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  1. #1
    Do it for Deegan
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    How do YOU clean your bike chain without a chain cleaner device???

    Im not asking for advice i just want to know eveybody elses technique. I got lazy and put a solid 100 miles on my new bike before i cleaned my chain to relube it. I put a thin coat of wd40 on it then sprayed it off. Then hit it with the air compresor and put some gt85 on it. It wasnt how i wanted to clean it and not how i want to continue to clean it because when i was done it did not feel as clean as it could or should be so for a permenent teqnique i want a list to choose from. So throw em at me. How do you clean your chain? Once again im not asking for a lube to use. Stricly the cleaning portion and this is for people WHO DONT USE A BICYCLE CHAIN CLEANING TOOL\DEVICE.

  2. #2
    Bro
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    Keep it simple. Run some lube over the rollers, hold the bottle next to the derailleur and backpedal -- I like Boeshield or Rock'N'Roll. Backpedal. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then backpedal again with the chain running through a clean cloth, until I can touch the chain without getting any gunk on my finger.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

  3. #3
    local trails rider
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    Mainly what Bro said ^^^^.
    ...or if the chain is really gunky and in need of a total thorough cleanup, remove the chain (quick link, or something similar), soak and shake in degreaser, get rid of the degreaser, soak in lube, remove as much lube from the exterior surfaces as you can, and reinstall the chain.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  4. #4
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    Re: How do YOU clean your bike chain without a chain cleaner device???

    I scrub mine with a bushy brush when I wash the bike, which is frequent. I scrub the chain and cassette while back spinning the cranks.

    A little lube once dry and i'm gtg.

    A deep cleaning is a solvent dip, cleaning then lube.

    Ch

    Sent using XT912 M

  5. #5
    High Desert MTBer
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    All of the above... I hose it off first, maybe give it a stiff brush if needed, run it thru a microfiber cloth, hit it with the compressor to dry it out well, then hold the Teflon dry lube to the links as I run them past the nozzle. Finally I wipe with the cloth to get surplus off.

    I have a cleaning device, so sometimes I will use that when really gunky, or I will remove the chain to clean better. Powerlinks are so good for chain maintenance, makes everything so much easier.
    It's all Here. Now.

  6. #6
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    Simple green and a grudge brush. I spray down the drive terrain with simple green let set for a minute or so then scrub with grudge brush. If it is no too bad I just add more lube and wipe clean.
    2014 Niner RIP 9
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  7. #7
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    -Orange Citrus Degreaser
    -Nylon "wire" brush
    -Plastic solo knife

    1) Spray down the entire drive train (cassette, derailleur, crankset) using Citrus Degreaser, let sit for 5 minutes.

    2) Re-spray drive train with citrus degreaser

    3) Scrub the entire drive train, including chain.

    4) Using plastic knife, remove gunk from rear derailleur.

    5) Apply small amount degreaser one more time

    6) Dry out drive train, making sure chain leaves no residue behind

    7) Apply lube of choice,.

    I recently did buy a chain cleaner device....which I do after the steps above....

  8. #8
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    I washed mine first. Sprayed some WD40 on the chain and brushed it with a used soft used toothbrush and wiped it with a cotton rag until it all the excess degreaser and gunk are gone. I let it be for a full night and then lube it afterwards.

  9. #9
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    I try and keep it simple. Use alot of lube and wipe off the excess. If it's real dirty i'll do that a few times. If it's dirty enough that I would need a brush, I'll take it off instead and soak and swish in seafoam or some other degreaser/cleaner. Then wipe clean, let dry overnight and lube. I'm always amazed at how much stuff comes off the chain from a soaking, even when I thought it was pretty clean.
    A chain wear measuring tool is good to have. If I go throu the trouble of taking off the chain to clean it, I will put a new one on even if it shows minimal wear, just because a new chain is like 20-30 bucks and will help keep the rest of the drivtrain from wearing. It's also a good idea to have 2 chains, keep one cleaned and pickled in some fresh oil, ready to go.
    If you ride dusty a wax is prolly better.
    Round and round we go

  10. #10
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    For extreme cleaning/de-rusting I soak in PB Blaster. It's basically just a stronger, more effective wd-40. This gets all the crap off. Rust has only been an issue for my commuter due to salt on roads. I'll use a scrubpad and old toothbrush for elbow grease. I remove all I can with old rags then lube with wax based lube when back on the the gears. I also just ride SS, and don't honestly keep up as much as I should

  11. #11
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    Use a dry lube like finishline ceramic & you won't have to spend much time cleaning. Doesn't last as long, but keeps your chain cleaner.
    Check out my You Tube Channel

  12. #12
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    Most of the time I simply wipe my chain off with a rag after every couple of rides and re-lube as necessary. That usually keeps it pretty clean, but if I need to clean it a little better I just spray some isopropyl alcohol on the rag and repeat the above process.

  13. #13
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    I switched to paraffin. I'm using a small crockpot (1qt, new on Amazon for $16, or you could borrow it from your wife), a pound of Gulf Wax ($6 in the canning section). Start with a clean, dry chain. Put the wax in the crockpot, plug it in, find something else to do for 2-3 hours while the wax melts. Place the chain the the hot wax, find something else to do for 15 to 20 minutes. This is a good time to bend an old spoke into a little hook. Use the hook to retrieve the chain, unplug the crockpot, and hang the chain above the crockpot for 5 minutes to cool and drip. Put the crockpot away, re-install the chain.

