foxychick wrote:What is the best gear to be in when using one of these? I have 8 cogs at the rear and 3 chainrings at the front. According to the kmc website you should never use a degreaser or chain bath as it may damage the chain and make it prone to breaking, anyone had this happen to them or thoughts on this issue? Thank you in advance for any replies.
Usually is best to keep the chain with little tension, like when in the small ring and small sprockets; in you case the middle ring and one of the smallest sprockets will be the best choice, because of leaving enough space between the lower branch of the chain (that's where the chain-cleaner is attached) and the chainstay of the frame.
What KMC says is nonsense, one has to be completely clumsy and making things very wrong to get a chain "prone to break" just because of degreasing. According to the number of commuters -3 out of 5- that I see with a squeaky chain in London, there should be hundreds of cyclists pushing their bikes with a broken chain!
Truth is, the most important part is not only to remove the grease, but to expel it completely and o correctly lubricate the chain after.
I have been using a few of those "chain-cleaning" devices, some can be a bit messy and some are not.
All do require a flush and purge of the chain from the grub anyway, and all are recommended if you cannot/don't want remove the chain. I.e. the use of a "quick-link" allows you to use a common tray or bottle with degreaser and brush, which takes longer and needs a lot more solvent, but will allow you to clean the chain only without spilling degreaser near the bottom bracket or the freehub (the degreaser can leak in and damage the lubrication of those parts), plus you can flush the chain with a high-pressure hose.
I can use dedicated facilities, so a good chain device like the Muc-Off that uses only 30ml (!) of degreaser to clean a chain does not make a mes around, and is easy to flush the dirt with water and a detergent. And because there's so little solvent used this means won't drip in the bottom bracket or rear hub. It takes only a couple of minutes to have the chain clean even inside the links, something that takes longer if using a brush by hand.
But whether you use a "chain-cleaner" or a tray+brush, the best results require to use an air gun with a compressor, to blast away the remaining dirt form inside the roller. This is the only way to make sure there's no dirt/grit in the area where the chain wears (pins and rollers), but will obviously need a space with enough ventilation and all the other common safety precautions.
Some mention ultrasonic cleaners. I am not keen on spending money in something like that, the cost will be more than what a few new chains will be; also is pretty slow and may not be very effective if compared to a simple tray with gasoline where the chain is left overnight, though is safer and usable indoors.