Chain cleaners, are they all equal?

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  • Chain cleaners, are they all equal?
  • discoduck
    Member

    I know you said you you dont have right bottle / white spirits etc ?

    But there is no way i would throw money at one of those devices, Petrol in an old chinky tray – scrub with old tooth brush and hang up for fuel to evapourate off the chain, pour Petrol thro a coffee filter into lawn mower and then apply a lube of your choice.

    rs
    Member

    spray with WD40 and wipe with a rag, use dry lube so it doesn’t get so dirty next time, repeat after every ride or two.

    dibboid
    Member

    Left mine to soak in diesel over night last Friday in a small tub. Cleaned with toothbrush following morning. Replaced the Mrs toothbrush back in the cupboard and hung to dry. Oiled chain and refitted. That was the first time is been cleaned since new 6 myths ago. Easy. 🙂

    tinybits
    Member

    Except I don’t have anywhere to hang the chain up, or a lawnmower (or a lawn for that matter) the only outdoors space I have is decking that a 2year old runs around on, so I’m not too happy about leaving petrol around!

    The wd40 thing really doesn’t do it for me and dry lube just doesn’t work as well, the bike just runs better on a nice wet lube like mucoff. Actually last for a couple of rides, not the 2 hours that finish line does.

    nealglover
    Member

    Decided I want one, as I never seem to have the right bottle / white spirits etc to hand.

    OK then, so instead of spending £££ on a chain cleaner that won’t do a very good job…. ….

    Buy a large jar from Wilko’s for a couple of quid.
    Buy a cheapo container and £5 of petrol
    (Total cost about a tenner ?)

    Petrol in Jar, chain in Jar, leave overnight maybe, properly clean chain.

    And you can store all the above wherever you would store your £30 chain cleaner and expensive chain cleaning fluid.

    So you always have it to hand 😉

    tinybits
    Member

    I know, almost as dull as what pump….
    Decided I want one, as I never seem to have the right bottle / white spirits etc to hand.
    Park tools are roughly £30, bike hut is £15. If they do the job the same, I’ll go cheap, but not if you get a better clean.
    Any others to consider?

    tinybits
    Member

    So do you pour the petrol down the sink when you’re done?

    Serious question!

    nealglover
    Member

    I put mine in a container and take it to the tip whenever the container is full. But that’s maybe once every few years as I use it loads of times (coffee filter to clean it after use)

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    OK, to answer your question, the park one is good and sturdy and will last much longer. I use one regularly and it does a great job, as long as you do actually use it frequently. My regime, post ride, fill it with Muc off, 20 revolutions, top up with water, another 20, rinse off. This will leave your chain clean, even internally, in 5 mins. If its got a few rides of gunk in in then needs a first run through with a degreaser

    twoniner
    Member

    I have given up with chain cleaners, all i use now is the fenwicks chain cleaner. Like a white foam in an aerosol can. Spray it on, leave it and agitate with a brush.

    Comes up a treat.

    zero cool
    Member

    The Lark tools one is really good. Much better than the Juice Lubes one I was given. It lasted about 8 years before brushes wore out

    sfinnie
    Member

    Tried various devices, lotions & potions. Never much got on with the devices. Some of the potions were good but expensive. Then saw tip on here somewhere to use tub of diesel + 2 chains. Genius. Remove one chain after every ride, put into tub, shake vigorously for 30 secs. Refit other chain that’s been sitting in the diesel: quick rub with a rag & dry lube. Sorted. Other chain stays in tub until next time. Also means remainder of drive train is easier to clean.

    Similar to others above except diesel much less volatile than petrol. Can reuse it several times, clean through coffee filter as suggested elsewhere. And you get to practise opening powerlinks regularly as an added bonus 😉

    tinybits
    Member

    you see, pots of diesel, petrol, coffee filters, 2 chains per bike etc…

    Thanks for the tips but I think I’m going shopping anyway, I just don’t have the time to phaff!

