View Full Version : Cleaning the Chain

03-01-2005, 07:21 PM
Question: Do you move your couch & vacuum underneath it every week?

Neither do I. Nor, do I want to disassemble the entire bike to do a routine cleaning.

This is a really slick way to clean the chain.

First, get one of those chain cleaning gizmos, I think Park Tools sells one. They're a plastic thing that you fill with degreaser, fit your chain into it, clamp down the top & turn the pedal to run the chain through. That removes the big gunk.

Next, get a citrus degreaser - there's a bunch of them around. Spray the chain well (put a rag underneath the chain to protect your paint and rims.) Then get one of those cans of compressed air, keep your rag underneath the chain and spray each link. You'll be amazed at how much black gunk comes out. Added bonus - your chain is dry & ready for lubing!

Remember - people do judge you on the words you use -- and how clean your bike is! :eek:

03-01-2005, 08:00 PM
Don't you have to rinse the degreaser? I use the orange stuff in my park tool thingy. Stuff works great, but I rinse it several times then hold a rag over my chain while I spin it to dry.

03-01-2005, 09:34 PM
I rinse with clear water, then air dry, re lube.



03-02-2005, 07:54 AM
yummy looks like chocolate dipped bike.

03-02-2005, 11:11 AM
Irulan hun: are you sure you didn't "discover" that bike as part of an archeological dig?

03-02-2005, 02:41 PM
Irulan hun: are you sure you didn't "discover" that bike as part of an archeological dig?

The ride started on a frozen trail. The plan was to be off of it before everything thawed. You think that's bad, you should see the blobs on the roof of my (white) car. It was so bad, no one could even shift.

It doesn't look like that any more. I follow the degreaser plan laid out in the first post.


03-03-2005, 03:57 AM
I knew there was a reason I've been sticking to road riding - too lazy to hose down my bike! (I didn't think you were suppose to vacuum under your couch until you were moving it to a new home!) :D

03-03-2005, 09:31 AM
Ya gotta admit, Irulan gets the most out of her bike!

Love the mud, it's so much better than dust.

03-04-2005, 10:29 AM
Hecky Dern, my dustbunnies formed a union and now I can't vacuum them without the proper union official in attendence and the proper union approved vaccuum. Last I heard, the bunnies were trying to decide if there Was such a thing as a union approved vacuum so all my house cleaning is on hold until further notice.

03-04-2005, 11:44 AM
Don't worry about dust bunnies until they get bigger than the cat.

03-04-2005, 11:46 AM
What do you do about 70-lb self-ambulating dust bunnies? The kind that hog your bed and have a Milk Bone budget rivalling your own food budget?

03-04-2005, 12:25 PM
Those are hairballs, not dustbunnies - I have two small, but prolific hairballs...

03-05-2005, 07:21 PM
What do you do about 70-lb self-ambulating dust bunnies? The kind that hog your bed and have a Milk Bone budget rivalling your own food budget?

Hey, I've got one of those! It's called "German Shepherd" - the only dog recognized by the AKC that sheds 24/7/365. I have to give my vacuum cleaner the Heimlich maneuver after each room.

03-11-2005, 09:03 AM
clean the chain? you are supposed to clean the chain???

ok, ladies.. here's where you can gang up on me *i'm already running and ducking*

cleaning the chain and bike maintenance is hubby's job.. i know how to change a flat when i'm out on the road (may take me 10 times as long.. but i do know how to do it!) but when it comes to getting dirty (ICK!) and getting grease on my hands with stuff like chain cleaning.. i leave it to the man of the house.. just like it's HIS job to change the oil in my car (oh ok.. we usually pay someone to do it!) or any other maintenance type stuff!

i'll be back when you all are done chasing me and wanting to beat me up!

p.s. he just got and says i need to get one of those chains that goes on with a quick hook/release thing and he loves it! just pops that little piece.. gets the chain off.. sticks in in a gatorade or propel bottle with some simple green and SHAKES it!

p.s.s. and i don't vacuum under my couch on a weekly basis (hmmmm can't remember the last time i moved it.. been too busy riding on weekends since june to think much about THAT kind of housework! lol! and we have 2 samoyeds (wanna have a shed-off? bet mine shed more than your's! lol) plus 2 cats.. plus we are in the desert (sand.. dust.. sand... sand... sand...)

