How to clean a bike chain ?
This article will guide you on how to properly wash and lubricate your bike chain in order to extend the life of this essential bike component.
So let’s start with the basics. Bicycle chain. one of those parts of a bicycle drivetrain (bicycle undercarriage) that is responsible for efficiently transferring energy from the cyclist to the wheels. We have heard many times when a cyclist passes by you, squeaking like an old trough. These scary sounds are mostly made by a dirty, uncleaned and unlubricated chain. This material will help you not to be like these griefs. cyclists.
The first and important question. Why clean your bike chain? The answer is quite simple, but at the same time requires complex consideration.
Firstly. dirty chain. is subject to more wear than a clean and lubricated bike chain due to the friction of sand, dust and dirt between the links and pins. These aggressive elements significantly accelerate chain wear and eventually render the rest of the bike’s undercarriage parts unusable, such as the cassette and crank sprockets.
Secondly. a dirty chain will always stain something. whether it’s your new trousers if you decide to commute to work in a business style, or it will stain your furniture at home when storing your bike. Not to mention the fact that in the case of minor bike repairs in the field, your hands will be smeared with used grease mixed with dirt and dust.
Thirdly. A clean bike chain speaks of the bike owner’s tidiness and when contacting a bike mechanic’s workshop, it is much more pleasant to work with people and equipment that they take care of. Accordingly, you will pay less for services to put your transmission in order.
To clean and lubricate your bike chain:
First and foremost. try not to lubricate the dirty and uncleaned chain. The only thing that you can achieve in this case. remove noise and squeak, but the chain will be dirty inside and will be subject to increased wear until it is completely cleaned.
So, let’s move on to the cycle cleaning procedure. There are several ways to clean the chain. taking her off the bike. or without removing.
If you have a bike chain lock, you can effortlessly remove the chain and wash in a variety of ways. for example, ultrasonic cleaning of the chain (for this you need a special device for such cleaning). Alternatively, you can place the chain in a closed container and add aggressive cleaners such as white spirit or kerosene to it. This method is effective, but not environmentally friendly enough. This method involves the mechanical interaction of the purifier and the chain, but simply. it takes 5-10 minutes to fry the bottle with the liquid and the chain to achieve the desired result. There are also different ways to digest a bicycle chain. in wax, paraffin, etc. But does it make sense in terms of the amount of time spent. controversial issue.
After you have cleared the chain. be sure to dry it. Lubricating a wet chain is somewhat ineffective. If you need to dry the chain quickly. you can use a regular household hair dryer. within 10 minutes you can blow out all the links of the chain and remove all moisture and dust from it. After cleaning and drying the chain, proceed to lubricate it.
Cheapest Bicycle Chain Cleaner Use & Review
How to properly lubricate your bike chain ?
The bike chain lubricant can be approached from both sides. First. time saving and fast lubrication treatment. Second. efficient and economical chain lubrication procedure.
In the first option, you apply lubricant to the entire chain. After applying the lubricant, you need time for the specified lubricant to go inside the chain, namely into its working area. internal cavities of pins and links. This time depends on the consistency of the grease and can be completely different. From 5 minutes to several hours. For example, lubricants for wet conditions or based on ceramics are quite liquid and absorb quickly. Whereas dry waxy lubricants have a stretching consistency and take longer.
In the second option, you apply the lubricant pointwise to each chain link on both sides. To do this, you can use a syringe or something similar for such a long and delicate work. After spot application, it is also necessary to wait until the lubricant is absorbed. To speed up the absorption of bicycle lubricant into the chain, you can use the rotation of the pedals in idle mode (for example, twisting them by hand for 3-5 minutes).
After you have lubricated your chain and waited for the lubricant to be efficiently distributed within the chain, you need to remove any remaining lubricant from all internal parts of the chain. This means that your chain should be lubricated only on the inside, and on the outside it should be perfectly clean. Firstly. it’s beautiful 🙂 (c) Secondly, the clean outer side of the chain will take less sand, dust and dirt and throw them inside the chain. To do this, you can take a cotton rag and wipe your chains dry. It is advisable to make 2-3 approaches, between which pedal to squeeze out unnecessary grease from the inside.
So, your chain is cleaned and oiled. You are not ashamed, you do not make unnecessary sounds and your bike is as efficient as possible. Also, do not forget to clean the teeth of the cassette and connecting rods from dirt and dust in parallel with the chain. Because a clean chain on dirty stars. this is nonsense. Dirty stars will throw all the dust onto the chain and your job of cleaning it will be ineffective.
This article is not the only correct cleaning instructions, there are many other methods that may be acceptable for you. Here we have just shared our 15 years of experience in operating cycle chains on various types of bicycles.
Bicycle chain cleaner
The bicycle chain is the most unprotected element of the bicycle transmission, because it is subject not only to sufficiently heavy loads, but also to various mechanical and atmospheric influences. The chain requires respect for itself. Taking care of it regularly will help prevent premature stretch marks or breaks at the most unexpected moment. A chain that is not cleaned in a timely manner can accelerate wear on the cassette stars, the system and the chain itself, as well as complicate the stroke, as a result of which you have to spend more effort on pedaling.
Therefore, as soon as the chain gets dirty, it is necessary to clean it (wash). The most civilized way to clean the chain today is to rinse and clean it with a special machine.
