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  1. #1
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    Chain cleaning tools?

    I know this has been asked here before, but I couldn't find anything, Please forgive the redundant question if this is a frequent post.

    Is there a real need for the chain cleaning tools such as Park Tools - Chain Gang or can a guy clean the drive train well enough with say... tooth brushes and a good chain lub?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    ...idios...
    Reputation: SteveUK's Avatar
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    In my opinion, the best chain cleaning 'tool' is a SRAM Powerlink. They'll fit any brand of chain and allow you to 'break' and close your chain without tools and/or replacement pins.
    You can then remove the chain from the drivetrain and clean it using a good solvent, rinse and dry it. Almost all lubes are most effective when applied to a clean, dry chain.
    There's a more detailed description of my personal method as part of the maintenance guide linked in my signature below. I'm aware that cleaning/lubing of a chain is akin to a religious experience for some folk, so I'm confident you'll get plenty of replies with the 'best' way to do it.

    Good dirt.
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    What luck for rulers, that men do not think - Adolf Hitler

  3. #3
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    I agree with SteveUK. I used to use the chain cleaners on the bike. Park Tools ect... The problem that I notice with these types of devises is you also lube the chain on the bike. This creates a sludge on your cogs, chain rings and jockey wheels that you have to remove more regularly. Even if you think you have dried it thoroughly. If you remove the chain to clean and lube it is a lot easier to access the rings and there is a lot less buildup. If you don’t already have a power link attached to your chain you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

  4. #4
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    I had a hunch this was the case. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    I use this

    SRAM Powerlink, an Ultrasonic Cleaner, some citrus degreaser (watered down) = clean chain
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=93035

  6. #6
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    Yesterday I had to clean two chains, which I just did by mixing citrus degreaser with water in a tub. When you look at how much gunk and crap comes off the chain, and how much required some kind of friction to remove that gunk, I'm not sure I'd want to be cleaning a chain while it's still on the drive train since any dirt/grease will just get collected in the dérailleur, cassette and cogs.

    But a toothbrush, with the chain soaked/lightly shaken in a tub first, will do the job nicely. Replace chain, add lube, remove lube. All good

  7. #7
    willtsmith_nwi
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    Quote Originally Posted by akashra
    Yesterday I had to clean two chains, which I just did by mixing citrus degreaser with water in a tub. When you look at how much gunk and crap comes off the chain, and how much required some kind of friction to remove that gunk, I'm not sure I'd want to be cleaning a chain while it's still on the drive train since any dirt/grease will just get collected in the dérailleur, cassette and cogs.

    But a toothbrush, with the chain soaked/lightly shaken in a tub first, will do the job nicely. Replace chain, add lube, remove lube. All good
    I don't think you'll find any tooth brush that does the job as effectively as the roller brushes on a chain cleaning tool.

    The bottom line for it is that you have to get all the grit out. That's what causes premature chain wear.

  8. #8
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    I have been using a chain cleaning tool twice a week to keep the chain reasonably clean on my various bikes. I noticed that there are a few models of chain cleaner, but the ones where the series of scrubbing wheels spin in the opposite direction of the main drive mechanism has provided me the best results. It is good for getting that first layer of gunk off the chain. Smaller particles of gunk may need you to soak it (and the SRAM powerlinks or Connex Wipperman quick release link is very handy here), or take to it with a brush, but the opposite direction thingy that I mention gets a majority of the crap off. The right mechanism works - and it works with ordinary detergent. I had a crappy chain cleaner once, and it meant having to step it up in the chemical solver department.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by capnstem
    I have been using a chain cleaning tool twice a week to keep the chain reasonably clean on my various bikes. I noticed that there are a few models of chain cleaner, but the ones where the series of scrubbing wheels spin in the opposite direction of the main drive mechanism has provided me the best results. It is good for getting that first layer of gunk off the chain. Smaller particles of gunk may need you to soak it (and the SRAM powerlinks or Connex Wipperman quick release link is very handy here), or take to it with a brush, but the opposite direction thingy that I mention gets a majority of the crap off. The right mechanism works - and it works with ordinary detergent. I had a crappy chain cleaner once, and it meant having to step it up in the chemical solver department.
    Have you had any experience with the Spin Doctor brand sold at Performance? If I remember correctly, it does have all the scubbing wheel at a nice price

  10. #10
    Do It Yourself
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    Tools? I use SRAM chains with PowerLink and clean in jar with mineral spirits. Works great. I use Newman's Own spaghetti sauce jars.
    Long Live Long Rides

  11. #11
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    I have been experimenting, and the one thing I have concluded is chains get extremely dirty and need a lot of cleaning.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GF_TASS
    Have you had any experience with the Spin Doctor brand sold at Performance? If I remember correctly, it does have all the scubbing wheel at a nice price
    Nope - but I find that squeegee pads are useless. Most of the chain cleaners I have used have a cheap foam for a squeegee pad. Cheap foam with a chain full of solvent = problems. The foam gets destroyed by the chain (which is like a rasp on the foam), and bits of it end up everywhere. I usually remove the things and use rags to wipe down the chain. A biodegradable laundry detergent gets most of the crap off, and it doesn't concern me if dirty water and stuff goes everywhere. I keep the citrus degreaser for new chains (to get rid of that waxy stuff) and chains that have been thru mega muddy trails.

  13. #13
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    I used to take my chain off and leave it soak in solvent overnight, then take a toothbrush to it the next day- very messy job. I recently bought the Park tool and it's a great relief. Chain seems as clean or cleaner than the solvent bath approach, and takes much less effort. Plus it's much less messy job. That's nonsence about the solvent getting everywhere- you need to clean your cogs & jockies anyway. I just brush them with more solvent after I clean the chain. I use a water washable degreaser so I hose everything in water and then lube.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all your input everyone.

    It sounds like both the SRAM Powerlink and chain cleaning tool are a good idea. The SRAM Powerlink is cheep enough and I like the ability to remove the chain for easy cleaning of cogs, etc. The Chain cleaning tool also sounds like a great product if I don't feel like or have the time to fuss with soaking and cleaning the chain manually. I'll be going with both.

  15. #15
    2 miles & my butt hurts!
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    I didn't realize this was so important. I have never cleaned or lubed my chain. I ride almost everyday. My bike is 7 years old and still works great. I guess I'll go buy a cleaner kit this weekend. Watch, I'll clean it and then I'll have nothing but trouble with the bike.

  16. #16
    go chase the sunset
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    Stairs in your house?

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