Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Best Cleaner / Degreaser to Prep for Chain /Dry Lube

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Best Cleaner / Degreaser to Prep for Chain /Dry Lube

Old 12-05-23, 03:39 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 537

Bikes: Miyata 1000, Lemond Zurich, Lynskey Rouleur, Airborne Zeppelin, Vintage Zullo, Miele Lupa

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 316 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 73 Posts
Best Cleaner / Degreaser to Prep for Dry Lubing Chain

I like to run a clean-ish chain, particularly on my indoor setup. That said, I'm not yet ready to commit to true waxing.

What I seek is a solid procedure to allow me to clean and lube my indoor bike chain off bike as simply as possible and without the need for a hose to rinse things (we turn off our outdoor spigots during the winter months).

I currently consider my attractive options to be:

A) Apply Muc-Off degreaser, wait 15 min, wipe off degreaser with a rag, rinse degreaser with water, let chain dry, apply dry lube. This take several hours. And I have to rinse the chain in an indoor sink or use a pressurized spraying canister.

B) Apply Muc-Off degreaser, wait 15 min, wipe of degreaser with rag, apply dry lube. This takes 20 minutes, which I like. And according to the Muc-Off chain degreaser instructions, I don't need to rinse off the degreaser prior to applying lube.

C) Apply Silca chain stripper per manufacturer directions and then apply dry lube.

D) Wipe of my chain periodically and apply dry lube to it without any degreasing or stripping. This is the advice that I got from my LBS.

So my questions are these:

1) Is the Silca chain stripper appropriate for use with dry lube as I've described? Or is that really just for true chain waxing?

2) Am I correct in my understanding that I don't need to rinse off the chain degreaser prior to applying the dry lube?

3) Which of these procedures do you feel is best?

4) Got any better ideas?
Harold74 is offline  
Old 12-05-23, 04:01 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,964

Bikes: Habanero Titanium Team Nuevo

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 396 Post(s)
Liked 183 Times in 120 Posts
THis is really easy. Just clean it with odorless mineral spirits and lube it with light oil. The chain indoors is not really going to get the wear it normally gets outside. No reason to overthink this or put too much effort into the process. My bike sits on the trainer in the basement the most important thing I do is wipe it down and clean it with some wd-40 about every few weeks since sweating all over it takes a huge toll. The chain though does not take a beating so I just wipe it and lube a bit. No need to over lube and don't spend money for the expesive stuff at the LBS. Big box store can of oil like 3 in 1 which is 20 weight oil for up to 1 HP. Cyclist cannot maintain 1 horsepower for very long at all some never will get there.
deacon mark is offline  
Old 12-05-23, 04:17 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 537

Bikes: Miyata 1000, Lemond Zurich, Lynskey Rouleur, Airborne Zeppelin, Vintage Zullo, Miele Lupa

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 316 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 73 Posts
Thanks for your response deacon mark .

Originally Posted by deacon mark
Just clean it with odorless mineral spirits and lube it with light oil.
So something like Triflow? Have you not had any problems with the oil flying around the room that you ride in after you apply it? My wife is a fastidious housekeeper and even having an "indoor bike" took some convincing.

Originally Posted by deacon mark
My bike sits on the trainer in the basement the most important thing I do is wipe it down and clean it with some wd-40 about every few weeks since sweating all over it takes a huge toll.
Is that a procedure that you execute periodically, in between the mineral spirits + light lube treatments?
Harold74 is offline  
Old 12-05-23, 04:36 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,964

Bikes: Habanero Titanium Team Nuevo

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 396 Post(s)
Liked 183 Times in 120 Posts
Originally Posted by Harold74
Thanks for your response deacon mark .



So something like Triflow? Have you not had any problems with the oil flying around the room that you ride in after you apply it? My wife is a fastidious housekeeper and even having an "indoor bike" took some convincing.



