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Old 14th June 2021, 17:07   #1
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Default Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication

Hi guys, Let us use this thread for all issues related to the critical driver of our bicycles, the drivetrain. Not just the chain, but the derailleurs, the crank and chain rings and the freewheel or cassette.

How to keep them clean and well lubricated. What precautions to take. How to clean. What to use during the process. How to lube. What to lube with. How often to lube. All of this goes in here.

I use this and I totally swear by it. I don't see myself using anything else short of riding in the rain for which I have my Muc Off Wet.

Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication-img_20210512_183430.jpg

It's the next best thing to waxing your chain.

I did a tutorial on it on Strava recently. Will try and paste the same.

Cheers, Doc

Last edited by vb-san : 26th July 2021 at 17:40. Reason: Updated as opening post
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Old 15th July 2021, 10:43   #2
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Default Drivetrain / Chain Care, Cleaning and Lubrication

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Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
I use this and I totally swear by it. I don't see myself using anything else short of riding in the rain for which I have my Muc Off Wet.

Attachment 2167387

It's the next best thing to waxing your chain.

I did a tutorial on it on Strava recently. Will try and paste the same.

Cheers, Doc
Could you post the link to the tutorial here?

Also want to thank all contributors to this thread for the help and information here! I am a bit of a noob who has picked up cycling with help from this thread

- Sriram
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Old 15th July 2021, 11:09   #3
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Originally Posted by sriramsid View Post
Could you post the link to the tutorial here?

Also want to thank all contributors to this thread for the help and information here! I am a bit of a noob who has picked up cycling with help from this thread

- Sriram
https://www.strava.com/activities/5284521950

Hope this works.

Check the 17 comments.

I've now renamed the activity Squirt so it's easier for me to find next time.

Cheers, Doc

Last edited by ebonho : 15th July 2021 at 11:11.
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Old 15th July 2021, 11:38   #4
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
I don't see myself using anything else short of riding in the rain for which I have my Muc Off Wet.
Doc, does Squirt wash off easily in the rain? I was planning to take my cycle out during rains, and I don't have any specific wet lube.

Also, do we have to do the whole cleaning the chain spotless before re-applying Squirt, after applying a wet lube (like muc off that you have mentioned).

I spent a lot of time to wash away the factory one, when I first applied Squirt. I am not looking forward to do that again, if we have to use a separate wet lube during rains.

Thanks.
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Old 15th July 2021, 12:13   #5
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Originally Posted by dragntailonfire View Post
Doc, does Squirt wash off easily in the rain? I was planning to take my cycle out during rains, and I don't have any specific wet lube.

Also, do we have to do the whole cleaning the chain spotless before re-applying Squirt, after applying a wet lube (like muc off that you have mentioned).

I spent a lot of time to wash away the factory one, when I first applied Squirt. I am not looking forward to do that again, if we have to use a separate wet lube during rains.

Thanks.
Squirt/wax and oil/wet lube do not mix.

If your chain has wet lube, it is a contaminant and Squirt won't coat the internals properly.

Plus you will be losing one of the biggest advantages of Squirt - a dry waxy feeling clean spotless silvery white gunk free drivetrain that just needs to be rubbed/brushed down with a cloth or brush before the next application.

That has made my life so much nicer that I would not do (or would do) anything to lose or keep it.

Squirt or wax or any other wax based lube will not work in wet conditions. For the rains (like on my ACT) you need a purpose built wet lube like Muc Off. There is no escaping that.

So my Squirt-ed CAAD remains indoors, and my Muc Off-ed ACT splashes in the rains.


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Originally Posted by dragntailonfire View Post
Doc, does Squirt wash off easily in the rain? I was planning to take my cycle out during rains, and I don't have any specific wet lube..

Thanks.
Adding ...

P S. Did a bit of googling. Opinion from long-term users seems to be divided.

Some say wet lubes are the way to go because Squirt just doesn't last in the rain and the chain starts rusting later (albeit that's if you do not immediately shake the bike down and rub it down clean). Pure paraffin wax does slightly better than Squirt.

However there are may Squirt users who say they continue to use Squirt in the rains as well, without issue, only they have to reapply at a greater frequency. It's important to make sure you run out your chain and drivetrain and shake your bike dry of excess water and let it dry off properly.

I would personally also prefer to use only Squirt. On my ACT as well. The clean look and less hassle is so alluring. But my chain and jockey wheels and cogs and chainrings are so soaked in wet lube that I'm pretty sure even with a deep clean (wd40 followed by hot water and dishwasher) will not remove all of it. So the Squirt won't work well anyways. My ACT chain does not have a smart link so o will need to break it 5o get it off the bike, which I don't want to do.