03-11-2005, 11:19 AM
Not to beat you up, Cali, but I had the most interesting experience last night when I visited this "Build your own Bike" workshop. There's a cycling advocacy group in my area who sponsor this workshop to teach people to build their own bike - you get a used frame from Working Bikes (http://www.workingbikes.org ) and build it up from the bare bones. All the people enrolled in this session of the workshop are women!

I'm living in fear that something will happen to my bike and I won't be able to ride because I don't know how to fix it. I don't want to miss one day of riding, waiting on someone else to fix it for me - I've got to know how to do it myself! The gal who is running the workshop said their mission was "empowerment"! Woohoo!

Do any of you have a similar type of course in your area? I thought it was pretty unusual and such a good idea! I guess if you can tear down and rebuild a bike, cleaning a chain would be a snap!

03-11-2005, 02:17 PM
I hate getting dirty when cleaning the bike. That grease gets under your fingernails and takes up residence! So, I invested in cheapie, throw away vinyl gloves & use those when I clean the bike.

Next excuse? :p

Alas, my hubby is a very occasional hybrid rider, so I have to do all of my bike cleaning. He did buy me a great bike stand for Christmas though, which is a tremendous help!

03-11-2005, 04:46 PM
Ditto on the cheapie gloves, Dogmama. I don't mind dirty hands, but that grease under the fingernails is SO difficult to get out. The gloves are great. They are so thin that they don't interfere with getting the dirt out of the tiny little bike crevices either.

Bike cleaning, to me, is therapeutic. It's a stress relief. I put some good CD's on and just get into making my bikes beautiful. i truly enjoy taking care of my own equipment. I probably should do it more often, but its a time thing. There's never enough of it! :rolleyes: So when I do it, I do it thoroughly and appreciate the results.


03-15-2005, 05:15 AM
How often do you all clean your chains?
My commuter bike stays grubby most of the year, usually through laziness, I spray with Muc-Off, relube, but not much else.
My road bikes are another matter! I love nothing better than a lovely golden brown chain, but just one ride and I'm back to sludgey black!
What grease do you use? I'm trying to find a happy medium between not too thin (washes off) and not too heavy (attracts crud). I use a proper chain cleaner (reservoir) and degreaser - but still the rust seems to set in.
Anyone got any tips on good chain maintenance?
I also heard a story from the lbs that when you change a chain because of wear/age, you should change the cassettes - which I think is overkill - I realise the sprockets will be worn, but not to that extent, surely?

03-15-2005, 07:10 AM
if you let your chain get worn, yes, you need to replace cassettes and cogs when you replace the chain. However, if you chekc your chain and replace it before it's really worn, you will get much more mileage out of your drivetrain. There is a simple $7 device called a chain checker
that you can use to check your chain. I go about every 400 miles or so.

As for cleaning it... more is better. It most likely depends on your riding conditions. I lube mine regularly, and clean as needed. Dust can be just as bad as mud.

Lubes vary on riding conditions. SOme shed mud and attact dust, - it's best to ask other local riders/shops what they recommend for your area.


03-15-2005, 10:58 AM
From a lube standpoint, I like to use Boeshield T9 (http://www.boeshield.com/). It's one of the best lubricants that I've ever used. However, the directions need to be followed. What I usually do is on cleaning day, when I don't have any other rides planned for that evening, I lube the chain, derailers, cable, etc., then let the lubricant dry overnight. The next day I wipe everything down to remove the excess. I get great results out of this.

Check your LBS. They may carry it. It comes in aerosol and in non-aerosol. For the bike, non-aerosol I think is best. Less waste. :)