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Chain Cleaner Tool

Old 07-13-16, 09:03 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Alligator
No, those are the new invisible spokes. I hear they are as light as air!


monomolecular wire
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Old 07-14-16, 03:23 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
There aren't any "good ones". They are all incredibly messy and, as Partrick GSR94 points out, usually fall apart after a while, especially when used with something like mineral spirits. Even the solvent present in Simple Green is bad for the plastic that is commonly used to make them.

If you do a search, you'll find that I'm not a proponent of running dirty oily chains to begin with. I'm also not a proponent of constantly cleaning my chain nor of using a product that requires constant cleaning. My chains get cleaned once at installation and I never clean them again. I use a dry lube...White Lightning Clean Ride...and I use a lot less of it than the manufacturer recommends. I get the same mileage out of my chains and drivetrains as other people get and I spend a lot less time cleaning. What's not to like?

These have been posted before but the bear repeating. These were taken in the middle of winter...our winters involve intense snowstorms but are relatively dry in between...but the chain and drivetrain hadn't been cleaned before the picture.


There is a better way.
White Lightning Clean Lube is rated in the bottom third for lube efficiency of lubes tested by Friction Facts. It's right behind Vaseline Petroleum Jelly and ahead of Finish Line Ceramic Grease.

You can keep pretty much any drivetrain clean if you make sure the lube is in the chain and not on the side plates where it does nothing useful. Simple matter of squirting a little WD40 in a rag and running the chain through it.

I've also found that spraying WD40 on a chain and quickly working it over with a shop brush (still on the bike) and then spinning the chain backwards while wiping floats all lot of the internal gunk out of the chain. I keep doing that until it comes up clear on the rag, then I add lube. Whole process takes <5 minutes, is not messy and the chain is clean as new.

My favorite lubes are (current favorite) Morgan Blue Race Oil and Rock N Roll Gold. For winter riding, nothing tops Chain-L.

I change my chain according to my Park Chain checker or at the end of a season. Typically I'm probably getting about 4000 miles out of a chain if I were to let it go to the end. I don't let it go that far because I want all my cassettes to wear evenly.

J.
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Old 07-14-16, 09:38 PM
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I used those chain cleaners in the past, they worked OK for in-between cleaning. But for a good clean I take the chain off clean it in degreaser using a 2 liter bottle degree, shake a lot and then brush; and use chain wax as the last step. The type of lube you use also has an impact on the frequency of cleaning needed.
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Old 07-14-16, 10:16 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Yeah - I don't even remember where that thing came from I've had it so long... works great and doesn't splatter my nice wheels, and easy to clean up the frame after.

Also serves as a spacer when I use my airplane travelcase.

I just like having a clean chain - I don't think I'm extending my mileage or anything, and I don't like breaking it apart to clean - chain cleaner hatred must end.
I use a Nashbar chain keeper, which apparently they don't sell the one like mine anymore - it came with a full-width QR skewer with rigid spacers to adjust for various rear dropout spacing. Works great for both maintenance and travel like you said.
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Old 07-15-16, 10:37 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
White Lightning Clean Lube is rated in the bottom third for lube efficiency of lubes tested by Friction Facts. It's right behind Vaseline Petroleum Jelly and ahead of Finish Line Ceramic Grease.
If you are quoting from the Velo article, I think you need to go reread the article again. Clean Ride isn't listed in that article nor is petroleum jelly. If you have another article, list it.

The differences between the lubricants are also relatively small...on the order of 3 watts. I'm not terribly concerned about saving 3W of power in the grand scheme of things.

Originally Posted by JohnJ80
You can keep pretty much any drivetrain clean if you make sure the lube is in the chain and not on the side plates where it does nothing useful. Simple matter of squirting a little WD40 in a rag and running the chain through it.
Yes, the lube needs to stay in the chain. The problem is that with a liquid that simply isn't going to happen. Liquids flow under gravity. Any liquid oil you put on the top of the chain links is going to flow through to the bottom of the chain. The simple act of moving the chain around the drivetrain is going to move the liquid to the outside of the chain. In fact, the whole point of putting chain lubricant of any kind on the the chain is to move the old lubricant out of the chain to the outside. Even the wax lubricant I use does the same thing. The only difference is that the solvent that carries the wax evaporates and leaves behind a lubricant that is solid and doesn't flow. I don't have to constantly wipe my chain because nothing moves to the outside.

