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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265

    Question Cleaning the chain

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    What is the best way to keep the chain clean? Should I wipe it down after every ride? I have "Finishline Citrus Biosolvent" that I used to clean a really dirty chain on my old, found-in-the-alley bike. The chain on my Bianchi looks clean, but I'm sure it's picking up all kinds of dirt. I want to treat her with respect and keep her running smoothly. What do you knowledgeable ladies recommend I do?
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    I clean mine before a big ride, when it's making funny noises or not shifting properly.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    How do you clean it?

    (I've never ridden with a group or been part of a club--I guess you guys are it! So I pick up bits and pieces of bike knowledge here and there, and figure no question is too simple to bring here.)
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    I take the chain off, bring it into my bathroom sink and scrub it with an old toothbrush and a citrus degreaser. I go over it at least 4 times, top and bottom (the parts that actually touch the cogs) and then do the left and right sides, just to make it prettier.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    She repeats slowly....take...the...chain...off....oooookay.....

    I know I sound like a simpleton but....now how do I do that? Put it on the smallest cog, and then just lift it off? I'm not going to try tonight, too late, but soon. And it'll go back on and fit fine and I'll feel like I'm a genius and should write Zen and the Art of Bicycle Maintenaince, right?
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    164
    i bought a chain cleaning tool from the shop.

    I've heard recommendations of 200 miles. I'm running at more along the lines of 400-800. rain brings things to an immediate head, though.

    here's how I do it:
    better if one has a stand, but I have flipped my bike upside down. Using the tool makes it easier, and i direct the hose (medium flow) at the rear cog and "output" area of the tool. the water picks out the grease and degreaser and pretty soon the chain is nice and shiny. then i remove the rear wheel and spray the cogs and using a clean towel edge I insert it and pull it to the right (the set turns) for a partial turn, then to the left (it stays) and continue the process, respraying (simple green in my case) as needed. Usually only one circle is needed to get the gunk off between each ring. Then i hit the rings up front. If you only get it off the chain, you only get half the problem cleaned up.

    I return the wheel, run the chain through a few spins against a dry towel, and reapply oil according to directions.

    i hope this made somewhat of sense.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    I have a master link so my chain does come off pretty easily. Before I switched chains I would need to use a chain breaking tool. You can clean it while it's on your bike. I just prefer to do it inside where I can use warm water to rinse it. Of course it gets dried thoroughly and chain lube. I think we use Pedros Ice Wax.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Folsom, Ca.
    Posts
    12
    In order to take off the chain, you have to use a special tool to break one of the links. Some folks install a special link called a "master link" which comes apart easily to make chain removal simpler. I don't usually take my chain off for cleaning. I sometimes clean it on the bike using my chain cleaner "thingy". It's a plastic device with brushes inside that attaches to your chain.You put cleaning solution in it and run the chain through it. It works pretty well, but it's kind of a hassle. More often I'll just spray it with Simple Green and scrub it with a stiff brush. I then rinse it off using my garden hose, but not too much water pressure! Just a trickle. Turn cranks a few times to get the water off and let dry before applying lube. Chain cleaning can be messy, so make sure you have newspapers underneath.
    "She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life."
    Frances E. Willard, How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle (1895)
    http://www.barnard.edu/amstud/resour...en/willard.htm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,936
    I started with the "thingie" but found out I'd rather just use a brush (similar to the one on the left on this http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1145853259798) and degreaser (Finish Line EcoTech) it's just fine. I spray the whole drivetrain (chain, derailleur, cogs, ...) with the degreaser (it has a straw to aim in the right spots). I let it sit for a while, and in the meantime I wash the rest of the bike (front wheel, frame, handlebars, top tube, etc...) with hot soapy water. I also inspect the tires and whatever can be inspected.

    [ The Ecotech degreaser is stronger than the citrus stuff. But you can make citrus stuff by boiling the zest of 1 orange in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. You also get some vit C from the orange if you eat it. ]

    Then I brush off the junk with the blue brush, holding the chain with a rag and brushing through, dipping the brush in the soapy water once in a while to rinse. Of course I also brush off the cogs etc. Repeat until clean (only once is enough when I am disciplined enough to do this every 500 km in the Summer, so about twice a month). Rinse all with soapy water and then with clear water. Finish with wiping off grease that may have sprayed on the rear triangle, and inspecting rear tire/brakes.

    I then re-apply lube, let sit for a few hours, and wipe it off with another rag to remove excess.

    The whole process takes about 20 minutes of quality-time with my bike, and makes me very proud.

    (I find the chain-clearner-thingie tends to smear grease everywhere instead of washing it off. It tends to stay on the bristles. But I had a cheapo brand, maybe the ParkTool type is better. Anyway just the brush works fine.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Southwest Idaho
    Posts
    518
    My chain cleaning is pretty much the same as Grog's. I just wanted to echo the putting of newspaper or towels under the bike if one is cleaning the chain with it still on the bike...grease spots in the carpet are not fun to get off!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,936
    Quote Originally Posted by Tater
    My chain cleaning is pretty much the same as Grog's. I just wanted to echo the putting of newspaper or towels under the bike if one is cleaning the chain with it still on the bike...grease spots in the carpet are not fun to get off!
    Oh! I just do this outside on a sunny day!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maine mountains
    Posts
    109
    One handy thing I learned from my bike mechanic son is to take an old t-shirt or similar thing and tear off strips about 1-2 inches wide and about 12 inches long. (easier to use than a big rag or towel). Then slip the strip in between the rings on the cassette, and pulling back and forth gets out an amazing amount of stuff. Doing this occasionally makes it much less necesary to to the liquid cleaner thing very often. At that point, spraying the rags a little also helps. All this is easiest on a bike stand!
    In really nasty cases, removing the chain and soaking in a big old coffee can before brushing is a lot nicer than doing it in dishpans or sinks!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Utah, Gateway to Nevada, not to be confused with Idaho
    Posts
    1,872
    Lise, the Park Tool website has really good info on bike maintenance. I use it all the time. They have a tutorial on how to clean your bike.

    We also got the Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. I just looked and it has a whole chapter on cleaning!

    I use oldbikah's trick too, 'cept I usually take the wheel off so I don't have other things in the way. It's a really good way to clean the casette.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,684
    Routine cleaning is outside. Spray down the drive train with Simple Green or something similar and then wash with soap (Lemon Joy) and water - NO PRESSURE and do not aim directly at openings.

    Deep cleaning is done with the Park chain cleaner thingie and Park chain cleaner or the Pedro's equivalent. These cleaners is not as environmentally friendly as Simple Green but do a far better job.

    Park Tool's website is great for directions and recommended tools. Ditto what yellow said.

    All this is best done in your driveway on a sunny day with a friend. One washes bikes and one fixes and serves the Gin and Tonics, perferably Bombay Sapphire.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Southwest Idaho
    Posts
    518
    Quote Originally Posted by Grog
    Oh! I just do this outside on a sunny day!
    That's a good idea!

    (I was just commenting on my klutzy-ness!)

 

 

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