PDA

View Full Version : Cleaning the Chain



Kano
07-27-2006, 08:27 PM
So, okay, now that it's almost 9:30 at night, the temperature has FINALLY dropped below 100 for the day, and the sun's down so it won't beat on us, but that also means it's too near dark to ride without lights (which we don't got yet).

Instead, I spent some quality time with my bike chain, then Earl's. No toothbrush this time around, just the old white sock, one for each chain, and the chain lube. It's amazing how dust and grit collects after a while! (Earl needs to give his bike a bath all over. I'm not doing THAT for him too!) One of these days, I'll learn to put old gross clothes on for this job too, instead of heading right for the laundry room and starting in with the Spray n Wash...

Now I need to use some petroleum distillates to clean my hands! Someone say there's an easier, cleaner way!!!

Karen in Boise

Deborajen
07-27-2006, 08:52 PM
Spray on degreaser is definitely easier. Basically you just spray it on the chain (set the bike over some newspaper - or remove the chain from the bike). After letting it stand for a couple minutes, it cuts right through the grease and most of it drips off. Then wash the chain with water and a little dish soap or bike wash. Be sure to drip the water from above. If you spray sideways, you can lodge dirt, etc. into the bike's components.

Deb

brok
07-28-2006, 08:56 AM
I wear platex gloves when I clean the chain on my bikes. I also carry platex gloves in my bag in case of a flat - I can fix the flat and still have clean hands:D

DebW
07-28-2006, 10:13 AM
You could get one of those gadgets with the wire brushes and the fluid reservoir. You attach them to the chain/derailleur cage and spin the pedals backwards as the chain runs through the fluid and brushes. No taking the chain off the bike. They work pretty well.

bcipam
07-28-2006, 10:22 AM
I used to get a really greasey, dirty chain and it was lots of work to keep clean. I would get filthy. A friend (a neatnik, bike geek guy) showed me how to properly lube and clean a chain.

Once every two month or so I take the chain off and soak it in diluted citrus degreaser. I have a Conex link on my chain so it's easy to remove.

But between major cleanings, I use a cassette brush, a clean rag and small amounts of Pro-Link lubricant.

I put on latex gloves to keep my hands clean. I use the cassette brush (a thin bristle brush especially designed to fit inbetween the cassette rings) tp clean out the cassette and brush down the chain. I wipe the chain with my clean rag to get the extra icky bits of grit and grime and then I very carefully place one drop at a time, on each chain link connection. After doing that I use another clean rag and throughly wipe down my chain. I do this before and after each ride. It doesn't take that long to do.

Turns out the chain just doesn't pick up all that grit and grime anymore and stays fairly clean. Plus it operates well as it is well lubed and clean.

BTW the latex gloves are a must - I keep them everywhere.

Kalidurga
07-30-2006, 08:48 AM
Now I need to use some petroleum distillates to clean my hands!

What are you using to clean your chain? I've never had to use anything but soap and water to clean my hands after using citrus degreaser and then lubing.

Bike cleaning has been a bit of a problem for me, too. I live in an apartment with no place to hose or sponge the bike down with water. One great idea I did have (if I do say so myself) was to pick up a big utility drip tray at the local auto supply store. I put that under the bike and it catches all the drips from chain cleaning/lubing, then wipes or rinses clean. The problem, though, is when the rest of the bike needs to be cleaned. Has anyone ever tried putting their bike in the bathtub and using a handheld shower head to spray it down? As long as the water's not turned on too far and the shower head's not set to, like, hard massage or something, the bearings should be ok. What concerns me is the condition the tub might be in afterwards. I'm seriously considering trying this, though. Does it sounds totally crazy?

maillotpois
07-30-2006, 03:47 PM
Citrus degreaser is fine for the chain - you don't need anything stronger. A friend uses Simple Green. Same idea.

I always take the chain off if I am doing a good cleaning. And the cassette. I just did it all this afternoon. I use an ultra sonic heated cleaner, but you can also put everything into a tub of hot water/cleaner and put it on your clothes dryer while running/vibrating. If you take the cassette off use a zip tie to keep the pieces together in order!

To clean hands afterwards, we use "Zep heavy duty hand cleaner" with pumice. It is gritty, but cleans very well. I don't mind a little grease under the fingernails as it is cheaper than a manicure! :cool:

Kano
07-30-2006, 07:45 PM
What are you using to clean your chain? I've never had to use anything but soap and water to clean my hands after using citrus degreaser and then lubing.

Actually, soap and water did the job, once I added my scrub brush. All the nooks and crannies in my fingers just wanted to hang onto their crud!