Is that a procedure that you execute periodically, in between the mineral spirits + light lube treatments?
My bike is in the basement so no damage to anything. Sometimes oil if you get wild can drip an fly off so use only as needed and wipe excess off chain. The biggest issue for me is sweat. When I get off after my usual 25 to 35 mile indoor ride the basement floor is covered in sweat. You must have some system to deal with this way more than the chain. If you really ride you will be drenched in sweat and everything else around you.

I normally clean my bikes with WD40 because it is not a lubricant but does displace water and does a great job getting off road grime. It does not hurt anything and I have Titanium bikes and one CF. They get the treatment. It is much better than cleaning with just water or anything else. I don't spray force water or anything. A rag and clean the entire bike frame, wheels, components with the stuff. Then I lube and ride. I am believer in this system to keep like clean and keeps out waters.
deacon mark is offline  
Old 12-07-23, 10:21 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 939
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 489 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 605 Times in 335 Posts
Originally Posted by Harold74
Thanks for your response deacon mark .

So something like Triflow? Have you not had any problems with the oil flying around the room that you ride in after you apply it? My wife is a fastidious housekeeper and even having an "indoor bike" took some convincing.

Is that a procedure that you execute periodically, in between the mineral spirits + light lube treatments?
As the decon stated, an indoor bike will not accumulate the gunk on the chain that results from riding outside. I put a couple of thousand miles a year on my roller bike and the chain requires virtually no maintenance. Tri-flow is a good lube for indoors (outdoors it is a dirt-magnet) but be sure to wipe the chain repeatedly after application to avoid flying lube. And NEVER ride immediately after cleaning/lubing the chain. Let the solvents evaporate overnight and maybe then wipe the chain again. Clean and well-lubed.
KerryIrons is offline  
Likes For KerryIrons:
Old 12-07-23, 10:48 AM
  #6  
Not in charge of anything
 
roadcrankr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Glendora, CA
Posts: 553

Bikes: Merlin Extralight '94 & Cannondale Supersix '15

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 312 Post(s)
Liked 370 Times in 224 Posts
Maybe somebody will flame me here, but I never cleaned or stripped a new chain before applying dry lube.
Thirty year user of White Lightning Clean Ride, with a full application every hundred miles.
In fact, I typically ride (always outdoors) my first couple hundred solely with the new chain's original lube. YMMV
roadcrankr is offline  
Likes For roadcrankr:
Old 12-07-23, 03:03 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 537

Bikes: Miyata 1000, Lemond Zurich, Lynskey Rouleur, Airborne Zeppelin, Vintage Zullo, Miele Lupa

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 316 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 73 Posts
Originally Posted by KerryIrons
As the decon stated, an indoor bike will not accumulate the gunk on the chain that results from riding outside.
Last winter was the start of me on the indoor trainer and I built up a bike specifically for that purpose (I don't actually have a rear wheel). I threw on a brand new chain and, based on some forum research, just let the factory packing grease do its thing until the chain started getting noisy (which it did towards spring).

When I pulled the chain off in order to take it into the garage for lubrication for this season, I discovered that the drivetrain was, in fact, surprisingly gunky. The chain and chainrings were gunky and the derailleur was actually gunky enough that it appeared to hinder the free spinning of the jockey wheels. And all of this from the staring point of a fresh build.

This is why I'm wondering if there might be a better method. Perhaps the gunkiness that accrued last year was just a one time thing associated with working through the factory grease. If so, then I'll probably want to just strip the factory grease from any new chains that I put on the bike from the get go.
Harold74 is offline  
Old 12-07-23, 03:16 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 537

Bikes: Miyata 1000, Lemond Zurich, Lynskey Rouleur, Airborne Zeppelin, Vintage Zullo, Miele Lupa

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 316 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 73 Posts
Originally Posted by roadcrankr
Maybe somebody will flame me here, but I never cleaned or stripped a new chain before applying dry lube.
That's what I've been wondering about. It's clear to me what do do with wet lube. It's also clear to me what to do with waxing. But I get mixed messages when it comes to dry lube. Messages that I've encountered thus far:

1) LBS told me to just leave the factory grease on and start applying dry lube as the drivetrain started getting noisy.