How the bike chain cleaner works
Before use, flushing liquid (about 50 ml) is poured into the machine (in a specially provided container). Having wound the chain inside the machine, it is necessary to smoothly rotate the pedals. In this case, you should hold both the machine itself and the bicycle. If the procedure is carried out indoors, it is recommended to cover the floor with rags or newspapers beforehand so as not to leave stains from the grease or the used product. After the chain is cleaned, it can be lubricated using the same device. To do this, you just need to replace the washing liquid in the machine with grease.
Chain cleaner: is it worth spending money on purchasing this device?
Of course, today you can see many innovations on the market, which, in principle, can be easily dispensed with. Perhaps a chain cleaner can also seem like a waste of money, since it is not that hard to remove the chain and clean it yourself. Yes, this procedure is not difficult for experienced cyclists, but for beginners or girls who recently bought a bicycle, cleaning the chain can be a serious problem. And leaving the chain without maintenance means providing yourself with problems with riding and repairing your bike for the future.
Bicycle chain cleaner review
Today the market is saturated with a great variety of similar machines, which differ from each other in terms of configuration, price and reliability.
In our short review, we will consider several prominent representatives of their price class:
- Typewriter CL (8-9). It has a number of advantages that are common to all devices of this kind, including the absence of the need to dismantle the chain. Using this machine is extremely simple: pour the detergent into the tank, tuck the chain into the guide rollers, close the lid and fix it with the handle. In the process of rolling, the chain passes through the cleaning roller brushes and a sponge. The CL machine is notable for its low cost and ease of use. But in fairness, it should be noted that the quality of the plastic from which it is made leaves much to be desired. In the process of cleaning the circuit, the device creaks with slight nervous tears. It seems that the machine is about to fly in different directions. In general, for very rare use, this is a good option.
- Bike Hand YC-791 (about 18). It is of a higher quality, so it inspires a little more confidence. The principle of operation of the machine is the same as in the previous version. Features: this device has collapsible rollers, which greatly facilitates their washing. Disadvantages: cleaning agent can accumulate on the rear bulkhead and drip onto the floor; the foam rubber seal will have to be changed often, as it wipes quickly enough. Despite the shortcomings, the machine quite adequately fulfills its money.
- Car from Super Bike Tools (about 27). This device comes with two more. a brush and a scraper. The body of the machine is made of very high-quality material, so that the device is quite capable of surviving more than one chain, without acquiring a single crack or chip (in case of careful attitude). Has fairly high quality roller brushes. The disadvantages include, of course, the cost of the machine. In general, this machine is a fairly good option for cleaning bicycle chains.
- Premium Pedro’s Chain Machine (35). This device will work out its price 100%. If you manage to find it used, you can safely buy it. The machine comes with a detergent and a brush to remove dirt. Advantages over cheaper models. a very high-quality body, there is no need to support the machine by hand during cleaning, it has more than a hundred cleaning roller brushes. Thanks to the very even and deep penetration of these brushes into the links of the chain, its cleaning goes off with a bang! In general, if you buy a car, then it is better to make a choice in favor of this option.
How To Clean and Lube a Bicycle Chain with a Park Tool Chain Cleaner
To buy a chain cleaner or not is an individual choice of each person. It is a great pleasure for someone to tinker with their two-wheeled friend, disassembling and assembling it. And for some, a bicycle is only a means of transportation, and the bright prospect of getting your hands dirty, spending your time cleaning the chain, and besides, also removing and installing it, is not at all happy. This is where various devices come to the rescue that facilitate bike care.
For dry weather
Dry weather products are labeled DRY on the bottle. This category includes silicone, teflon and graphite greases. They have a drawback: they heavily stain everything around. Wax lubricant does not have this drawback, but its lubricating properties are lower.
Paraffin based lubricant
Paraffin by itself is quite dense. There are two ways to treat the chain with paraffin.
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- The paraffin is melted and the chain is dipped into it. Then the chain in paraffin needs to be boiled a little.
- Dilute paraffin with kerosene in a 1: 2 ratio. The composition is ready to use when it has stood for three days.
For driving on dry roads
An alternative formulation of DRY grease is replaced at home with a substance based on graphite and wax.
What tools will help to clean the chain
It is worth noting that only a clean chain can be lubricated, otherwise the process will be useless. There are several ways to cleanse the chain.
How to lubricate a bicycle chain
Good lubricants are capable of repelling dirt and sand from the chain. Therefore, the choice of a product for chain lubrication at home must be approached responsibly.
Bicycle chain cleaning and lubrication: features
No matter how often and on what terrain you ride your bike, it requires maintenance. Poor bike care always leads to breakdowns. If the chain is poorly lubricated, then at any moment of movement it can jump off, or even break. Basically, the chain wears out for the following reasons:
- dust and sand adhered to the links;
- insufficient lubrication;
- switch malfunction;
- gear skew.
What are the signs that you need to lubricate the bike chain?
The ingress of dirt and sand particles inevitably leads to a gradual deterioration in driving performance and, as a result, to accelerated wear of the chainrings and chainrings. Unpleasant consequences can be avoided if you act in a timely manner.
There are several situations where the chain needs to be cleaned.
- With heavy use of the bike, the chain should be cleaned and lubricated almost once a week. It also depends on the road surface on which the cyclist rides. The worse it is, the more often chain maintenance is required.
- If the chain suddenly began to emit extraneous sounds, then it is required to diagnose it. Timely maintenance will help prevent rust.
- Also, the procedure will be needed when it rained heavily while riding on the street, as it washes off some of the lubricant from the chain.