Warning on chain cleaning

larry-new

Active Member
#1
Do not use Auto brake cleaner. Else the magnet sensor ring inside the chainring crank will instantly disintegrate.
Instantly, into pieces the size of a quarter...magnets everywhere.

Called Rad, who are sending another sensor ring. I need a CCP 22 tooth crank puller. Once pulled, the sensor ring slides on to rest less than 1/4" from the wired pickup, which does not seem to be harmed, but will be included in the shipment.

Rad recommends Tri-Flow chain cleaner, btw. It's nice to call and speak to a person right away.

Live, and learn...hopefully in that order. 😁
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
#2
I've had no issues using Pedro's Oranj Peelz Citrus bicycle degreaser the last two years with my Radrovers: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IZEGYS/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also use Finish Line Citrus Degreaser in aerosol spray for the hard to reach areas around the rear derailleur: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GC9THG/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I clean and lube with wax based lubricant every few days if I do a lot of trail riding in the dusty southwest and go around 2-3 weeks between cleanings if it is just paved road work commuting.
 
#4
Just curious where you got the idea to ever use brake cleaner in the first place, and where you applied it to? Based on work I've done on cars, I recall it's basically a solvent (acetone etc) and I would think the label on the can would have told you to be careful to not get it on the paint on your car etc (it would strip it off!), and probably also not to put on plastics, they might "melt."
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
#5
My local bike tech (Dan Sotelo, Bike Lair, with a decade of working for Shimano), told me to never put degreaser on a bike. If it must be used, he said to first remove the part. He told me that degreaser can work its way into the "sealed" bearings and ruin the bike. His recommendation is to use lube as a cleaning agent for on-the-bike chains/derailleurs to prevent the disintegration that degreasers can cause. He said that people can damage their bikes more by cleaning them than by letting them be, and that the amount of wear prevented by cleaning, for most cyclists, is minimal.

I asked him why chain/derailleur cleaning vids on youtube show spraying degreasers or putting them on rags to clean intact bikes, and he said that this drives him nuts and he has seen bikes ruined. I asked him about the problem of dirt causing wear, and he said that he doesn't agree that this is a problem.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
#6
I've seen regular bikes that looked like the rusty looking chain/derailleur have never been cleaned or oiled their entire life. Other than making a lot of racket when riding, they seem to go on forever? Hard to wrap my head around dirty=longevity; but, there are +100 million regular bikes that might prove this to be true.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#7
I am also very curious what made you decide that using brake cleaner to clean your chain was a good idea.

Most of the time if the chain is gunky (usually every 2-3 days) I wipe it down with shop towels and apply more chain lubricant. Then wipe away the excess.

Every now and then I will remove the chain and soak it in diluted citrus solvent (I buy the big jugs from home depot and dilute them 5-1 or 10-1).

One of these is highly recommended for cleaning a muddy derailleur and sprocket.
 
#8
When cleaning any bike especially and electric bike you need to make sure that the degreaser being used is safe not only for electrical components but also plastics and paint.

Our shop preference is to use the following Muc Off products as they work quite well and are incredibly safe to use on e-bikes. Muc Off will be launching their new line of e-bike specific cleaners so this is pretty awesome. Anyhow here is what we use:

Degreaser: https://shop.scooteretti.com/products/muc-off-chain-cleaner

Bike Cleaner: https://shop.scooteretti.com/products/muc-off-bike-cleaner-concentrate

When cleaning / degreasing your bike ensure that you protect the area around your brake pads and disc rotors. You want to avoid having any grease/oils etc.... coming in contact with your brake pads.
 

PDoz

Active Member
#9
My local bike tech (Dan Sotelo, Bike Lair, with a decade of working for Shimano), told me to never put degreaser on a bike. If it must be used, he said to first remove the part. He told me that degreaser can work its way into the "sealed" bearings and ruin the bike. His recommendation is to use lube as a cleaning agent for on-the-bike chains/derailleurs to prevent the disintegration that degreasers can cause. He said that people can damage their bikes more by cleaning them than by letting them be, and that the amount of wear prevented by cleaning, for most cyclists, is minimal.

I asked him why chain/derailleur cleaning vids on youtube show spraying degreasers or putting them on rags to clean intact bikes, and he said that this drives him nuts and he has seen bikes ruined. I asked him about the problem of dirt causing wear, and he said that he doesn't agree that this is a problem.
I like your mechanic! Mostly because I'm too lazy to clean my chains, but also because I suspect he's right. Even if he's wrong, I'd question the cost effectiveness of constantly cleaning / lubing chains with expensive products.

It occurs to me you're in a good possition to run an experiment - comparing 3 bikes doing similar duties , one gets no chain maintenance, the other just gets oiled when it's noisy, and perhaps your husband has to do the clean / lube thing every ride - keep records of cost, chain wear and any difference to range? With the amount of distance you are going , we'd have an answer in a few months!
 