My next chain I will definitely give it a try.

Why don't you try it out and report back your experience?

Last edited by ebonho : 15th July 2021 at 12:43.
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Old 17th July 2021, 20:24   #6
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

Today's ride was on a bit on the wet and muddy side on the roads. So back home, i ferreted the triban to my shower and proceeded to wash her down with some automotive wash and wax shampoo i had lying around. Then some wd40 over the chain and cassette to get the water and remaining muck off. Finally a squirt to end the session.

Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication-pxl_20210717_082408787.mp01.jpeg

Ready to roll next weekend!
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Old 19th July 2021, 20:58   #7
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragntailonfire View Post
Doc, does Squirt wash off easily in the rain? I was planning to take my cycle out during rains, and I don't have any specific wet lube.

Also, do we have to do the whole cleaning the chain spotless before re-applying Squirt, after applying a wet lube (like muc off that you have mentioned).

I spent a lot of time to wash away the factory one, when I first applied Squirt. I am not looking forward to do that again, if we have to use a separate wet lube during rains.

Thanks.
I could not resist any longer, curiosity got the better of me, and rather than wait for you to try it out I went ahead and Squirted my old Muc Off wet lubed chain and drivetrain just now!

Washed rhe bike today morning, after a mucky ride. WD40 soaked into both derailleurs, chainrings on both sides, cassette and chain. Then Formula 1 car wash shampoo (will use dish wash degreaser next time if the feel and experience is good this time)and clothes brush and water to wash the drivetrain as clean as possible.

Once the bike had dried off, I felt the chain. Still getting black lines on my fingers. Rubbed it down back pedalling into a rag as best as I could till the rollers were shining and little black came out (still there though ... to get rid of all of it will be difficult with the chain on the bike). Cleaned the sides of the links as well, again backpedalling into the rag pinched around the chain.

Late evening plan was to Muc Off the chain and derailleur pivot points and leave it to stand overnight. But the chain was shining and sparking and my curiosity did the rest and I gave it two coats of Squirt, waiting a couple of hours for the first to harden before applying the second.

Now to try it out ....

Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication-img_20210719_203901.jpg

Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication-img_20210719_204351.jpg

Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication-img_20210719_204226.jpg

I don't know if you can make out from the photos but the chain now has that nice dull satiny wax finish typical of Squirt.

P S. Do remember this is a lovingly maintained but hard used 15,000 km old basic Shimano Tourney drivetrain. Scuffed and old but still rocks bikes with drive-trains many many times it's price-point and series hierarchy.

P.P.S. Doc tip - If your chain does not have a smart link, and your kids do not have a chalk or crayon to mark the link you start lubing from, take a dab of talcum powder and mark the side of a link and start from there. When it comes all the way around, the powder will still be there. I use the same technique to count the teeth if individual cogs while calculating gearing as well. Lol

Last edited by ebonho : 19th July 2021 at 21:22.
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Old 19th July 2021, 21:29   #8
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Still getting black lines on my fingers.
This is a problem for me as well. I used acetone to clean the chain. When I run a cloth over the chain, there is no residue at all, but when I run my fingers, I get the black lines. Because of this my chain gets this dirty gunk on it now. It is easy to flick away, and I apply squirt after getting rid of all these big pieces.

I do have the smart link, but it is of the non reusable variety. It has that small notch in the middle. I am afraid to remove it, to do a more thorough cleaning, in case it doesn't fit back. Guess I'll have to order a reusable smart link then.

This is the view right now. I will remove the gunk and apply squirt, perhaps tomorrow.

Bicycle drivetrain / chain care, cleaning & lubrication-20210716_163202.jpg

When I made up my mind to eventually go out in the rain, the gods failed me. Has been sunny mornings for the past few days.
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Old 20th July 2021, 19:43   #9
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

So I was looking up this whole waxing chain thing, and it does seem rather interesting to do. But it seemed like a lot of effort, until I found this hack.



Considering I will probably be around 300-400k per month, even though he says this is a temp solution, a good amount of this on the chain will mean it is a rather deep application. So I don’t have to bother with the whole chain removal and dipping into hot wax. So hot water to melt the existing wax on the chain, and apply with mix onto it, and off we go for about a month.

Not bad at all. Now that I have done one round of squirt, I think I will wait until next month or the next rain session, to get the chain off, do a super deep clean, and then wax using this method. Will make a big enough bottle at one go and stock it up. No more wd40 rubbish as well.