Originally Posted by JohnJ80
I've also found that spraying WD40 on a chain and quickly working it over with a shop brush (still on the bike) and then spinning the chain backwards while wiping floats all lot of the internal gunk out of the chain. I keep doing that until it comes up clear on the rag, then I add lube. Whole process takes <5 minutes, is not messy and the chain is clean as new.

My favorite lubes are (current favorite) Morgan Blue Race Oil and Rock N Roll Gold. For winter riding, nothing tops Chain-L.

I change my chain according to my Park Chain checker or at the end of a season. Typically I'm probably getting about 4000 miles out of a chain if I were to let it go to the end. I don't let it go that far because I want all my cassettes to wear evenly.

J.
The reason that you are having to "work" the WD-40...or even use it to begin with...is to manage the constant movement of your lubricant to the outside of the chain. And you have to deal with all that "internal gunk" because it was external at some point and ended up inside the chain.

The White Lightning I use never has any "internal gunk" coming out when I put on fresh because it doesn't trap external gunk to begin with. And I can handle my chain at anytime without ending up with greasy hands.

I also get about the mileage out of my chains. The difference is that I don't spend half my time obsessing about cleaning up after the lubricant.
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Old 07-15-16, 11:01 AM
  #31  
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Everyone should have one of those spiny chain cleaning plastic things but I have not used mine in ages yet still do not intend to give it up...

I found my best chain cleaner by accident. I normally lube then wipe my chain down with a rag almost every ride but then again I ride dirty dusty asphalt and pretty much my whole bike is kinda dirty.

Once upon a time, before a short ride with friends I pulled my bike out and hit the chain with a garden hose pressure nozzle just spinning it around and really spraying directly in-between the links. No solvent, no scrubbing, just plain water. (yep it was a little messy but I was pressed for time).

When I went to put on my regular chain lube I was amazed at how clean the chain was. There was no grind sound or feeling when twisting the chain sideways and after a wipe down was more than expected ... Clean.

So thats the way I do it now...



Rem: I don't have a million dollar bike and I don't use high dollar chains. If I did then this might not work.
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Old 07-15-16, 02:21 PM
  #32  
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I tape two old toothbrushes together by the handles (so the bristles touch each other) and use that to clean my chain. No fancy thingy. Works well enough for me.
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Old 07-15-16, 02:37 PM
  #33  
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If you just need to do little things to your bike besides ride it then clean away. But you're not going to save money and it will cost you to buy cleaning solutions. I think cleaning the chain with fresh lube is as good as anything. Wiping the chain very thoroughly afterwards helps more than anything. Lube on the outside of the chain does nothing but attract dirt.
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Old 07-15-16, 05:21 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
If you are quoting from the Velo article, I think you need to go reread the article again. Clean Ride isn't listed in that article nor is petroleum jelly. If you have another article, list it.

The differences between the lubricants are also relatively small...on the order of 3 watts. I'm not terribly concerned about saving 3W of power in the grand scheme of things.



Yes, the lube needs to stay in the chain. The problem is that with a liquid that simply isn't going to happen. Liquids flow under gravity. Any liquid oil you put on the top of the chain links is going to flow through to the bottom of the chain. The simple act of moving the chain around the drivetrain is going to move the liquid to the outside of the chain. In fact, the whole point of putting chain lubricant of any kind on the the chain is to move the old lubricant out of the chain to the outside. Even the wax lubricant I use does the same thing. The only difference is that the solvent that carries the wax evaporates and leaves behind a lubricant that is solid and doesn't flow. I don't have to constantly wipe my chain because nothing moves to the outside.



