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Arlingtonrider
11-25-2011, 01:44 PM
Cleaning my chain, even with the Parktool chain cleaning system, always seems to me to be messier and more difficult than it should be. I'm trying to hold the bike upright without the kickstand, move the pedals backward, and hold the chain cleaning tool in place all at the same time.

I'm also making a big black puddle on the layers of newspaper underneath, somehow getting black gunk on my hands and under my fingernails, and trying to figure out how to get the gunk cleaned out between the gears with the brush. I don't yet understand how the toothed end of the brush is supposed to be used.

After I do all that, I try to dry the chain as much as possible by running it through a few layers of a t-shirt rag several times, and then I apply a stream of Rock n' Roll gold lube, and dry again as much as possible.

I'd like to keep my bike in good shape, but I always dread going though all this. Any suggestions for making this process easier and less messy would be appreciated. Gloves would obviously help. Is there any kind of small stand people use? A best way to clean between the rear gears? I read somewhere that any hosing should be done perpendicular to the bike. I don't want to cause any damage to the cassette.

Greenbelt
11-25-2011, 02:03 PM
I use the bike rack on the back of our car -- makes an excellent work stand for cleaning bikes. Can spin the wheels and chain freely.

Arlingtonrider
11-25-2011, 02:09 PM
Using a car bike rack is a fantastic idea . . . and I'm sure it will be helpful to others reading this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have one and they don't make one that fits my particular model, year and make vehicle (an older station wagon designed with everything in mind except a rear bike rack), so will have to find another solution. Thanks anyway, though.

consularrider
11-25-2011, 02:49 PM
There are some inexpensive stands (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_170404_-1___) that are ok for working on your chain or some light work. For a fuller workstand you'll pay over $100. Also, the curved toothed end of the brush is for cleaning between gears on your rear cassette.

elcee
11-25-2011, 05:03 PM
The Park Tool site is my go-to place for bike maintenance. Here's a link that illustrates how to wash your bike:
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/bike-washing-and-cleaning

I don't bother with a stand. I just lean the back tire against a wall; the bike is angled out so that the front tire doesn't touch anything (except the ground, of course). This usually provides enough clearance to spin the cranks backwards.

I just accept the fact that there will be splatter. On the other hand, I usually clean the chain, cogs, and rings before there's a big build-up of dirt. Sometimes this means immediately after riding, e.g. the C&O on a wet day; I may not use the chain cleaner, but I'll squirt some Simple Green into a rag, wipe the chain down, then relube. I find it easier to clean a little bit often.

Arlingtonrider
11-25-2011, 05:25 PM
Thanks so much for that great info and the link. I should have thought to look at the Parktools website before I posted, but you all are adding great info above and beyond what they have there. Thanks!

KLizotte
11-25-2011, 10:43 PM
After a few frustrating (and messy) cleanings I ended up buying one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ROHJ12/ref=oh_o03_s00_i00_details
It works great and the nice thing is you can bring the bike up to a chest high level so no more leaning over!

I still don't have the greatest of luck with the chain cleaning tool that you have. It still splatters despite my best efforts but I'm getting better at it. Sometimes I just forgo it altogether and only clean the chain with a multitude of rags (I bought a box of them from Home Depot).

If you want to try your bike on my repair stand just send me a private msg. :)

KLizotte
11-25-2011, 10:48 PM
The Park Tool site is my go-to place for bike maintenance. Here's a link that illustrates how to wash your bike:
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/bike-washing-and-cleaning

This was a very useful site though I must confess that my bike will only get that level of cleaning about once every five years (heck, I don't even wash myself that thoroughly! :p)

bikesnick
11-26-2011, 07:59 AM
+1 for using a car rack. i also have used a rope hanging from the basement ceiling under the saddle to hold the back wheel off the ground.
i use an old toothbrush and long strip of cloth (like flossing) for cleaning cogs. another tool i just read about is a pipe-cleaner. there is a bicycle specific cleaning pipe cleaner, but assume any pipe cleaner would work as well.
yes, cleaning a cassette and chain is dirty business. dish cleaning soap works great for cleaning hands afterwards.
/bs

Riley Casey
11-26-2011, 02:46 PM
Ya, chain cleaners are a guy thing :o


This was a very useful site though I must confess that my bike will only get that level of cleaning about once every five years (heck, I don't even wash myself that thoroughly! :p)

MCL1981
11-26-2011, 08:23 PM
Am I the only person that just flips the bike upside down so it is resting on the seat and handlebars, supporting itself with no effort at all?

mstone
11-26-2011, 09:02 PM
the efficacy of that plan depends on what's on your handlebars

MCL1981
11-26-2011, 09:47 PM
ah. My mountain bike loves that position.

