Chain Cleaning

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:16 pm

by bikedoc

Prolink is great, put some on go for a ride, get home run chain through rag until dirt stop coming off, put more prolink on go for another ride. Quick, easy and works.

all this messing around with degreasers and chain cleaners is a waste of time and often does more harm than good.

BUT Prolink in the wet is rubbish, have to go for finish line cross country then but same process

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Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:33 am

by OrbeaAgony

I have to add my two cents... The chain operates as a component in the drive train, interacting with the most force on the cassette, then the chainwheels, and a very little amount with the derailleur pulleys.

Chains are inexpensive compared to cassette and chainrings. More importantly, they are more likely to have a catastrophic failure that may result in serious injury. That being said, I agree with those that regularly replace their chain prior to it being worn out. The use of several chains in a rotation is problematic, especially considering the need to reinstall the chain with a new pin or link to retain structural strength, not to mention in the proper orientation to ensure it meshes correctly with the (now) worn-in cassette and chainwheel.

I am not sure if people understand that "chain stretch" is the result of mechanical wear, not the metal links of the chain deforming. As the pins and sideplates grind away at each other, a small amount of wear-induced slop is produced at each interface, that over the total length of the chain is measured as "stretch". See other threads about measuring this stretch, as the Park device seems to have issues. Use an accurate shop ruler or calipers is the best method.

Don't cheap out - buy new chains regularly and save your cassette, chainwheels, shifting precision, and perhaps some of your skin if you avert a broken chain.

I also advocate lubing after each ride by wiping the chain off with a clean cloth, lubing the inside of the chain (I use Triflow because it works fine and is cheap), and wiping off the excess lube and dirt. Let sit till the next day (ride) and wipe off again. Now go ride, like I plan to right now...
1984 Ciocc Aquila 84 - SLX frame and full Campy Super Record
2006 Orbea Lobular - Aluminum and Carbon frame with Ultegra

by Weenie

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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:04 am
Location: USA

by Bridgeman

I've tried doing searches on this topic and can't find much. What is you preferred method for cleaning chains?

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Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 3:40 am
Location: Triange, NC

by NealH

Just use mineral spirits and clean it. You can slop it on with a paintbrush and the dirt comes off as the old lube breaks down. Then wipe it down and relube. Its fast and efficient. Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.

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by bombertodd

My wife bought me a park chain scrubber for Christmas a while back and I love it. I loved it so much I bought another. I use the first one to run park's chainbrite cleaner through. Second, I use dial soap and finish off with straight water water. The whole process takes about 5-7 minutes. It comes out great! Park's chainbrite cleaner is expensive but it sure does work.


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Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:05 pm

by Jagcolo

I have always used ZEP Citrus Heavy-Duty Degreaser and a clean rag. You can find it at the hardware store and it's a lot cheaper than the ones at the bike store.

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by russianbear

Rough synthetic brush with citrus heavy duty degreaser for me too (use it for cleaning rest of the bike as well). Wash my bike and drive train once a week, so everything stays nice and sparkly.

Johnny Rad
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Location: Zion

by Johnny Rad

Drop my chain into an old water bottle filled with a bit of Rock n Roll Gold. Shake. Wipe thoroughly and reinstall.

Sometimes I'll pop a q-tip in between each link at this point, but usually skip it.

Once installed, I put a small drop on each link and wipe lightly.

I try to do it the night before.

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Location: Perth, Western Australia

by Ozrider

Citrus degreaser works well with a stiff brush, won't damage your paint of anodised finishes like some heavy duty degreasers. And it is far more environmentally friendly than petroleum based products.
The Park Tool chain cleaner also works well

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Ozrider - Western Australia
Parlee Z5 XL (6055g/13.32lbs) Trek Madone 5.9 (7052-7500g)Jonesman Columbus Spirit (8680g)
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by project3

i prefer to remove the chain. soak with diesel petrol, spin it inside a container and you can feel all the fine sand sinking at the container. Finally rinse it with high pressure water and leave it dry before I re-lube.

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by 7ven

I use Morgan Blue and spray it on a rag and wipe the chain, leave it rest for a bit, then wipe off.
Nothing else I've used comes close.

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by Devon

I use Morgan Blue chain degreaser and a stiff paintbrush. I've never seen results like bombertodd's photo though, that chain and cassette look brand new!
Campagnolo; because it's a bicycle, not a fishing rod.

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by Zigmeister

I finally picked up a Park Took chain cleaner. I use some orange cleaner and run it through, soak it good.

Then, run a couple of fresh fills of water on the chain to get all the orange stuff off. Lube. Nice and clean.

I used to just run a rag with acetone on the chain once a week, but the gunk/grime in the links never comes out switch to the soak/clean like a charm and very little mess. Just need a used crappy rag to catch some extra liquid coming out of the exit part of the device.

^ozrider....same method just saw your post.

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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:23 am

by bombertodd

Devon wrote:I use Morgan Blue chain degreaser and a stiff paintbrush. I've never seen results like bombertodd's photo though, that chain and cassette look brand new!

Both had more than a 1,000 miles on them when I took that picture. You can tell the chain is used from the silver rollers (gold wore off). They key to the Park cleaner is using their cleaner non diluted which is kind of expensive.

I've tried:
Park Chainbrite cleaner diluted
Zep degreaser
Zep heavy duty degreaser
Simple Green
Dial soap
and a few others I can't recall

Diesel or non diluted Park Chainbrite were ten times better than everything else I tried. I don't like the idea of have to dispose of diesel so I use the Park Stuff. I also clean my cassette with a stiff paint brush and a little park chainbrite.

A clean lubed chain is fast chain! :beerchug:

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by Bridgeman

Great information! Sorry I couldn't find this thread, and started a new one. I think Zig is correct in addressing what is left behind between the links, rollers and pins. Looks like the park tool and cleaner product is the way to go.

Thanks again! Oh and BomberTodd, you da man!

by Weenie

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