Has anyone ever tried putting their bike in the bathtub and using a handheld shower head to spray it down? As long as the water's not turned on too far and the shower head's not set to, like, hard massage or something, the bearings should be ok. What concerns me is the condition the tub might be in afterwards. I'm seriously considering trying this, though. Does it sounds totally crazy?

I don't know how this will work on your bike, but I used to do it with the high chair when the girls were little. It worked really well on dried strained peas!

Karen in Boise

Kano
07-30-2006, 07:54 PM
I always take the chain off if I am doing a good cleaning. And the cassette. I just did it all this afternoon. I use an ultra sonic heated cleaner, but you can also put everything into a tub of hot water/cleaner and put it on your clothes dryer while running/vibrating. If you take the cassette off use a zip tie to keep the pieces together in order!


I haven't figured out how to take the chain off, at least not far enough so I could put it in a pan on the dryer! But this sounds like a really cool idea, since it would rattle the dust-crud out of there without scrubbing each link.

and, I'm not even sure what the cassette is, though I think it might be those gears on the back wheel. Taking that off -- probably a good way to clean, but hmmmmmmm.

And since we're cleaning, any easy way to do the front rings? Parts of them seem to be mighty hard to get at!
When I was puttering the other night, DH's bike was gross -- but then, I've taken a scrub brush to mine once or twice this summer already, and he hasn't! It's about time for me to do that again on mine. He needs to do his himself, though. It's not that much fun to do the cleaning!

And once again, just in case I don't say it enough: Thank you ladies one and all for all the great information I've been finding here!!!!!

Karen in Boise

rheidis73
07-31-2006, 04:44 AM
Kano, I am in your same shoes. I haven't figured out how to take the chain off. I am sure the cleaning would be a lot easier.! Any suggessions?

I didn't know that simple green works good for the chain. I will try that next time!

Tri Girl
07-31-2006, 06:14 AM
I'm a Simple Green user. Used to buy the expensive degreaser (and bought the whole chain cleaning kit, too- which I never use anymore). The mechanic at the LBS told me Simple Green works just as well, and is soooo much cheaper (and more environmentally friendly). I use it to clean the chain and cassette with a bristle brush, and then wash my hands with it. And he also said the best way to clean the bike frame is with Windex. I love multi-purpose cleaners that will not only clean my house, but clean my bike!

DebW
07-31-2006, 06:24 AM
And since we're cleaning, any easy way to do the front rings? Parts of them seem to be mighty hard to get at!


To clean between the chainrings, just drop the chain to the inside and try brushes or rags. I find it easy with a rag - hold the rag with 2 hands about a foot apart and saw it back and forth between the rings. Or hold it still and have someone else turn the crank.

Bike Goddess
07-31-2006, 03:12 PM
I often use BikeWash to clean my bike and my chain. I also have used the chain cleaners referenced here. They work well too.

If you can get your bike off the ground so that you can move the wheels, cleaning and lubricating the chain is much easier. You can find portable stands on the market- lots of bike shops sell them. Then the challenge is to find a place where you can do the work!

Cleaning up afterwards? Believe it or not, I use Tide powdered detergent. I put some under my nails and scrub away with a nail brush. Result- clean nails, no grease or black stuff anywhere.

SalsaMTB
07-31-2006, 03:28 PM
Kano, I am in your same shoes. I haven't figured out how to take the chain off. I am sure the cleaning would be a lot easier.! Any suggessions?

I didn't know that simple green works good for the chain. I will try that next time!


All you need is a chain tool! The park tool site has a lot of good instruction on maintenance. Here is one on installing a chain..

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=25

rheidis73
07-31-2006, 04:52 PM
Thank you SalsaMTB....It seems to be a great website. All I need to fugure out now is how to change a tire! Haven't needed to do that one yet...Not looking forward to when I have to either:D

maillotpois
07-31-2006, 06:07 PM
The best way to take a chain off is to use a chain with a master link. That way you don't have to worry about the pins being in the right place. (We had a friend who shall remain nameless who had to miss part of the Davis double because the pin came out of his chain - which he had just replaced - presumably because it hadn't been put in all the way and he hadn't test ridden the bike til the morning of the double!)

Chains with a master link are not much more expensive than other chains and well worth it. The easier it is to properly care for your chain the longer that chain should last....

I use a Wipperman: http://www.connexchain.com/

You can also just buy the master link by itself, apparently.

cusepack
08-04-2006, 09:26 AM
Simple Green has a foaming degreaser which I LOVE!!! It's so much easier than the spray, I use less, and it's not nearly as messy (dripping, etc.). I use my little brush for the cassette and chain, but the degreaser doesn't splat all over like it did when I used the spray bottle. No more black dots all over my white tees!!!!