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

Chain cleaning

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.

Chain cleaning

Old 01-04-11, 11:43 AM
  #1  
Sashko
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Chain cleaning

I'm currently riding my bike in winterous conditions in Toronto, and after the long week-end, my chain had gotten all rusty and stuff. I ended up lubing it with my chain oil and a toothbrush and it's much better now.

My question is how often should I clean it? Also, would you recommend using something like this product for cleaning: https://tinyurl.com/2cvyst8 . Thank you in advance.
Sashko is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 11:57 AM
  #2  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,964

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4362 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 24 Times in 23 Posts
There's lots of debate about chain washing. I, along with most chain manufacturers, feel it usually does more than good. The key to good chain life is to prevent the kinds of problems that chain washing tries to cure. For winter riding (please consider the source here, I make chain oil, and am highly biased) you're best off with a wet oil based chainlube which will keep salt and water out of the chain. Or you can use a dry lube, but you'll need to rinse and dry the chain and re-apply often.

You can usually keep road chains reasonably clean simply by dry wiping from time to time. Or, if a thorough wash is required, the best method involves removing the chain and washing in mineral spirits or an appropriate solvent off the bike in an old coffee can, doing multiple rinses to be sure all (or most) of the silt is removed, then drying completely before relubing.

The problem with chain washer gadgets is that they don't do an effective job, washing dirt into the chain as much as they wash it out, because unless you change the fluid a number of times you're just circulating the same crud. Also they don't provide an easy means to dry the chain, which means that the spaces within the chain remain full of solvent, and newly applied lube won't penetrate to where it needs to be. (By way of anology, imagine wiping up a spill with an already soaked paper towel)

The damage to your chain can't be undone, but you can prevent more by keeping it oiled, dry wiping it as needed and staying ahead of the problem.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

Last edited by FBinNY; 01-04-11 at 12:07 PM.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 12:03 PM
  #3  
Jed19
Senior Member
 
Jed19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,224
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
There's lots of debate about chain washing. I, along with most chain manufacturers, feel it usually does more than good. The key to good chain life is to prevent the kinds of problems that chain washing tries to cure. For winter riding (please consider the source here, I make chain oil, and am highly biased) you're best off with a wet oil based chainlube which will keep salt and water out of the chain. Or you can use a dry lube, but you'll need to rinse and dry the chain and re-apply often.

You can usually keep road chains reasonably clean simply
Nice of you to mention that you produce chain oil. But it is irrelevant in this case. The OP should know that a "wet lube" is infinitely better for his riding conditions. I ride in SoCal with dry lubes, but would not dare use dry lubes during Toronto winters.
Jed19 is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 12:12 PM
  #4  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,964

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4362 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 24 Times in 23 Posts
Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
Nice of you to mention that you produce chain oil. But it is irrelevant in this case. The OP should know that a "wet lube" is infinitely better for his riding conditions. I ride in SoCal with dry lubes, but would not dare use dry lubes during Toronto winters.
I'm glad we agree about wet lubes in winter, but I feel that intellectual honesty requires that I inform the reader my commercial interest. We're all biased in one way or another, and all feel we're right in what post, yet there's room for disagreement. Knowing a possible reason for my bias helps the reader in assessing the veracity of the post.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 02:00 PM
  #5  
Sashko
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thank you amigos, the advice was greatly appreciated.

I already use wet lube called "Cross Country Finish Line Wet Lubricant." Has been working great for me thus far. I think I'll do a dry wipe-down followed by a re-lubing as suggested within the next few days, as there's a fair amount of gunk left on the chain.
Sashko is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:11 PM
  #6  
Al1943
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 9,438

Bikes: Trek 5500, Colnago C-50

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The only time I remove a chain from a bicycle is to replace it. I've always run a chain for at least 5000 miles before any interval of chain has stretched 1/16th inch per foot. I wipe the chain with a rag often, about every 100 miles. I use a cleaning machine loaded with mineral spirits about every 1000 miles. My chains are all nickel plated, no rust.
Al1943 is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:16 PM
  #7  
Sashko
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
The only time I remove a chain from a bicycle is to replace it. I've always run a chain for at least 5000 miles before any interval of chain has stretched 1/16th inch per foot. I wipe the chain with a rag often, about every 100 miles. I use a cleaning machine loaded with mineral spirits about every 1000 miles. My chains are all nickel plated, no rust.
I sure do love my chain wear gauge.