Arlingtonrider
11-27-2011, 04:02 PM
There are some inexpensive stands (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_170404_-1___) that are ok for working on your chain or some light work.

I bought a used Performance Quickstand today that is similar to the one in the link above, and it's exactly what I need. The one I found is an older version of what Performance currently sells, and the design looks like it might provide a little more stability than the current ones. It's definitely stable enough for the type of work I'll do, and very lightweight and easy to carry around. Thanks for the suggestion!

PrintError
11-28-2011, 06:49 AM
BTW: If anyone in the Herndon area ever needs to use my Park stand, just ask. It REALLY makes bike maintenance easy.

JeffC
11-28-2011, 07:51 AM
I have the cheapo $15 Nashbar/Performance stand as well. It works reasonably well when you can have something holding the front tire steady. A couple other tips for chain cleaning: 1) do it outside and 2) try out some other chain cleaners. I had the Park one but don't like it, much prefer the White Lightning one that comes with a bottle of the cleaner. I find that it cleans just as well and requires less force to use. The Park cleaner required a lot of force to use so that sometimes I would tip over my bike, not fun. I make sure that I wipe down my chain with a clean rag every 150 miles or so and relube. Wiping down the chain before relubing keeps things clean and means that I only have to do the dreaded chain cleaning regimen every 500 miles or so.

Here is the product I mean: http://www.rei.com/product/724952/white-lightning-trigger-chain-cleaner?cm_mmc=cse_froogle-_-gpeLink-_-product-_-724952&mr:trackingCode=6F7A4FFE-FB85-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA&{copy:s_kwcid}=&mr:adType=pla&gclid=CP6GzsG92awCFcfv7Qodwy3yrg#tabs

I would agree with the reviewers that it is hard to use without a stand though. However, this chain cleaner combined with the cheap stand really works. I also use reqular White Lighthning with the long tube to spray clean my rear cogs.

vvill
11-28-2011, 08:19 AM
This is (yet another) one of those things I'll need to learn to do properly now that I have a nicer bike and I'm riding a lot more. For my MTB + hybrid I have 3-in-1 oil I put on the chain, and I have White Lightning for my road bike (which I don't ride much in the wet). I have nashbar's version of the chain cleaning tool but I haven't even opened the packaging yet. I guess I could just take my bikes to Performance for their free service but that's a lot of hassle if nothing needs adjusting.

CCrew
11-28-2011, 09:24 AM
I'll pile in here...

The chain cleaning machines are alright, but you can get a lot better cleaning by putting a SRAM Powerlink (or similar) in the chain, and dropping the chain into a tupperware container of mineral spirits. Use two containers, put it in the first while you're cleaning the rest of the bike, then agitate and put into the second container. This degunks the worst into the first container and the second remains clean. When the first get's too ucky, replace it with the second container and clean/refill the first one to be the new second.

Mineral spirits are minimally flammable, and are essentially the carrier in WD-40. All you need is a quart of mineral spirits, a powerlink for each bike, two containers, and to make things easy Park tool makes a special plier for the links.

I can get 10 bikes done in an afternoon this way....

jrenaut
11-28-2011, 09:25 AM
I can get 10 bikes done in an afternoon this way....
So, can I drop mine off on one of those afternoons? :D

OneEighth
11-28-2011, 10:20 AM
I tend to hose the chain with WD-40 and wipe it, the cog, and the chainring down once a week. After the WD-40 has had a chance to evaporate, I apply a bead of Pedro's ice wax to the business side of the chain and let it dry.
Cleaning between each link with a rag usually isn't necessary because I clean the chain pretty regularly and don't gunk it up with too much lubricant.
Removing the chain and soaking it in mineral spirits works wonders on truly dirty chains.
If you park your bike indoors, you probably have room for a stand. Just get in the habit of putting your bike on the stand for a quick wipe-down after every ride.

paulg
11-28-2011, 11:19 AM
This little stand at only $15 will let you stand the bike up and turn the cranks forwards or backwards. You have to be a little careful as it's no dedicated work stand but it's fine and it's also good for storing a bike rather than leaning against a wall.

