Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Why clean the chain?

Old 08-31-05, 11:15 AM
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Why clean the chain?

I just bought some degreaser for $10 and some chain lube for $10.

I practically used all of the degreaser and lube when I cleaned my chain. Now I see some chains going for $10-20. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to buy a decent chain every month or so instead of cleaning the chain.

You wouldn't have to worry about chain stretch, breakage, etc. because you would have a new chain every month. You could even buy the cheapest chain because it's going to be replaced within a couple weeks.

Discuss.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:21 AM
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Buy cheaper degreases and lube and don't use so much (I couldn't possibly use as much as it seem you did). A $5 bottle of degreaser and $5 lube lasts for many cleanings.

But the main point which I agree with is that its relatively cheap to change your chain every 6mo. or so which means you don't need to concern yourself with cleaning it for lifetime reasons.

Al
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Old 08-31-05, 11:25 AM
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I clean the chains of my 2 bikes weekly and it has been several months since I bought anything. I use Boeshield T9 as lube and a can has lasted me for the whole year so far doing these 2 bikes plus my wife's a few times and several friend's bikes. Bottle was like $7 I think.

For degreaser I use mineral spirits in a 32oz sports drink bottle. It can be used more than one time even though it looks dirty it is still removing dirt and grease from the chain. Of course using this method it helps to have an easily removable chain so I use the SRAM links.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:28 AM
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you still need to clean and lube a new chain.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:30 AM
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I paid around $8 for a 20-oz. bottle of degreaser. I use only about a quarter to a half cup on each cleaning. I've cleaned the chain four or five times off this bottle and it's still more than half full. How did you manage to use an entire bottle on one cleaning?

Cleaning the chain has other benefits -- it helps keep the rest of your drivetrain clean, which reduces wear. Replacing cassettes and chainrings costs a lot more than a new chain! It also reduces the amount of gunk you get on your clothes, and looks nicer.

Or you can also buy a cheap chain and worry about it breaking and deal with the impaired shift performance. It's your call.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by texascyclist
you still need to clean and lube a new chain.
Good point.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:31 AM
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Why clean a cheap chain? Because a dirty chain wears faster and will wear your cassette faster. Cassettes aren't as cheap as chains.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fmw
Why clean a cheap chain? Because a dirty chain wears faster and will wear your cassette faster. Cassettes aren't as cheap as chains.
To keep that GUNK they put on them and the dirt it attracts off of your cassette, chain rings and derailleurs.
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Old 08-31-05, 11:41 AM
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A decent chain is more than $10 is my experience. with luck ,you can get a Shimano on sale for about $20..
All that greasy gunk on the chain and pulleys is disgusting..Plus it wears down teeth of the cogs , chainrings..I have four bikes and each bike gets its teeth cleaned at least once a month..
Plus , when you have a flat that disgusting crap gets all over your hands.
Finally, if there are cheap chains for $10 , I am not interested. I would not trust them..Chains breaking while standing on the pedals is a major distraction.

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Old 08-31-05, 12:00 PM
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I'm a bicycle newbie but I've been an avid motorcyclist for a long time. I use wd-40 for cleaning, than I use http://tinyurl.com/c2kny for lubage...

Cheap, works good, lasts long time. Dries, well, dry. It's not tacky and doesen't attract dirt.

Some just use wd-40 for both cleaning and lubing functions but I would do it more often in that case.

Steve
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Old 08-31-05, 12:11 PM
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You used way too much stuff it seems. I buy a big bottle of degreaser from Performance to use in my handy-dandy chain cleaner and it lasts Forever(TM). As for lube, that stuff should last for many, many reapplications even with a small bottle / cannister.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by texascyclist
you still need to clean and lube a new chain.

You don't have to buy degreaser for that. You can clean it with soap and water.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by desmoface
Some just use wd-40 for both cleaning and lubing functions but I would do it more often in that case.
Do not do this. WD-40 is not a lube and will not protect a chain from the elements. It is a water displacing (WD, get it?) solvent. That's all. You still need to use lube after a solvent clean.

