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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't have a chain cleaning machine thing so I was thinking about a toothbrush with a made-for-bike citrus degreaser and just sort of scrubbing down the drive train with it then spraying down LIGHTLY with water, rear wheel off, holding it cassette down so the cleaner and water doesn’t get into place it shouldn’t.

Anybody’s method/technique/opinion would be appreciated.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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Rag and some Pro-Link.

Chain cleaning machines dealios only cause your chain, your hands, your gadget, AND your floor to get covered in crap-rather than just your chain.
 

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I use homebrew lube (cleans and lubricates) with a rag, but I've thought about using homebrew in a chain cleaner just to help flush out some of the visible dirt on the inside of the plates. Does anybody do this? Not sure if it would be worth the hassle.

I've done the chain cleaner thing with degreaser and will never go back to that again.
 

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A wheelist
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sanrensho said:
I use homebrew lube (cleans and lubricates) with a rag, but I've thought about using homebrew in a chain cleaner just to help flush out some of the visible dirt on the inside of the plates. Does anybody do this? Not sure if it would be worth the hassle.
I've done the chain cleaner thing with degreaser and will never go back to that again.
I clean with WD-40 and re-lube with Homebrew and I can't imagine a better, simpler or cheaper way of chain maintenance. And years of success back it up.
 

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S-Works Tarmac SL3
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I clean and lube with Rem oil (spray can). Like WD-40, it cleans and lubs - though the Rem oil seems to lube a bit better than WD-40. I do this about every 100 miles and my drive chain stays quiet and refined. If I will be riding in rain, then I use a thicker lub or apply a light coat of spray lithium grease over the Rem oil.
 

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I use a Finish Line chain cleaner because it uses the least amount of cleaning fluid, 1/2 oz. The tool breaks maybe once every five years or so otherwise, I'm satisfied with it.

For cleaning fluid, I buy a citrus degreaser in one gallon containers found at the big box hardware stores. When I can't find that, I buy Simple Green is the same size. I'm about to run out of the citrus and go back to the Simple Green I purchased, but if I recall, the citrus does a much better job, so you might want to stick with citrus-it's much cheaper by the gallon than bicycle specific degreasers.

I pour the fluid in, clamp it over the chain, and turn the cranks for about a minute. I never have to repeat the application. I then fill the chain cleaner with water and repeat. This is not something you do in your garage or basement; I perform this work in the parking lot.

I believe Lennard Zinn from VeloNews reported about chain cleaning recently and mentioned that with today's special chains, connecting pins, and tighter tolerances, removing the chain for cleaning is not advised. So find an on the bike method that works for you.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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When I clean my bikes I always start with the running gear. I do the chain 1st. I take a rag wet with WD40 or odorless mineral spirits, and wipe the chain down while rotating the cranks. When it's pretty clean I use "home brew" mixed 3 parts odorless min. spirits to 1 part oil. What kind of oil? Pretty much whatever I happen to have on hand. We're not lubing parts on the space shuttle y'know. Motor oil 5W-20 usually, because that's what my car takes. Using an old catsup squeeze bottle, I drizzle it on the chain, aiming for the middle where the rollers are. I apply it pretty heavily. The OMS will dissolve and float the dirt off the chain, then evaporate and leave the oil as a lubricant. Then, while that's drying I'll do the cassette, chain rings and derailleurs. I clean them using the odorless mineral spirits (OMS) without oil. Park's cog cleaning brush is good for doing the cassette. For the chain rings, I just use a rag with OMS sprayed on it and wipe them down while I'm turning the cranks. I do the same to the rear derailleur pulleys and any other parts of the derailleurs or brakes that are grungy. Park's brush is useful here too.

By now the chain is dry enough to wipe down although I like to leave it overnight. I turn the cranks slowly with one hand while the chain runs through a clean rag held by my other hand. I keep turning the cranks, and the rag until no more black residue comes off on the rag.

I clean all the drive train once every 200 - 300 miles, and immediately after every rain ride.
 

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15 min clean up

I take a tooth brush, a little degreaser, and brush the rear cassette, pulleys, front chain rings and chain. I then place a little degreaser on a clean rag and wipe the chain down by rotating the cranks in reverse. I may also wipe down the chain rings and cranks depending on how grungy they’ve gotten (rare).
I then rinse off the degreaser with a very light spray from the hose. Take a bucket of hot soapy water and clean the frame, wheels, etc. Dry off and lube the chain only. Run the gears a couple of times and wipe off the chain by rotating the cranks in reverse.

I do this every 3 to 5 rides. In between I just wipe the chain down and get any noticeable grit on the frame.
 

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Get me to In&Out
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I use the master links to take the chain apart. Put it in a milk jub with mineral spirits. Shake it a while. Let it sit over night. Repeat. and the chain is clean. I use Prolink gold, so it is mostly mineral spirits anyways.

Whatever you do, be careful with degreaser by the pulleys. I got overzealous a few years back. Some got into the bearings of the RD pulleys. The bike would make a slight chirping sound when riding. Barely audible, but annoying as hell. It took a month to figure out what I had done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This was pretty much the procedure that I was thinking about using. After thursday, final exam for the second part of mandatory real estate course to take state exam, I will give it a shot.
 
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