The reason that you are having to "work" the WD-40...or even use it to begin with...is to manage the constant movement of your lubricant to the outside of the chain. And you have to deal with all that "internal gunk" because it was external at some point and ended up inside the chain.

The White Lightning I use never has any "internal gunk" coming out when I put on fresh because it doesn't trap external gunk to begin with. And I can handle my chain at anytime without ending up with greasy hands.

I also get about the mileage out of my chains. The difference is that I don't spend half my time obsessing about cleaning up after the lubricant.
I can't post the article because it's a copyrighted purchased pdf directly from Friction Facts called chain_lube_efficiency_tests_combined_1.pdf and copying is prohibited as terms of the sale. The chart on the first page is what I'm referring to.

The problem with waxes is that the pressure causes the wax to migrate away from the point where the lube is needed and is not all that much different than what happens with liquids with the exception is that they don't have any opportunity to migrate back. You won't get any gunk coming out of a waxy lube because it's going to stay in there after it was worked away from the pressure points.

Not me who's obsessing with chain cleanliness - I don't have a problem with it. What I do obsess over is an absolutely silent drivetrain simply because I like it that way. Secondly, I don't want to waste watts on sub optimal lubricants either. I don't care about chain replacement (it's an incidental expense), it's easy and it's obvious when to do it. That said, sounds like you and I get the same life out of our chains. My main objection to the White Lighting lubes is that are much better lubes out there.

J.
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Old 07-15-16, 06:28 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by kuroba
I tape two old toothbrushes together by the handles (so the bristles touch each other) and use that to clean my chain. No fancy thingy. Works well enough for me.
genius!
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Old 07-16-16, 08:05 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
I can't post the article because it's a copyrighted purchased pdf directly from Friction Facts called chain_lube_efficiency_tests_combined_1.pdf and copying is prohibited as terms of the sale. The chart on the first page is what I'm referring to.
Fair enough. I found another article from Velo that does list the Clean Ride and the difference between the best...parafin...and the Clean Ride looks to be about 1.6W. However, the difference between the best and worst is only about 3W.

Originally Posted by JohnJ80
The problem with waxes is that the pressure causes the wax to migrate away from the point where the lube is needed and is not all that much different than what happens with liquids with the exception is that they don't have any opportunity to migrate back. You won't get any gunk coming out of a waxy lube because it's going to stay in there after it was worked away from the pressure points.
I'll agree that pressure will cause the some of the wax to migrate away but certainly not all of the wax will migrate away. And I'll agree that liquids work the same way. However, if you are constantly having to wipe the excess off the outside of the chain...I'm not completely unfamiliar with using oil based chain lubricants...you are remove the oil from the system. Oil removed can't migrate back either.

Not that it matters that much. If it did, the service life on a waxed chain would be far less than that of an oiled chain. It isn't in my experience.

As for the "gunk", none of it gets into the chain because that same wax that migrates away from the pressure points serves as a barrier to the grit getting into the chain. Additionally, the wax does serve as a trap for the grit in the first place. The grit doesn't stick to the wax in the same manner as it sticks to the oil. I have cleaned waxed chains in the past as well as oiled chains and I've never experienced that familiar gritty feeling with a waxed chain.


Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Not me who's obsessing with chain cleanliness - I don't have a problem with it. What I do obsess over is an absolutely silent drivetrain simply because I like it that way. Secondly, I don't want to waste watts on sub optimal lubricants either. I don't care about chain replacement (it's an incidental expense), it's easy and it's obvious when to do it. That said, sounds like you and I get the same life out of our chains. My main objection to the White Lighting lubes is that are much better lubes out there.

J.
Why does everyone think that a wax lubricated chain is so noisy? What "noise" are you trying to drown out that you think I have? My chains don't squeak. They don't rattle. They don't sound any different than an oil lubricated chain. And I don't feel that grinding, grating of grit being sized reduced in the chain.

