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

How to keep a shiny clean drive train

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.

How to keep a shiny clean drive train

Old 11-01-11, 07:13 AM
  #1  
worldtraveller
worldtraveller
Thread Starter
 
worldtraveller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 352

Bikes: 92 Specialized Rockhopper, 96 Maxim, 2006 Argon 18 roadbike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How to keep a shiny clean drive train

I just got a new drive train for my road bike. New rear cogs, crankset , chain etc.

I love how shiny and clean new drivetrains area. So nice.

So i like to know what is the secret to keeping it always shiny?

Do you all always have a shiny and clean drive train most of the year as well?

If you do then what is your secret to keeping it looking good and clean?
worldtraveller is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 07:14 AM
  #2  
mikezs
Noob
 
mikezs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Essex, UK
Posts: 75

Bikes: Specialized Rockhopper Expert Disc 2009, Ridgeback Nemesis (Afine 8) 2011

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by worldtraveller View Post
So i like to know what is the secret to keeping it always shiny?

Do you all always have a shiny and clean drive train most of the year as well?

If you do then what is your secret to keeping it looking good and clean?
The answer to all of these questions is to keep your bike inside and don't ride it.
mikezs is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 07:19 AM
  #3  
RonH
Life is good
 
RonH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. 🚴🏻
Posts: 18,210

Bikes: 2018 Lynskey Helix Pro

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 522 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
^^^


If you MUST ride the bike then clean the drive train after every ride.
__________________
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. - Psalm 103:8

I am a cyclist. I am not the fastest or the fittest. But I will get to where I'm going with a smile on my face.
RonH is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 07:19 AM
  #4  
p2templin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 403
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've settled on trying to keep the chain and cassette clean (we ride a daVinci tandem, so there's lots of other stuff to leave not-as-clean). For me, the biggest thing has been learning how to keep the hub happy during/after the cleaning process, so I'm still refining my process. I remove the chain (Wipperman chain with quick links) and clean the chain in a pie pan with chain lube (NOT chain cleaner - I don't want to scare away the lube that's inside). I remove the cassette from the freehub, and clean the cogs with a citrus-based degreaser in another pie pan. I remount the wheel and make sure the disc brake is as close to dragging as possible, then reattach the chain.
p2templin is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 07:29 AM
  #5  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 32,903

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1686 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 564 Times in 417 Posts
I used the hot parafin waxing method for chain lube in the past and it did indeed keep the drivetrain shiny and clean. What it didn't do was last more than a couple of rides and provided no wet weather protection.

I've since concluded keeping the drivetrain shiny and clean was more trouble than it's worth. I keep the chain well lubed and wipe off the cogs and chainrings occasionally but I don't agonize over its appearance.

BTW, the chain and cassette on my indoor trainer bike do stay shiny and clean.
HillRider is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 09:09 AM
  #6  
wmodavis
Bill
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO
Posts: 630

Bikes: Specialized Globe Sport, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You might try a totally enclosed glass display case in your living room.
wmodavis is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 09:20 AM
  #7  
gizzsdad
Fat but Fit!
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 174

Bikes: Lynskey R340, Lynskey R230, Fisher Zebrano

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My friends will tell you I'm pretty OCD about my drivetrain. I clean my DT about every 150 miles. Some of the things I do are:

1. Wrap a paper towel around chain and pedal backwards to remove loose gunk - I refold the towel repeatedly and run the chain through the towel about 8 times.
2. Then I soak a small(3"x5")sponge with White Lightening, then wrap the sponge around around chain and back-pedal, turn sponge 90 deg. and repeat - then flip/soak/repeat.
3. Wrap a clean/dry paper towel around chain and back pedal, refolding/repeating until no more gunk comes off.
4. While chain continues drying, I fold a paper towel twice - the slide it between cogs and back-pedal, being sure get all the way down to the spacer. I repeat this for each cog gap.
5. I finish drying the chain by running a pipe cleaner between the side plates of each link - as well as the crevices between the inner and outer plates.
6. Then apply my favorite lube, yep - one drip per roller.
7. I then apply a small amount of lube to a clean towel, wrap around chain and back-pedal a few times. You will be amazed how much more gunk comes off at this step.
8. Wait two hours - wipe off excess lube with another clean towel, finish cleaning cogs - as well as wiping down the chain rings. If I'm feeling extra anal - I'll remove rings and clean between steps 5 & 6.