Steve, I know you said this wasn't what you did. Just a heads-up for others.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:20 PM
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I agree with OPC, wd-40 is a good cleaner but its a little thin for anything more than light lubrication...I would/do use a good chain lube after a thorough cleaning with wd-40...Some of my motorcycle buds argue that motorcycle chains have o-rings which are supposed to keep the lubricant inside the links so that they only need cleaning/light lubrication..But, I still feel better about lubing them..

Steve
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Old 08-31-05, 12:20 PM
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Here's the 2 scenarios...

Facts

1. Chain = $10
2. 20 oz. Degreaser = $10
3. Cleaning done every 2 weeks
4. Miscellaneous Items (bucket, brush, chain measure, etc.) = $5
5. Hassle of cleaning the chain = whatever it costs you.

A. 2 months time: Cleaning the chain 4 times and not buying a new chain.

You spent $10 for the original chain and $20 for the degreaser for a total of $30.

B. 2 months time. Cleaning a new chain once and then buying a new chain and cleaning the new one. Repeat.

You spent $20 for the 2 chains, $10 for the degreaser for a total of $30.


In scenario B, you only cleaned the chain twice and spent the same amount of money. You have a fresh chain every month, so you don't have to worry about stretching, breakage, etc.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:23 PM
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In scenario B, you're drivetrain is better maintained because of the fresh new chain. Cleaning won't get your old chain to be like a new chain.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:23 PM
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wow, you guys go through it fast. i just clean my chain with simple green and a rag, and then lube it up. i've been using the same container for over a year now. once a month or so i take the chain off and soak it in a bucket of simple green.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Yo-
In scenario B, you're drivetrain is better maintained because of the fresh new chain. Cleaning won't get your old chain to be like a new chain.
Dude you have stock in SRAM or Wipperman or something don't you?

Hey if that is your plan then go for it. My bike runs great and I have no measureable chain stretch after 1800 miles using my method...if yours works for you then by all means do it.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:28 PM
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why are your chains experiencing so much wear? i don't get it. i rode 3,500 miles on my last chain and i only got a new one because i got a new wheel set. i trained hard and raced most of this season too, so it's not like the bike was pampered.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:28 PM
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On a side note:

Where can you buy mineral spirits and is this overkill for cleaning a chain? I also found out here that my Shimano DA chain is not designed to have a master link. Guess I gotta find a way to do the bottle cleaning method while the chain is still attached to the bike. I don't want to use one of those cleaning contraptions.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
wow, you guys go through it fast. i just clean my chain with simple green and a rag, and then lube it up. i've been using the same container for over a year now. once a month or so i take the chain off and soak it in a bucket of simple green.

Everytime I clean, I soak the chain in about 10 oz of the solvent.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Yo-
Everytime I clean, I soak the chain in about 10 oz of the solvent.
you might be able to save it. maybe? try straining the solvent afterward and keeping it in an old glass jar for the next time. not sure if that will reduce the cleaning power, but it may be worth a shot.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:37 PM
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Pour your degreaser into a slightly bigger container. Throw your chain into that container; shake well; leave over night and then shake well again to make sure it's clean. If not, take out and do some scrubbing and then throw it back into the bottle od degreaser and repeat. Take chain out, rinse off degreaser, let chain dry and then lube (in the same manner as the degreaser if you wish), and then let excess lube drip off and put back on bike. You can just keep reusing the degreaser until it's very dirty-->should last you many degreasing sessions.
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Old 08-31-05, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Doggus
On a side note:

Where can you buy mineral spirits and is this overkill for cleaning a chain? I also found out here that my Shimano DA chain is not designed to have a master link. Guess I gotta find a way to do the bottle cleaning method while the chain is still attached to the bike. I don't want to use one of those cleaning contraptions.
Hardware or paint store for the mineral spirits. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...02P&lpage=none Not at all overkill. If it is a 9 speed Dura Ace chain you wont have an issue with the SRAM or CONEX links...not sure about 10spd.
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Old 08-31-05, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Yo-
Everytime I clean, I soak the chain in about 10 oz of the solvent.

you only need about half that in a water bottle to be effective. and you can use that degreaser about 20 times before it becomes ineffective. a 20oz bottle of degreaser should last over a year if you're only cleaning one chain.

also, don't forget to clean those cassettes and chainrings, they get dirty too! diluted simple green and a gear cleaning brush work wonders for that.
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