As for "wasting watts", do you really have any idea how much wattage is being wasted? The 1.6 W lost between the best lubricant...which is still paraffin by the way...and the White Lightning is the difference between 15 mph and 15.2 mph. The difference between Rock and Roll Gold and Clean ride is 15.0mph and 15.1mph. Kind of splitting hairs, isn't it?

As for there being "better lubes out there", my question is still better how? I get the same chain mileage, I don't have to clean all the time and I don't have to don Super Fund Site level protective gear to touch my chain. I am infinitesimal...immeasurably?...slower.
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Old 07-17-16, 07:59 PM
  #37  
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I use a Finish Line chain cleaning tool and it works well. Simple and pretty intuitive within minutes.

Most are pretty much variations of the same thing. Don't pay too much.
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Old 07-18-16, 11:28 AM
  #38  
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used my chain cleaner tool this weekend with citrus de-greaser. funny how little fluid they hold. saw a utube vid where the guy suggested 100 rotations of the crank. I did 50, changed the fluid and did 50 more. also used a few other things then rinsed with a gentle hose and air dried in the hot sun and re-lubed generously and wiped the excess. was good to use a bike stand for a change. I think it made the job easier but then I had to wipe down the bike stand before putting it away. I also got the grass kinda greasy, ratz. at least I did it away from where we usually tread.

a big +1 to the BF member that shared taping 2 toothbrushes together facing each other! that was especially useful on the rollers and front chain rings!
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Old 07-18-16, 12:38 PM
  #39  
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For the cassette, I have gotten where I will spray degreaser on it with the wheel out, let it soak a bit, then scrub with the Park Tool cassette brush. Then I take my hose with spray nozzle and spray down the right side (my right) of the cassette so that the water pressure makes the cassette spin backwards really fast! It's kinda funny but it seems to do an excellent job of getting the cassette nice and sparkly.
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Old 07-18-16, 02:41 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Fair enough. I found another article from Velo that does list the Clean Ride and the difference between the best...parafin...and the Clean Ride looks to be about 1.6W. However, the difference between the best and worst is only about 3W.



I'll agree that pressure will cause the some of the wax to migrate away but certainly not all of the wax will migrate away. And I'll agree that liquids work the same way. However, if you are constantly having to wipe the excess off the outside of the chain...I'm not completely unfamiliar with using oil based chain lubricants...you are remove the oil from the system. Oil removed can't migrate back either.

Not that it matters that much. If it did, the service life on a waxed chain would be far less than that of an oiled chain. It isn't in my experience.

As for the "gunk", none of it gets into the chain because that same wax that migrates away from the pressure points serves as a barrier to the grit getting into the chain. Additionally, the wax does serve as a trap for the grit in the first place. The grit doesn't stick to the wax in the same manner as it sticks to the oil. I have cleaned waxed chains in the past as well as oiled chains and I've never experienced that familiar gritty feeling with a waxed chain.




Why does everyone think that a wax lubricated chain is so noisy? What "noise" are you trying to drown out that you think I have? My chains don't squeak. They don't rattle. They don't sound any different than an oil lubricated chain. And I don't feel that grinding, grating of grit being sized reduced in the chain.

As for "wasting watts", do you really have any idea how much wattage is being wasted? The 1.6 W lost between the best lubricant...which is still paraffin by the way...and the White Lightning is the difference between 15 mph and 15.2 mph. The difference between Rock and Roll Gold and Clean ride is 15.0mph and 15.1mph. Kind of splitting hairs, isn't it?
I know it's not a lot of watts from the middle of the pack to the high end, but 3W is 3W. When you can get that back essentially for free by a lube choice, what's not to like? At an average power output of 150W, that's 2% back for free. I recently installed a power meter on my bike and I have to say I was very surprised at what you can do with rather low watts and the difference by adding as little a few watts to the current effort when riding.

As for there being "better lubes out there", my question is still better how? I get the same chain mileage, I don't have to clean all the time and I don't have to don Super Fund Site level protective gear to touch my chain. I am infinitesimal...immeasurably?...slower.
I don't clean all the time either - mostly I just add lube when needed and wipe the excess off with rag that has spray of WD40 in it the next morning. The trick to a clean chain is keeping the extra lube off external parts of the chain. That's true of any lube.

