Bicycle Cleaning

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by BigBear, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. BigBear

    BigBear Guest

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    Should I be using anything special to clean my chain and gears? I've been spraying it off with a hose, but I know that can lead to rusting.
     
  2. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    I use wd40 to blast gunk off my chain. Spray it and let it sit for a while if there's a good amount of dirt/road and the wipe it off.
     

  3. ruggedscotsman

    ruggedscotsman hardtail hardass

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    Some folks will run their chain through a chain washer with degreaser, I think funetical's wd-40 method is easier and just as good, if not better. Soak in wd40, wait, wipe. repeat as necessary. Apply new chain lube and wipe away excess. Only problem is if you're running dry lube, the wd40 will eat it/ prevent it from adhearing well.
     
  4. howtofixbikes

    howtofixbikes New Member

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    I just got on this forum and the first post I see is about WD40 on a bike chain! I don't want to start on a bad foot, but it's about the worst stuff you can use on a bike chain. WD40 is great to coat against rust, but it is no lubricant. WD40 will actually strip lube from your chain. Me and many other mechanics have used automobile automatic transmission fluid to lube chains and I can vouch for the fact that it works great even during winter.

    For cleaning, I use lemon Pledge furniture polish. You spray and wipe off the crud and then buff the surface with a clean cotton rag. It will bring back the finish and smell nice too. This I got from an article in Bicycling years ago and I've been using it ever since. Keep away from the drivetrain as the lemon will remove any and all lubricants.

    Again, I don't want to start anything here, just my .02

    Gerry :)
     
  5. CTD50

    CTD50 DX's Biggest Member

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    howto, welcome -- but you do need to slow your roll a bit; nobody was talking about using WD-40 as a lube, rather as a cleaner for a dirty drivetrain.

    The so-called 'experts' say to use Simple Green to clean, rinse and let dry, and use lube of choice. We ALL pretty much look for shortcuts.

    Where I work, we have access to a stainless steel cleaner/polish in a spray can; it's got multiple uses in my particular job, other than what was intended. One such is a combo cleaner/lube for my chain. Using it about 2x/week works pretty well.

    Giant's Liquid Silk lube is one of the best I've ever seen, much less used; cleaning is a rarity with that good stuff!
     
  6. gatorguy

    gatorguy New Member

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    I use the Park chain cleaner with Zip citrus cleaner and it works great. I run it through the cleaning brushes thirty full chain revolutions and then wipe it off with rags. I wait for a few minutes (usually while doing another bike chain) and wipe it again and then apply lube. I do this once a month unless it's been wet.
     
  7. gatorguy

    gatorguy New Member

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    I use Zep citrus degreaser in the Park Tool Chain Cleaner and it works great. I run the chain through the brushes for 30 revolutions and wipe it off. Then I let it sit while I do another bike or two at which time I wipe it again and then oil. I do this once a month unless the drive train gets wet in which case I do it immediately when I get home.

    ZEP Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser, 128 Oz., Case of 4 - ZUCIT128 at The Home Depot
     
  8. howtofixbikes

    howtofixbikes New Member

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    The degreasing qualities of citrus products still amazes me.
     
  9. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    WD40 is still bad. Any trace is going to eat lubricants.

    I heard Pledge is good for muddy MTB ridiing, as it prevents sticking. Or maybe that was Pam?
     
  10. howtofixbikes

    howtofixbikes New Member

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    Pledge does leave a coat of wax that makes it hard for mud to stink well on the frame. Makes for an even easier clean up in my experience.
     
  11. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    I learned a trick from my uncle for cleaning a chain. It requires removing the chain from the bike. He said remove it from the bike and place it in a container with a lid, he uses an old gatorade powder container. Pour some white gas in there and put the lid on and shake it real well. Then go to work cleaning the rest of your bike. Every so often shake the container. After a while and a few shakes remove the chain and wipe it down. Let it set for a bit the white gas will evaporate and leave your chain clean and ready for lube. When you put the chain back on lube it with your lube of choice.

    One advantage of this type of cleaning is that the cleaner is given a chance to dissolve any old lube and with that it also takes any minuscule contaminants away with it. The advantage of using white gas is that it evaporates completely. Citrus cleaners can leave a residue that continues to break down any new lube you put on it. The white gas evaporates and leaves you with a clean naked chain ready for fresh lube.
     
  12. howtofixbikes

    howtofixbikes New Member

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    Grape, this sounds great. I will definitely try this over the Winter on my first rebuild. Just to be clear, white gas is the stuff for camping stoves like a Coleman right?
     
  13. ruggedscotsman

    ruggedscotsman hardtail hardass

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    WD40 is a blend of petroleum based solvents(about 50%), mineral and natural oils(about 25%) and CO2 for propellant(about 25%.) Yes, it will dissolve grease and oils very, which is why it works so well as a cleaner. If you do not wipe the chain down afterwards, you are right, the remaining wd40 will thin/dissolve any synthetic or dry lube you apply to the chain. However when properly wiped down, the chain can be re-lubed with an oil based lube no problem. It does not harm the chain. WD40 was originally designed to repel water and prevent corrosion. That said, excessive use of wd40 will remove grease and oils that prevent wear on moving parts. I usually spray a cloth which i use to wipe the chain.
     
  14. stdu007

    stdu007 New Member

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    on my side i clean my chain in hot oil ... and wipe it after .... so this way the chain is cleaned and well lube ... :thumbsup:
     
  15. 47Steve

    47Steve New Member

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    Ever try aerosol motorcycle chain wax? The dirt bikers swear by it. Once you get the oil off your chain and get it waxed, no more dirt sticks!
     
  16. gatorguy

    gatorguy New Member

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    How long does it last?
     
  17. 47Steve

    47Steve New Member

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    I reapply when the chain starts to get noisy. I'd say every 200-300 miles.
     
  18. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    Hot Oil? Clarify please. I'm looking into these.
     
  19. hophead

    hophead New Member Tavern Member

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    Over the years, I've use many different methods and solvents to clean my chain & drivetrain. Since I switched over to Rock & Roll lube, chain cleaning has pretty much become a thing of the past. It cleans and lubes the chain and actually helps prevent dirt and grime from adhering to it.

    Here is my bike after a recent kinda muddy ride. Notice how clean the chain is:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. hophead

    hophead New Member Tavern Member

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    As for WD40

    I would not recommend using WD40 on bicycle chains and here's why.....

    WD40 will work to clean a chain, but was designed to displace moisture and is quite good at it. WD40 is very persistent and will remain in the nooks and crannies of your chain which is not what you want. Since it is also a solvent, it will do it's work on the newly applied chain lube just like it did on the old stuff.

    To clean an old nasty chain, use one of the many products out there designed specifically for that purpose. A chain cleaning tool like the Park CM-5 is nice to have too. Use it with soapy water or a citrus based cleaner.

    Seriously, if you switch over to R&R lube, your days of greasy, grimy, cruddy, chains will be over. The stuff really works!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009