My new post ride chain cleaning strategy

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james_h
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My new post ride chain cleaning strategy

Postby james_h » 29 Nov 2008, 6:17pm

I've been thinking about cleaning chains. Often, particularly this time off year, when I get back from a ride the chain is full of fine gritty stuff - when you wiggle the chain from side to side you can hear it grinding away.

Up till now I've just been trying to blast it out with GT-85 and displace the water at the same time. But this isn't working very well, and my chains are suffering, partly because they're being left half wet, and partly because they are being left with grit still in the rollers.

I've read "Mick F's patented chain cleaning method" which I've tried using "gunk" engine degreaser (basically taking the chain off the bike, chucking the chain in a bottle, and shaking it for a couple of minutes). But I've found doing this with gunk too severe - I don't really want to strip out the grease deep in the rollers (have a look at Sheldon Brown's thoughts on this). I just want to flush out the grit.

So I'm trying a variation on a theme. I'm now whipping off the chain, and putting it in a small lunchbox type tupperware type container, and cleaning it using the tap in the house using soapy water and giving it a shake (i.e. like Mick F's method).

Now here's the ingenious bit.. I put the chain on the radiator to dry!

Time will tell if I can be bothered to do this when I get back late from a ride.. But I don't think it would take too long. And at least I have transferred the cleaning from the cold and wet outside to the nice and warm inside.. This does of course hinge on how understanding your other half is :-)

James

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UrbanManc
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Location: Manchester ( south)

Postby UrbanManc » 29 Nov 2008, 6:34pm

It's far too cold to do any cleaning ... unless you've got a heated garage :?

By the time you've bought the cleaning gear, spent time destroying tupperwear boxes , heating water .... you may as well buy a new chain on sale from the many bike websites for around £15 once ayear. :roll:

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AlanW
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Postby AlanW » 29 Nov 2008, 7:15pm

UrbanManc wrote:.... you may as well buy a new chain on sale from the many bike websites for around £15 once ayear. :roll:


Once a year.... :shock: I wish!

I need to replace the chain every two/three months on the 10sp. :x
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 29 Nov 2008, 7:37pm

AlanW wrote:
UrbanManc wrote:I need to replace the chain every two/three months on the 10sp. :x


That's the way it is. Cycling can be an expensive pastime.

Yonks back, when I was in the RN and commuting from up here in the hills down to Devonport, I rode 3, 4 or even 5 times a week the 17 miles each way in all sorts of weather. If the weather was fine on the way in, you could bet it wasn't on the way home! Consequently, I got through chains and cogs at quite a rate, so I completely understand the upset that a cleaning regime creates.

In those days, we received an allowance for travel to work, it was mainly aimed at the users of public transport or cars. There was also an allowance for bicycles!! People use to exclaim their displeasure that a cyclist could get PAID to ride to work! My response was always a list of mechanical replacements, wear and tear, calories consumed and a huge food bill etc. And I was fitter than them! I earned my allowance!

Any road up, keep your costs down by cleaning chains and sprockets as often as it needs to be done. Your bike will love you for it, and so will your pocket.
Mick F. Cornwall

rogerzilla
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Postby rogerzilla » 29 Nov 2008, 7:48pm

My technique:

- remove chain
- marinade then shake in jar of white spirit (actually white spirit with a fair bit of oil from previous cleanings, and I occasionally filter the grit out)
- remove and put in bucket of VERY HOT water with some washing powder, and agitate violently for a few minutes.
- rinse under cold tap
- dry in the oven for about 10 minutes at 75 deg C

james_h
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Joined: 8 Jan 2007, 11:05pm

Postby james_h » 30 Nov 2008, 1:45am

By the time you've bought the cleaning gear, spent time destroying tupperwear boxes , heating water .... you may as well buy a new chain on sale from the many bike websites for around £15 once ayear.


Yes, but even if I stick with my original routine of the GT-85 spray, I'm still going through drive chains like nobody's business (if I could get a year out of a chain, I'd consider that good going.)

And I've found that trying to replace just the chain and not the cassette/rings doesn't work. So I'm looking at £100 to replace the lot.. And I've got a few bikes too, so I need to eek as much life out of as I can.

Although it would it interesting to see how a drive train would last if you did nothing but slap a bit of lube on it every now and then. For the riding I do, I think it would be a month or two.

I'm coming from a mountain bike perspective here, but my road bike seems to be picking a considerable amount of crud on the chain too.

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UrbanManc
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Location: Manchester ( south)

Postby UrbanManc » 30 Nov 2008, 11:04am

james_h wrote:
By the time you've bought the cleaning gear, spent time destroying tupperwear boxes , heating water .... you may as well buy a new chain on sale from the many bike websites for around £15 once ayear.


Yes, but even if I stick with my original routine of the GT-85 spray, I'm still going through drive chains like nobody's business (if I could get a year out of a chain, I'd consider that good going.)

.


When I was a kid the same chain lasted for the time I had the bike, even my specialised hardrock pro has had the same chain for 3yrs (granted I didn't use it everyday)and is still going strong.

I suppose it's down to level of performance you want, but for most (like me) if it gets me round my commute without squeeking then thats fine. :roll:

james_h
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Joined: 8 Jan 2007, 11:05pm

Re: My new post ride chain cleaning strategy

Postby james_h » 11 Mar 2009, 11:23pm

Just an update - I'm still doing this routine and it's working great.

It occurred to me that if I'm taking the chain on and off all the time (using a powerlink) then I may as well use a couple of chains and alternate them, so I'm doing that now too. :idea:

(This is only on my mountain bike which I ride in wet mud (which includes the summer...))

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Mick F
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Re: My new post ride chain cleaning strategy

Postby Mick F » 12 Mar 2009, 7:40am

I have two chains too - one on, and one in the wash!
Mick F. Cornwall