Your experience with wax was different than mine. I found it noisier and not especially cleaner. When it got noisier, it seemed to me to happen a lot faster from the time I first noticed the increased noise to where it was really noisy. It's also really hard to get it out of the chain if you want to go back to non wax lubes. So, I avoid it. But it's great that it works for you and it's great to have choices.



J.
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Old 07-18-16, 03:55 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
I know it's not a lot of watts from the middle of the pack to the high end, but 3W is 3W. When you can get that back essentially for free by a lube choice, what's not to like? At an average power output of 150W, that's 2% back for free. I recently installed a power meter on my bike and I have to say I was very surprised at what you can do with rather low watts and the difference by adding as little a few watts to the current effort when riding.
Actually the difference between what you use and what I use is is less than 3W. More on the order of 1.2W which is 0.8% difference. A very slight breeze or even a slightly change in tire pressure makes more difference. Like I said about, it's the difference between 15.0mph and 15.1mph in still air.

Originally Posted by JohnJ80
I don't clean all the time either - mostly I just add lube when needed and wipe the excess off with rag that has spray of WD40 in it the next morning. The trick to a clean chain is keeping the extra lube off external parts of the chain. That's true of any lube.
I understand that the trick is to keep the lube off the external parts of the chain...I used oil based chain lubricants for a long time. But the difference is that my lubricant doesn't move to the external parts of the chain. You wipe down your chain before each ride. I don't have to. That's my "trick".

Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Your experience with wax was different than mine. I found it noisier and not especially cleaner. When it got noisier, it seemed to me to happen a lot faster from the time I first noticed the increased noise to where it was really noisy. It's also really hard to get it out of the chain if you want to go back to non wax lubes. So, I avoid it. But it's great that it works for you and it's great to have choices.
I disagree that it is harder to get a wax based lubricant out of the chain. The chain comes with a wax based lubricant. Many people consider that to be a superior lubricant...I don't happen to be one of them...but I can strip all of it or just about any lubricant out of the chain in 30 seconds with some agitation and a half cup of mineral spirits.
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Old 07-18-16, 05:07 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The chain comes with a wax based lubricant. Many people consider that to be a superior lubricant...
??? SB says "New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain."

I just put on a new chain last week, it sure seemed greasy rather than waxy to me.
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Old 07-19-16, 07:30 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad
??? SB says "New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain."

I just put on a new chain last week, it sure seemed greasy rather than waxy to me.
Notice he says grease-type lubricant. The "type" part is important. According to Wikipedia,

Grease is a semisolid lubricant. Grease generally consists of a soap emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil.
That's a good definition of bearing grease but, as many cyclists can tell you, bearing grease isn't all that water resistant.

The other part of the problem is in definitions. Most people's experience with a "wax" is with a hard wax like candle or canning wax. Many people probably have experience with another wax that they don't realized is a "wax". Petroleum jelly is a "wax", it's just soft. And it feels "greasy". It's also more water resistant than a surfactant based "grease".

I'm not saying that the chain lubricant is petroleum jelly. It's some kind of mixture of various semisolid petroleum distillates. But, based on what I can find out about the mixtures used...they are proprietary and there's not much information on them...they are based around soft waxes. It more like Cosmoline than like bearing grease.

More importantly, the lubricant that so many think is "excellent" isn't liquid oil. It's a semisolid lubricant that is more like wax based lubricants than liquid oils.
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Old 07-19-16, 08:24 AM
  #44  
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Interesting.
Originally Posted by cyccommute
More importantly, the lubricant that so many think is "excellent" isn't liquid oil. It's a semisolid lubricant that is more like wax based lubricants than liquid oils.
Definitely, the factory lube is nothing like liquid, it's very thick and sticky, and I believe how SB describes it's in there because it was applied during manufacturing. After the chain is assembled, nothing that thick would easily migrate into the important innards, which is why when factory lube needs replenishing, we have to go with something thinner.

