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Chain Cleaning...

steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
edited November 2008 in Road beginners
I go through the following process to clean my chain but it still leaves a lot to be desired:-

1. Muc off with water then apply plenty of deagreaser
2. Run chain through dry rag to remove dirt
3. Use stiff brush to clean each chain ring
4. Use Cassette brush to clean cassette and front chain rings
5. Rinse with plenty water
6. Repeat if necessary
7. Allow to dry naturally then apply lube or muc off bike spray finish

No matter how hard I try I still get black sludge off my chain when running hand over chain using the above process. Can anyone recommend a better process AND a decent chain cleaning tool or setup (wiggle has several - which is best?)

Cheers

Posts

  • woody1545woody1545 Posts: 322
    This was on bike radar a few weeks back. Don't know if it helps?

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/w ... bike-18259
  • For squeaky clean chains and groupsets, you need to remove the chain (I use a SRAM quicklink - dead easy, takes seconds to remove and reinstall the chain). Drop the chain and quicklink into a plastic bottle, add a slosh of Gunk (say 150 ml), seal and shake. I use spray Gunk on the derailleurs and chainrings, leave it to soak, shake the chain bottle again, wash deraillers and chainring with lots of hot soapy water and a stiff brush and then shake the chain bottle again. Then drain the chain bottle (catching the quicklink just before you pour it down the drain), add several changes of very hot soapy water, shaking vigorously between each change. Finally rinse off sparkling chain (it may need a final wipe of it was really manky) and reinstall on sparkling groupset. Garnish with light spray lube for that just washed look. (Mind you, leave the rest of the bike looking a bit manky or you'll look like a real poseur).
    Winter warhorse: Giant Peloton 8400 ('99 vintage)
    Couldn't resist: Spez. Singlecross Fixie ('08)
    Summer cool: Custom Rourke, Deda 16.5 ('08)
  • topdudetopdude Posts: 1,557
    The simple, quick, cheap method :D
    Fit a Powerlink (sram, KMC)
    Remove chain
    Put in a container (i use old ice cream containers)
    Add a little white spirit and swoosh chain around
    Pour dirty white spirit into a large jam jar
    Repeat three or four times until chain is spotless and no more grit comes out
    Wipe off chain and hang up to dry
    keep used white spirit in the jar and the muck settles to the bottom then reuse for next cleaning session
    While chain is drying clean chainrings and sprockets.
    Voila, quick, cheap, no waste, drive chain looks like new :D
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • daz51daz51 Posts: 159
    Simple,

    Bit of white spirit in a bowl and use a tooth brush.

    wipe down after with cloth,

    Lightly re-oil (remember ---> more oil = more dirt will get stuck on chain)
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    There was a recent thread discussing "to clean or not to clean". KMC for example, warn against the use of degreasers in chain cleaners as it washes out the factory fitted grease deep in the links. I have been won round to this way of thinking and with my new chain I have given up with my chain cleaner, I think "squeaky clean" means just that. A wipe over (maybe aided with wd40) then a relube with Progold Prolink (a very clean lube that stays on in the wet) is my current regime.
  • shmoshmo Posts: 321
    I used to remove and clean but actually find it a lot easier to leave it on the bike now. I'll run it through a wet wipe (currently using these hand/paint cleaner wipes from homebase) and then a rag which gets most of the outer gunge off. Then the hard part is threading a strip of cloth through every link to get the rest of the crud out, takes ages but gets faster with practice. Can then use another wet wipe to get it sparkly but I don't see the point really, it gets manked up again so fast.

    Best part with this system is that it doesn't make a mess, which is a critical factor for bike maintenance to someone living in a flat.
  • MossriderMossrider Posts: 226
    Agree with Alfablue. Last year I found that using the degreaser seemed to wreck a good chain. I now give it a quick once over with a rag and re-lube, and it takes just 5 minutes. I don't worry too much about between the links as I get most of that off anyway. If it gets particularly mucky I strip and clean the rear cassette (which adds another 10 minutes)
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,453
    Mossrider wrote:
    Agree with Alfablue. Last year I found that using the degreaser seemed to wreck a good chain. I now give it a quick once over with a rag and re-lube, and it takes just 5 minutes. I don't worry too much about between the links as I get most of that off anyway. If it gets particularly mucky I strip and clean the rear cassette (which adds another 10 minutes)

    I'm with you guys. Used to be real censored about cleaning my chain. Taking it off and soaking it in degreaser every other week or so. Waste of time and doesn't help anything that I
    can see. Good wiping and re-apply lube has never seemed to create a problem. Things stay quiet and run smooth and that's what counts.

    Dennis Noward
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    Degreasing just sucks all the factory grease out and no amount of lube can put that back.

    My chains do 3-4,000 miles with little attention, and are only replaced to avoid breakages. The chain gets a thorough link-by-link rub from a rag when I think it's really necessary. I also run the rag between cassette rings and give the chainrings and jockey wheels a brief wipe. Only if it's caked in stuff does any warm, soapy water get used first.

    One of the best ways to keep a chain in good nick is to use mudguards in the wet.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • topdudetopdude Posts: 1,557
    Looks like there are two opposing camps here,

    Clean n' go - leave chain on and wipe down / lube as necessary
    Keen or what - remove / clean thoroughly / relube

    Personally, i enjoy the maintenance and like to see the drive chain sparkling after a good clean even if it only lasts until the next ride :D
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • I just checked the SRAM site and they recommend......................you make your own mind up! How helpful is that?