Let dry overnight. Since dirt will continue to be forced out - I'll wipe chain down after the next couple of rides.

Is it overkill? Clearly. But I like a shiny drivetrain - and my chains last 8 - 10,000 miles.
gizzsdad is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 09:21 AM
  #8  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,321 Times in 831 Posts
If you MUST ride the bike then clean the drive train after every ride
Yes, Want a clean drivetrain? it's Labor.. you just do it.

Otherwise .. invest a couple grand+ and
get one of those Gates belt drive IG hub bikes.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 09:28 AM
  #9  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Catskills/Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,963

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 27 Posts
Get a full chaincase for it! Then if it gets dirty you can't see it anyway. Only adds a pound or so to your roadbike.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 10:21 AM
  #10  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 32,903

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1686 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 564 Times in 417 Posts
Originally Posted by gizzsdad View Post
My friends will tell you I'm pretty OCD about my drivetrain.
Your friends are correct.

BTW, mine last nearly that long with 10% of the effort.
HillRider is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 10:22 AM
  #11  
kc0yef 
Senior Member
 
kc0yef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: OZARKS
Posts: 1,455
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
I use a toothbrush and cog cleaning brush with some light oil
kc0yef is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 10:38 AM
  #12  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,312

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 66 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2718 Post(s)
Liked 2,424 Times in 1,125 Posts


+



Lube, wipe, ride, repeat.
caloso is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 10:42 AM
  #13  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by worldtraveller View Post
I
So i like to know what is the secret to keeping it always shiny?
Get yourself a Team Mechanic but don't be greedy, share your winnings with him.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 10:52 AM
  #14  
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 4 Times in 4 Posts
This is what I've learnt about clean drivetrains in many years of cycling experience. (1)Your chain is gonna get dirty, regardless of how anal-retentive you are about it. (2) Obsessive cleaning is not good, in that it forces most of the lube out of the space in-between your rollers, which does shorten chain life. (3) Use the appropriate kind of lube for the conditions you ride in. I ride in SoCal and I use Boeshield T9 and ProLink exclusively. I prefer the T9, but I still have an ample supply of Prolink on hand, so I still use it. (5) Wiping down your chain post-ride helps a lot in keeping your drivetrain relatively clean.

And finally, chains are consumables, so no sense in obsessing over it. I have been known to buy three of four chains at a time, if the price is exceptionally good, since the certain sure things in life are taxes, death, and if you are a cyclist, bicycle chains.

Just my two cents!
Jed19 is offline  
Old 11-01-11, 11:11 AM
  #15  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,312

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 66 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2718 Post(s)
Liked 2,424 Times in 1,125 Posts
Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
This is what I've learnt about clean drivetrains in many years of cycling experience. (1)Your chain is gonna get dirty, regardless of how anal-retentive you are about it. (2) Obsessive cleaning is not good, in that it forces most of the lube out of the space in-between your rollers, which does shorten chain life. (3) Use the appropriate kind of lube for the conditions you ride in. I ride in SoCal and I use Boeshield T9 and ProLink exclusively. I prefer the T9, but I still have an ample supply of Prolink on hand, so I still use it. (5) Wiping down your chain post-ride helps a lot in keeping your drivetrain relatively clean.

And finally, chains are consumables, so no sense in obsessing over it. I have been known to buy three of four chains at a time, if the price is exceptionally good, since the certain sure things in life are taxes, death, and if you are a cyclist, bicycle chains.

Just my two cents!
Well thought out, well put, and absolutely correct.










Which means it will be ignored by the BF hoi polloi.
caloso is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 06:56 AM
  #16  
p2templin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 403
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
Obsessive cleaning is not good, in that it forces most of the lube out of the space in-between your rollers, which does shorten chain life.
Hence the reason I clean the chain using chain lube, not chain cleaner.
p2templin is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 11:30 AM
  #17  
SumoMuffin
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
 
SumoMuffin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SW Virginia
Posts: 219

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1 to what Jed said.

