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How often do you clean your chain/drivetrain?

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How often do you clean your chain/drivetrain?

Old 02-24-11, 10:53 PM
  #1  
bikerjp
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How often do you clean your chain/drivetrain?

I have about 800ish outdoor and winter miles on my caad9-4 and I've wiped down and re-lubed my chain several times. Last night I used one of those chain cleaner tools with the brushes and some dish soap (all I had but it's a degreaser too) and ran the chain through several wash cycles and rinse. Also flossed the cassette and wiped off the chainrings. Re-lubed it and wow what a difference today. Nearly silent running and very smooth shifts - maybe better than when it was new but could be the lube I used too.

The whole process took about an hour or so, however, and I'm too lazy to do that very often. So, out of curiosity, how often do you give it a decent cleaning? Don't say it depends as I know that and also the type of weather, road conditions, etc. will play a role. However, how long do you go on average between involved (not just a wipe down) cleanings?
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Old 02-24-11, 11:25 PM
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If it's my all-around commuting/rain road bike doing highway commutes regardless of whether the road is wet or dry, then I'd normally clean the drivetrain completely about once a week, with re-lubes and wipe-downs every 2-3 days (or after any wet ride). The lube I'd usually use in that scenario is Rock & Roll Gold, which gets most of the dirt and grime off the chain in the process of the wipe-down, and doesn't attract much dirt.

Keep in mind I work at the LBS, so I have the full arsenal on hand: chain scrubber, citrus degreaser, Simple Green foaming bike cleaner, washtub, brushes, solvent tank (seldom used).
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Old 02-24-11, 11:43 PM
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I clean the drive train after each ride with a quick wipe down. Re lube about once each week to two weeks. Full cleaning about once a month or less depending upon how much I am riding and the weather. Keep it clean and it will treat you right.
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Old 02-25-11, 12:16 AM
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R&R Gold, which cleans and lubes, every 3 rides. Park Tool CM-5 chain cleaner if I hear louder than normal chain noise or before a race.
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Old 02-25-11, 08:29 AM
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Probably once a month or less. My chains and cassettes don't last very long.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:16 AM
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When it gets wet; when it gets noisy; when I haven't cleaned it in a couple weeks, and neither of the first two have occurred and I happen to think about it.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
The whole process took about an hour or so,

Put some Pro Link on it. Let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe off the excess. Takes about 3 minutes (and you can be doing something else for 2 of those 3 minutes)

Unless things are seriously messed up, that's really all that's necessarry.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:29 AM
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If it feels/sounds gritty, right away. In my shop days I didn't care - I wore a chain out in 2 weeks of muddy mtb riding. Really dumb.

If it's getting less shiny on the sides, I clean.

At the end of a rainy ride where I rode from home, before I go back inside (I'm already soaked and so is the bike, might as well clean bike)

Since a lot of my riding is on the trainer and the chain basically goes into dirtiness-hibernation, I try and clean the chain right before I stick the bike in the basement for the winter. Then I clean after each outdoor ride when possible while it's gritty/dirty.

Tools of the trade:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...our-chain.html
The best find since the Park brush came out is the Grunge Brush:


Not illustrated:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...your-bike.html

Illustrated:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...lustrated.html

If I'm in a rush, the bike was cleaned more recently than not, it could be as little as 10 min with a hose. With buckets, warm water, it takes longer.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:41 AM
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About once every three weeks, I just wipe and lube, but I don't really consider that a cleaning.
About once every two or three months, I actually clean the chain with degreaser and floss the cogs.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:45 AM
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I do it almost every other ride (with brushes, floss cassette, clean crank) if not every, depending on the condition of road from previous ride. I do it FAR LESS if I am on tour, however I do try to keep the chain clean despite it being nearly impossible as often as I stop on tour.

Though I find, having a new shop in the house makes it easier to WANT to do these things. Last year, I probably did it 1 every 4 rides or less.

