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Cleaning & Relubing in a Wet & Sandy Location

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Cleaning & Relubing in a Wet & Sandy Location

Old 12-25-15, 05:47 AM
  #1  
Bassmanbob
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Cleaning & Relubing in a Wet & Sandy Location

After doing a search on degreasing, cleaning and relubing, I'm more confused than when I started. I'm not sure if I should use water based degreaser or something else. Here is my situation and my thoughts. Please give me your input after reading through it. Sorry that it's long; I edited it a bit.

Here in southeast Florida, it rains a lot. I can be out on a sunny day, and end up riding home in a torrential downpour. So the idea that I'll never let water touch my bike is unrealistic. My bikes are going to get wet, whether I wet them or God does. Also, being in SE Florida, there is sand everywhere. Even inland, it can't be avoided. So I need to give my bikes a bath with soap and water. I usually use my automobile soap and sponge, then rinse with a low pressure hose-- it's more like a mist. So if I'm already getting the bikes wet, I figure I might as well use a water based degreaser rather than something else. I also have no intention on removing my chain every time I degrease and clean my bikes. I'm just not going to do it.

In the past, I've used a can of White Lightening Clean Streak to degrease the entire chain, cassette, derailleur and chainring. I find that I get about 2-3 degreasings a out of one $15 can. That's seems a bit wasteful, so I'd like a more efficient and economical alternative. It's also a pain in the neck to keep running back to my LBS for more cans. After I degrease, the bikes get a bath as stated above and then towel dried. They are stored in the garage overnight to further dry and then lubed with Prolink chain lube the next day. The excess is wiped off.

So if I'm already getting the bikes wet, would it be reasonably OK to switch to a water based degreaser like Simple Green? I'm thinking the cleaning routine would be:
1. Degrease with Simple Green by applying and scrubbing it with a paint brush and semi soft bristled brush/toothbrush.
2. Clean entire bike with automobile soap and sponges and rinse gently with the hose.
3. Towel dry and let sit overnight to further dry.
4. Lube with Prolink chain lube and wipe off the excess.
5. Finish the painted parts of the bike with Bike Lust and buff it with soft towels.

What do you think? Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 12-25-15, 06:17 AM
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MTB hubs - with rubber "seals" that make it harder for water and dirt to enter hubs. Lithium grease to lube of course.

Cheap and durable drivetrain - wouldn't go over 8 speed one.

Clean chain with a rag and put some motor oil to lube it. Clean brake surfaces with 95+% alcohol.

I never bother washing the rest of the bike too much, nor believe in keeping the chain as clean as possible and prolonging it's life as much as possible. Life's too short. If you want to make it all super clean - any degreaser should do - as long as it dissolves grease. Some damage plastic and paint - so either don't use those, or use them carefully - it's usually written in instructions.
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Old 12-25-15, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
3. Towel dry and let sit overnight to further dry.
IME this will not be sufficient to get the water out of the tiny crevices in the chain. I close my chains with quick links and remove them for cleaning. When I use water-based cleaners (which I am getting away from BTW) , after rinsing I put the chain into a 250 degree F oven for 1/2 hour to vaporize the water. If you do not want to remove the chain I would advise sticking to mineral spirits or the like instead of a water-based solution. Or, just avoid cleaning entirely and use a wet lube; apply it heavily and wipe off the excess.
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Old 12-25-15, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
IME this will not be sufficient to get the water out of the tiny crevices in the chain. I close my chains with quick links and remove them for cleaning. When I use water-based cleaners (which I am getting away from BTW) , after rinsing I put the chain into a 250 degree F oven for 1/2 hour to vaporize the water. If you do not want to remove the chain I would advise sticking to mineral spirits or the like instead of a water-based solution. Or, just avoid cleaning entirely and use a wet lube; apply it heavily and wipe off the excess.
I appreciate the reply, but I need to clean the rest of the bikes due to the sand build up. If I leave it on, it would be like leaving sandpaper on the bike. That point is not negotiable for me. The bikes are going to get baths. Perhaps a more precise question would be to ask if I am going to wash the rest of the bike after degreasing, does it make sense to use a water based degreaser or an alternative to a water based degreaser if water is going to get into the parts while I bathe them?
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Old 12-25-15, 01:16 PM
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Set up a place that is convenient to clean your bike often .. repair stand so you can take off Both wheels .