    Take it off, don't take it off. Degrease it, don't degrease it.

    The only firm recommendation seems to be not to leave the chain sitting in degreaser for too long.

    So, a big help.
    Winter warhorse: Giant Peloton 8400 ('99 vintage)
    Couldn't resist: Spez. Singlecross Fixie ('08)
    Summer cool: Custom Rourke, Deda 16.5 ('08)
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    The problem may not be the cleaning but the oil. I used Finish Line and it turned "clean" chain black after a few rides. Post elsewhere here somewhere recommended Pro Gold Prolink and sorted.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,453
    bahzob wrote:
    The problem may not be the cleaning but the oil. I used Finish Line and it turned "clean" chain black after a few rides. Post elsewhere here somewhere recommended Pro Gold Prolink and sorted.

    I use Rock & Roll lube and it goes on clean but is black after a short while, but I don't know that this means "bad" or "poor lube". it's just black.

    dennis noward
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    dennisn wrote:
    bahzob wrote:
    The problem may not be the cleaning but the oil. I used Finish Line and it turned "clean" chain black after a few rides. Post elsewhere here somewhere recommended Pro Gold Prolink and sorted.

    I use Rock & Roll lube and it goes on clean but is black after a short while, but I don't know that this means "bad" or "poor lube". it's just black.

    dennis noward

    Suggest trying Pro Gold. You may be surprised (I was). Not just me, here is what bike maintenance guy on the road bike rider newsletter wrote about it

    "Chain lube.  The best I've ever found is ProGold's ProLink ($8 for a 4-oz. bottle). This thin golden lube has proven to be waterproof, very long lasting and runs clean as clean can be when applied according to instructions. In my experience, ProLink can extend chain life by 2-3 times. Pretty amazing." 
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I am now a committed Prolink Progold fan, after having tried all the rest, it really does stay on and stay clean.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    Here's what I do, typically:
      1 - "Liberally", use a degreaser on the Chain, Chainrings, Cassette and jockey wheels (with a rag and brush). The idea being to loosen off any and all grit on the drivetrain. 2 - Use a hose (carefully) to wash all of the censored off. Be a bit cautious around BB etc. 3 - The drivetrain then is essentially "spotless", clean and silver (but soaked in water). 4 - Then, dry off any excess water. 5 - Leave the rest to dry for a bit. 6 - Finally, use TF2 Teflon on certain bits and Finish Line Cross Country on the chain.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I think your regime will leave the inner bushes/joints devoid of lubrication, your lube probably won't get there or displace the water/degreaser that has got there.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    alfablue wrote:
    I think your regime will leave the inner bushes/joints devoid of lubrication, your lube probably won't get there or displace the water/degreaser that has got there.

    I should add, I tend to replace my chain every 4 or 6 months :wink:
  • ToshmundToshmund Posts: 390
    Anyone had any experience with this kind of device? Decathlon do one, which looks like one of those cassette head cleaners, you used to find (in the days of 30/60/90 minute recording thingymajigs!?) Have contemplated getting one, be ok to use - have the more indepth degunge, every now and again I would have thought?

    http://www.shopwiki.co.uk/detail/?q=Cha ... in+Cleaner
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Toshmund wrote:
    Anyone had any experience with this kind of device? Decathlon do one, which looks like one of those cassette head cleaners, you used to find (in the days of 30/60/90 minute recording thingymajigs!?) Have contemplated getting one, be ok to use - have the more indepth degunge, every now and again I would have thought?

    http://www.shopwiki.co.uk/detail/?q=Cha ... in+Cleaner
    Yes, had a few of these over the years, Ribble even gave me one free with my last purchase, but its staying in the pack, as I think this is not the way to go with chain care (see above posts).
  • I always used to remove and degrease but it was only recently that I started to rinse with water. That makes a huge difference and does get it really clean. But it doesn't last unless you have an extended period of dry weather.

    If you like your bike clean, which I go through phases of being fussy about, I think you are doomed to dissatisfaction with the chain. If you just want it to run well, then the dirt doesnt seem to make much difference - probably because there often isnt much at the points that really count.

    Powerlinks though - I am new to them and just cant get the knack.
  • shmoshmo Posts: 321
    shmo wrote:
    I used to remove and clean but actually find it a lot easier to leave it on the bike now. I'll run it through a wet wipe (currently using these hand/paint cleaner wipes from homebase) and then a rag which gets most of the outer gunge off. Then the hard part is threading a strip of cloth through every link to get the rest of the crud out, takes ages but gets faster with practice. Can then use another wet wipe to get it sparkly but I don't see the point really, it gets manked up again so fast..

    I have to backtrack with suggesting using those wet wipes. They were ok when I relubed straight after but the other week I did a clean and promptly had a bad cold and left the bike for a week. When I got it out again the chain was absolutely knackered, covered in censored and looked corroded to hell.

    Hope no one else tried them.
  • I've been using screen wipes loaned from the stationary cupboard for a quick clean of the chain and other parts of the bike :oops:
    Although whenever I clean the chain I always appply some GT85 and then lube the chain the next day.
  • Mister WMister W Posts: 853
    If you want to do the job properly you should take advice from the expert, Sheldon Brown - http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

    :D
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