Bicycle Chain Cleaner
FAQ Bicycle Chain Cleaner
What is a Bicycle Chain Cleaner?
A bike degreaser is more than a bike chain cleaner, everyone associates bike degreaser with a chain or transmission cleaner. But a bike degreaser must be able to be used on the entire bike without damaging rubber or paint.
It has to dissolve the remains of lubricant and dirt from the transmission effectively, but at the same time it has to be harmless to the rubber and paint of the other components of the bike, it will work as a bike soap when in contact for example with the frame paint or the suspension seals, and as a powerful bike chain degreaser capable of dissolving the mixture of lubricant and dirt from the chain.
Why use a specific bike chain cleaner
There are powerful industrial degreasers on the market that could be used to degrease the chain, but a non-bicycle specific degreaser could damage the paint on the frame or damage the suspension tires. We could use an industrial degreaser as a chain cleaner and a soap to wash the bike.
But the normal thing is that when cleaning the transmission drops of degreaser fall on the frame or other elements of the bike, leaving marks on the paint or damaging a rubber gasket resulting in a serious breakdown. It is also very common for the frame to be stained with lubricant, mud, oil from the road, so it is more effective and safer to use a bike chain cleaner that can be used as a bicycle cleaner.
Test the bike degreaser before use.
A good bicycle chain cleaner is designed to attack the remains of lubricant and dirt, it must be friendly to the paint, rubber and plastics of the bicycle. But not all bicycle chain degreasers have the same formulation, nor all bicycles use the same paint, sometimes the paint of the bicycle is degraded, the varnish layer is very deteriorated or it is simply of very low quality.
So it is advisable whenever a new bicycle degreaser is used, to apply a little on a discreet area of the frame and wait, if nothing happens, we can start using it on larger areas of the frame until we are sure that it will not damage the paint. There are several types of bicycle degreaser on the market, the so-called biodegradable and non-biodegradable bicycle degreaser.
Biodegradable or solvent-based bicycle degreaser
The fact that a bicycle degreaser is biodegradable does not mean that it is ecological and does not contaminate, if we bathe in a river we can contaminate the water with the normal shampoo that we usually use, the same thing would happen with this degreaser. The biodegradable degreaser for bicycles is usually cheaper than the one formulated with solvent base.
Since it is a water-based detergent, and is usually less effective and less powerful, it works well for washing the bike in general and degreasing a lightly soiled transmission, but if the transmission is very dirty it will be necessary to use a brush and it will cost more. On the other hand, a solvent-based bicycle degreaser will work more effectively.
The dirt from the transmission will fall off by itself or with very little help, and if it is specific for bicycles it will not damage any component such as paint or rubber. If you want to save a little, you can use a solvent-based bike chain cleaner for the drivetrain and a biodegradable bike degreaser as a general-purpose soap.
The same is achieved by dissolving the solvent-based degreaser in water, so we wash the bike effectively and cheaply and apply the pure product on the transmission.
Keep in mind that what we save in degreaser we can pay in change of transmission, the transmission may appear clean at first glance, but have all the micro craters of the metal full of dirt. If a transmission is not washed in depth, that is, down to the smallest pore, the lubricant will not penetrate well.
At the price of today's high-end transmissions it is worth using a good degreaser.
How to use a bicycle chain cleaner
Always read the instructions of the bicycle degreaser manufacturer before using it and follow their instructions. Normally you should apply the bicycle chain cleaner directly to the surface you want to degrease and leave it to act for a few minutes. We can help us with a brush or rag to remove all the dirt more embedded if necessary.
If the bicycle degreaser cleaner is of good quality the dirt will be dragged almost without help or with a jet of water, there are specific tools to help clean the chain.
Bike roller chain cleaner
The roller chain cleaner is a product that circulates the chain between a series of brushes and a degreaser for bicycle chain, it is a very useful device because it allows us to save water and degreaser for bicycle chain and it is also very clean. The bike chain cleaner tank is filled with bike degreaser and water for single use.
Or you can fill it with pure degreaser and keep it for more uses, it can be reused many times even if it gets a dark color. It is advisable that the bicycle chain cleaner incorporates a magnet that will remove the metal shavings produced by the wear of the transmission.
The operation is very simple, the chain is circulated between the rollers and brushes which are impregnated with bicycle chain degreaser, the dirt and the remains of the bicycle chain degreaser liquid fall into the chain cleaner tank. When the chain is run over the brushes impregnated with chain degreaser.
The layers of dirt are removed and the new layers are impregnated with bicycle degreaser, so in each pass more dirt is removed, once the chain is clean we can save the remains of bike chain cleaner leftover and use another day. All that remains is to rinse the chain well and dry it, because if there are any remains of degreaser, the lubricant will not stick to the chain.
How to clean the bicycle chain?
The first step is to impregnate the entire transmission, chainrings, sprockets and chain with degreasing liquid for bicycles and let it act for the time recommended by the manufacturer, with the help of a brush we rub the sprockets, the sheaves and the chainring. If it is a specific brush for chains, it usually incorporates in the handle a series of tools to remove the driest dirt that is embedded in the sprockets and sheaves.
If we do not have this type of brushes we can use a wooden stick or a screwdriver, if we have a bike chain cleaner we install them in the chain with degreaser in the tank and we make them act.
If we do not have a bike chain cleaner, we will clean the chain with a brush or rag, once the entire transmission is clean we must rinse all the parts well with water and dry. If we have the chain wear tool, you can take advantage of it and check its good condition.