The Pros have a Clean bike ready to go every Day .. staff Mechanics for the team does that ..

Soap, water in a bucket, and some brushes ... rags and etc.
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Old 12-25-15, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Set up a place that is convenient to clean your bike often .. repair stand so you can take off Both wheels .

The Pros have a Clean bike ready to go every Day .. staff Mechanics for the team does that ..

Soap, water in a bucket, and some brushes ... rags and etc.
Yes. My next major bike purchase will be the Park Tools PCS 10 stand. I now have the soap, rags, sponges, brushes, towels and chain lube. I'm just not sure on the degreaser. I would also consider an electric air compressor to blow out any water after rinsing and towel drying the metallic components.
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Old 12-25-15, 02:09 PM
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Dawn dish detergent works on Bathing BP and Exxon Spilled Oily Cormorants , so it should work on your Bike
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Old 12-25-15, 02:14 PM
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For a stand the bike rack on the back of your car will do in a pinch.
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Old 12-25-15, 02:52 PM
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Dawn for periodic cleaning. I remove my chain every 800 miles or so to clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner and use 1 part chain saw bar oil to 4 parts unscented mineral spirits to lube the chain.

If I ride in a heavy down pour when I get home I wipe own the chain and spray it with WD-40 to help get out the moisture and relube.
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Old 12-25-15, 03:19 PM
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I really like the old fashion Mineral Spirits and paint brush.
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Old 12-26-15, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
Yes. My next major bike purchase will be the Park Tools PCS 10 stand. I now have the soap, rags, sponges, brushes, towels and chain lube. I'm just not sure on the degreaser. I would also consider an electric air compressor to blow out any water after rinsing and towel drying the metallic components.
I keep compressors away from bike. Even an air one. Pressure pushing anything but grease inside bearings - I'd rather avoid that.
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Old 12-26-15, 02:05 AM
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Thanks to a couple of your comments, I think I'm going to switch to the mineral spirits and brush degreasing method instead of Simple Green. Yesterday, I used the White Lightening from the can but also used a medium nylon brush. Previously I just kept spraying the WL until the grime came off, so I wasted a lot.

I also need to reconsider the use of compressed air. After towel drying the bikes yesterday, I brought them inside the house which is air conditioned (yes, even in December). The AC does a nice job of drying anything out like an electric dehumidifier. I can get away with bringing my bikes in for one night, but in order to stay married, just one night. Fortunately, we didn't host Christmas dinner yesterday.

Thanks all all for your input. Any other input is appreciated.
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Old 12-26-15, 02:16 AM
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If the temps are below zero, I prefer keeping the bikes outside all the time. Salt and grime don't do much damage when frozen - it's the coat/melt on the bike process that causes most harm to metal.

My winter commuter is a 1996. MTB. Steel frame, low end Shimano components. Works flawless with minimal maintenance. 3x6 speeds, so a new chain and cassette can be bought for as little as 10 euros - that's better hassling with cleaning the chain after every winter ride - since it gets all messy after just one ride on our roads.
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Old 12-26-15, 07:47 AM
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Your method sounds pretty much like what I would do. Simple Green makes a variety of products but I think the original one has a rep for turning the shiny parts cloudy. I prefer the orange cleaners. You could also spray the clean chain with WD40 to drive out the water, prior to relube. I would probably wipe the chain dry, spray WD40, then use a light lube like homebrew, liberally and let it sit overnight. Wipe the excess off before you ride. Sand will kill moving parts, you have to get it off, whatever it takes.
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