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  1. #1
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    Derailleur cleaning - an Arizona specific question (sort of)...

    I have a quick question on the cleaning of mtb derailleurs here in Arizona. I am new to the area (PHX) and to mountain biking after having lived in much colder and wetter climates most of my life where I have commuted on a bike for decades. I am used to cleaning all sorts of crud off the RD but this fine dust is new to me.

    I have noticed that the rear derailleur is getting a little sluggish in responding to shifts and it is quite dusty. I have asked a few people around here and gotten responses raging from "no lubricant - just brush off the dust" to oiling it up well with things such as Tri Flow or chain lube.

    Any suggestions for the newcomer? I tried the search function but did not come up with much. Also checked with Zinn's bible which recommended lubrication.

    Thx much!

  2. #2
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    If anything I will use a little water to remove the dust. Check your cable housing to ensure the outer plastic (usually black) has not shrunk exposing the wires that can drag on the cable and make it hard to shift.

  3. #3
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    When I wipe down the chain with lube, I pinch a der wheel and spin, need to shift up to expose the the der wheels. I get the some crud off and presto.

  4. #4
    Let the bikes in!
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    Yeah, it's that easy!

    If the shifting is sluggish I might take a closer look at the housing/cable.

  5. #5
    SamuraiBunnyGuy
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    ^^ this
    i've yet to have a rock strike actually break my derailleur, but plenty of them have caused the cable to fray near the derailleur so badly that it turned the shifting to crap

  6. #6
    Black and Sticky
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    If you have a compressor, blow the der down with air. What Metal said about pinching the der wheels is a good idea too. I also use the age old bike maintenance trick of using the edge of a rag between each gear of the cassette. That cleans off a lot of crap that would otherwise be available to gunk up the der. Use simple green, 409, or some other mild degreaser on the edge of the rag.

    Bob
    "Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission." - Neil Kendall

  7. #7
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    I keep an old toothbrush around for cleaning the gears out. Seems to work well
    "This fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream" - 311

  8. #8
    Give it a crank
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    After every ride, first wipe the chain clean with a rag. Then use a Park Tool GSC-1 GearClean Brush on the entire drivetrain.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    After every ride, first wipe the chain clean with a rag. Then use a Park Tool GSC-1 GearClean Brush on the entire drivetrain.

    I use the same tool, , but I only do it every other or third ride. I oil my chain after cleaning, and run it through a rag just before my next ride to let the oil get to where it needs to get.
    I think I'm not as good as I thought.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurious Oranj View Post
    I have a quick question on the cleaning of mtb derailleurs here in Arizona. I am new to the area (PHX) and to mountain biking after having lived in much colder and wetter climates most of my life where I have commuted on a bike for decades. I am used to cleaning all sorts of crud off the RD but this fine dust is new to me.

    I have noticed that the rear derailleur is getting a little sluggish in responding to shifts and it is quite dusty. I have asked a few people around here and gotten responses raging from "no lubricant - just brush off the dust" to oiling it up well with things such as Tri Flow or chain lube.

    Any suggestions for the newcomer? I tried the search function but did not come up with much. Also checked with Zinn's bible which recommended lubrication.

    Thx much!
    This is why dog invented single seeds
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  11. #11
    Meatbomb
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    lube every 3rd ride

  12. #12
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    For the derailleur and most of the rest of the bike I use a $2.50/32oz spray bottle of citrus degreaser from Home Depot every few rides. Just spray it on, let soak a minute or two then rinse off with water. Chain and gears require a little brushing.

  13. #13
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    I don't clean my bike, I just wait until something breaks. New parts are clean. For those that do, I recommend never using water. A little brake cleaner (non-clorinated and make sure it doesn't get on some painted wheels) on the derailluer pivots, followed by some compressed air to blow it dry and out of pivot points. Then dribble a lube of your choice- WD40 is not lube- into the pivot points and wipe the excess. I prefer chain lube, because it is what I have handy all the time and brake cleaner because you should also spray and wipe brake discs or rim brake surfaces after the whole cleaning process. Any old lube or dirt on those will cause squeals and decreased performance.
    Find a ride on FB> AZ MTB

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  14. #14
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    Thanks guys! I have been known to overthink things. Need to check those cables. Too old to convert to single speed...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurious Oranj View Post
    Thanks guys! I have been known to overthink things. Need to check those cables. Too old to convert to single speed...
    Why would anyone convert to single speed when it's much more fun to enjoy riding your bike?

