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Road Cleaning Bike Chains

Discussion in 'Cycling Department Forum' started by Marcel vd Aa, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Marcel vd Aa

    Marcel vd Aa Member

    Does any of you have a good way to clean bike chains of dirt and other stuff? Since I use my bike for just about anything (groceries, visits to friends etc) the chain picks up a lot of dirt along the way. I usually use a rag with some degreasing agent but it's really hard to get in between the links. Anyone got a good method for this?
    Flaviu and Andrew like this.
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Member

    Use Park Tools . 10 Minutes...done. :)
    Flaviu, Günthar and Marcel vd Aa like this.
  3. Matej Lakota

    Matej Lakota Well-Known Member

    Flaviu, Andrew and Marcel vd Aa like this.
  4. arthur666

    arthur666 Senior Member

    I have always done it this way:

    1. Using gentle pressure, hold chain in a rag in front of the rear derailleur, (as you would use one of those chain-cleaning devices).
    2. Turn pedal backwards until rag stop accruing a lot of black grease (you will have to use different parts of the rag as you go, changing position).
    3. Turn pedals backwards slowly while applying lube (I like Triflow) to each chain link roller. Ideally you only want to get lube down in the rollers, not on the outside of the plates.
    4. Use the rag again to wipe off as much excess lube as you can.
    Repeat as needed, wiping away excess lube each time. The new lube helps move dirt and grime out of the chain. So sometimes I apply lube and wipe twice if it was extra dirty. It's almost impossible to get too much clean lube off of your chain, so go crazy wiping. A dry chain is better than a wet one. And it's usually better to do this after a ride before you put your bike away, not right before you ride.

    I never use degreaser. If you don't leave much lube on there, it won't cake-up on there and you won't need degreaser. My chains generally last many thousands of miles. I try to do this after every ride, or every couple of days of commuting. And especially after every ride in the rain.

    Also, don't forget to knock grime off of your chainrings and from between your cogs when you can.
    Flaviu, dazzyb2k3 and norbs like this.
  5. Rupe68

    Rupe68 Member

    If like me, you always seem to make a mess of the surrounding area when cleaning your cogs and chain and get it all over the back wheel and floor maybe this could help you keep those important bits clean, especially the carpet of floor if you clean your bike inside.
  6. Ryann

    Ryann Member

    Important thing is not to lube the chain too much. After oiling it, always get rid of excessive oil (with a rag), that way your chain stays clean longer.

    Call me weird, but from time to time I clean my chain and cassette with a toothbrush and this http://www.bikeworkx.eu/en/products-eshop/cleaners-conservation/cyclo-star/. In my opinion, it's an amazing cleaner.

    Also you can get something like this, I have used it before, but with my "model" there was too much hassle.

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
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  7. Burke Wells

    Burke Wells Well-Known Member

    I use a product very similar to that with moderate success. I don't mind the hassle of using it but it just doesn't get in between the links as well as I would like. Toothbrushing in between each link sounds like a more thorough method. I'll try that next time.
  8. Velo Wringer

    Velo Wringer Well-Known Member

    I recently used synthetic motor oil that was smoother and less noise than the usual thin machine oil (no surprise). BUT it was a horrible grit magnet even after short rides especially in the rain.

    Then I found a test on chain lubes (forgot where exactly, apparently published in Velo magazine March 2013) and turned out paraffin is the best, saving 10 watts of resistance. No grit sticks to it. Here is how to apply it: https://barndoorcycling.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/paraffin-wax-chain-lube/

    So I melted a heap of waxine candles (tea lights = paraffin (more or less)) I had laying around, degreased my chain and cooked it for a while. Today first test drive (~30km )and I think I am sold. Very light, quiet and smooth. Not a single cracking sound when twisting the chain even when I went through a lot of sandy footpaths. A rain ride is needed to see how that goes. Moreover how long does it last.

    Anyone got experience with paraffin as a chain lube? It seems too good to be true...

    cooking with paraffin.jpg
  9. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld Senior Member

    Using WD40 since a few months. Works wonders :)
  10. Velo Wringer

    Velo Wringer Well-Known Member

    Heeey Bram how are you doing!
    Have not tried WD yet I guess thats the next step if all else fails :)
    Bram Hengeveld likes this.
  11. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld Senior Member

  12. dazzyb2k3

    dazzyb2k3 Senior Member

    +1 for the @arthur666 method. :)

    Generally i'll do this about once a week or after any wet/muddy ride. Very occasionally - if the conditions have been really grim - i might spray some WD40 or GT85 before the initial wipe. The whole process takes less than 5 mins.
  13. James

    James Active Member

    Years ago while learning how to use a new pin-on-disk tribometer at work, I did a test of various lubes. See http://james-p-smith.blogspot.com/2009/06/characterization-of-various-liquid.html and http://james-p-smith.blogspot.com/2009/06/more-lube-data-actually-part-1.html

    To this day I use cheap 3-in-1. Like automotive oils it's heavier and attracts dirt, but a wipe down every day or two for a week or so after lubing keeps it relatively clean. The best thing is that the chain stays lubed for a month+. I've used wax-based before, and I'm lucky to get 2 rides out of wax.
    Velo Wringer likes this.
  14. Paul Fenwick

    Paul Fenwick Member

    an interesting read....plus if you want dildo's etc there is a handy link in the comments section LOL !!! might give the 3 in 1 a go or maybe the WD40
  15. Jim Layee

    Jim Layee Senior Member

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    Velo Wringer and arthur666 like this.
  16. arthur666

    arthur666 Senior Member


    Thanks @Jim Layee , I'd never been to that page. Sheldon Brown FTW.
    Jim Layee likes this.
  17. Velo Wringer

    Velo Wringer Well-Known Member

    :laughing: have to do that before and after each ride of course
    Jim Layee and arthur666 like this.
  18. Flaviu

    Flaviu Senior Member

    Hi guys,
    Very informative reading here. Thank you to OP.
    The Sheldon Brown method it is much more then I can do :). Usually @arthur666 method it is my way.
    But I found this in @Matej Lakota link at 3.60$ with discount to 2.60$ and free shipping. This could replace with succes @Ryann's toothbrush.
    Velo Wringer likes this.

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