Does that sound alright?
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Old 20th July 2021, 21:25   #10
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
So I was looking up this whole waxing chain thing, and it does seem rather interesting to do. But it seemed like a lot of effort, until I found this hack.

https://Youtu.be/-oyNX6-CCMw

Considering I will probably be around 300-400k per month, even though he says this is a temp solution, a good amount of this on the chain will mean it is a rather deep application. So I donít have to bother with the whole chain removal and dipping into hot wax. So hot water to melt the existing wax on the chain, and apply with mix onto it, and off we go for about a month.

Not bad at all. Now that I have done one round of squirt, I think I will wait until next month or the next rain session, to get the chain off, do a super deep clean, and then wax using this method. Will make a big enough bottle at one go and stock it up. No more wd40 rubbish as well.

Does that sound alright?
Nice one. But looks almost as involved as the actual wax bath treatment. A group of friends do these community waxing sessions at one of the friends homes, who has an electric rice cooker. 3-4 of them take their chains off and come over and cook up a batch. I'm lazy so Squirt works for me.
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Old 20th July 2021, 21:33   #11
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Nice one. But looks almost as involved as the actual wax bath treatment. A group of friends do these community waxing sessions at one of the friends homes, who has an electric rice cooker. 3-4 of them take their chains off and come over and cook up a batch. I'm lazy so Squirt works for me.
After some more reading I just realised that the damn squirt is the same as wax. Actually, it is wax!

I have to deep clean the chain before using squirt. What cleaning I did was useless. I might need to get the chain off and do it properly. That factory grease is still probably on the chain. Internet lore says get all grease off, chain has to be absolutely squeaky clean for the wax to go on and stick to the chain, and then thereafter, you just wipe dust off, and reapply. Apparently nothing clings on to the chain. Is this your experience as well? And if it’s wax, then rain and mud shouldn’t matter as well, isn’t it? Just wipe with rag, and apply squirt?!

Last edited by Red Liner : 20th July 2021 at 21:34.
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Old 20th July 2021, 21:53   #12
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After some more reading I just realised that the damn squirt is the same as wax. Actually, it is wax!

I have to deep clean the chain before using squirt. What cleaning I did was useless. I might need to get the chain off and do it properly. That factory grease is still probably on the chain. Internet lore says get all grease off, chain has to be absolutely squeaky clean for the wax to go on and stick to the chain, and then thereafter, you just wipe dust off, and reapply. Apparently nothing clings on to the chain. Is this your experience as well? And if it’s wax, then rain and mud shouldn’t matter as well, isn’t it? Just wipe with rag, and apply squirt?!
Yes bro, Squirt is famously "wax in a bottle". And the only one which is in water as an emulsion. No other vehicle medium or additives. The water evaporates away, leaving a thick wax coating behind. And it's got the highest wax content as well, at 40%.

Sure taking some candles and melting them would be cheaper, but really I left all these tinkering things back in my Bullet days in my mid 30s, when I realised that what had surreptitiously crept up on me was more tinkering and less riding for the sake of riding.

Then the KTMs came and tinkering became history.

Have followed the same mantra last 5 years on my cycles and cycling.
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Old 21st July 2021, 07:28   #13
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

Then i have to get the chain off and do a deep clean and reapply. What i have done now is not good.
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Old 21st July 2021, 08:33   #14
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

How to remove chain completely, do all chains comes with quick release? Or one has to break the chain and install quick release? I am new to cycling hence asking.

And which online shops to buy cycling accessories other than cylop. in
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Old 21st July 2021, 09:12   #15
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Default Re: The Bicycles thread

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Then i have to get the chain off and do a deep clean and reapply. What i have done now is not good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitsecond View Post
How to remove chain completely, do all chains comes with quick release? Or one has to break the chain and install quick release? I am new to cycling hence asking.

And which online shops to buy cycling accessories other than cylop. in
This is what i follow.
  • Turn the bike upside down and Remove the rear wheel.
  • *Spray* some degreaser / any alcohol based cleaner on chains, crank teeth, pully wheels and cassette
  • wait for 1-2 min and then start to wipe it off with a dry waste cloth (you might need lot more than you think, if your bike is having too much old grease)
  • Clean the pulley wheels and Crank teeth first, and lastly the chain, since those two areas accumulate most muck and pass it on to chain.
  • Clean the cassette with a thin dry cloth where you can insert between each cog and get the upper + lower areas cleaned.
  • after you have completely cleaned the areas, take a hair dryer or a vaccum with blower mode and gently having them clean it (again not more than 1-2 min in total)
  • Apply Squirt (best is to apply atleast 4 hrs before a ride, i usually do it 10-12 hrs before the ride)

I do this once in a month since i only do 2 outdoor session per week (~400 kms). The exception is if you get to ride on a rainy day - then irrespective of the schedule this gets repeated.

Some pics from my cleaning yesterday.

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Last edited by Mi10 : 21st July 2021 at 09:16.
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