    Yeah I over think things too much as well. Like when I moved here, I didn't know what chain lube to run. The kinds I used out east cake on the dust here.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  16. #16
    No Clue Crew
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem View Post
    I don't clean my bike, I just wait until something breaks.
    THIS. I don't think I've had a derailleur last more than 6 months. They don't get dirty enough to worry about in that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by tysonnemb View Post
    Why would anyone convert to single speed when it's much more fun to enjoy riding your bike?
    Word. Every time I think I may want to try it I stick my bike in a gear and try to leave it there. Have yet to make it 10 minutes in one gear. Making the task at hand HARDER is never a good idea. Nor fun.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurious Oranj View Post
    I have a quick question on the cleaning of mtb derailleurs here in Arizona. I am new to the area (PHX) and to mountain biking after having lived in much colder and wetter climates most of my life where I have commuted on a bike for decades. I am used to cleaning all sorts of crud off the RD but this fine dust is new to me.

    I have noticed that the rear derailleur is getting a little sluggish in responding to shifts and it is quite dusty. I have asked a few people around here and gotten responses raging from "no lubricant - just brush off the dust" to oiling it up well with things such as Tri Flow or chain lube.

    Any suggestions for the newcomer? I tried the search function but did not come up with much. Also checked with Zinn's bible which recommended lubrication.

    Thx much!
    "DuPont Teflon Chain Saver" I have found is the best drive-train (chain/derailleurs) lube for the dusty dry conditions here in AZ.

    Its a dry wax formula and does not collect much dust/grim and lasts a while (lube chain about every 3 rides and hit derailleur every now and then).

    For me it has done a great job of keeping dust/grim down to a minimum and extending life of drive-train components.

    Tri-Flow is a nightmare here and so are other oil based lubes.

  18. #18
    My other ride is your mom
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    "DuPont Teflon Chain Saver" I have found is the best drive-train (chain/derailleurs) lube for the dusty dry conditions here in AZ.

    Its a dry wax formula and does not collect much dust/grim and lasts a while (lube chain about every 3 rides and hit derailleur every now and then).

    For me it has done a great job of keeping dust/grim down to a minimum and extending life of drive-train components.

    Tri-Flow is a nightmare here and so are other oil based lubes.
    I agree a little, and disagree a little: If you don't ride much, then wax lubes are great....but get messy over the long haul and create crazy gunk buildup on parts. If you ride a lot, you need to switch to an oil based lube like Dumond Tech Lite, otherwise your lube won't last the ride....think bikepacking or endurance rides.

    Of course YMMV....bit I find your mileage dictates how and when you need to lube....just food for thought.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    I agree a little, and disagree a little: If you don't ride much, then wax lubes are great....but get messy over the long haul and create crazy gunk buildup on parts. If you ride a lot, you need to switch to an oil based lube like Dumond Tech Lite, otherwise your lube won't last the ride....think bikepacking or endurance rides.

    Of course YMMV....bit I find your mileage dictates how and when you need to lube....just food for thought.
    I agree a little, and disagree a lot .

    I agree wax based and dry lubes don't last as long and have used some brands that would barely last a ride.

    But the Dupont Chain Saver I having been using for a little over a year now is working great for me. I am getting about 30 to 50 miles before I have to re-lube my chain and there is very little buildup with it. Its also fairly cheap and can pick up at Lowes and other hardware stores.

  20. #20
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    I am with Maad on the Dumonde Tech Lite. Been using it for about four years now on geared and SS bikes. I like it because it cleans off easily.
    Find a ride on FB> AZ MTB

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  21. #21
    I love bike!
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    I must have got the wrong Dumonde Tech as mine is blue which looks like is the 'original formula'. That stuff doesn't seem to get any less gunky than others I've used and I've not experienced any other noticeable benefits. Guess I didn't think the 'light' version was right since it says it's recommended for road bikes. If anyone has experience using both...Is there a noticeable difference b/w the two?

  22. #22
    My other ride is your mom
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    Dave...I used the blue dumonde once...it's a lot heavier and far too gunky for my preferences. I think it would be a better lube choice for wet environments. The lite stuff works for about 70 or so dry miles for me before the chain gets squeaky again.

    Added bonus....it smells like pina colada....

  23. #23
    I love bike!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    Added bonus....it smells like pina colada....
    Well...I guess I just can't go wrong then. At least if the lube doesn't work I can then use it as an air freshener. SCORE!!!

  24. #24
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    I love my Squirt.

  25. #25
    No Clue Crew
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    I've yet to meet a "wet" lube I didn't hate. They all collect dirt like white trash collects tattoos. I used to use Triflow because it's a great lube for many things. But not bikes that are dirt magnets. I currently use Finish Line Dry and I'm perfectly happy with it. If I had to relube after every two rides I'd be pissed. That's a worthless lube IMO. I don't want to do more maintenance on my bike. I don't want to do ANY maintenance on my bike.

    But that's just the opinion of a lazy guy who just wants to ride and not worry about how many miles I have on my lube job. TiFWiW...

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