Cleaning the chain.

Veronica Bottoms
Veronica Bottoms Posts: 94
edited July 2010 in Road beginners
I'm planning on cleaning my chain for the first time since buying my new bike (2 weeks ago).

I know how it's done but I'm just wondering if these are all I need to do a sufficeint job.

http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=5952

http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=5963

Thanks
«1

Comments

  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    White spirit/turpentine substitute will do the chain cleaning job loads cheaper - it's only around £1 from Tesco for a 1L bottle. And I'm sure if you look at places such as B&Q you'll get it even cheaper.
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  • White spirit/turpentine substitute will do the chain cleaning job loads cheaper - it's only around £1 from Tesco for a 1L bottle. And I'm sure if you look at places such as B&Q you'll get it even cheaper.
    Okay thanks I'll have a look.

    Is it worth cleaning the chain each time I re lube? I've only had the bike for two weeks but it's already attracting a lot of dust and is losing it's shiny silver appearance already. So I guess it's in need of a clean more than a re lube but obviously cleaning the chain rids the chain of lube.

    Or shall I just give it a dry clean with a cloth instead of de greasing it with white spirit?

    Thanks
  • Also I've been told never to use white spirit as after cleaning, the remaining spirit breaks down the oil which is reapplied.

    I'm confused.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Also I've been told never to use white spirit as after cleaning, the remaining spirit breaks down the oil which is reapplied.

    I'm confused.

    Huh?

    AFAIK White Spirit doesn't contain any hydrocarbon cracking enzymes. Obviously if you lube the the chain while the chain is dripping with white spirit you'll find that the oil will get far too diluted and the lubrication left will be crap.

    You don't need to use much solvent or lube, just use enough solvent to clean the crap off the chain, dry the chain off with a rag or let it air dry, and then put a bit of oil.
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  • Also I've been told never to use white spirit as after cleaning, the remaining spirit breaks down the oil which is reapplied.

    I'm confused.

    Huh?

    AFAIK White Spirit doesn't contain any hydrocarbon cracking enzymes. Obviously if you lube the the chain while the chain is dripping with white spirit you'll find that the oil will get far too diluted and the lubrication left will be crap.

    You don't need to use much solvent or lube, just use enough solvent to clean the crap off the chain, dry the chain off with a rag or let it air dry, and then put a bit of oil.
    Okay nice one. I must admit I got the advice from a bike shop who insist that I buy bike branded cleaning products. I'm aware that a lot of it is just as effective as other alternatives but ten times the price as it's been packaged specifically for bike use.

    I suppose it's the same with any niche they will tell you anything to fleece the customer.

    Thanks for the advice I'll give B&Q a visit later.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I just thoroughly wipe off the crud with a dry coth, generously relube, then wipe off the excess lube which has generally flushed out a bit more black stuff. Maybe every 2 weeks in the summer, much more often in winter.

    Maybe once a year I'll take off the chain and sprockets and give them a proper clean in white spirit, soak overnight in motor oil, then wipe off the excess before refitting.

    Mmmmm. Shiny!
  • CarleyB
    CarleyB Posts: 475
    I clean my chain after every ride with WD40

    can of worms?
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  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    CarleyB wrote:
    I clean my chain after every ride with WD40

    can of worms?
    absolutely .......
  • rake
    rake Posts: 3,204
    i put wd40 in the sump of my car. it runs sweet. why bother using proper oil. :arrow: :arrow:
  • Bunneh
    Bunneh Posts: 1,329
    Okay nice one. I must admit I got the advice from a bike shop who insist that I buy bike branded cleaning products. I'm aware that a lot of it is just as effective as other alternatives but ten times the price as it's been packaged specifically for bike use.

    Exactly, most bike shops will suggest you use specific oil/degreasers etc, they're there to make as much money as they can. I just used to pick up waterproof grease from a car shop when i was doing a regrease of hubs etc - never had any problems. Bike specific was around £8.99 for a small tube, the car stuff was around 80p.
  • Weejie54
    Weejie54 Posts: 750
    I pee on mine. It is particularly efficient if I've been drinking meths the night before. When it's dry, a quick rub in my hair to add some natural oil and good for another week or two.
  • CarleyB
    CarleyB Posts: 475
    Weejie54 wrote:
    I pee on mine. It is particularly efficient if I've been drinking meths the night before. When it's dry, a quick rub in my hair to add some natural oil and good for another week or two.

