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Chain cleaning and lubing (without making a mess)?

fprintf

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I have been cleaning and spraying my chain for a few years now and when I went to do a somewhat deeper clean of my bike noticed a bunch of gunky overspray from the waxy type chain lube I've been using. There was some overspray on the wheels and tires too. I'm apparently not very knowledgable in getting chain lube on the chain and nowhere else!

So what procedure do you use to clean and relube your chains? Do you get overspray and just clean it up or do you have a method of pointing the little stick at the chain top/bottom/inside/outside?
 

Yinzer Moto

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I spray the chain after it exits the front sprocket and before the rear tire, so the overspray goes on the ground.

I would like to explore chain wax like what cyclists use, they heat a block of special wax and dip the chain in the melted wax.
 

KYwoodsrider

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I spray the chain after it exits the front sprocket and before the rear tire, so the overspray goes on the ground.

I would like to explore chain wax like what cyclists use, they heat a block of special wax and dip the chain in the melted wax.
I use this lube on my bicycle chain.


I've thought about trying on the motorcycle but I haven't done it yet.
 

Yinzer Moto

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I use this lube on my bicycle chain.


I've thought about trying on the motorcycle but I haven't done it yet.

I used to hate that stuff when it first came out, I was a bicycle mechanic and it would build up on people’s drivetrains really bad. I see that package says it is “self cleaning” so maybe 20 years later, they have revised the formula and it does not build up as bad.
 

fprintf

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I use this lube on my bicycle chain.


I've thought about trying on the motorcycle but I haven't done it yet.

I have something similar for my bicycle, I think by a company called Finish Line. You drip it all along the chain and then it dries really nicely into a PTFE wax that doesn't pick up dirt hardly at all. Maybe I should move to this instead of the spray PTFE/wax or spray oil that is getting all over the place.
 

fprintf

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I spray the chain after it exits the front sprocket and before the rear tire, so the overspray goes on the ground.

I would like to explore chain wax like what cyclists use, they heat a block of special wax and dip the chain in the melted wax.

Here is an idea of a self-made, and maybe self-cleaning chain wax? Either way I'd watched this video a few months back and thought about trying it but didn't want to remove the chain to do it. (this is more a function of never having removed the chain before, so not wanting to poke my eye out wrestling the master link off than anything else)
 

Alan F.

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Chain cleaning and lubing without making a mess is an acquired skill like any other. There are ways of making it easier to learn though. I've always used cardboard when cleaning to keep the wheel shielded from the mess. Eventually with this method you'll adjust your use of (insert product here) to reduce waste (overspray) while maximizing cleaning.

Not my photo but you get where I'm going.
chain_cleaning_2.jpg
 

Yinzer Moto

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Here is an idea of a self-made, and maybe self-cleaning chain wax? Either way I'd watched this video a few months back and thought about trying it but didn't want to remove the chain to do it. (this is more a function of never having removed the chain before, so not wanting to poke my eye out wrestling the master link off than anything else)


Yeah, I have been thinking of trying something very similar to that. Thanks for the video.

Trials bike master links pop off pretty easily, especially if you have master link pliers.

I might have to give his recipe a try.
 

ZoomerP

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I used to hate that stuff when it first came out, I was a bicycle mechanic and it would build up on people’s drivetrains really bad. I see that package says it is “self cleaning” so maybe 20 years later, they have revised the formula and it does not build up as bad.
The self cleaning action occurs as the lube flakes off. Seems to work ok on bicycles.

With an internally lubed chain, I think a waxy bicycle lube is worth a try. It's mainly there to prevent rust and protect the O-rings. I'm not as sure about using bicycle lines on non O-rings chains. Seems like they won't be up to the task, but maybe I'm wrong.
 