2) Some people seem to feel that the factory grease ought to be removed before dry lube gets applied so that it can adhere properly. They will accurately quote the dry lube instructions that say that it is to be applied to a clean chain. But, then, does clean equate to stripped or just simply "not dirty".

3) Dry lube kind of seems like a light version of waxing to me and, for waxing, a lot of folks seem to like the chain stripper. So I've wondered if using chain stripper prior to my first application of dry lube would make sense.

4) My chain degreaser instructions say that I have the option of rinsing off the degreaser prior to lubing or simply wiping the chain down prior to lubing without rinsing off the degreaser. I find the latter option surprising but, if its legit, that would be my preferred procedure given that:

a) I don't have a rear wheel and am always lubing the chain off bike, in the garage.

b) We turn our outdoor taps off during the winter and rinsing the chain well would probably mean doing it in the kitchen or bathroom sink.

c) Deliberately wetting a chain feels a bit wrong to me.

d) If I rinse the chain, drying it takes some time that adds to be what would, otherwise, be a 20 min procedure.

I'm just trying to get a sense for what would be best here and wondering if it might be:

i) start with chain stripper on a new chain and apply dry lube.

ii) When the chain gets noisy, apply chain degreaser and wipe the chain with a dry rag.

iii) Apply dry lube.

iv) Return to step [ii] the next time that the drivetrain gets noisy.

I do my indoor riding in a finished basement that is also my wife's workout space and, sometimes, a guest bedroom. Whatever I do, I can't be throwing chain lube about the room. This was part of what informed my preference for dry lube but, based on the comments shared in this thread thus far, perhaps that concern was overblown.

Another interesting feature of indoor riding, for me, is that I find that I am much more aware of any ride noise than I would be on the road. So a quiet chain, and a clean chain, are both pretty important to me. Time and cost are of little concern. I enjoy working on my bikes and don't view regular maintenance as any kind of chore.

Last edited by Harold74; 12-07-23 at 03:21 PM.
Harold74 is offline  
Old 12-08-23, 04:05 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 1,189
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 572 Post(s)
Liked 378 Times in 286 Posts
I just add extra dry lube when it starts to get a bit noisy and wipe it down. I don’t clean it. This is needed every 1000km or so of training rides. Chain is 4 years in now I think and fine.

Other key things;
I have a small face towel clipped to my top tube and hanging down. This stops a decent amount of sweat from hitting the bike.

I put a clean hand towel over the bars and shifters each time, overlapping with the towel on the top tube. This catches most of the rest.

I wear a cycling cap. Stops sweat dripping all over the place, into eyes etc, and directs it off the front of the brim thingy.

I have a standing fan to the right of the bars, so any sweat tends to fall to the left away from the chainset.

Yeah I work quite hard on that thing.

Noise cancelling headphones

I have the entire thing on a memory foam mat of course
choddo is online now  
Old 12-08-23, 08:54 AM
  #10  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 20 Posts
This is my method for thoroughly clean a chain: I will first soak it in a jar of mineral spirits for about 30 minutes, shaking occasionally. Next, put in ultrasonic cleaner with isopropyl alcohol for about 15 minutes. This method has been very effective at removing everything off the chain.
BJack312 is offline  
Old 12-09-23, 10:31 AM
  #11  
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 27,227

