Tips to get chain completely clean on-bike?

muzician
muzician Posts: 20
edited June 2018 in Workshop
I have a Filzer CC3 chain scrubber which from what I read online is supposed to be a good one. I take great pains to get the cassette, jockey wheels and chainring clean so there's no contamination from them and scrub and rinse the chain multiple times so it's sparking. When you run your fingers or a rag down it, nothing comes off, at this point the chain and all gear teeth seem white-glove clean.

Yet when I squirt on lube and wipe the chain, I'm getting residue on the wipe-down towel. What I'm guessing is happening is when the lube is applied, gunk is being irrigated out from under the rollers, where the scrubber brushes don't reach.

Any tips on getting to that under-roller gunk without taking the chain off the bike and sloshing it around in solvent/degreaser?

Comments

  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    You are over-thinking it, just a bit (ie a lot). Getting the chain that clean serves no useful purpose. Just get it clean enough (which it sounds like you are already doing) then re-lube it and go riding...
  • figbat
    figbat Posts: 680
    ^^^This^^^

    But if you must get it spotless, it is probably quicker and easier to whip the chain off, and the cassette, and get at them in a bowl using your degreaser/cleaner of choice. With the chain off and rear wheel out, the derailleur is also much easier to get at.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • imafatman
    imafatman Posts: 351
    I thought I was bad cleaning my chain twice a week.
  • darkhairedlord
    darkhairedlord Posts: 7,180
    If you want something more aggressive try Pagid brake cleaner, but i'd put a rag on the chainstay first, just in case.
  • muzician
    muzician Posts: 20
    If you want something more aggressive try Pagid brake cleaner, but i'd put a rag on the chainstay first, just in case.
    The citrus degreaser works great on the parts the scrubber hits, I was just wondering about the parts it doesn't get to.
  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    Stripping lube out from inside the rollers is pointless. It's where you want the lube, and takes a while for new lube to penetrate right in. You'll just wear your chain out quicker.

    It's a bicycle, not an operating theatre.
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  • muzician
    muzician Posts: 20
    cooldad wrote:
    Stripping lube out from inside the rollers is pointless. It's where you want the lube, and takes a while for new lube to penetrate right in. You'll just wear your chain out quicker.

    It's a bicycle, not an operating theatre.
    It's not the old lube that I'm thinking of - it seems gray residue means metal particles. It's the metal particles I want to clean out.
  • pinno
    pinno Posts: 51,333
    Petrol. It's perfect for stripping it pristine clean.

    However, strip it only occasionally and re-lube properly.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • svetty
    svetty Posts: 1,904
    cooldad wrote:
    It's a bicycle, not an operating theatre.
    Brilliant! :D
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    New chain every time. You know it makes sense
  • muzician
    muzician Posts: 20
    cougie wrote:
    New chain every time. You know it makes sense
    Lol. :lol:
  • Andymaxy
    Andymaxy Posts: 197
    Ultrasonic cleaner.
    If you wax your chain you never have to clean it.
  • As I use Squirt wax lube on my chains, I always clean off the lube/grease from a new chain in petrol or kero then wash it in washing up liquid then fresh water to completely remove all lube then once dried apply Squirt. This needs to be done with chain off bike. The cleaning process only needs to be done once in a chains life, after that just a quick rinse/wipe is sufficient before reapplying Squirt. Others will no doubt have differing opinions on this....
  • trekvet
    trekvet Posts: 223
    Get yourself a chain tool and some quicklinks, take chain off and wash it in white spirit in the washing-up bowl. You'll be amazed at all the grit an stuff that comes out. It is the only way. Buy new washing-up bowl and a bunch of flowers.

    Or you could just brush the white spirit along the return run and catch it in washing-up bowl, then as per above.
    The Wife complained for months about the empty pot of bike oil on the hall stand; so I replaced it with a full one.
  • Use Rock'N Roll Gold.

    Clean chain & low friction....
  • crankycrank
    crankycrank Posts: 1,830
    TrekVet wrote:
    Get yourself a chain tool and some quicklinks, take chain off and wash it in white spirit in the washing-up bowl. You'll be amazed at all the grit an stuff that comes out. It is the only way. Buy new washing-up bowl and a bunch of flowers.
    Or you could just brush the white spirit along the return run and catch it in washing-up bowl, then as per above.
    +1. Keep the White Spirit in a jar and let the gunk settle to the bottom for 1+ days then pour clean WS into another jar and re-use many more times.
  • apriliarider
    apriliarider Posts: 222
    Use Muc off ceramic chain lube - it is water soluble so a quick blast with the hose gets it shiny in no time

    Bit crap for winter bike though :D
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    As I use Squirt wax lube on my chains, I always clean off the lube/grease from a new chain in petrol or kero then wash it in washing up liquid then fresh water to completely remove all lube then once dried apply Squirt. This needs to be done with chain off bike. The cleaning process only needs to be done once in a chains life, after that just a quick rinse/wipe is sufficient before reapplying Squirt. Others will no doubt have differing opinions on this....

    I thought washing up liquid had salt in it?
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • figbat
    figbat Posts: 680
    An enduring myth. Well, strictly speaking it does have salt in it, in the chemistry sense of the term “salt”, but it doesn’t have sodium chloride in it.

    Here’s the science bit.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • meursault wrote:
    As I use Squirt wax lube on my chains, I always clean off the lube/grease from a new chain in petrol or kero then wash it in washing up liquid then fresh water to completely remove all lube then once dried apply Squirt. This needs to be done with chain off bike. The cleaning process only needs to be done once in a chains life, after that just a quick rinse/wipe is sufficient before reapplying Squirt. Others will no doubt have differing opinions on this....

    I thought washing up liquid had salt in it?

    Even if it did have salt in, I'm rinsing it straight away in clean water anyway so wouldn't matter anyway.
  • jp4urio
    jp4urio Posts: 16
    From experience if you’re keen on seeing your face in the chain/cassette etc, be very careful to keep degreaser away from wheel bearings. My incessant cleaning cleared them out on my Fulcrums, replacements are now fitted and liberal spraying halted.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    You'll never get a chain internally clean using a chain cleaner on the bike. Best you can hope for is what you're doing, and accept that the application of lube is washing a bit more muck out.

    If you wish to pursue the holy grail of a clinically clean chain, the only realistic way of achieveing it is to use an ultrasonic parts cleaner with several changes of solvent / degreaser. And then I think to get the lube back in to the internals, you'd need to marinate the now sparkly chain in your chosen oil / wax / whatever in the ultrasonic bath. Which all sounds quite a faff, but if that's what floats your boat, go ahead.

    I used to try to get chains clean by taking them off and shaking in successive lots of white spirit or paraffin, but I CBA with that these days. Now I leave them on the bike, wipe down with a rag soaked in spirit every week or so, relube sparingly, then wipe down thoroughly and repeatedly with a clean rag. I accept it's not perfect, but it's good enough to avoid premature wear of the drivetrain, and 9 / 10 speed chains are cheap enough.