    Premier Icon stevied
    Subscriber

    I’d been cleaning chains by all sorts of different methods and it’s the one job that I hate – it’s a lot of faff.
    Mrs D bought me a Park one for Christmas and I now enjoy cleaning my chain.
    It just becomes an easy part of the cleaning process. I wouldn’t want to be without mine now.

    discoduck
    Member

    Looks like a PARK one then, everything else they do is excellent quality so there’s no reason why this one shouldn’t be.

    It’s been a long time “15” years since I used a chain cleaner so they must have improved dramatically ?
    Mine leaked and splashed everywhere so your decking is probably going to get an uneven covering of oily residue anyway ?

    Keep us posted of you’re new purchase.

    Premier Icon DaveRambo
    Subscriber

    I’ve bought cheaper ones in the past and never got more than 6 months use before something broke.

    Got a Park tools one now and had it 18 months and it’s still fine.

    It’s not about if it cleans better, it’s about how long will it last.

    edlong
    Member

    a nice wet lube like mucoff

    Worst wet lube I’ve ever used. Try Finish Line Wet Lube, much better. The mucoff one just seems to be a dirt magnet.

    I use a chain cleaning device – the Park one that everyone seems to think is really robust – and as for lotions and potions I use Fenwicks concentrated bike cleaner – neat in the chain cleaner, dilute for the rest. Take two bottles into the bike wash? Not me, I just want to wash my bike and go!

    karen805
    Member

    I use the Park Tools one, does a good job, it’s not particularly messy and I really can’t be bothered to take the chains off to clean them on multiple bikes!

    ell_tell
    Member

    I use a cheapy chain cleaner that was from one of the Aldi weekly specials and fill it with Fenwicks. Works perfectly fine for me and I’ve not broken it yet but I do take care using it. Unlike my last one that I accidently trod on and shattered.

    andybanks
    Member

    Park tools one is great. As for potions use white spirit in your Park Tools tool – sparkling everytime.

    tinybits
    Member

    Worst wet lube I’ve ever used

    But on the flip side, its the best lube I’ve ever used for actual lubrication.

    Lots of votes for Park, I think I’ll be hitting the buy button shortly

    lemonysam
    Member

    I have a finish line one that I bought by accident, works pretty well and have had it for 18 months or so now. The white spirit suggestion seems like a good shout, I’ll have to try that.

    Premier Icon luffy105
    Subscriber

    bought the park tool cleaner 2 years ago and use it regularly with fenwicks. it has been brilliant.

    still surprises me how many little bits of metal get caught by the little magnet at the bottom

    park tools one is the most indestructable ime – ive had a cheapo one, a muc off one and now the park one for years…

    dont buy the degreaser though – just get a bit can of jizer! it lasts ages and does just as good if not better job at cleaning the chain

    Premier Icon verses
    Subscriber

    Had a generic (£10ish) one which broke after about a year.
    Had a Park (£20ish) one which broke after several years.

    Currently have a Lidl (£3ish) one which I use to shift the worst of the crap, I then swill it around in an old coffee jar of white spirit and leave for 20mins then dry it.

    Although the Park lasted well, I can buy a lot of Lidl ones for the same money…

    Anyone else just add more wet lube, spin the cranks, then wipe off the excess before the next ride? Dry lube never gets gunky enough to worry about.

    If it gets really shitty once in a while I might aim the dirtworker as the chain then GT85 then lube it. But appart from cosmetic reasons (i.e. on the road bike) I don’t bother cleaning the drivetrain (or the rest of the bike for that matter!).

    Mark N
    Member

    tinybits – Member

    So do you pour the petrol down the sink when you’re done?

    Serious question!

    No. Irresponsible on an environment point and also very dangerous due to the fumes.