BTW, I may have missed it, did you say what lube you use? Are you a crock-pot-o-parrafin kinda guy?
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Old 07-19-16, 08:24 AM
  #45  
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Rag wipedown every week or so. Not saying it's the best method, but certainly one of the laziest, which is pretty much my speed. I wear out chains every 2000 miles or so no matter what I do, especially my 10 speed, so it's not worth it to me to fuss too much over something I'm going to replace in 2 months anyway.
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Old 07-19-16, 09:02 AM
  #46  
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I have one and it's useful in the summer when I can go a month or more and the chain isn't really all that dirty, but in the winter when a single ride can leave the chain caked in gunk, they're basically useless. At those times, removing the chain and doing a long soak in a jar with mineral spirits, and maybe some hand scrubbing is the solution. If it's really dirty (like, actual dirt) I'll do a hot water and dish detergent in a jar and rattle it around round first, maybe 2 or 3 of them, until the water is at least semi transparent, then go to mineral spirits and soak for a few hours, shaking once in a while. Then wipe down with paper towels, dry and relube.
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Old 07-19-16, 09:31 AM
  #47  
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I've been experimenting with all sorts of chain cleaning methods/lube types for nearly a decade now (about the time I started commuting via bicycle.) I have the Park chain cleaning tool. It works OK. I've tried tooth brushes, rags, hoses, stern looks, etc. They all have upsides and downsides.

What I've been doing the last three months is keeping two jars in my garage. One is full of mineral spirits for cleaning, the other is full of a gas/2 cycle engine oil mix for lubing. I'll remove the chain (KMC quick link makes this much easier) and drop it in the mineral spirits. I'll give it a shake every few minutes while I'm doing something else. After a while I'll remove it and wipe it down with a rag. I'll hang it up to dry until the mineral spirits evaporate, then drop it into the jar of lube. Usually I'll let it sit in there until the next time I'm ready to ride, then pull it out, wipe off the excess with a rag and re-install the chain.

Overall I've been pretty happy with this system. But given my history I'll probably switch it up and try something else in the future on my continued quest for the Holy Grail of chain maintenance.
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Old 07-19-16, 03:04 PM
  #48  
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I'd rather buy a new chain than suffer that Sheldon Brown protocol. The Park Tool encapsulated brush tool is terrific and not too messy. I use Simple Green as a degreaser. I hate spray lubes. so I just use a rag with a dollop of motor oil clenched around the chain for a few revolutions backward and forward. My drive train is perfectly silent, and I don't have over-spray on my wheels and such.
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Old 07-19-16, 03:20 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
It more like Cosmoline than like bearing grease.
Any idea what the drip point is? Heating up a dish of some sort of grease to a water-thin consistency with a freshly cleaned chain in it is hardly beyond the typical home mechanic's means. (Assuming, of course, it's more than a few degrees between water-thin temperature and flash point.) Even if it stinks, a used toaster oven is $10 or less at Goodwill. Even a crock pot (assuming it needs to soak more than 10-15 minutes) gets pretty hot on high, and I've picked up small ones for $4.

More importantly, the lubricant that so many think is "excellent" isn't liquid oil. It's a semisolid lubricant that is more like wax based lubricants than liquid oils.
I'm still happy with White Lightning Easy Lube, which appears to be pretty darn similar to the DuPont Teflon Dry Lube that WalMart doesn't seem to carry anymore. Both are waxes in very effective solvents, so I use them to flush small bearings too. It's impressive the amount of rusty gunk that a quarter teaspoon of the solvent carries out the far end of an old pedal shaft when you just don't feel like disassembling the bearings for a proper cleaning.
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Old 07-19-16, 03:22 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by GeneO
monomolecular wire
That would take care of sticks and dogs getting into the spokes pretty effectively. Not fun to stress relieve them, though, and fitting the speedometer magnet would be tricky.
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