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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So today, I went out and got the chain cleaning kit. I cleaned it once with the degreaser, then i used a moist rag to get the degreaser off, then a dry rag. STILL black stuff coming off on my rag. Okay, So i did the process again, and Same thing, just not as dirty. Will it ever get to point where I would rub it with a rag and nothing shows up? Or is this normal and I have some kind of OCD.
 

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RoadBikeRider
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In my experience, no matter how clean the chain is, next time you ride, the "black stuff" will be back. I just lube and wipe till the chain looks nice and shiny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I didn't even ride and the "black stuff" was still there... The chain looks clean but not when its touched or wiped again.
 

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I just used a chain cleaner for the first time and was amazed at the dirt I used to never be able to get. Same thing though, never came completely clean. After oiling the chain if the links move like they did when new I am happy.
 

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SimonChik said:
Will it ever get to point where I would rub it with a rag and nothing shows up? Or is this normal and I have some kind of OCD.
The black stuff is lube containing the filth it picked up, as it is supposed to. If you don't get black (or greyish with some lubes) stuff, it means the lube isn't working, or there is no lube at all.
 

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Adventure Seeker
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I put my chain in a jar with mineral spirits and oil and shake. It comes out very clean.
 

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Diesel Engine
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'Clean enough' is how clean the chain should be.

Wipe it with a rag after every ride or two to get the bulk of the grit and grime off of it, don't overlube it and let the lube settle on the inside of the chain and the solvents evaporate from the outside and wipe it one more time before the first ride after lubing it.
 

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A truly clean chain is a lie. I once removed my chain frequently and immersed it in a hot paraffin bath until I realized my chains were wearing out much faster than they should because there was NO lube in the rollers. So I went back to Phil. Then I tried Triflow. It was OK but washed off much too quickly. Then I tried paraffin ver. 2.0 - wax lubes (White Litenin, Ice Wax, etc.) and quickly realized they were too similar to using straight paraffin with the added problem of build-up. At that point I settled on Prolink for a while. I used it for a long time partly because all my rides were pretty short and I lived in the desert southwest so not much rain hit my bike. Once I started riding longer rides again, I decided I wanted a lube that stayed there. I went back to Phil for a while. Then I found ChainL. It was what I really was looking for in a lube for the last 25 years. It actually lubricates the chain, it stays there far longer than I ever expected anything to, and it actually sets up tacky and relatively dry (when applied correctly...) Sorry about the testimonial - I'm not usually into that sort of thing. But that's been my experience at home and in the shop.

So the moral of this little story is to worry less about how sparkly clean your chain is as long as your chain is well lubed and wiped free of excess dirt/lube before rides.

Bob
 

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Normal to have some and even new chains when wiped will leave marks on a rag. A super clean chain is time losing proposition. Wipe it down with your favorite lube and ride.
 

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Peanya said:
I put my chain in a jar with mineral spirits and oil and shake. It comes out very clean.

+1

I used to use kerosene.,,,After the kerosene was dirty, I'd repeat.

Soap and hot water works fine, also......Just make sure you dry and soak in clean kerosene before lubing again.
 

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sloping is for girls
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The best stuff I found at minimizing filth being picked up and thus keeping my chain looking clean is dupont multi-use dry wax lubricant. I use this lube on my motorcycle as well. It works very well...except when I get caught in the rain. 5 bucks a can at Lowes
 

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My normal regime is to use a removable connector and swish the chain in a container with mineral spirits, rinse with pressurized water, dry, and then lube. Chains should be clean before lubrication, otherwise residual dirt will mix with the lube and effectively create a grinding paste.

When I do use a non-removable chain connection, I usually wipe the chain clean with a rag, lube liberally with Prolink or homebrew, rinse with pressurized water, dry, lube.

I'm quite a chain cleaning freak, but I can't say my mileage is any better than they next guy's.
 

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No Crybabies
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grit

SimonChik said:
So today, I went out and got the chain cleaning kit. I cleaned it once with the degreaser, then i used a moist rag to get the degreaser off, then a dry rag. STILL black stuff coming off on my rag. Okay, So i did the process again, and Same thing, just not as dirty. Will it ever get to point where I would rub it with a rag and nothing shows up? Or is this normal and I have some kind of OCD.
I think the primary goal should be to get the grit out. Grit grinds away at the surfaces, destroying the chain. Appearance is secondary. Some lubes will blacken a chain, but it has nothing to do with being "dirty."