    I have about 100 miles of dusty, dry western Colorado and Utah dust and the chain is silent. The dirt wipes off with a dry cloth. No black chain smear on leg, clothing, dog, car, etc. When the chain gets squeaky, plug in the crockpot and repeat.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stockli Boy View Post
    I switched to paraffin. I'm using a small crockpot (1qt, new on Amazon for $16, or you could borrow it from your wife), a pound of Gulf Wax ($6 in the canning section). Start with a clean, dry chain. Put the wax in the crockpot, plug it in, find something else to do for 2-3 hours while the wax melts. Place the chain the the hot wax, find something else to do for 15 to 20 minutes. This is a good time to bend an old spoke into a little hook. Use the hook to retrieve the chain, unplug the crockpot, and hang the chain above the crockpot for 5 minutes to cool and drip. Put the crockpot away, re-install the chain.

    I have about 100 miles of dusty, dry western Colorado and Utah dust and the chain is silent. The dirt wipes off with a dry cloth. No black chain smear on leg, clothing, dog, car, etc. When the chain gets squeaky, plug in the crockpot and repeat.
    Wait what? Can you make a Youtube video?

  15. #15
    High Desert MTBer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stockli Boy View Post
    I switched to paraffin. I'm using a small crockpot (1qt, new on Amazon for $16, or you could borrow it from your wife), a pound of Gulf Wax ($6 in the canning section). Start with a clean, dry chain. Put the wax in the crockpot, plug it in, find something else to do for 2-3 hours while the wax melts. Place the chain the the hot wax, find something else to do for 15 to 20 minutes. This is a good time to bend an old spoke into a little hook. Use the hook to retrieve the chain, unplug the crockpot, and hang the chain above the crockpot for 5 minutes to cool and drip. Put the crockpot away, re-install the chain.

    I have about 100 miles of dusty, dry western Colorado and Utah dust and the chain is silent. The dirt wipes off with a dry cloth. No black chain smear on leg, clothing, dog, car, etc. When the chain gets squeaky, plug in the crockpot and repeat.
    Seems a little messy and complicated! How about Castrol chain wax if you want silent? You mentioned paraffin, where does that come in?
    It's all Here. Now.

  16. #16
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    I use several methods depending on how dirty it is (how much mud mostly) and how much time I have. All of them involve removing the chain as I don't like the mess it creates on the rest of the bike AND I don't want to risk getting stuff on my brake rotor. I'll go quickest to most thorough. So with chain removed (I use some sort of removable link like SRAM).

    1) On trips where I need quick cleaning I'll hang chain vertically using twist tie or wire or what ever I find lying around. I'll spray it through with carb/choke or brake cleaner. Either one has higher pressure with hose you can direct and clean the chain out. I use a paper towel so I don't spray people or stuff around. Bonus is the stuff dries pretty quick with no residue. I either let dry (usually pretty quick) or use compressed air to blow out the stuff and then apply the lube.

    2) Get a sealable plastic or glass jar or container that'll the chain will fin into. Fill with Kerosene or what ever suitable cleaning solvent you want. Add chain, seal tight and shake it around. After shaking for a while, most all stuff will come off. If you want to clean further, you can empty the contents into a 9x9 (or what ever) cake pan and brush clean more. Hang chain to dry or blow out with air and lube. If you have two jars, you can put the solvent back into the jar and let it sit for a day or two. All the debris will settle to the bottom, carefully pour into another jar and you've got nice clean stuff for the next go around.

    3) Do initial cleaning with #2 above and then put into an ultra-sonic cleaner. This will get ALL the stuff out. I use alcohol for the final cleaning as it evaporates nicely when done with no film will be ready to lube real quick.

    Good luck with that.

  17. #17
    human dehumidifier
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    You can make a pretty good cleaning brush by taping two toothbrushes together, bristles facing in.
    But if you close your eyes it becomes so easy to see

  18. #18
    EMBA Member
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    I spray a bunch of Simple Green on a shop rag and then run the chain through the wetted section of rag. Repeat as necessary until chain is clean. Let dry a little, apply lube to chain and wipe off excess. Easy, quick and effective.

  19. #19
    High Desert MTBer
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob View Post
    You can make a pretty good cleaning brush by taping two toothbrushes together, bristles facing in.
    Ah! But then that becomes a 'device'! Not allowed!!!
    It's all Here. Now.

  20. #20
    dru
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    If I'm not washing the bike I use a fine wire brush on the chain and sprockets, while spinning the cranks madly with the other hand. If I'm washing then I use a nylon brush with lots of dish soap.

    Obviously, relube when finished.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  21. #21

  22. #22
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    Rag and lube or if I feel ambitious, citrus degreaser and water and rag and lube. But seriously it doesn't matter that much. I occasionally ride with a retired cat 1 racer whose chain is normally filthy. Evidently the additional friction does not slow him down much.

  23. #23
    I eat cats
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    I keep old t-shirts in my garage to use as chain wipes after every ride. I just run the chain through it by hand cranking the chain in reverse while my bike is still on my hitch rack until it looks clean. When it is time to re-lube I wipe, lube, wipe until no excess lube. I also keep old tooth brushes around and have another stiffer bristled brush to clean the chain/cassette/etc.

    wv_bob... I am stealing that "device" idea since I already have so many toothbrushes in my cabinet. Good one!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    Rag and lube .
    this^^ +1

  25. #25
    PRETENDURO
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    Quote Originally Posted by RipRoar View Post
    this^^ +1
    Yep, same here. Unless the the chain sees constant river crossings and dunkings into silty/clay mud bogs, the rag and lube wipedown method works great.
    QUOTE from MTBR.COM: You have given Brewtality too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.

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