Chain Cleaning

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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dhendriksen
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:54 pm

by dhendriksen

So...last fall I built a new bike with Campy SR11.

I am anal about keeping things clean, and I am REALLY anal about this new bike.

I have a question for you guys on cleaning. Here are my plans...tell me what you think.

Once a week or so I will spray the ENTIRE BIKE (except the handlebars and saddle) with Simple Green. While that is sitting on their, run the chain through the Park Tools Chain Gang with Citrus Cleaner. Rinse the entire bike off with the hose. Lightly lube the chain while spinning the cranks backward.

Once every month or two, remove the chain completely (KMC Missing Link 11 just arrived, not yet installed) and soak it in Mineral Spirits for ~10 minutes. Let it dry completely, then soak it in a good chain lube (open for suggestions here). Remove from lube, wipe it off and reinstall on bike.

I'm a big guy and put a lot of power down (can get nearly 2,000 watts in a sprint) and snapping a chain is a real fear of mine. I want to make sure I don't do anything to compromise the integrity of the chain.

Thanks in advance.

DaveS
Posts: 2529
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:26 pm

by DaveS

Really bad idea. I would never use Simple Green for bike maintenance and definitely not on the chain. There is no point in soaking a chain for 10 minutes in mineral spirits. Put the mineral spirits in an old water bottle, drop the chain in, put the lid on and shake it for about a minute. Repeat with another bottle of clean mineral spirits or use hot soapy water. You must then displace the water from the chain. I wipe the chain with a paper towel, then apply home brew lube lube (3-4 parts mineral spirits to 1 part motor oil or gear lube).

Chains almost always snap due to a pin coming off an outer plate. Cleaning the chain has nothing to do with that.

dhendriksen
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:54 pm

by dhendriksen

DaveS wrote:Really bad idea. I would never use Simple Green for bike maintenance and definitely not on the chain. There is no point in soaking a chain for 10 minutes in mineral spirits. Put the mineral spirits in an old water bottle, drop the chain in, put the lid on and shake it for about a minute. Repeat with another bottle of clean mineral spirits or use hot soapy water. You must then displace the water from the chain. I wipe the chain with a paper towel, then apply home brew lube lube (3-4 parts mineral spirits to 1 part motor oil or gear lube).

Chains almost always snap due to a pin coming off an outer plate. Cleaning the chain has nothing to do with that.


Dave, thanks for the heads up. Putting it in an old water bottle and shaking it sounds like a good idea!

When you say "apply home brew lube" do you soak, or just drip it on while spinning the drivetrain freewheel?

With regards to the chain snapping...I was curious if there was concern with the missing link being a weak point...and also have heard some lubes/cleaners/degreaser products can slowly ruin or weaken the chain.

Is that home brew sticky? Does it attract dust or dirt? If you think Simple Green is a bad idea, what do you use?

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bricky21
Posts: 1405
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:28 pm

by bricky21

A park tool chain gang and some citrus based degreaser, or soap and water and a rag if your going to clean it after every ride. Followed up by some pro gold chain lube.
When did cleaning a drive train become so complicated?
Last edited by bricky21 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

5 8 5
Posts: 1353
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:36 am
Location: UK

by 5 8 5

The 11 spd KMC is non removable unlike the 10 spd version. It's meant to be replaced every time the chain is split.
It has been discussed here that it may be okay to refit it but it's worth being aware of the risks especially if you're putting that much power down.

BdaGhisallo
Posts: 1889
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:38 pm

by BdaGhisallo

If you want to be really... fastidious about cleaning your chain, get yourself an ultrasonic cleaner and use the mineral spirits in it and your chain will sparkle!!

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Rick
Posts: 2032
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:30 pm

by Rick

hmmmm.....I LOVE Simple Green, especially on the chain. Cleans it great and rinses off with water.
But I only do that in warm weather, when I know the chain will dry out quickly.

Usually, I just try to relube the chain AFTER each ride so the fresh oil washes out the gunk, but still has time to dry a bit before the next ride. I am NOT very fastidious about cleaning and lubing. I am too damned tired after riding. So I strive for a "functional level" of cleaning such that everything simply works.

Valbrona
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:25 am
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

by Valbrona

Do not let solvents near paint or carbon fibre, they will dull the finish on clear coated CF.