    :lol:
    Level 3 Road & Time Trial Coach, Level 2 Track Coach.

    Blackpool Clarion CC
    http://blackpoolclarion.webs.com/

    Blackpool Youth Cycling Association
    http://www.go-ride-byca.org
  • tlw1
    tlw1 Posts: 21,993
    I will check what the wife does - when I have finished watching the tour......... :)
  • gazeds
    gazeds Posts: 182
    my mate gave me an old tub of swarfega hand cleaner, painted it on with a brush and rinsed off with clean water and the chain came up like new
  • tommy1977
    tommy1977 Posts: 13
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    I think cleaning the chain after 2 summer week's use is OTT. A wipe and relube with a clean lube like Prolink Progold and it should be quite some time before aggressive cleaning is required.
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    edited July 2010
    Baby wipes......... I sh*t you not !!!

    If you start with a clean properly lubed chain, (ie not covered i the sticky packing grease that's all over the chain when you get it as new) then the chain shouldn't pick up too much dirt over a couple of weeks riding. When it looks like it could do with a wipe, just run it through a baby wipe in your hand and re-lube.

    Baby wipes have a light oil in them, nothing like the stuff you'd use for mechanical lubrication, it's skin moisturising oil, but oil never the less. This is enough to clean the crud off the chain without stripping off any clean lube. Then just give it a light dose of your regular lube. Two minutes, job done.

    My once in a blue moon chain clean consists of taking the chain off, soaking it in solvent, which cleans thee inner surfaces, drying and letting the solvent evaporate, then soaking it in lube to allow the clean lube back into the inner surfaces.

    Edit: I forgot to add, I've been using this 'once in a blue moon on my mtb chains for years and it keeps XTR chains (the same as Dura Ace) in good condition until chain stretch gets the better of it.

    And here comes the can of worms previously mentioned, with some extra worms on the side.....

    The grease which a new chain is covered in is packing grease. Whilst it does have some lubricating properties, it's thick and sticky, so will attract dirt and, because it's thick, will add resistance to the chain. It is not intended as a lubricant, it's just cheap stuff that the manufacturer puts on the chain to prevent corrosion. It's far too heavy as a cycle chain lube. If it is such a good lubricant, why isn't it available in the shops ?

    WD40......... oooh, now here's a contentious subject.........

    WD40 is a light penetrating lubricant. It also contains carrier solvents. Spray some into your hand and you'll notice two things.
    1) It's very thin.
    2) it feels cold.
    It's thin so that it can penetrate into threads (removing siezed/tight bolts) or into nooks and crannies such as your chain. However, being thin, it's resistance to shear loading is minimal, so on a chain, it will essentially be squeezed out of the contact points between the sprockets / chain rings and the chain, or from inside the rollers. (Think of squeezing water out of a plastic bottle and treakle out of an identical bottle, the thinner one comes out easiest.)
    It feels cold, because that is the carrier, a solvent in most light lubes, evaporating. And no, I'm not talking about the propellant evaporating. This solvent helps the oil in it's penetrating duties, but, in the short time that it's there, will slightly break down any heavier oils already on your chain. This is why WD40 is good for cleaning chains, it essentially thins the oil already there.

    So, whilst WD40 is a lubricant, it's too thin to give good lubrication for an extended period of time.

    Having said that.............. if you're cycling short distances and re-lube regularly (after every ride), WD40 will give you some lubrication and will protect against corrosion.

    If you're going out doing 50mile rides, WD40 won't do you any favours.

    As I mentioned, WD40 is ok for cleaning chains, spray some on a rag and run it the chain through it (Does that sound like the baby wipe method ?) but, let the carrier evaporate before you apply the heavier lube of your choice.

    Lube of your choice ? Up to you, there's loads out there and everyone will have an opinion on them. There will always be someone who will tell you that you're using the wrong stuff, just find something you like and stick with it.

    And now I sit back and wait for the WD40 and packing grease advocates................. :wink:

    Blimey, that was a long reply !!!
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    keef66 wrote:
    I just thoroughly wipe off the crud with a dry coth, generously relube, then wipe off the excess lube which has generally flushed out a bit more black stuff. Maybe every 2 weeks in the summer, much more often in winter.

    Maybe once a year I'll take off the chain and sprockets and give them a proper clean in white spirit, soak overnight in motor oil, then wipe off the excess before refitting.

    Mmmmm. Shiny!

