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Cleaning Chain(11 posts)

Cleaning ChainBillyboy
Nov 28, 2001 3:01 PM
I purchased a new bike a little while ago and I think it has come time to clean the chain. What's the best way to clean and what should be used to lube it back up again?
re: Cleaning Chainbikerduder
Nov 28, 2001 4:43 PM
Here's a useful link for you - everything you could want to know on taking care of your chain/drivetrain:

Personally, I clean my chain every week, depending on miles (usually 150/wk) and how dirty it is. That's when I lube it as well, although I may do an occasional lube without cleaning if it looks pretty clean. I've tried dozens of lubes, but I've been using Prolink now for about a month and it's seems to be my new favorite. Here's a link to their site, as it is somewhat hard to locate:

There also a review of Prolink on the site from June, 2001, and a review from an MTB site:

Good luck. If you have any specific questions after reading up on it, I'm sure one of the grizzled veterans on this site would love to answer you.
re: Cleaning Chainfirstrax
Nov 28, 2001 6:58 PM
Ilike Pedros Ice Wax. Apply one coat then rinse to clean the chain, then another and leave to lube.
re: Cleaning ChainMarkP
Nov 28, 2001 7:54 PM
I can't stand the site of a dirty chain or cassette, so I clean mine every week. I use a degreaser like Simple Green (available everywhere) and run my chain through a Park Tools chain cleaning tool. I use a brush on the cassette and chainrings. For lube, I've found that Pedro's Extra Dry works well. Good luck.
re: Cleaning Chainpmf1
Nov 29, 2001 5:08 AM
First, there is no need to remove it. I only do this when I'm putting a new one on.

To clean my drive train, I put the bike on a stand and take off the wheels. I then use a toothbrush and some citrus degreaser that Home Depot sells for $7/gallon. You can buy the same stuff at a bike shop for $98/gallon if you want to. If its really bad, mineralspirits work well. After I've scrubbed the chain, rings and derailers, I hose it off. Then I soap the whole bike up and hose it down. I use a scratch pad on the brake pads to get any buildup off them. Unless you use a high pressure hose such as in a car wash, getting your bike wet won't hurt anything. I then let it dry thoroughly. You need to clean your wheels too. Scrub the buildup off the brake surface with a scratch pad. Get a cassette brush to clean the cassette and use citrus cleaner.

For lube -- its up to you to experiment around and find something you like. I've tried many different lubes and they're all pretty much the same. The exception is White Lightening which is a wax. This stuff works pretty well and is clean to the touch, but gums up the cassette. I like it for when I'm hauling my bike on a vacation, but not for anything else. People here rave about Pro Link, but this stuff is just oil like all other lubes in my opinion. Lately, I've been using a mixture of mineral spirits and motor oil (3:1 ratio). This works pretty well and is cheap. The key thing in a lube is to get a drip bottle rather than a spray and apply it only to the rollers (round things in the chain). Let it dry and wipe off the excess. A clean bike will last longer and work better.
Does your concoction keep the chain clean?McAndrus
Nov 29, 2001 6:57 AM
Just wondering .... how clean does your chain remain using the mineral spirits and oil combination? It seems to me that oil on a chain just attracts dirt, which is why I use White Lightning.

If your combination keeps the chain and cassette clean, though, it seems like it might be worth a try.

Also, how about chain noise?
Does your concoction keep the chain clean?pmf1
Nov 29, 2001 7:18 AM
Nothing will keep your chain cleaner than White Lightening. However, I find that it gums up the small cogs on my cassette and is hell to get off when I clean the chain. Earlier formulations of WL didn't last long, but later formulations seem to have gotten around that. Like I said, its great for traveling.

The "home brew" mixture I heard about here on the site (along with the cirtrus cleaner). It works fine, just like any other wet lube. Your chain will get dirt on it from this just like with Pro Link, Boeshield, etc. Its so cheap to make, that you can dribble it on fairly thick and wipe the dirt off with a rag in between cleaning.

If you're into a clean chain, you'll probably like WL better. I think oil lubricates better than wax myself. Either one gets the job done.
Watch Pressure Hose -- Don't Want H20 in BB nmjagiger
Nov 29, 2001 8:04 AM
All you need is a rag and lube ....cyclinseth
Nov 29, 2001 6:39 AM
I recomend against using degreaser. It will get in between the links and degrade the lube that you apply afterwards.

This is what I do once ever 150-200 miles (I never ride in wet conditions):

Flip the bike upside down

rotate drive-train backwards while wiping off the chain, deraleur pulleys and chainrings. With rag in hand I will grip the chain and twist it into an S-shape.

Do this until you can't wipe anymore dirt off of the chain.

Remove wheel and wipe inbetween the sprockets.

Replace wheel, apply lube (I prefer White Lightning so this part is in conjuntion with how I've found works best) while rotating chain. Allow to dry, then wipe off excess.

I've also been voted to have the cleanest drive-train in my club. I get comments every time I'm out on my bike.
never ride in wet?Woof the dog
Nov 29, 2001 6:39 PM
Pfffffffffffff........wait, what happens if you get 30 miles out of town and it starts raining cats and dawgs ah?
After 2-1/2 years living in Seattle ...cyclinseth
Nov 30, 2001 6:49 AM
I road in enough rain to last 2-1/2 lifetimes. I don't even go out when it's cloudy. Well, that's an exageration, but if there's a chance of rain I don't go. On the other hand, I did a tour in France and Spain where it rained, but I really didn't have much of a choice. Thank goodness the weather around here is very predictable.