I always do it outside. Use a citrus de-greaser and a cog and brush chain cleaner and a hose with water. You'll need to do it a few times. Maybe someone can weigh in on washing this stuff down the drive to the drain. It's a small amount but I'm not sure of the environmental effects.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_147182_-1_202642_10000_202580
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_172864_-1_202642_10000_202589

I mainly don't worry about cleaning between the rear gears except to scrape the gunk off the rear mech jockey wheels. Gloves are good but a good citrus de-greasing hand cleaner also works.

I also like the approach by CCrew and have done that too. You just need a little more mechanical knowledge and definitely gloves for getting the power link off unless you have the pliers.

The last option is to have a dirty bike and a clean bike. One for wet and tooling around and one for dry Sunday best! ..... I wish.

Rootchopper
11-28-2011, 12:02 PM
I don't use a chain cleaning device. I tried and ended up with the mess you described. Just take an clean rag and put some citrus degreaser on it. Then run the chain through it. Repeat until clean. Or clean enough. Lean you bike up against an exterior wall as you do this. I sit in one of those plastic lawn chairs while I'm working. I have a bad back and this is perfectly comfortable. Once you get the gunk off the chain, run it through a clean and dry part of the rag. Then put a wax-based lube on your chain. (Pedro's Ice Wax or White Lightning work just fine. And they make MUCH less mess.) Run the chain through your rag once to remove excess lube. Let it dry overnight.

Don't obsess about getting the chain spotless. If you want a nice new-looking chain, buy a nice new chain.

You'll probably need to apply wax lube a little more frequently. And be sure to do the cleaning once a month so wax doesn't build up.

elcee
11-28-2011, 12:20 PM
Maybe someone can weigh in on washing this stuff down the drive to the drain.

I try to direct any runoff into my lawn or garden. Just lay a hose down on the driveway.

Riley Casey
11-28-2011, 02:32 PM
Ummm ... You have ten bikes?

baiskeli
11-28-2011, 02:59 PM
Just turn your bike upside down.

CCrew
11-28-2011, 05:13 PM
Ummm ... You have ten bikes?

No... I have 14 :p

JeffC
11-28-2011, 08:18 PM
Hmm, I just saw an article in the Wall Street Journal about upscale artistic indoor bike storage. These are pricey and you would need a lot of newspapers but if you have a small place and want something artsy, you could probably use one of these and do some maintenance while it is on the stand, just don't tell your wife.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203699404577046314252113938.html

Brendan von Buckingham
12-16-2011, 10:25 AM
I use the Park gear box. Fill it with Kerosene. Kerosene takes the oily grime off the chain lickety-split. The used kerosene I pour into a jar. After a week, the solids settle and I can re-use the kerosene a couple more times. I dry the chain pretty well with an old tee-shirt or rag then let it sit for a while. The kerosene evaoporates without leaving residue. Then I apply whatever gimmicky chain lube I've fallen for most recently.

rcannon100
12-16-2011, 01:10 PM
Just giving appreciation to the thread. Have been bad about this - gonna start with the holiday break.

And yes, the lawn is a good place to do car and bike work.

DSalovesh
12-16-2011, 05:24 PM
I just replace my chains frequently, about every 2,000 - 3,000 miles, pretty much. Between my two main bikes I change one per year or so.

Sounds a bit silly, I know, but the real enemy isn't chain dirt, it's chain wear. Careful cleaning and lubrication can slow that down, but careless cleaning and lack of lubrication (or wet salty winters) can speed it up.

