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New to bike maintenance-cleaning the chain
 Jeanie2019 member offline  
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posted 5/2/2020
at 2:21:49 PM
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Need someone in my general area to teach me how to (first time) at least remove, clean, and replace bike chain. I have the stuff, just need hands on training. Bike shop(s) just not that available right now. I don't look forward to learning this this hard way (myself), even with videos, they always leave things out. I've got the chain dragging on the guard (1st-3rd) and can't get that fixed right away, so I should at least know how to clean it right - S. Austin, TX

 Thorn member offline
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posted 5/2/2020
at 3:23:45 PM
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Do you need it removed and replaced or do you just need it cleaned? I always clean mine right there on the bike.
Bike-a-lot on Mancheca in S. Austin will do repairs in a safely distant drop off and pick up manner.

 Jeanie2019 member offline  
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posted 5/2/2020
at 3:43:12 PM
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Do you need it removed and replaced or do you just need it cleaned? I always clean mine right there on the bike.
Bike-a-lot on Mancheca in S. Austin will do repairs in a safely distant drop off and pick up manner.
-- posted by Thorn
YouTube video says always remove the chain to clean it. idk. I was told I need to learn how to, a good idea I think, to do all this myself, I got the stuff to do it recently. ok, maybe removing the chain not good. Just need to clean the bike and repair the drag at the glide in 1st-3rd gears.
post edited on 5/2/2020 at 4:58:33 PM

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posted 5/2/2020
at 4:54:25 PM
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There are plenty of youtube videos on cleaning chains while on the bike, e.g. from the GCN (Global Cycling Network) folks. Just google "gcn chain cleaning" for a ton of videos they've done over the years that range from removing the chain and cleaning it in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to "quick and dirty" cleaning on the bike with a brush, some solvent, and everything in between.

But in any case, as you say it's a good idea to learn how to remove and install a chain if you expect to ride a lot. The Park Tool web site has good maintenance videos oriented toward using their products of course.

There are ever more chain connecting variations these days so the olden times of a chain breaker to remove and reinsert basic pins aren't all there is to it anymore (unless your bike runs an 8-speed, or less, chain). Off the top of my head with 9-speed and above, you might have reusable quick links that can be removed/reinstalled without tools (my favorite), single-use quick links that require a tool to remove, replacement breakaway pins, assymetrical quick links that require flexing a de-tensioned chain laterally, assymetrical (in a different way) quick links that require putting the quick link in a particular orientation to provide clearance relative to adjacent links before opening, etc.

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posted 5/2/2020
at 4:56:30 PM
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A tool like this www.parktool.com/product/cyclone-chain-scrubber-cm-5-2 makes chain cleaning while on the bike easy and effective. Your local bike shop probably has something like this and one is not necessarily better than another. I remove mine for cleaning and clean them in a jewelry cleaner but if you don't have one of those its probably not worth removing the chain in my opinion.

As for taking the chain off, replacement chains and the better OEM chains have a master link but finding it and mastering using it is probably more than I can explain in a post on a forum like this (or even do elegantly myself).

 Jeanie2019 member offline  
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posted 5/2/2020
at 4:59:38 PM
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A tool like this www.parktool.com/product/cyclone-chain-scrubber-cm-5-2 makes chain cleaning while on the bike easy and effective. Your local bike shop probably has something like this and one is not necessarily better than another. I remove mine for cleaning and clean them in a jewelry cleaner but if you don't have one of those its probably not worth removing the chain in my opinion.

As for taking the chain off, replacement chains and the better OEM chains have a master link but finding it and mastering using it is probably more than I can explain in a post on a forum like this (or even do elegantly myself).
-- posted by Redsfan
No, I don't think removing the chain for me as a beginner is a good idea. I take that back, however I did get this tool.
post edited on 5/2/2020 at 5:07:07 PM

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posted 5/2/2020
at 6:18:09 PM
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Sheldon Brown was very much against most chain cleaning solutions. He gives his opinion on many cleaning methods here.

www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

My suggestion is when you get a NEW chain, coat the outside surfaces with WD-40. It forms a waterproof coating that prevents dust from sticking and rust from forming. Don't try to get the grease from the interior out.

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posted 5/3/2020
at 5:48:05 AM
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I clean my chain on the bike, because a mechanic I trust told me that every time you break the chain, you weaken it. I spray Clean Streak on it, let the dirt fall off, wipe dry, and relube. It seems to work okay.

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posted 5/3/2020
at 6:44:23 AM
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Well lots of opinions. I like using the park chain cleaner which does a great job of cleaning a chain with something like pedros citrus/ soap cleaner and rinse with water. Sounds weird but works. I like using a light lube like ATB (absolutely the best) after rinsing with water. Amazing how much gunk and grit come out. Then dry the chain with with a cloth followed by lube. One guy I know just uses abt itself as a cleaner to flush out some of the particles.

I have done both of those and my chains last a long time and work well. Now I mostly do routine lubing with ATB (which flushes out some stuff) and then some park chain cleaning with citrus degreaser periodically.

Bikelady is right that clean streak works fine too.
One thing that most agree on is that heavier oil type lubes just attract a lot of dirt to the chain.

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posted 5/3/2020
at 12:38:05 PM
post #9 viewed 281 times
I clean my chains on each bike every 500 miles. I use removable links (like the KMC Missing Link) to ease removal. I roll it into a circle, spray lots of citrus cleaner (Oil Eater at 1:4) and scrub both sides, then roll it out and scrub the rollers & inside on both sides. Then wash off thoroughly with water and immediately hang dry or use compressed air to blow the water out of the links. On my bikes that don't see wet-weather service I'll drop the chain in heated bike-specific chain wax and reinstall, and for bikes that see wet I'll reinstall and relube on the bike using a good lube. If the chainrings or freewheel/cassette cogs look dirty, I'll pull and clean those as well. It is a bit of work, but I only have to do it every so often, and I'm getting 2500-4000 miles out of chains (replacing at 1/16" wear per 12"), and chainrings and freewheels/cassettes lasting indefinitely (I have a freewheel with 10,000 miles with only minor surface wear that shifts and takes loads the same as new).

If you don't want to go through all that, then the on-bike chain scrubber is an acceptable alternate. Just make sure you take a look at the cogs (front & rear) and derailleurs & clean those too at the same time if needed to avoid crud build-up (if you clean the chain but these items are cruddy, they'll quickly re-crud the chain). Try to keep to a every-few-hundred mile cleaning schedule, and watch for chain wear - replace the chain if it starts to show notable wear before it destroys your expensive chainrings & cogs. Hope this helps.

 Thorn member offline
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posted 5/3/2020
at 2:32:12 PM
post #10 viewed 275 times
I clean my chain on the bike, because a mechanic I trust told me that every time you break the chain, you weaken it. I spray Clean Streak on it, let the dirt fall off, wipe dry, and relube. It seems to work okay.
-- posted by BikeLady


Thatís my take, too.
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