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how to clean a chain?(15 posts)

how to clean a chain?rrjc5488
Jan 12, 2003 11:04 AM
hey, i was wondering, to clean my chain i take it off, and soak it in degreaser for a while, and scrub it? I have a chain tool, but no money to buy a chain cleaner... i was wondering if anyone has done this before. Also, is there a way to detect which link to poke out? or any link will do? thanks alot
re: how to clean a chain?gtx
Jan 12, 2003 1:00 PM
I only take my chain off to replace it, about every 2000 miles. Otherwise, I never let it get that bad in the first place. I think degreasing a chain is bad news--I think Campy even recommends against it. Just run the chain through a rag from time to time, relube, wipe off the excess, and you're good to go. This works for my mtb, which sees a lot of mud and dirt. If you search the archives, though, you'll find a lot of opinions on this topic.
re: how to clean a chain?seyboro
Jan 12, 2003 3:07 PM
I agree with gtx, don't rip your chain off for a simple cleaning, you'll weaken the open link, plus you have to use a new pin each time. If you want to get anal about it (I do, about every 100-150 miles), use some pipe cleaners to get the last bit of crud out of the chain. Rewards: no noise drive train and long chain and cassette/chainring life.
As for the wiping sequence: Chain-derailleur pulleys-chain again-small chainring-big chainring-cassette-reinstall-lube one drop per link-shift up and down the cluster-wipe excess
I agree -- replace it nmDougSloan
Jan 13, 2003 6:50 AM
No need to clean a chainKerry
Jan 12, 2003 5:10 PM
Assuming we're talking road riding, use the following technique for successful ProLink application and use:
1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
2 - sluice on ProLink while pedaling (forward is better) so that the chain starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
3 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
5 - repeat 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

If you do this every 300 miles or so, you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain. However, no lube is "perfect." A brite shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink is the best compromise.
Definitely second the prolink, but...seyboro
Jan 12, 2003 5:44 PM long does a little bottle last you? That method sounds like investing in some stock would be a good idea!!
Cost and how long it lastsKerry
Jan 12, 2003 6:10 PM
A bottle of Prolink keeps two bikes going about 15K total miles for me. If you're worried about the price, there's always the cheap alternative of 1 part motor oil to 3-4 parts odorless mineral spirits. Some claim it's the equivalent of Prolink, but I worry about those detergents not being as water resistant. The cost of Prolink is minor, in my experience.
Every once in a while (maybe 500 mi) I run the chain throughbill
Jan 13, 2003 9:10 AM
one of those chain cleaners -- more if I hit a real dusty day or a wet crappy day with lots of grit kicked up. It seems to get out some of the crud that it would take forever otherwise to get out.
I also use prolink. I haven't tried that much other stuff, but it works and I see no need to change it.
I probably have 3,000 on my Campy 10 sp chain. About time to change, I guess, but the Park guage still shows little wear (about .5 whatever it is they are measuring). A ruler shows almost none.
re: how to clean a chain?katie1
Jan 12, 2003 5:29 PM
I agree with the above recs. I have also used Simply Green (can find it at Kroger or Home Depot) and a toothbrush. I am not a fan of taking my chain off if I don't have to. I am pretty anal about my bikes (road and mtn) so I try not to let them get too dirty. Remember when you use water, don't use the pressure washer mode. Just using a tootbrush or rag seems to do the trick. While we are on the subject, I prefer dry lube. It doesn't get real gummy; however, if I know I will be in rain, then I will add wet lube but clean off the crap (lube) when I get home. Wet lube picks up everything but it stays on for the whole ride.
Don't be lazy. Buy a real snap on chain cleaner and do it rightbenja15
Jan 12, 2003 8:13 PM
These things are the best. I think finish line and park each make one. You simply put a little degreaster in the compartment, snap it on, and pedal backwards. Your chain comes out gleaming. Make sure you spray your chain off well and lube it generously right away, wipe off excess. for like 20 bucks you can get a kit with some dry lube, citrus degreaser, and the cleaner. I Really reccomend these cleaners, they are great.
Making a messsuperdog
Jan 12, 2003 8:26 PM
Where do you guys clean you bikes? Garage? And how do you dispose of any toxic waste? I guess the citrus degreaser isn't toxic but some of the degreasers are. Maybe I'm going about the cleaning all wrong but I usually end up making a big mess.
Making a messgtx
Jan 12, 2003 8:35 PM
My repair stand is in my basement. When cleaning off my mtb, I put a trash can under the bike to catch all the crud coming off. I also just sweep up from time to time. As I mentioned above, I don't use any nasty stuff. I worked in bike shops for a long time and we used to use the parts washer for the full overhauls, but that stuff is pretty scary, and if you don't let your bike get that bad it's unnecessary. The harshest thing I ever use is a Simple Green solution in a spray bottle, or maybe a shot of WD40 on a toothbrush.

I like Prolink a lot, too. This time of year I tend to get lazy and use Finish Line Cross Country lube on the winter/rain bike, which I use year round on the mtb.
Jan 13, 2003 7:54 AM
I got a sachs powerlink and put it in my shimano chain and have had no problems. I like to take my chain off too and give it a good scrubbing about every 300 miles or so. I don't believe it compromises the integrity of the chain at all.
I use a chain cleaner. In what cases would a cleaner be bad?curtybirdychopper
Jan 13, 2003 5:07 PM
someone above said a cleaner is bad? just wondering how those cleaners with the citrus reservoirs on top are bad? thanks.
I don't recommend soaking it longer than 12 months...Kristin
Jan 13, 2003 5:15 PM