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 148 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6123 Post(s)
Liked 4,045 Times in 2,298 Posts
Originally Posted by roadcrankr
Maybe somebody will flame me here, but I never cleaned or stripped a new chain before applying dry lube.
Thirty year user of White Lightning Clean Ride, with a full application every hundred miles.
In fact, I typically ride (always outdoors) my first couple hundred solely with the new chain's original lube. YMMV
You can do that but the chain does run a little dirtier. It’s cleaner than oil but it’s dirtier than if you strip the factory lubricant and then use White Lightning. I, too, am a 30 year user of White Lightning and discovered this little trick just a few years after starting to use it.
__________________
Stuart Black
Plan Epsilon Around Lake Michigan in the era of Covid
Old School…When It Wasn’t Ancient bikepacking
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!



cyccommute is offline  
Old 12-09-23, 10:37 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 29,499

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r, Marin Muirwoods 29er, Trek FX Alpha 7.0

Mentioned: 112 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5216 Post(s)
Liked 3,552 Times in 2,324 Posts
whatever you use, you might appreciate straw brushes for between the links
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 12-09-23, 10:41 AM
  #13  
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 27,227

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 148 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6123 Post(s)
Liked 4,045 Times in 2,298 Posts
Originally Posted by Harold74
Last winter was the start of me on the indoor trainer and I built up a bike specifically for that purpose (I don't actually have a rear wheel). I threw on a brand new chain and, based on some forum research, just let the factory packing grease do its thing until the chain started getting noisy (which it did towards spring).

When I pulled the chain off in order to take it into the garage for lubrication for this season, I discovered that the drivetrain was, in fact, surprisingly gunky. The chain and chainrings were gunky and the derailleur was actually gunky enough that it appeared to hinder the free spinning of the jockey wheels. And all of this from the staring point of a fresh build.

This is why I'm wondering if there might be a better method. Perhaps the gunkiness that accrued last year was just a one time thing associated with working through the factory grease. If so, then I'll probably want to just strip the factory grease from any new chains that I put on the bike from the get go.
The factory lubricant is not grease nor is it there to prevent rust. It really is a lubricant and it is a soft wax. That said, it can get a bit “gunky” when used. It’s cleaner to remove it first. If you lubricate with an oil based lubricant like Triflow, expect some gunkiness as well as a need to constantly wipe the oil off as it flows out of the chain upon standing.

Don’t overthink the cleaning process. Every “green” cleaner is a soap that should be rinsed before applying lubricant. That usually means rinsing with water which means that you need to deal with the water as well. That means using something else to remove the water quickly because if you leave it there, the chance of forming rust is high. Alcohol or acetone work well but it’s yet another step.

The one step method is to simply swish it around in mineral spirits and let it evaporate after removal. Simple. For “dry” lubricants, I suggest a wax based lubricant which is just wax in a solvent. It’s easier to apply than hot wax and just as effective. White Lightning is my choice. I’ve tried Rock N Roll (gold and red) and don’t really like them. They have oil in them which makes them messier than White Lightning.
__________________
Stuart Black
Plan Epsilon Around Lake Michigan in the era of Covid
Old School…When It Wasn’t Ancient bikepacking
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!



cyccommute is offline  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 12-09-23, 08:54 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,713
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1068 Post(s)
Liked 1,161 Times in 738 Posts
Some 1 pound peanut butter or similar size plastic or glass jars (clean!) and odorless mineral spirits.

Put chain in jar #1, soak in OMS, and shake (with lid on of course)
Shake to rinse chain in clean OMS in jar #2.

Remove, wipe briefly with a rag (or not), and hang on a nail to dry.

No muss, no fuss.

Allow residue to settle in the bottom of the jars, it will be just a thin layer at the bottom or #1, little or none in #2. Pour off clean mineral spirits to re-use. There's very little "contaminated" stuff which eventually you'll have to dispose of, or throw on a bonfire.
Camilo is offline  
Old 12-09-23, 11:36 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 4,340

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte, Peu Dolomites

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 884 Post(s)
Liked 1,512 Times in 977 Posts
For your indoor setup just lube wipe clean then lube again.

For an indoor chain I would just use ATF...
__________________
No matter where you're at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.