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Your favored quick, thorough on-bike cleaning method for cassette & crankset?

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Your favored quick, thorough on-bike cleaning method for cassette & crankset?

Old 02-17-23, 01:08 AM
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Your favorite quick, thorough on-bike cleaning method for cassette & crankset?

What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?

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Old 02-17-23, 07:03 AM
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If it's just a loose garden hose, water won't go into any bearings.

The problem is when unexperienced folks play with their pressure washer.

Folks do whatever they want. It's their bike.
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Old 02-17-23, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?
What are you cleaning off the cassette and crankset (that's not also on the chain)? If you've got a build-up of dirty grease, a brush dipped in mineral sprits will get most of that off the cassette. If it's mud, spray it with water until it all runs off -- but don't try to blast it. But TBH, I can't imagine anything I'd obsess about on the cogs that wouldn't also be on the chain, and the best ways to clean a chain involve taking the chain off.
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Old 02-17-23, 08:24 AM
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for stuff that tends to get jammed in the rear der area & slapped in between the BB/Chain stay/Crank during the autumn season, I use a pick tool, regulated compressor air, spent toothbrush containing soft bristles, followed up with waterless wash & a clean cotton rag. It's as quick as it gets for me.
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Old 02-17-23, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?
Wax. Either Squirt or any crockpot method will do the job.

Use a plain ol' leftover toothbrush if any grimy gunk accumulates.
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Old 02-17-23, 09:09 AM
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I only do this after epic days of mud/dirt: I spray cassette, chain and crank set with degreaser, then scrub with a bucket of suds and a brush while rotating pedals, rinse with hose, dry with rag, lube chain with chain lube, lube derailleurs with Tri Flow, wipe everything again.

any time I clean a bike with water I put it in my very dry garage for two days instead of in the shed to let it dry better/quicker. If it's a shed bike, then it goes back in the shed after two days.
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Old 02-17-23, 09:59 AM
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Old 02-17-23, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?
If your hubs and crank are at all modern…like post 1994…water contamination is a nonissue, even when using a high pressure washer. If either, or both, is a cartridge bearing unit, the worry about water infiltration is zero. The GCN guys did a test with a high pressure nozzle placed on a cartridge bearing hub for 2 minutes and saw not water infiltration. It’s not something to worry about. I regularly wash bikes at car washes and have never had a problem. I’ve been doing that since around 1994.
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Old 02-17-23, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
If your hubs and crank are at all modern…like post 1994…water contamination is a nonissue, even when using a high pressure washer. If either, or both, is a cartridge bearing unit, the worry about water infiltration is zero. The GCN guys did a test with a high pressure nozzle placed on a cartridge bearing hub for 2 minutes and saw not water infiltration. It’s not something to worry about. I regularly wash bikes at car washes and have never had a problem. I’ve been doing that since around 1994.
Don't the big rotating overhead brushes tickle?

Thanks.
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Old 02-17-23, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?
Of course ya never let it get real bad to begin with...

But all in all this is the perfect job for WD-40. I never use it as a lube but as a cleaner its is great. Of course there are times when I need a Water Displacement device and for some reason WD-40 really works well there too... Ha

Now that I am in my cheap bastard days I use filtered used ATF in a spray bottle.
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Old 02-17-23, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?
Quick or thorough - choose one. On-bike or thorough - choose one. It really doesn't take much effort to remove a cassette and clean it properly.
Chainrings can be mostly cleaned with a quick spray of your favoured light lubricant/moisture displacer (or brush on some kerosene/ATF/diesel) and wipe with a rag. It pays to put anti-seize on your new chainset's bolts so it's easy to disassemble and clean later (disassembly doesn't require removing the crank from the bike, although that may be easier).
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Old 02-17-23, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
Don't the big rotating overhead brushes tickle?

Thanks.
They exfoliate well.
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Old 02-17-23, 03:39 PM
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My experience is I can choose between "on-bike" and "thorough". On my mileage spreadsheet, I have a system where every 500 miles it flags a bike as due for a drivetrain cleaning, and when I used liquid lubes I'd pop the chain, scrub it thoroughly in cleaner, rinse & dry, lube & reinstall, and repeat for the freewheel/cassette, chainrings, derailleurs, and pulleys. When I'd do this, I'd get 3000+ miles from a chain, and near-indefinite service from freeewheels/cassettes or chainrings. As I've transitioned bikes to rust-resistant waxed chains, I've discovered all I've needed to do is re-dunk the chain every 500 miles - the other components are staying relatively clean. But that's another battle, er, discussion thread.
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Old 02-17-23, 07:09 PM
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My super quick method is to leave things alone because they don't need my help.
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Old 02-17-23, 09:23 PM
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Since doing hot chain waxing I have felt no need to clean my drivetrain. It's my wheels/brakes that get the dirtiest. Hot water, Dawn, brushes.
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Old 02-17-23, 10:49 PM
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"On bike" and "thorough"?
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Old 02-17-23, 11:10 PM
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I often do a quick hose down with a light spray from a garden hose with powerful blasts through the brake blocks. Park in the garage to dry. Beyond that, it depends on the bike and how much I care. Winter/rain/city bikes get better cleanings in any area I need to work on. Good bikes get cloth wipes of the chain and clean cloth wipe downs of frame, then parts. More when I feel line it. I simply just haven't seen great rewards in being a slave to clean other than pride. Granted I haven't gone 10, 11 or 12 speed yet. Maybe those are far more critical but my 9-speed and lower really don't seem to care.
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Old 02-18-23, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by grumpus
Quick or thorough - choose one. On-bike or thorough - choose one.
Hey if NASA had taken that kind of "it can't be done" attitude we never would have landed a man on the sun!



The most thorough possible job on-bike.
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Old 02-18-23, 05:10 AM
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bike drivetrain specific, dry brushes
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Old 02-18-23, 05:25 AM
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Heat gun
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Old 02-18-23, 08:17 AM
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A long pipe cleaner with WD or mineral spirits works good for getting in between cogs and tight spots.
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Old 02-18-23, 02:52 PM
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Here's my favorite -

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Old 02-18-23, 07:39 PM
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That's basically what I do now except I've been more timid about exposing the bike to water thinking there's more of a bearing contamination concern than there apparently is.
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Old 02-19-23, 02:02 PM
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For the cassette, remove the rear wheel and floss the gears with a rag. If they have heavy mud on them, brush them as clean as you can and then floss them. Wipe the BB gears, or brush them first. Never squirt high pressure water on either.
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Old 02-19-23, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek
What's your favorite quick, thorough method of cleaning the cassette and crankset on the bike with the chain installed that doesn't risk contaminating the bearings with water?
Somehow I don't think you're going to get your drive train clean without removing your chain, chainrings, jockey pulleys, and cassette.
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