Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleaning Your Drive Train

   With winter going on and on like a Geoff, it's time for some kind of post on keeping your bike clean. This time we're going to cover the drivetrain, because mine sounds like a cement mixer.
  •  Prep - First off, it's best to do this when your bike is going to sit for a while. You will want to clean it, and then let it sit and dry before putting on the lubrication. This is fine because cleaning will take longer than lubing up. ALWAYS LUBE UP. Here's the stuff I'm going to be using:

Choice of champions 

   It's much easier to work on a bike on a stand, so throw your steed on a stand. It's important to clean off the gunk before greasing, otherwise you're just going to have greasy dirt on your bike. 
  • Clean the chainrings - Start with the chainrings. First thing I do is spray them down with some degreaser. People say not to use WD-40 on  bike, and that's true... as a lubricant. It is great for cleaning, and if you lube after, safe to use cleaning.
Wiping off the crusty stuff

   There is no need to lube the chainrings, they will get lubed fine from the chain. Speaking of the chain, lets clean that puppy off! 
  • Clean the chain - The goal here is to get the chain free of grime. Here I am using a Park Tool chain cleaner:

Fancy schmancy

   "But Adam I have no such tool." No sweat, a rag will do just fine. Spray some cleaner on the chain, and then spin the cranks and wipe the chain until no more gunk is left on the rag. 
  • Clean the cassette - Next the cassette. I have a set of brushes that work pretty well for getting gunk out.

Cassette brush

If you don't have anything like this, strips of a rag work really well too. Just spin the wheel:

Flossing the cassette
  • Lubing the derailleur - After cleaning is complete and the cleaning solution has dried, it's time to lubricate. The general purpose lube here works great for the derrailer's moving parts and wheels. 
Lubing the derailleur

  • Lubing the chain - For the chain, there are a bunch of different products depending on what you like. I'm using some Finish Line dry weather lube. It's important to get it on the moving parts of the chain, between the inner and outer plate.

Lubing the chain 

   It's equally important to wipe the excess off when complete. The lubricant on the chain that isn't between moving parts is just a magnet for dirt and will gunk up your drive train fast.

Wipe off after lubing

   As long as you have your bike on the stand, it's not a bad idea to wipe down the frame, and get it clean of any road grime or dirt. This whole process shouldn't take more than about 10 minutes, and once you have it down, can be kind of rewarding. Your silky smooth drive train will thank you!

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