    +1...... I'm with you all the way.
  • topdude
    topdude Posts: 1,557
    Well done MattC59 :wink:

    A very well put, common sense approach to chain cleaning and lubing.

    Also carefully worded to not upset the "WD40 is King" brigade :D
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • carrock
    carrock Posts: 1,103
    park tools chain cleaner filled with orange solvent every month

    Halfords cycle maintenance spary (£3.99) in between times

    All that lot together costs aboot £25 and will last years
  • brin
    brin Posts: 1,122
    Why do you need to clean your 'new' chain after only 2 weeks? iv'e had my new bike for 3 months now, and as previously posted, a rub over with baby wipes then a little lube should suffice, don't anticipate a good clean for a good few more miles yet.
  • Cuilson
    Cuilson Posts: 2
    bloody hell - didnt realise I even had to clean my chain.

    Doesn't the rain do that? :wink:
  • brin
    brin Posts: 1,122
    Cuilson wrote:
    bloody hell - didnt realise I even had to clean my chain.

    Doesn't the rain do that? :wink:

    FFS!! don't mention the 'R' word, almost as bad as the 'P' word.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    White spirit all the way for me,:

    Stage 1 - Use two jam jars, put it in jar one and leave it overnight.

    Stage 2 - Put it in a second jar with clean WS and give it a good shake.

    Stage 3 - Give it a good rinse in fresh water and again let it TOTALLY dry for 12 hours or so rather than just wiping it....

    Stage 4 - Oil it

    Stage 5 - Chain looks like brand new!
  • Cuilson wrote:
    bloody hell - didnt realise I even had to clean my chain.

    Doesn't the rain do that? :wink:

    i bet you dont even make sure your brake pads are exfoliated or your tyres moisturised.....
  • Erudin
    Erudin Posts: 136
    edited July 2010
    brin wrote:
    Why do you need to clean your 'new' chain after only 2 weeks?...

    Some new chains are covered in anti corrosive factory protectant (eg. cosmoline) which is super-sticky and picks up dirt easy, I got a KMC chain and had to degrease it after a couple of weeks as it had gone very black and gummy and was messing up the drivetrain.

    It came with a missing link so was easy to take off, then shook it in a jar with degreaser, washed it in hot soapy water, dried and lubed with Prolink.
  • rake
    rake Posts: 3,204
    White spirit all the way for me,:

    Stage 1 - Use two jam jars, put it in jar one and leave it overnight.

    Stage 2 - Put it in a second jar with clean WS and give it a good shake.

    Stage 3 - Give it a good rinse in fresh water and again let it TOTALLY dry for 12 hours or so rather than just wiping it....

    Stage 4 - Oil it

    Stage 5 - Chain looks like brand new!
    only takes 24 hours and have to keep splitting the chain :shock: chaincleaners work on the bike do a better job in 5 minutes.
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    rake wrote:
    White spirit all the way for me,:

    Stage 1 - Use two jam jars, put it in jar one and leave it overnight.

    Stage 2 - Put it in a second jar with clean WS and give it a good shake.

    Stage 3 - Give it a good rinse in fresh water and again let it TOTALLY dry for 12 hours or so rather than just wiping it....

    Stage 4 - Oil it

    Stage 5 - Chain looks like brand new!
    only takes 24 hours and have to keep splitting the chain :shock: chaincleaners work on the bike do a better job in 5 minutes.

    Here's my way-
    Stage 1 - Put bike in work stand
    Stage 2 - Find two(2) clean rags
    Stage 3 - While turning the crank backwards, hold one(1) rag around chain, continue to pedal backwards and rotating the rag to clean portions.
    Stage 4 - Liberally oil chain while rotating crank backwards.
    Stage 5 - While turning crank backwards, hold clean rag #2 around chain wiping off excess.
    Stage 6 - chain looks brand new.
    Stage 7 - Remove bike from stand.
    Stage 8 - Ride
    Total time - 10 minutes or so. Expense - Whatever the oil cost's. Mess - none. Cleanup - toss rags(2) in trash.
  • rake
    rake Posts: 3,204
    i employ a similar action plan between major cleaning , maybe 3 or 4(four) times. i could be slowly destroying my steed.
  • Robbie1958
    Robbie1958 Posts: 148
    I think i must have OCD or something. i thoroughly clean my bike after every ride (bearing in mind i hardly ever do less than thirty miles)including the frame and all moving parts. for me it's all part of the fun of being able to ride a nice bike.
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