I prefer to pull the chain off and soak it, rather than an on the bike chain cleaner gizmo. Those on the bike gizmos can work, but then can make a mess of everything else as you run the chain around throwing dirty degreaser everywhere.
 

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Fixed said:
I think the primary goal should be to get the grit out. Grit grinds away at the surfaces, destroying the chain. Appearance is secondary. Some lubes will blacken a chain, but it has nothing to do with being "dirty."

I prefer to pull the chain off and soak it, rather than an on the bike chain cleaner gizmo. Those on the bike gizmos can work, but then can make a mess of everything else as you run the chain around throwing dirty degreaser everywhere.
The thing about soaking chains is that Shimano and most other quality chain mfrs recommend NOT to do this at all. Some, including Shimano, advocated it for a short while not long ago. But now they say it significantly shortens the life of the chain and we should only use the on-bike methods.

As for making a mess with the chain cleaning devices, you should probably turn the cranks a bit slower and put something like newspapers under your bike when cleaning the chain.

Bob
 

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Not really

Indyfan said:
The thing about soaking chains is that Shimano and most other quality chain mfrs recommend NOT to do this at all. Some, including Shimano, advocated it for a short while not long ago. But now they say it significantly shortens the life of the chain and we should only use the on-bike methods.

As for making a mess with the chain cleaning devices, you should probably turn the cranks a bit slower and put something like newspapers under your bike when cleaning the chain.
If you use a decent chain lube, it will easily penetrate the inner surfaces of the chain. If you clean your chain and don't properly lube it then that would be a problem. Using the standard ProLink/home brew application procedure, you get great chain life.
 

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Descender
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What Kerry says.

Further, my rule of thumb is that I apply Prolink - usually about 3 times. Usually after every - or every other ride. If the chain is still giving off black residue I repeat - if the chain is giving off opaque gray residue it is as clean as it is going to get with ProLInk
 

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Fixed said:
I think the primary goal should be to get the grit out. Grit grinds away at the surfaces, destroying the chain. Appearance is secondary. Some lubes will blacken a chain, but it has nothing to do with being "dirty."

I prefer to pull the chain off and soak it, rather than an on the bike chain cleaner gizmo. Those on the bike gizmos can work, but then can make a mess of everything else as you run the chain around throwing dirty degreaser everywhere.
How does this get the grit out of the chain? How do you know that you're not moving more grit deeper into the chain? Can you be sure you're getting all the solvent out of the rollers?

I've tried the soak method, shaking in a jar of solvent and the chain cleaner gizmos. Each method knocks the surface gunk off, but the grit deep in the chain remains. After you put your chain back on the bike and finish lubing it, try rolling the chain sideways between your fingers (rotating the side plates up and down).

When I do this, I can always feel and hear the grit in the chain and its usually worse after cleaning the chain than it was before. I've given up on solvent for the most part. Pro Link and a rag seems to do at least as well with a lot less hassle.
 

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arc123 said:
How does this get the grit out of the chain? How do you know that you're not moving more grit deeper into the chain? Can you be sure you're getting all the solvent out of the rollers?

I've tried the soak method, shaking in a jar of solvent and the chain cleaner gizmos. Each method knocks the surface gunk off, but the grit deep in the chain remains. After you put your chain back on the bike and finish lubing it, try rolling the chain sideways between your fingers (rotating the side plates up and down).

When I do this, I can always feel and hear the grit in the chain and its usually worse after cleaning the chain than it was before. I've given up on solvent for the most part. Pro Link and a rag seems to do at least as well with a lot less hassle.
Yes, but this is not the final step. So far, you have loosened and dissolved the gunk with solvent. The chain is still full of grit.
Now, grasp the chain in a folded sponge soaked in soap water (liberally soaped). Pull it through several times. Roll the chain sideways again and listen for grit - you will find it clean. This method works perfectly for me.
Then finally rinse and dry (heat).
 

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*really* clean

Pieter said:
Yes, but this is not the final step. So far, you have loosened and dissolved the gunk with solvent. The chain is still full of grit.
Now, grasp the chain in a folded sponge soaked in soap water (liberally soaped). Pull it through several times. Roll the chain sideways again and listen for grit - you will find it clean. This method works perfectly for me.
Then finally rinse and dry (heat).
As a variation of that, I recently needed to clean my gunked up mtb chain really well. I soaked it in citrus degreaser, then rinsed with water, then laid it out on cardboard and blasted it with a high pressure nozzle of compressed air. Amazing all the gunk that continued to come out with the air pressure.
 
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