Sceep

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I never clean the chain and use gear oil for lube.
If used sparingly fling is not a issue.
Ditto.
The only cleaning my chain gets is hosed off when the bike gets washed.
Snip the tip of the gear oil bottle to make the smallest hole possible. Then hold it on the chain and spin it a couple revolutions. Wipe off excess with a rag.
1651504426079.png
 

KYwoodsrider

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I currently use gear lube as well. I apply it lightly with a small paint brush then go back wipe off any excess. If it slings oil all over the rear tire then you applied to much.
 

Yinzer Moto

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Ditto.
The only cleaning my chain gets is hosed off when the bike gets washed.
Snip the tip of the gear oil bottle to make the smallest hole possible. Then hold it on the chain and spin it a couple revolutions. Wipe off excess with a rag.
1651504426079.png

I use gear oil on the dirtbike and dual sport but I like the trials bikes to be a little cleaner. Ricardo turned me onto a Nils chain lube that seems to work well but it is a little dirty. The wax idea seems like it would be clean. I have a practice wheel and competition wheel, so I am swapping a lot and touching that chain frequently.
 

fprintf

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I have the Maxima chain wax and when it sets up it is nice, but I feel like it is a bit too sticky and dirt really sticks to it - at least the outside. It ends up looking quite dirty and black and crusty after a while. If the inside of the rollers is OK, then I don't care about the outside.

I'm still thinking about the molten wax idea I posted from the video above. I bet I can get an old crockpot from Goodwill that will do just fine. I haven't looked into the PTFE powder just yet.
 

tomatoe333

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My brother swears by the pot-o-wax method for his bicycle chains, he's a much more serious bike rider than I am.

I've been trying the hot oil method. Basically, you take the chain off, give it a soak in mineral spirits to get all the old oil/crud off. Then you hang it to dry. After that, you drop it into a bath of used gearbox oil and put it in the Arizona sun to heat up. If you don't have Arizona sun handy, you can heat up the oil. Leave the chain in the oil for an hour or so, then hang it up to drip off the excess oil. Wipe with a rag and reinstall.
 

JohnQ

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If it’s on the road, this stuff is worth every penny.
Amazing slickness.
It’s staying put on the ninja chain up to 150mph.
No mess, no drama, easy chain cleaning.

Using spray and pray on the off road chain. Pro Honda white lith. Yea, that flies off. But it’s not “gooey”, sticky crap.
 

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GlennR

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I bought a Chinese bike a few years ago that came with a non O-ring chain. I tried soaking it in a pot of molten paraffin wax but it must not have been up to the task, because the chain didn't last very long. (It might have been because it was a low-quality chain.)

I replaced it with an O-ring chain & haven't looked back.

But I have wondered if a tougher wax would have given better results. I used to blow glass and we'd lube our tools with carnauba wax because it has the highest melting point of any wax. It's also the hardest natural wax at room temp. It would probably last much longer as a chain lube than the paraffin did. If I were testing wax formulas I'd also consider adding a bit of powdered graphite into the wax.

I don't plan to ever use a non-O-ring chain again, but that's my 2 cents.

:beer:beer
 

hdscarbro

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I like this wax base lube:

It's is pretty much self cleaning, but like other wax lubes needs to be applied more often.

To apply, I do the following:
  • Remove chain and hang it vertically
  • Wipe off surface dirt
  • Spray all fours sides and wipe off excess lube (along with more dirt).
  • If chain was especially grimy, I'll repeat the previous step.
  • Let dry
  • Reinstall
I think removing the chain is less hassle than trying to lube it installed.
 
Last edited:

Nhuskys

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I use this stuff:

I like wax based lube. It is pretty much self cleaning, but needs to be applied more often.

To apply, I do the following:
  • Remove chain and hang it vertically
  • Wipe off surface dirt
  • Spray all fours sides and wipe off excess lube (along with more dirt).
  • If chain was especially grimy, I'll repeat the previous step.
  • Let dry
  • Reinstall
I think removing the chain is less hassle than trying to lube it installed.

How often do you ride?
 

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