In the old days I chose a chain lube that would stay on the chain. Not now. I use a light biodegradable oil which the citrus degreasers on the market can easily remove . This means I am cleaning my bike and chain more often, but less intensively.

ldamelio
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:41 am
Location: Bucks County PA USA

by ldamelio

Use KMC Missing Link 10 instead of 11 - runs great on 11 speed drivetrain and reusable. I clean by soaking in in Park citrus degreaser and shaking in Tupperware or similar container for a minute or so then drag through clean towel a bunch of times. Many ways to do it; this works for me.

ldamelio
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:41 am
Location: Bucks County PA USA

by ldamelio

PS: don't soak in lube ! You only need it on rollers and soaking will attract a lot more dirt. Just go link by link and put a drop on each roller on the side facing the chainring/cassette teeth. Backpedal a few times, let sit 15 minutes then backpedal through clean rag. Lube anywhere except in rollers is just a dirt magnet - less is more.

thisisatest
Shop Owner
Posts: 1980
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:02 am
Location: NoVA/DC

by thisisatest

Well I found this:

http://www.logsa.army.mil/WEB-PAGE/2000/573/573-35.pdf

http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/ma.../cleaners.html

The problem is that this product, like many others have been shown to damage critical metal components. Specificaly, it causes a condition called Hydrogen Embrittlement on high strength steel components. What this means is that if you allow the cleaner to sit on high strength steel for any time over 4 hours, it will weaken the metal to a point where it can fail at only 10% of its rated tensil strength. Secondly, it causes crazing of painted surfaces and on aluminum surfaces causes galvanitic corrosion cells to form. It also has been shown to delaminate carbon fiber structures. Plastic can be adversly effeced by application of this kind of clenser. This is why the product is specifical banned for use as a aircraft clenser on all military aircraft.


from forums.focaljet.com
it's mentioned everywhere, including past topics here.

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tommasini
Posts: 1297
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Central USA
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by tommasini

Jesh..........

I was (and still am) anal about my chain cleaning - then came the more permanent pin closure methods.....settled on PRO GOLD - not only does the chain and chainring/sprockets stay reasonably clean - but the reduction of chain wear (some might refer to it as
"stretch") is supberb.

With regards to everything else - a good wipe down with a water wetted cotton cloth is what I do once a week - and more often in the humid months - to wipe away sweat residue and everything else.....

:beerchug:

alexalecu
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:13 pm
Location: BC, Canada

by alexalecu

Here's how I clean it (I must admit that it takes quite a while, but I only do it every couple of months):
1. take the chain off the bike (all my chains have quick links) and throw it in the bathtub
2. brush it well with a toothbrush and dishwasher liquid / citrus degreaser - on all sides (I usually use the citrus degreaser only when cleaning new KMC chains, as they come with a very sticky coating that easily attracts dust, which makes the chain 10 times harder to clean)
3. rinse well
4. let dry - hang it to something for several hours, usually indoors
5. put it back on the bike and drop a drop of oil on each roller (pro lube gold or t9 boeshield - the latter during the rainy season), pedal backwards several times to help the oil penetrate well inside the rollers; after several hours, clean the extra oil with a paper towel

rowdysluggins
Posts: 349
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:36 am
Location: Taylosville, Utah

by rowdysluggins

I don't like the simple green idea at all. I have used it before, but I think it de-lubed my jockey pulleys, and I worry about my BB as well. Putting it all over your bike is a recipe for a very high maintenance schedule. I like the chain in a shaker solution, and have used it before. I also like the chain cleaning tools made by Park and Pedro. If done carefully, they keep the solvent from getting on parts that I don't want to have to re-lube. It really depends on how much time one wants to dedicate to bike maintenance (and I'm lazy). For an all over the bike cleaning, there's nothing better than car wash soap, a brush and a bucket (no high strength solvents).

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prendrefeu
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
Location: Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
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by prendrefeu

BdaGhisallo wrote:If you want to be really... fastidious about cleaning your chain, get yourself an ultrasonic cleaner and use the mineral spirits in it and your chain will sparkle!!


+1 :thumbup:
I use a citrus-based degreaser though, less toxic and somewhat better for the environment as I dispose of it.
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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