It's best to keep it clean enough. You'll also vastly decrease the amount of solvent you're exposed to.
SumoMuffin is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 12:11 PM
  #18  
Paul01
Senior Member
 
Paul01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Tampa Bay, Fl
Posts: 531

Bikes: Vitus 979, KHS Montana Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's easy.

1) Remove all grease, oil and lube from all components. These attract dirt.

2) Polish all components to a high gloss.

3) Hang securely on your living room wall. Your wife will appreciate you new interest in decorating.

4) With all lube removed, a light dusting or vacuuming will keep it all nice and shiny.
Paul01 is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 12:26 PM
  #19  
Booger1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Gaseous Cloud around Uranus
Posts: 3,741
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 3 Posts
Elbow grease.....once a week.More if it's rainy and muddy.
Booger1 is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 12:58 PM
  #20  
Paul01
Senior Member
 
Paul01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Tampa Bay, Fl
Posts: 531

Bikes: Vitus 979, KHS Montana Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
Elbow grease.....once a week.More if it's rainy and muddy.
Our local shops have been out of elbow grease for years. It's always on back order.
Paul01 is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 01:04 PM
  #21  
Aurorabucky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: South Whidbey Island, WA
Posts: 112

Bikes: 2000 Raleigh M50, 2010 Specialized Roubaix Elite, 1973 Peugeot UO8, 197X Mercier 300, 196X Bottecchia Giro D'Italia

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
Wiping down your chain post-ride helps a lot in keeping your drivetrain relatively clean.
I have to +1 this. You do keep things healthier between the once-a-week winter drivetrain overhauls by getting rid of SOME of what you accumulate each day. Just keep a rag near where you put your bike at the end of each day and run the chain through it a few times.

Hold back on the degreaser when you do this - you don't need to remove your lube along with the big pieces of road grit. If the chain is wet from a rain-ride, the water will take a bunch of dirt with it.
Aurorabucky is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 01:11 PM
  #22  
davidad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,509
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 525 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 130 Times in 110 Posts
Originally Posted by worldtraveller View Post
I just got a new drive train for my road bike. New rear cogs, crankset , chain etc.

I love how shiny and clean new drivetrains area. So nice.

So i like to know what is the secret to keeping it always shiny?

Do you all always have a shiny and clean drive train most of the year as well?
If you do then what is your secret to keeping it looking good and clean?

What you ask requires cleaning the bike and drive train and storing it in the living room in a show case.
The black stuff on the chain is wear particles mixed with oil that is forced out in use. After I clean my chain in an ultrasonic cleaner I lube and wipe down the chain. After the first ride I may wipe it down again.
When it rains and gets the bike dirty I rinse it off. If it's time to do the chain then I wash it with Dawn and wipe the bike down with Pledge to make it shine and easier to clean the next time.
davidad is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 04:04 PM
  #23  
bkaapcke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,258
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 106 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 19 Posts
Don't over lube your chain. Floss the cassette with the edge of a towel after every ride. Lightly wipe the chain and pulleys after every ride. Clean the chain rings after 2-3 rides. Full clean/lube the chain every 100-150 miles. bk

I spend about 20 minutes on maintenance & cleaning after every ride. It's quick and easy.

Last edited by bkaapcke; 11-02-11 at 04:09 PM.
bkaapcke is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 05:48 PM
  #24  
BCRider
Senior Member
 
BCRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Posts: 5,466

Bikes: Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I think you guys scared him away...

I've often thought that if I were to mix some mineral spirits and good thick bodied oil together and religiously after EVERY ride dribble some on and then wipe/blot away the majority of the oil and solvent with repeatedly folded over paper towels while back pedalling the chain that it would both clean and lube the chain. I'd never actually have to actually clean it as a separate exercise ever again.

I've never found myself so OCD as to bother trying it though.
BCRider is offline  
Old 11-02-11, 06:24 PM
  #25  
SumoMuffin
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
 
SumoMuffin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SW Virginia
Posts: 219

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Old T-shirts make wonderful cleaning rags. You can get them for dirt cheap too at yard sales and thrift stores. I sections off them as needed, and also use them as drops.
SumoMuffin 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.