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  1. #1
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    Chain cleaner of choice?

    Anyone want to weigh in on the pros and cons of various cleaners? Thanks in advance?

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Well its WD40 for me, after it's clean, I'll use my Pro Link lube to oil it up. The only reason is that it's easy to use and I'm used to it.

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    I don't think I've done a real chain-cleaning since I started using ProLink five or six years ago. Back in the day, I used to remove the chain, soak it in kerosene, scrub it with a toothbrush and lube with paraffin, but that was really stupid...

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    Senior Member VegasVic's Avatar
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    Simple Green

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    The only chain cleaner I use is a liberal dose of Pro-Link and an old t-shirt.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Mineral spirits, kerosene, Pro-link, WD40, etc. No aqueous/caustic solutions (Simple Green, etc..)

  7. #7
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    I use a 60/40 mix of mineral spirits/30wt motor oil either in a coffee can when the chain is off the bike or a Park chain cleaner gizmo with the chain on the bike.

    Cleans and lubes at the same time.

    Inexpensive. Let the dirt and grime settle and pour off the clean solution into a clean container and wipe the gunk out of the dirty coffee can. The environmental impact is pretty low, IMO.

  8. #8
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    This thread is incomplete without the chain-lube discussion.

  9. #9
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Usually I only need to wipe, (while turning cranks) oil, and wipe again. As long as I do this every couple weeks or so, my chains don’t normally need any other cleaning, not even on the rain bike. Chains used in winter salt / gritty slush riding require more than this, as do the chains on the neglected bikes I pick up for free. On these, I use WD-40 which can truly resurrect some really nasty chains. Can be done on the bike or off depending how thorough I want to be. After spraying it and letting it soak in, I’ll wipe off the excess with a rag, blow out the WD & gunk with low pressure compressed air, and wipe dry. Then finish up with my favorite lube, Tri-Flow, and wipe off the excess.
    Last edited by AlmostTrick; 08-14-12 at 08:30 AM.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  10. #10
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
    This thread is incomplete without the chain-lube discussion.
    Yes. I've recently switched to odorless (but not "green") mineral spirits for cleaning, followed by an overnight soak in chainsaw oil. Jury is still out on chain life, but the chain is staying cleaner thanks to more fastidious wiping after rides.
    Last edited by ThermionicScott; 08-14-12 at 10:05 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  11. #11
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I am surprised by all of the Prolink users. It was really dirty for me. The chain was constantly black and rubbing off on my leg. I use Krytech wax and now have a very nice clean chain.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Depends on my mood. Sometimes I use a saturated rag with WD-40 a s wipe down, let dry then re lube. Works well enough.


    Sometimes I use one of those $14 chain cleaning machines from Performance with some cheap degreaser from Wally World (some purple stuff). 2 cycles works great and the chain comes out real shiny and happy looking.

  13. #13
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    I use minearl spirits or kerosene.

    I've come to the opinion that it is impossible to get a chain really clean. All cleaning does is remove the superficial dirt. You can spend hours cleaning it with a toothbrush and then wipe it with a white cloth and you will still get black.

    Makes me question if cleaning a chain actually helps the chain or if cleaning makes matter worse by allowing the dirt to penetrate further. Maybe just a quick wipe with a dry cloth to get the external crud off is all that is needed.

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    I use minearl spirits or kerosene.

    I've come to the opinion that it is impossible to get a chain really clean. All cleaning does is remove the superficial dirt. You can spend hours cleaning it with a toothbrush and then wipe it with a white cloth and you will still get black.

    Makes me question if cleaning a chain actually helps the chain or if cleaning makes matters worse by allowing the dirt to penetrate further. Maybe just a quick wipe with a dry cloth to get the external crud off is all that is needed.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    I use the Park Tool cleaner and the chain cleaning gizmo. I use Tri-Flow for lube right now, but I might look for something a little cleaner once I've used up this can. I only spray the chain down about once a month during the 'dry' season, but I tend to wipe it after any wet ride, and lube weekly in the winter.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPMacG View Post
    I use minearl spirits or kerosene.

    I've come to the opinion that it is impossible to get a chain really clean. All cleaning does is remove the superficial dirt. You can spend hours cleaning it with a toothbrush and then wipe it with a white cloth and you will still get black.

    Makes me question if cleaning a chain actually helps the chain or if cleaning makes matters worse by allowing the dirt to penetrate further. Maybe just a quick wipe with a dry cloth to get the external crud off is all that is needed.
    Cleaning does help. I have used a Park tools chain cleaner. There is a magnet at the bottom that attracts the metal sediment during the cleaning of your chain. If you've used one of these before, you can actually see how much of this sediment is removed. Even if you don't get all of it, you have to assume you're getting most of it out of the links. You have to try it though to believe it.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the replies. Ordered the Park cleaner gizmo and am wondering if mineral spirits will degrade the plastic. Thanks again.

  18. #18
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    So the last time I needed degreaser for my ParkChain Scrubber, I ran through Performance Bikes and picked up a 16 oz. bottle for about $9.00 ($0.56 per ounce.).

    Over the weekend, I was in Home Depot and saw a gallon of Zep Heavy-Duty Degreaser for $11.50 (under $0.09 per ounce.):
    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100676344

    For the price, it's seems like the way to go in thefuture. The only question I have is should I use the Zep at full-strength or dilute it? The label gives various strengths for cleaning different things, like floors and such. I'm thinking full strength, but I thought I'd throw this out there for discussion. Thanks!

  19. #19
    Member RyleyinSTL's Avatar
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    +1 for Zep Heavy-Duty Degreaseer and/or similar product.
    ----
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  20. #20
    of Clan Nrubso ChrisO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPMacG View Post
    I use minearl spirits or kerosene.

    I've come to the opinion that it is impossible to get a chain really clean. All cleaning does is remove the superficial dirt. You can spend hours cleaning it with a toothbrush and then wipe it with a white cloth and you will still get black.

    Makes me question if cleaning a chain actually helps the chain or if cleaning makes matters worse by allowing the dirt to penetrate further. Maybe just a quick wipe with a dry cloth to get the external crud off is all that is needed.
    If you follow up your cleaning routine (prior to re-lube) with a soak/shake session with isopropyl alcohol you'll get much more dirt and greases out of your chain. I think the IPA penetrates down into the nooks and crannies in between the rivets, barrels, and links better than other liquids. It also will displace any water left over from rinsing and evaportes away.
    A Sufficiently Motivated Fool


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  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleyinSTL View Post
    +1 for Zep Heavy-Duty Degreaseer and/or similar product.
    Full strength or dilute it?

  22. #22
    Senior Member rbrsddn's Avatar
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    Prolink Gold every few hundred miles, and citrus degreaser when the drivetrain looks nasty.
    1999 Fat Chance Ti
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  23. #23
    Member RyleyinSTL's Avatar
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    I just squirt directly on the chain (or anything that needs decreasing) right from the bottle (no dilution), let it sit a few minutes (brush if unnecessary) and wipe away the nastiness with a damp rag. Can also rinse with water so long as your re-lube right away.
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  24. #24
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleyinSTL View Post
    I just squirt directly on the chain (or anything that needs decreasing) right from the bottle (no dilution), let it sit a few minutes (brush if unnecessary) and wipe away the nastiness with a damp rag. Can also rinse with water so long as your re-lube right away.
    The problem with that technique is that any water inside the chain will block lube from coming in.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  25. #25
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    The only way to clean a chain.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

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