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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey folks, i want to keep up on preventative maintenance and need some methods on cleaning and lubing the drive train. i want to get the grit out of my chain and sprockets on a regular basis.

i was thinking of buying a couple cheap nylon type cleansing brushes to scrub the chain and the sprockets. i could use the 2 together to sandwich the chain in between them and spin the chain to clean it out with degreaser, rinse, then re-apply lube. this si the best i could come up with in my head

thoughts?
 

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You can find info on cleaning and maintenance here.

You can also find a great resource here.

My bike is new so I haven't had to do any major cleaning yet. Weather has been nice. Currently I am using several brushes and shop rags to clean the various parts of the bike. I have a two inch paint brush, soft bristle brushes, some stiffer brushes for the chain & cassette.

In the links above, they detail the process of disassembly and cleaning.

Hope this helps.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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The most important thing is what you do before the grit gets in there in the first place - your chain will stay cleaner if you choose a good lubricant for your conditions and don't overdo it. For dry parts of the year, I'm a fan of White Lightning Clean Ride. (Wax lube.) It doesn't last very long if your trails have puddles or stream crossings. Slave to brand names that I am, I have White Lightning Epic Ride for that. After I relube, I wipe off the excess lubricant. This step is really important, as extra oil on the outside of the chain can attract dirt.

I try to do a mini-maintenance after every ride. I get home, throw my bike on my rack, and drag the chain through a rag for a rotation. A lot of days, that's it for the chain. I also wipe down my suspension fork stanchions. If the chain was making noise, I relube. I also check it for stretch every now and then.

I find it more trouble than it's worth to take my chain off for cleaning. It's also rare for me to clean my sprockets. They don't usually get very dirty. This is a side benefit of not having nasty oil all over my drivetrain.

The big takeaway here is that the cleaner your chain is at the beginning of the ride, the cleaner your drivetrain will be at the end of a ride, at least in dry weather. In wet weather, the water helps dirt stick to your chain. Depending on the weather where you live, it may or may not be practical just to stay off the trails when it's wet - some soil types also are prone to bad erosion and damage when wet.

A lot of people have rants about the Magic Unicorn Bike Lube. They have many valid points. Up to you to decide if you want to do a homebrew lube, use one of the alternate lubes suggested, or just buy a bottle of Magic Unicorn oil every now and then.
 

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DynoDon
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Finish Line came out with a new Ceramic Wax this year, I was using White Lightning Wax, I like the Ceramic better, I still wax after 20 or so miles, let dry then wipe off the chain, my driveline stays clean, once in awhile I take the Park brush/pick and clean the driveline.
I'd be careful with degreaser can also get in other places I don't want it, disc brakes, bearings, bushings, cables. My neighbor has a automotive shop with a mineral spirits parts washer, I use to take the driveline off, then take it to the parts washer. Ceramic Wax is much easier and keeps it clean, and shinny.
 

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I use the blue shop towels, chain lube, and keep the chain regularly lubed and wiped down that way.
For real cleaning, I use the Park brand chain cleaning, plastic box thingy... I'm at work and I don't know the real name ;)

I use orange cleaner that I get in a gallon jug... a good brand.
I then spend a good amount of time wiping down the chain and trying to work out the cleaner. Then lube it.
I hold the chain down at the rear derailleur in a manner where my fingers (through the towel) force the chain in a 'weave' type pattern between them, hopefully making the rollers spin.

Anyway... it works for me :)

I use the pick brush also to clean the cassette, smaller brushes and swabs to clean the bodies of the derailleurs, and chainring.
 

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Some good advice here, particularly regarding wiping down the chain and stanchions after each ride.

Removing the chain doesn't have to be a drama, though. If you have a Sram chain, it will already have a powerlink. If you have a Shimano chain, remove a link and replace it with a Sram powerlink (I've never had any problems using a Sram powerlink on a Shimano chain). If you're not sure how to break a chain, check the interwebz or get your LBS to do it. Takes a few seconds. Make sure you've got the right powerlink (eg gold for 9 speed chains etc), and you're good to go. I find it heaps easier, quicker and cleaner popping my chain off and degreasing it than trying to clean it in place.

Same goes for your cassette. Invest 5 or 10 bucks in a cassette tool, and you can take that off to degrease it too (with the added bonus of keeping the degreaser well away from any vulnerable bearings!).

My two cents...
 
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