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Best chain cleaning tool??(17 posts)

Best chain cleaning tool??cipolini2b
Jan 29, 2003 12:35 PM
Hello,

I have the cleanest bike, with the dirtiest/filthiest drivetrain. I think it's time I buy a chain cleaner. Which is best? I'm gonna go to performance today. They have Pedros ($35), finish line ($20), and a generic-looking "bigbox" model for ($13). Is the pedros one worth the extra $$?
Rag.Alex-in-Evanston
Jan 29, 2003 12:39 PM
I've got one of those useless little boxes that attaches around the chain. It's a total waste. The bristles scrub the chain with no force. It doesn't work anywhere near as well as a dry rag rubbed tightly along the chain.

Alex
Old toothbrushms
Jan 29, 2003 12:46 PM
First I spray the chain with degreaser and then scrub it with an old toothbrush. The process is messy, so I put newspaper under my bike to catch the grease and grime. Then I wash and rinse my bike, including the drivetrain.
The absolute best is an ultrasound bath ...Humma Hah
Jan 29, 2003 1:11 PM
... but its overkill. An ultrasonic bath (a nice powerful one, not your wife's jewelry cleaner), and a good automotive cleaning solvent, will get all the little bits of crud out from the pins and links.

Any other system that floods solvent onto the chain just flushes the crud in deeper. It might make you feel better to have the outside of the chain pretty, but its what is inside that counts.
The absolute best is an ultrasound bath ...rodey
Jan 29, 2003 2:04 PM
This may sound a little strange but I put on a Dura Ace Triple and decided to clean up my chain, crank etc. and display them in a case in my den ( unless any of you would like a good dura ace double ). I used some cheap degreaser and it did a horrible job of trying to clean this stuff. So in desperartion, I reached under the kitchen sink and grabbed some soft scrub...man does that stuff work. I am waiting for a while before I use it on my triple to see if there are any goofy affects...it has been about 3 weeks and so far, so good.
Softscrub contains abrasive ...KeeponTrekkin
Jan 30, 2003 6:47 AM
and I'd be very reluctant to use anything that could put small particles into the moving parts of the chain.

But I'm sure it made the outside look great.

KoT
re: Best chain cleaning tool??cipolini2b
Jan 29, 2003 2:05 PM
That's the thing, with a dry rag/cloth it feels like only the outside of the chain gets clean. I like the convenience of just snapping that machine on and letting it clean, without having to remove the chain. How much is that ultrasonic thing you spoke of?
re: Best chain cleaning tool??Skip
Jan 29, 2003 6:23 PM
The smaller ultrasonic cleaners run around $1,500-$2,500. They do a great job, but I don't want to take my chain on/off each time in order to use it. It works great for cleaning pistols though.

I've found the clamp on chain cleaners do a fairly good job, but the plastic wheels all break and fall apart within a very short time with Pro-link as the cleaner. Now if they made one with stainless steel, ball bearing/roller bearing, etc...........
Finis Line works for me...bent_spoke
Jan 29, 2003 2:15 PM
anyway you look at it, chain cleaning is a little messy. This makes it manageable & I get good results, but it takes awhile to get the hang of it. Be patient & don't force it or you might break something. I've replaced the FL degreaser with SimpleGreen & that works too. I run the chain thru a dry rag to remove excess. Relube & go.
Park Tool works OKdeHonc
Jan 29, 2003 2:52 PM
I just replaced my DA chain and went the extra mile and bought a Park Tool Cyclone cleaner - it got all the paraffin off the new chain and the proof is that once lubed with ProLink no black gue formed. I would only use this thing when getting a new chain as I have found the rag method to work fine for in between cleanings - I go through new chains at the rate of one per 3 months.

Good luck.
32 oz Gatorade bottleStraightblock
Jan 29, 2003 3:31 PM
with your favorite degreaser. Drop the chain in, cap it & shake until your arms ache. Rinse & repeat with fresh degreaser if needed. Of course this is an "off the bike" method that works only for those using Powerlink or similar link to break the chain.
I 2nd that notionniteschaos
Jan 30, 2003 7:15 AM
I get my chain cleaner than anyone else, even those with a chain cleaner, using nothing more than a 25% solution of Simple Green (gentle enough for even Al) and water.
Sachs Power chainFender
Jan 29, 2003 3:40 PM
get the sachs power chain with the removable link. then buy an orange based degreaser sold at smart and final, 1 gal is about 7 bucks. when the chain is dirty take it off and soak the chain in a bucket with enough degreaser to cover the chain. rinse chain with hot water and wipe dry.
I have Pedros cleaner-save your money!WhoisJohnGalt
Jan 29, 2003 5:13 PM
I bought the Pedros chain cleaner about 2 seasons ago. I still used almost all Shimano chains then so I was trying to clean everything on the bike.

The Pedros cleaner does an OK job, its just that by the time I fill it up, hook it up, and start cranking, I've created a small mess. After the crank job (my kids love to do that part) I still wipe down the chain, re lube with ProLink, wipe it down again and leave it.

My favorite method now is to pull the chain off (PowerLink or similiar), drop it in a liter pop bottle with about a cup of Simple Green or other bio-friendly degreaser and shake the bejesus out of it. Fish the chain out, scrub with a brush, rinse and then dry. My trick for drying is to wrap the chain in a dishtowel and smack it on the floor or the cat to help dislodge any water or gunky stuff that might be trapped. Total time to do this would be 10 minutes or so. I probably wipe down the chain at least every other ride so it seldom gets really dirty. I use the ProLink stuff which works pretty well. I also used some sewing machine oil that appeared very similiar in viscosity.

I guess I categorize the crank type devices as gizmos that IMHO don't really deliver the results that we all seek.
Let's see, go buy the Simple Green, a small scrub brush, and find an empty plastic bottle and your all set. $10-12 bucks. Take the remaining $20 or so and buy some cool, cheap sunglasses!
Don't clean your chain!Kerry
Jan 29, 2003 5:22 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.
Homebrew Prolink recipes anyone? 1:4 MO:MS? nmSpunout
Jan 30, 2003 4:11 AM
toothbrushpmf1
Jan 30, 2003 4:46 AM
I've never had good results with chain cleaning systems. I find that an old toothbrush and some Zepp Citrus cleaner (you can get this at Home Depot for $7/gallon) works best. If the chain is really bad, mineral spirits will take the gunk off fast.