I don't know about anyone else, but all the "right" ways to clean and rehab an old chain are more work than I can justify, when a carefully spent $15 and 10 minutes or so of work gets me a brand new chain. Also, by never letting my chain wear down much I preserve the far more expensive drivetrain components, which can be far more important if you have unusual or vintage parts in use.

(When my annual distance was higher I used to have a complicated chain-swapping plan where I rotated through new and lightly used chains so I could always have a fairly new and fairly clean one at the ready, but I got busy and behind on the schedule so I lost track. Wound up with half a dozen pretty rusty chains and no idea which would be any good after all the work - so I tossed them and stopped worrying.)

off2ride
12-16-2011, 08:13 PM
No matter how you slice it, drivetrain cleaning is and will be a dirty job. If you don't want to get your hands and nails dirty, use nitrile or latex gloves or take the bike to your LBS for chain cleaning. Spray Nine works well in cleaning your drivetrain. Velcro strap the rear brake lever tight so that the bike doesn't roll back and forth while your're cleaning it. That's the "ghetto" way but it works.

CCrew
12-17-2011, 06:53 AM
when a carefully spent $15 and 10 minutes or so of work gets me a brand new chain. I want to know where you're buying your chains for $15!!

Keep in mind people that wiping the outside of your chain with a rag to clean it isn't really making much happy but you. Chain wear (sometimes referred to as stretch) is a result of wear on the pins/inside the rollers of the chain causing the chain to lengthen, which wears out the chain and any associated gearing. Wiping the outside does really nothing to flush out that grit, you're looking for agitation or submersion to get it out.

Like DSalovesh I replace my chains more often than any wear indicator says they're worn, I run KMC or Ultegra 10 speed chains though and am looking for the magical $15 one!

ronwalf
12-18-2011, 01:30 PM
I want to know where you're buying your chains for $15!!

Such (http://www.amazon.com/KMC-X9-93-Bicycle-9-Speed-28-Inch/dp/B001AYJF2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324236496&sr=8-1) is the advantage of a 9-speed drivetrain.

justasaintz
12-18-2011, 01:44 PM
I actually use a small stand similar to this...
https://www.nextag.com/TOPEAK-Flashstand-532573918/prices-html

It works pretty well in a small environment where you can't use a big stand. It stays away from your cranks so you can freely move your pedals while cleaning.

Most times, the park tool chain cleaner works very well, but if my chain ever gets too dirty, i remove it and let it soak in soap water (non-moisturizing) or the cleaner liquid (if really bad). That usually helps getting rid of the finer grim.

KLizotte
12-18-2011, 06:20 PM
My chain was replaced a couple of weeks ago (it had 3K miles on it) and wow, what a difference in terms of shifting and noise reduction. It's like getting a new bike. So now I'm adamant about keeping my chain clean(er) so I can continue this state of bliss for as long as possible.

Has anyone tried an old fashioned toothbrush to clean their chain? Am wondering if that is a good, low-tech route to try since the Park Tool cleaner is messy and clumsy. I would keep the chain on the bike in this case.

I understand that if I wanted to remove the chain for a soak, that I should get a quick release link installed and purchase some sort of plier like appliance to take it on/off. How easy is it to thread the chain back through the drivetrain when all is said and done? Please note that I live in a high rise apartment so all bike maintenance is done in the parking garage but I have a big mechanics stand and a costco sized box of rags.

Speaking of the parking garage, now that winter is here I am dreading standing around in the cold doing bike maintenance. Do any of the local co-ops let stragglers in to do work on their own bikes (presuming they have heat on the premises)? Otherwise, anyone have any hints on doing bike work in the middle of their living rooms and not splattering everything with muck? Unfortunately I have cream wall-to-wall carpeting.

I should just take the easy way out and start dating bike mechanics....

justasaintz
12-18-2011, 06:57 PM
I do all my cleaning inhouse in an apartment. I have a small carpet from Ikea that I use for all cleaning, I also use an old towel for catching all the spill. You need both as the spill is too concentrated at one place that it seeps through.