    Example of risk.

    alpin
    Member

    i’m impressd that so many of you clean your bikes, let alone the chain….

    still, i would probably do the same if i lived where it rains for 300 days a year… 😉

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Edinburgh Bicycles one has lasted me for yonks. £12.99

    Stevelol
    Member

    I’ve been using a finish line one (it’s green..) for about a year now with good results. I give the chain a scrub first with some muc off and water, then run it through the chaincleaner with some slightly diluted degreaser in (finish line or bike medicine), then rinse the chain with the cleaner and water, keep doing this until the water is running clear (a couple of times is enough), then wipe it dry with a rag and regrease. It takes about 5 minutes and my chain feels fairly clean at the end E.G you can grab the links and they’re fairly smooth and not that gritty, well as gritty-less as a chain that’s used can be.

    esher shore
    Member

    chain cleaners?

    quickest way to ruin a good chain…

    from the KMC website (hint, they make 2 million chains a day) :

    – Never use acidic or alkali based detergents (such as rust cleaners), these agents can damage the
    chain and may cause breakage.

    – NEVER EVER use a so-called ‘chain washing machine’ in combination with solvent. This is the one and only sure way to instantly ruin your chain.

    – Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from the chain’s bearing.

    personally? I would just wipe down a dirty chain with a rag (at the most extreme, for mountain bike used in mud, use soapy warm water and a brush)

    lube the chain applying quality lube to each chain link, I prefer a dry lube at its much more penetrating, although if you ride in lots of mud / snow you will benefit from wet lubes

    then apply pressure to the chain using the rag (pull down hard) whilst backpedalling in middle gear to avoid deraillment

    change the face of the rag several times during this procedure, you can apply more lube if needed, and you will end up with a very clean chain that is well lubricated and will not wear out before its time 😉

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    Esher – that sounds a good recipe to lube on top of dirt and increase the grinding paste effect to me..

    fatsimon mk2
    Member

    esher quoting from the kmc website who produce 2 million chains a day and would really like you buy quite a few more hence there advice to put oil onto dirty chain hence producing grinding paste thus wearing out your chain so you go out and buy another and round and round you go 🙂

    esher shore
    Member

    @iainc @fatsimon mk2

    try the advise, you would be surprised at the reality of the outcome

    for years and years as a rider and then as a professional bike mechanic, I was taught that “shiny clean = good”

    especially when talking about drivetrains, and specifically the bike chain

    but, what looks clean is not ideal because when you put a chain through a parts washer, or use aggressive cleaning products on that chain, all you are doing is stripping the lubricant from inside the chain’s roller pins (bushing / bearings if you like)

    this lubricant is installed during the manufacturing process in the factory. Its very hard / almost impossible to put back once its stripped out by over zealous cleaning.

    The dirt you see on the outside of the chain, is just that, external dirt. It might sound noisy or a bit crunchy after gentle cleaning, lubing and wiping down, but it soon disappears (normally after 1-2km) and does not accelerate wear and tear to the drivetrain

    the only moving part of your drivetrain’s toothed engagement is the chain:- the rear cassette (cogs), chainrings and derailleur pulley teeth do not contain moving parts in themselves.

    The freehub body allows the cassette to spin, the bottom bracket allows the cranks and chainrings to spin, the bearings / bushings allow the derailleur pulley wheels to spin.

    Try using the method I mentioned next time you change your drivetrain?

    I was very dubious (bearing in mind the previous education / information I’d had that that spotlessly clean was better), but pleasantly surprised it has worked.

    I did this on my Jan 2012 purchased mountain bike, which has been ridden in snow, rain and mud for too many miles. Still running the same chain, cassette, chainring, pulley wheels. Still working just fine.

    experiments of putting brand new chains put through parts washing machines and then measuring chain tolerances, show disappointing results which indicate that over zealous cleaning actually damages your drivetrain

    but of course there is a huge $$$ industry based on cleaning your bike with special products, compared to using some mild detergent with warm water, an old rag and basic chain lube 😉

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    esher – I can understand the logic……but I’m not convinced, as I suspect the original internal lube is well gone after a few wet rides anyway ?

    An interesting point though indeed

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