#10
cleaning with a rag to just 'wipe', and just using some lubricant or degreaser, will do nothing to eliminate the dirt that gets into the areas where erosion will occur. If you carefully spray a sufficient amount, or preferably 'soak' that section of the chain, while putting a rag behind (if not soaking), you have a decent chance of getting the dirt out from in between the links and pins. Soaking is best in a solvent based solution that wont cause rust. If you just lubricate you are creating nice little 'paste' that will combine with the grit, to help wear the pin contact points, and connections down a little faster. a dry lube, that goes on wet, but then dries like a 'wax' will likely be a good bet for real dusty conditions, such a desert or gravel/lime trail that hasn't been wet in a while. It helps repel, or at least not attract, as much dirt to stick on the chain and in those areas of contact as would a wet lube. You also need to consider its not just the chain, but the derailleur cogs and cassette that will wear down too. Or you can just be lazy, ignore it, and replace a chain whenever, and cassette or derailleur. These days, we live largely in a society of 'throwaway' and 'convenience' and doing maintenance on anything seems to be an 'old fashioned' approach to life, for many people who just want to 'click and buy' or use a 'remote' for everything they do. I see people literally 'cringe' or 'wince' when you tell them that 'yes, you should occasionally clean the chain.' You'd think you were asking them to clean out a septic tank. lol.
 

PDoz

Active Member
#11
Mike, I hear you n the disposable attitude but the only chain I've ever replaced is the regularly cleaned / lubed kmc ebike chain on my 450 km old ebike ! There is a 16 year old giant trance in my shed with the original chain that only started getting chain maintenance when I bought my ebike. I'm not suggesting it's the chain maintenance that killed my ebike chain - it's most likely the huge torque and my terrible riding technique, but I'd love to know rather than think.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
#12
He said that people can damage their bikes more by cleaning them than by letting them be, and that the amount of wear prevented by cleaning, for most cyclists, is minimal.
While it is true many people never need to repair or replace parts on their bikes, those same people only ride a few times a year. But if you're a commuter or use your bike frequently, and you never clean anything, you will be replacing parts more frequently as well...and potentially spending a lot of money doing so. I work on neglected bikes all the time; dirty ones always end up being more costly repairs.
 

larry-new

Active Member
#13
Well, in the world of construction and snowplow equipment, this is a common shop solvent...I've even cleaned my hands with it on occasion. And, no, paint does not melt away unless inundated. Nor does skin, although it removes oils.

Perhaps in hindsight not even close to the best choice, the cleaner was applied with a nozzle, aimed at the aluminum and steel of the chainring. My surprise was that this particular plastic wheel, being only in the neighborhood of the spray, seemed to actively participate in it's own destruction, something that my regular use of brake cleaner on various vehicles had yet to encounter. I know of no plastic, other than styrofoam, that exhibits a similar behavior. I could think of more appropriate materials, like billet aluminum, proof against solvent-bent idiots.😁

My old Gitane was no stranger to degreasers, and polishing hubs & bearings in rubbing compound, after which thorough cleaning was mandated...or else.

The chain lube was oily, and I became tired of a black greasy chain...back to dry teflon lubes. Now I'll own a crank puller, and can really clean it off the bike, as well as experiment with chainrings.
 
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#14
This is what I do: I go to Amazon, order a new chain for $12.97, 116 links is exact size. I don't bother with the mess any more.
KMC Z8 Bicycle Chain (Silver, 1/2 x 3/32 - Inch, 116 Links)
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#15
Bike chains are not "clean" when brand new. They are covered with a protective petroleum based goo that should be removed with a solvent before installation. Then a proper chain lube should be applied before use.
 
#16
Bike chains are not "clean" when brand new. They are covered with a protective petroleum based goo that should be removed with a solvent before installation. Then a proper chain lube should be applied before use.
I only use KMC chains, and this is from the KMC web site:

Are the chains ready to be used right out of the box?

Yes, all chains have been pre-greased at the factory and are ready to ride right out of the box (some chains must be fitted to length according to your bike’s exact specifications). If you feel that there is too much grease, use a towel and wipe off excess grease from the plates only, avoiding the rollers. For more information on chain maintenance please look at our chain maintenance guide located on the home page.

I've been following this for decades, I'm 67 years old. I have never lubricated a new KMC chain.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#17
I only use KMC chains, and this is from the KMC web site:

Are the chains ready to be used right out of the box?

Yes, all chains have been pre-greased at the factory and are ready to ride right out of the box (some chains must be fitted to length according to your bike’s exact specifications). If you feel that there is too much grease, use a towel and wipe off excess grease from the plates only, avoiding the rollers. For more information on chain maintenance please look at our chain maintenance guide located on the home page.

I've been following this for decades, I'm 67 years old. I have never lubricated a new KMC chain.
Obviously this is not the advice I received from the bike tech at a LBS. I use KMC chains as well so I stand corrected. One less step when mounting a new chain. Thanks on this.
 

indianajo

Active Member
#18
I only clean chains with a brush or screwdriver if they get too many grass/weed seeds in them. Other than that I just oil them, non detergent 5W oil like 3 in 1 (my Dad's recommendation) or types F or A ATF. I've never worn one out, in 60 years of riding. I have worn the tips off some sprockets. I have thrown some rusty chains away that came with used bikes.
I do scrape crusty dirt or grass off the sprockets of the derailleur sometimes. Same oil on those and the shifter pivots. My bike is out in the rain a lot.
To keep my pants out of the oily chain I use a binder clip from the office supply.
 
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#20
I only clean chains with a brush or screwdriver if they get too many grass/weed seeds in them. Other than that I just oil them, non detergent oil like 3 in 1 or types F or A ATF. I've never worn one out, in 60 years of riding. I have thrown some rusty ones away that came with used bikes.
I do scrape crusty dirt or grass off the sprockets of the derailleur sometimes. Same oil on those and the shifter pivots. My bike is out in the rain a lot.
Agree, I have never worn a chain out in over 60 years of riding. I used to soak, clean, lubricate... Now, for 12 bucks, just pop a new one on every couple of years. Nothing wrong and not disagreeing on cleaning, I just found an alternative that works great for me.