Where do you find nickel plated chains?
Sashko is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:21 PM
  #8  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
I am with FB on chain washers... they are pretty much useless.

Reviews on his Chain L seem to be rather excellent... I mix my own.

Because I really wanted to test my home brew I have now ridden 500 km without a need to re-lube and have only been wiping down my chain and it is still smooth, shiny, and noise free and the weather and roads have been hideous.

The key is to start with a really clean chain, apply a drop of lube to each link and wipe that chain down until there is no oil residue on the outside of the chain as this keeps it from picking up dirt and grime.

Most people use too much lube and do not wipe their chains down properly afterwards... more is not better when it comes to chains.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:30 PM
  #9  
Sashko
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
The key is to start with a really clean chain, apply a drop of lube to each link and wipe that chain down until there is no oil residue on the outside of the chain as this keeps it from picking up dirt and grime.

Most people use too much lube and do not wipe their chains down properly afterwards... more is not better when it comes to chains.
I really like the way you explained this, I'll definitely give this method a try, as I'm definitely one of the people you described that would put the lube all over. In result, it would get all over my bike around it and such. I'll wipe it down, and see how that goes :-D
Sashko is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:36 PM
  #10  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by Sashko View Post
I really like the way you explained this, I'll definitely give this method a try, as I'm definitely one of the people you described that would put the lube all over. In result, it would get all over my bike around it and such. I'll wipe it down, and see how that goes :-D
It is funny to watch my daughter at the shop when she is showing people how to lube chains... she says "one drop per roller... and wipe that down until you are really bored... and watch your fingers".

She has been taking care of her own bikes since she was 7 (with a little help)... she likes a clean chain too.

Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:38 PM
  #11  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 36,123

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6674 Post(s)
Liked 2,238 Times in 1,182 Posts
I don't get the watch your fingers part, but "one drop per roller... and wipe that down until you are really bored" is just plain awesome!
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:43 PM
  #12  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I don't get the watch your fingers part, but "one drop per roller... and wipe that down until you are really bored" is just plain awesome!
After you run your hand into the chain ring or cogs you will get it.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:45 PM
  #13  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
The boss...



Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 03:56 PM
  #14  
Alan@TreeFort
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 221

Bikes: 2010 Niner EMD, 2008 Surly Steamroller, 2007 Giant OCR.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Sashko View Post
Thank you amigos, the advice was greatly appreciated.

I already use wet lube called "Cross Country Finish Line Wet Lubricant." Has been working great for me thus far. I think I'll do a dry wipe-down followed by a re-lubing as suggested within the next few days, as there's a fair amount of gunk left on the chain.
The Finis Line Wet Lubricant is good for your conditions. Completely wipe down the chain from any dirt, grime, or old lubricant so it is completely clean, apply the new lube, let it sit for a little while (overnight if possible), then do a complete wipe down with a clean rag. There should be no excess oil on the outside of the chain, only within the internals.

A dry chain will run better and last longer than a dirty, wet one, so after messy rides be sure to clean and re-lube the chain.
Alan@TreeFort is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:10 PM
  #15  
Jed19
Senior Member
 
Jed19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,224
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
The boss...



Just awesome!
Jed19 is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:20 PM
  #16  
Al1943
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 9,438

Bikes: Trek 5500, Colnago C-50

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
The boss...

What is that orange thing on the back of the workbench that looks like a piece of yesterday's pizza?