I prefer the chain tool for cleaning since its quick. The toothbrush takes too much time and more importantly effort!! For the cassette, i use this...
http://revolutioncycles.com/product/finish-line-citrus-degreaser-12-ounce-spray-44587-1.htm

Regarding the quick release link, its called a Master link and its very easy to take it off and put it back on. You can do it with your hands, in rare situations you may have to use a regular needle-nose pliers (when its brand new). And its also easy to re-route the chain through the drivetrain. Just be mindful of the little gaps to route the chain in the rear derailleur, its easy to overlook them.

If you don't want to mess up your place, there is a community driven bike shop that you can go and do the cleaning yourself. I think its in petworth. Here is the link..
http://thebikehouse.org/

dbb
12-18-2011, 09:25 PM
Speaking of the parking garage, now that winter is here I am dreading standing around in the cold doing bike maintenance. Do any of the local co-ops let stragglers in to do work on their own bikes (presuming they have heat on the premises)? Otherwise, anyone have any hints on doing bike work in the middle of their living rooms and not splattering everything with muck? Unfortunately I have cream wall-to-wall carpeting.

Both VeloCity Bike Coop in Old Town Alexandria and Phoenix Bikes in Shirlington have shop hours. ..

http://velocitycoop.org/?page_id=48

http://phoenixbikes.org/community/shopnights

Have fun

DSalovesh
12-19-2011, 10:55 AM
My only 10-speed chain is Campy, mounted on a wall queen. It probably has under 1,000 miles on it, all ridden on clear and sunny days. But that's a special bike.

The other six everyday bikes in my house all take the same SRAM PC-951 / 971 chains. I use club memberships and coupons and Groupons and loss-leader sales to make sure I always have a few on hand, and if the price is good enough to buy one I'll buy two or three just to keep my private stock full. I don't think I've paid full price for a chain in a decade.

dasgeh
12-19-2011, 11:09 AM
We're in a house in Arlington, but don't have an indoor place to do bike maintenance. In the winter, we fire up the propane heater on the deck to keep warm. You're welcome to come by and use it. We're out of town for the holidays starting this week, but the back yard and heater aren't locked, so you could just come by. If you don't want to haul your stuff, we could coordinate a day in the New Year. (PM me and I'll give you the address)

(I have to confess, my husband does all the bike maintenance, and he's from Iowa, so doesn't mind the cold as much as I. Put I think the system would work even for me, as long as I'm close enough to the heater).

KLizotte
12-19-2011, 02:23 PM
We're in a house in Arlington, but don't have an indoor place to do bike maintenance. In the winter, we fire up the propane heater on the deck to keep warm. You're welcome to come by and use it. We're out of town for the holidays starting this week, but the back yard and heater aren't locked, so you could just come by. If you don't want to haul your stuff, we could coordinate a day in the New Year. (PM me and I'll give you the address)

(I have to confess, my husband does all the bike maintenance, and he's from Iowa, so doesn't mind the cold as much as I. Put I think the system would work even for me, as long as I'm close enough to the heater).

*Super* thanks for the extra nice offer but I think I'll utilize the services of either Velo City or Phoenix Bikes since they have weekly "open house" hours where they welcome people to visit and work on their own bikes using the shop tools. The shop workers are also available to answer questions and occasionally offer maintenance classes for a small fee. It will be a good opportunity for someone knowlegeable to tell me what I'm doing right (or wrong).

Thanks to dbb for the head's up on these services.

elcee
12-19-2011, 03:13 PM
Has anyone tried an old fashioned toothbrush to clean their chain? Am wondering if that is a good, low-tech route to try since the Park Tool cleaner is messy and clumsy. I would keep the chain on the bike in this case.

I used to do this and it's even messier, unless you brush the chain while it's soaking in solvent.



I understand that if I wanted to remove the chain for a soak, that I should get a quick release link installed and purchase some sort of plier like appliance to take it on/off. How easy is it to thread the chain back through the drivetrain when all is said and done? Please note that I live in a high rise apartment so all bike maintenance is done in the parking garage but I have a big mechanics stand and a costco sized box of rags.

SRAM Powerlinks can be removed by hand (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeTmy6N_VQA). Rubber or latex gloves help. I don't have experience with other quick links.