Last edited by X-LinkedRider; 02-25-11 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Add Shop Pic
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Old 02-25-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
The best find since the Park brush came out is the Grunge Brush:

Bad thing about BF is I keep seeing things to buy. Just ordered one from REI.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:48 AM
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- After a rainy/snowy/salty ride; if it's really bad, I'll use the Park chain cleaner and degreaser but I try not to go there.
- Wipe down after every ride with rag
- Lube every 200-300 miles or so
- Alternate between Pro Gold, Finish Line Ceramic, and Phil Wood Tenacious, and Phil Wood Waterproof Grease, depending on conditions.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Bad thing about BF is I keep seeing things to buy. Just ordered one from REI.
Ditto
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Old 02-25-11, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by X-LinkedRider View Post
I do it almost every other ride (with brushes, floss cassette, clean crank) if not every, depending on the condition of road from previous ride.
How long does that take you? and what value do you place on your time?

My bet is that Nachoman, and mine's approach, ends up being far more cost effective.

Assume your ritual takes 10 minutes, and perhaps you end buying one fewer chains every year or so, your savings of a $50 chain, come at the cost of 50 hours of work.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:15 AM
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I typically wipe my bike down after each ride as i go to put it away. At that time I visually check and feel the chain. if it needs it AI pull out the Park Tools chain cleaner and the fluid and go after it untill clean then relube. if I do the chain I do the cassette and RD & FD and sprokets too.

A clean drive train is a happy well working drive train.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Put some Pro Link on it. Let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe off the excess. Takes about 3 minutes (and you can be doing something else for 2 of those 3 minutes)

Unless things are seriously messed up, that's really all that's necessarry.
+1. 90% of the benefit in 5% of the time.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:32 AM
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No way I could clean after every other ride since I commute daily. About every 3 weeks to a month, I pull the chain off and soak it in a glass jar of mineral spirits and scrub it. Then I hold it up vertically and spray with WD-40 from top down to basically rinse it. Reinstall, lube, wipe, and don't think about it again for a few weeks unless it starts getting noisy.

BTW - just order that brush!

Last edited by pallen; 02-25-11 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:39 AM
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Every Friday night; all bikes, even those that were only ridden once that week.
Douse chain with Tri-Flow, wipe clean, re-douse, re-wipe, light layer of tenacious oil, quick wipe of excess. Wiping teeth as I go, and full cassette disassembly & chainring detailing at least once a month.
I need to change that to Monday nights instead, because rollers-miles don't really dirty the chain, but riding the rollers all week with a clean chain would be smarter.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:47 AM
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I wipe it down after every other ride. R&R extreme once a week!
I ride every day!

+100 @ Merlin!
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Old 02-25-11, 10:54 AM
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I clean it when it looks dirty, which seems to be nearly every ride. I use mineral spirits in a Park Tool cleaner, and my lube of choice is Chain-L. It's awesome.
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Old 02-25-11, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
How long does that take you? and what value do you place on your time?

My bet is that Nachoman, and mine's approach, ends up being far more cost effective.

Assume your ritual takes 10 minutes, and perhaps you end buying one fewer chains every year or so, your savings of a $50 chain, come at the cost of 50 hours of work.
Well said Yeah, my 9-speed rain bike's chain and cassette together have a total value of under $50 at retail, so a guy reaches the point of diminishing returns really quickly on anything but top-of-the-line stuff. OTOH, R&R Gold isn't exactly cheap, but I do get that for free since it's one of our shop lubes.
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Old 02-25-11, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
How long does that take you? and what value do you place on your time?

My bet is that Nachoman, and mine's approach, ends up being far more cost effective.

Assume your ritual takes 10 minutes, and perhaps you end buying one fewer chains every year or so, your savings of a $50 chain, come at the cost of 50 hours of work.


I find it enjoyable to work on the bike. Some guys build bird houses........

Last edited by Painful Chafe; 02-25-11 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 02-25-11, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Tools of the trade:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...our-chain.html
The best find since the Park brush came out is the Grunge Brush:

Not illustrated:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...your-bike.html
Illustrated:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...lustrated.html
Great Info! Tools of the trade and links. Thanks.
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Old 02-25-11, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Painful Chafe View Post
I find it enjoyable to work on the bike. Some guys build bird houses........
This, I am a night owl by nature and trade, so 10PM after the wife has crashed, is a good time to be in the garage noodling.
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Old 02-25-11, 12:28 PM
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50-100 miles or so? Or when I feel like it.
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