't made a lick of difference in terms of chain life and honestly they run quieter.
    Brake cleaner? Isn't that stuff nasty for the environment? I'm not an Eco nut but I try to avoid putting really nasty stuff into the drains. Try to stick to citrus degreasers or other products I wouldn't mind my kids being around.

  21. #21
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirtirithon View Post
    For the past several chains I have left them on the bike and just wiped them down with a rag wet with brake cleaner and re lubed. I like keeping the factory grease in the rollers. Hasn't made a lick of difference in terms of chain life and honestly they run quieter.
    2001 Raleigh R700
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    1985 Raleigh Prestige
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    1985 Raleigh Grand Prix #2 (project #1)
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  22. #22
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Brake cleaner? Isn't that stuff nasty for the environment? I'm not an Eco nut but I try to avoid putting really nasty stuff into the drains. Try to stick to citrus degreasers or other products I wouldn't mind my kids being around.
    I use WD40 on my motorcycle chain as a cleaner. Wipe off, then apply Chain wax/oil.. On the bicycle because of constant maintenance my chain never gets to a state where it needs to be taken off to clean or do I need to use a cleaner..

    Again, just my 2 cents..
    2001 Raleigh R700
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  23. #23
    George Krpan
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirtirithon View Post
    For the past several chains I have left them on the bike and just wiped them down with a rag wet with brake cleaner and re lubed. I like keeping the factory grease in the rollers. Hasn't made a lick of difference in terms of chain life and honestly they run quieter.
    Agreed. I use generic Swiffer refills that I get at the 99 cent store. They clean the chain perfectly and there is no dirty rag to mess with afterwards. I clean and oily lube my chain once a week, takes a few minutes. It is very important to wipe off the excess lube from the chain, derailleur pullys, chainring, and cassette cog.

  24. #24
    Fork and spoon operator
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    I wipe my chain after every ride. By the time I feel I need to clean it, I always feel like I need to clean and lube the derailleur too, and often I also want to take off the cassette and chainring and clean those. So taking off the chain is necessary anyway. In the summer I pretty much never do this, but in the winter it's sometimes almost every week.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
    I wipe my chain after every ride. By the time I feel I need to clean it, I always feel like I need to clean and lube the derailleur too, and often I also want to take off the cassette and chainring and clean those. So taking off the chain is necessary anyway. In the summer I pretty much never do this, but in the winter it's sometimes almost every week.
    You just inspired me to build a winter bike with an 8 speed igh. I don't mind cleaning the drive train on my commuter, but I have 12 bikes in the garage and a peugeot px 10 in pieces begging me to build it.

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