Precious young lady!
Al1943 is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:26 PM
  #17  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 8,867

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2252 Post(s)
Liked 590 Times in 352 Posts
As I have posted several times, I am in the "wet" lube corner. At least once a year I remove my chain and clean it in kerosene using a brass bristle brush. I change out the kerosene two or three times. I then hang the chain up to completely dry for 3 or 4 days, then put it back on the bike. I then lube it with Mobil 1 one drop per roller. Then as mentioned I run the chain backwards and dry wipe until chain is fairly dry. I also dry wipe the chain before every ride. After 6000 miles my Park chain wear tool has yet to indicate .75% wear.
rydabent is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:27 PM
  #18  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
What is that orange thing on the back of the workbench that looks like a piece of yesterday's pizza?

Precious young lady!
?

She is pretty precious... was 8 years old here and will soon be 11 although she is not much bigger.

She is a natural when it comes to using tools and building things... this was the first time I asked her to lace a wheel she did it perfectly and think this is because she is such a strong visual learner.

And she loves cycling.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:35 PM
  #19  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,332

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2890 Post(s)
Liked 805 Times in 604 Posts
I like the Finish Line Ceramic Pro lube better than the Wet Lube. I get noticeably better chain life with it and the chain stays a little cleaner. It's a wet lube which I now use winter and summer.

I use one of those chain cleaner gadgets when my chain gets really dirty. I use paint thinner in it. The trick to them is to keep changing the fluid until when you roll the chain between your fingers, you don't hear that gritty sound any more. Then dry the chain with a heat gun or hair dryer while you move it past the gun. When the chain is quite warm, it's usually also dry. Then apply the lube. Just put it on while rolling the chain by, until you have plenty on there. Then heat it again with the gun to make sure it's in the rollers and, as other have said, wipe really well. Also wipe the cassette cog, jockey wheels, and chainrings, then the chain again. This whole process doesn't have to take very long. A couple hundred miles after cleaning, reapply the lube and rewipe. Then you should be good for quite a while. You should be able to tell if your chain needs lube by the sound. Chain should be silent or almost.

If you're on the road, just wipe, lube, wipe.
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:37 PM
  #20  
davidad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,429
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 493 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 103 Times in 90 Posts
I am of the remove and clean school. I service mine every 650 to 700 miles and lube it with home brew. Since I started using a cheap ultra sonic cleaner my chains have lasted over 12,000 miles.
When I relube I saturate the chain and take a little extra time to wipe it down so that the outside is as dry as I can get it.
davidad is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 04:41 PM
  #21  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 36,123

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6674 Post(s)
Liked 2,238 Times in 1,182 Posts
Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
What is that orange thing on the back of the workbench
It looks like the business end of a bag of Cheetos to me. (there were a couple of surprising results on the google images search for Cheetos, I'm gonna go conservative here, though)

The label clearly identifies Cheetos as official cyclist fuel.
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 05:49 PM
  #22  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,964

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4362 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 24 Times in 23 Posts
Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
What is that orange thing on the back of the workbench that looks like a piece of yesterday's pizza?
Looks to me like an open bag of Cheetos, or whatever they're called in Canada. They're the perfect snack when you're taping bars with white cloth tape.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 06:05 PM
  #23  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
In Canada we eat Cheezies... someone else had left snacks on the bench.

Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 06:07 PM
  #24  
Al1943
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 9,438

Bikes: Trek 5500, Colnago C-50

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Yeah OK, I see that now, Cheetos and root beer, probably good food for wrenching. My work bench is usually adorned with taco chips and Diet Coke or sometimes Shiner Bock.
Al1943 is offline  
Old 01-04-11, 06:47 PM
  #25  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 15 Posts
My daughter likes her root beer when we wrench, brings me tea when I am working, and there is nothing like an ice cold IPA after you've spent the day turning wrenches or had the torch fired up.

Cause we need lubrication too.



And if you are running a torch all day you don't even need a fridge to keep your beverages cool.
Sixty Fiver is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.