GuyContinental
12-29-2011, 07:28 AM
Oh boy- I'm going to sound like the OCD one in the crowd but I HATE nasty chains. For all my bikes I do some version of the following every 10 or so riding days

1. Use a powerlink- some people sweat the strength of them, I use them even on MTB SS chains and have never broken one but YMMV
2. Measure gap (toss and check cassette if stretched)
3. Dump in sonic cleaner (http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-ultrasonic-cleaner-95563.html) with (choose your poison)- dish soap works surprisingly well but I'll use Simple Green or once a year a diluted solvent.
4. Run with heat for 15-20 minutes (while putzing with something else)
5. Remove, let dry
6. Place in mason jar of ProLink on top of vibrating appliance for 24 hours +
7. Retrieve excess (expensive) ProLink by hanging over jar
8. Wipe, remount, ride...
9. Wipe and relube every couple of riding days (as others said, clean less more often)

The soaking in ProLink (with agitation) is key- it's really hard to get the chain bushings re-lubed when you go to the extreme (sonic cleaner...) and you'll actually wear the chain out faster. However, if done right you'll have a fantabulously clean chain and keep your drive train alive considerably longer- I get 5k+ out of Ultegra Chains/Cassettes.

jabberwocky
12-29-2011, 08:23 AM
I do pretty much what GuyContinental does, except I use homebrew lube for the soaking (2 parts mineral spirits to one part motor oil). Much cheaper than prolink, though I do use prolink for intermediate lubing. I also have a bin of mineral spirits I use as a degreaser for especially nasty chains/cassettes prior to throwing them in the sonic cleaner with some dish soap.

EDIT: Oh, and to agitate the lube into the chain, I just set the jar with the lube/chain in the ultrasonic for 5 minutes or so.

GuyContinental
12-29-2011, 02:01 PM
I do pretty much what GuyContinental does, except I use homebrew lube for the soaking (2 parts mineral spirits to one part motor oil). Much cheaper than prolink, though I do use prolink for intermediate lubing. I also have a bin of mineral spirits I use as a degreaser for especially nasty chains/cassettes prior to throwing them in the sonic cleaner with some dish soap.

EDIT: Oh, and to agitate the lube into the chain, I just set the jar with the lube/chain in the ultrasonic for 5 minutes or so.

I've never thought of using a homebrew for the Prolink soak- what weight oil do you use? 10w 30? It pains me to burn up good lube this way- I keep it alive for a round or two by letting it settle and then filtering.

Regardless, the ultrasonic cleaner is my secret weapon, I've even been known to dangle a bike from the ceiling to soak a nasty-but-not-nasty-enough-to-remove rear derailleur. You just have to be really serious about re-lubing afterwards. I bought mine (in the link above) for $39 at Harbor Freight.

jabberwocky
12-29-2011, 03:54 PM
Yup, Mobil 10w30 Synthetic. Works just fine, although homebrew lube seems to be a hotly contested subject on many bike forums. :) I figure its more important to keep the chain clean and lubed than it is to worry about exactly what you're lubing it with. And homebrew lube is really inexpensive.

I have the exact same ultrasonic you do. I use it for other things too (mostly cleaning fountain pens and gun parts). It is nice to be able to get a cassette really clean.

I have to say I don't do the full ultrasonic on the drivetrain very often. Usually just a wipe down and relube keeps things clean enough. But its nice when things get really gritty and nasty.

KLizotte
12-29-2011, 04:00 PM
I've heard that you can buy brake degreaser in aerosol form from an auto parts store for a few bucks and that it does a very good getting most of the gunk out of hard to reach places. It supposedly does the same job as this stuff (http://www.amazon.com/Finish-Line-Degreaser-Bicycle-17-Ounce/dp/B001GCGW44/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=IWDI58VI7D2GL&colid=5FTE0T6LXT1U) but is far cheaper.

I can vouch for the latter but you will need 1.5 cans to get a clean drivetrain and the $$ begins to add up at an avg of $12.50 a can.

Has anyone tried standard auto brake degreaser?

jabberwocky
12-29-2011, 04:20 PM
For on-the-bike chain cleaning, I use one of those park chain-cleaning doohickies. I get citrus-degreaser by the gallon from Advance Auto and use that. Run for a minute with pure degreaser, then do a minimum of two minute long cycles with clean warm water to rinse the chain before drying it with a rag. Not difficult at all, and the degreaser is way cheap (like 6 bucks a gallon).

For more potent degreasing, I use mineral spirits. I keep a small tub full of it and soak parts that need extra cleaning.

CCrew
12-29-2011, 07:14 PM
Has anyone tried standard auto brake degreaser?

I've used it on the car. Hardly eco-friendly.

pfunkallstar
03-07-2012, 08:21 AM
I'll pile in here...

The chain cleaning machines are alright, but you can get a lot better cleaning by putting a SRAM Powerlink (or similar) in the chain, and dropping the chain into a tupperware container of mineral spirits. Use two containers, put it in the first while you're cleaning the rest of the bike, then agitate and put into the second container. This degunks the worst into the first container and the second remains clean. When the first get's too ucky, replace it with the second container and clean/refill the first one to be the new second.

Mineral spirits are minimally flammable, and are essentially the carrier in WD-40. All you need is a quart of mineral spirits, a powerlink for each bike, two containers, and to make things easy Park tool makes a special plier for the links.

I can get 10 bikes done in an afternoon this way....

PLUS A BAZILLION on this method. Most of those citrus cleaners aren't going to get your chain/cogs/cassette clean. I strip down my bike about every three months - stock up on powerlinks on Amazon.

DaveK
03-07-2012, 09:41 AM
I've used it on the car. Hardly eco-friendly.

+1 - Brake cleaner is nasty, nasty stuff. If you can avoid using it I would.

Dirt
03-07-2012, 10:10 AM
I noticed that Clean Streak (which is similar in toxicity to Brake Cleaner) added an orange scent to their product to make us think it is somehow using orange oil-based solvents.

Brake Clean also can damage the plastic seals on some cartridge bearings. You need to be careful using it.

One thing that I've found when using more environmentally friendly degreasers is that it really helps if you clean more often, so they're not having to get off the heavy duty gunk. If the chain is generally a little cleaner, there is less need for harsh solvents.

Rock on!

Pete

jordash
06-20-2012, 08:56 PM
I'm getting a bit of noise when I degrease and then lube my chain. It sounds like certain parts of the chain have grit built up inside the chain? It's a relatively new bike so I haven't taken the chain all the way off to clean it. Would taking the chain off and thoroughly cleaning it in degreaser get rid of some of the gritty grinding noises I hear?

TwoWheelsDC
06-20-2012, 09:38 PM
I'm getting a bit of noise when I degrease and then lube my chain. It sounds like certain parts of the chain have grit built up inside the chain? It's a relatively new bike so I haven't taken the chain all the way off to clean it. Would taking the chain off and thoroughly cleaning it in degreaser get rid of some of the gritty grinding noises I hear?

Depends on what you mean by grinding noise, but I think you probably will be okay with your current cleaning regimen, unless you're doing dusty offroad riding. I think it also depends on the chain and the type of lube you use as well, as some are quieter than others. My chain makes a bit of noise, but it's also a combination of freehub noise, cassette noise, and pedal noise, so maybe you're picking up some of that, rather than it just being your chain?

jordash
06-21-2012, 06:16 AM
Perhaps, then, I'm being too sensitive when it comes to cleaning in my basement. Once I have a more time, I'm going to take the chain off and really scrub it down and see if I can get at the grit inside. I think I'm hearing some grit, sand, and dirt hit the chainring and rear cog.

mstone
06-21-2012, 06:40 AM
it's possible you're using too much lube, and dirt is sticking to the chain

jabberwocky
06-21-2012, 07:07 AM
Give it a mineral spirits soaking to totally break up all the old oils/greases, then scrub it down.

jordash
06-21-2012, 07:22 AM
it's possible you're using too much lube, and dirt is sticking to the chain

My Park Tool BBB tells me about 1 drop per roller, back-pedal, repeat once chain appears dry.

mstone
06-21-2012, 07:31 AM
My Park Tool BBB tells me about 1 drop per roller, back-pedal, repeat once chain appears dry.

...followed by wiping off any lube on the chain?

jordash
06-21-2012, 07:51 AM
Yes, I wipe off the excess.