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Dust, dust, and more dust

Catrin2011-09-26 03:12:31 +0000 #1
The trails I rode this weekend were just pure dust! I only fell a couple of times (a great improvement) but looked like I had a dust bath at the end of my rides

My question is about the care of my drivetrain in such conditions. Should I have a little brush to brush off the chain ring and cassette between rides when it is like this? I use Finish Line lube which is supposed to be really good for dusty conditions.

I got caught in a horrible storm on the way home yesterday. It was so bad that I pulled over because I couldn't see the hood of my car let alone the road and stuff was being blown around...That did wash a good amount of the dust off the Jamis, but the cassette and RD is still pretty dirty so I think I need to at least lube the chain, and take a rag to the RD to get some of the cr*p out of it. Would that be sufficient?
OakLeaf2011-09-26 03:24:27 +0000 #2
Rag is fine for getting the big chunks off, and that's plenty for day-to-day cleaning. You can use a heavy-duty shop-rag-type paper towel, fold it double, and pull it tight between your hands to wipe tight spaces.

Once in a while you really need solvent to remove caked-up old chain lube and grit. Either WD-40 (you can buy it in gallon jugs or non-aerosol pump sprayers) or a citrus solvent will work. Solvents are nasty for the environment so I try to minimize it (and filter and re-use what I put in a solvent bath/chain cleaning machine). Be sure and wipe or wash off any solvents after a deep cleaning, and dry off any water, before re-lubing.

The Park Tool brush: is totally worth the price. I'm not much on specialized cleaning tools and mostly use old toothbrushes and shop rags for everything, but that narrow array of long, stiff bristles is really primo for in between chainrings and cogs, brake arms, etc.

Once you're done cleaning, re-lube. Lots of people overdo lubrication, and that just winds up attracting more grit. With liquid lube, just a drop in brake and derailleur pivots, work the part back and forth, then wipe any excess off the outside; a drop every couple-three links of your chain, turn the pedals backwards and wipe to distribute. Depending on your cable system, sometimes a drop of lube is helpful in the last section of RD cable housing, between the chainstay and RD, but if you're not sure, check with your LBS.

I'm not a fan of waxes on my road vehicles, but off-road is different and I know a lot of MTBers/dirt bikers swear by chain waxing.

Be sure to wear nitrile gloves while you're working with lubricants and solvents.
Aggie_Ama2011-09-26 03:59:10 +0000 #3
With our seemingly neverending drought in Texas all I have been riding is dust this summer. I use Rock n' Roll gold which cleans and lubes. It is ridiculously easy to use so I do this before every ride and seems to keep my drivetrains performing well. If it gets too cakey in the cassette I will pull out the Pedro's Toothbrush and clean it. I also use a cheapy toothbrush (human kind) to get some of the hard to reach places. I do try to every other ride give my bike a half-a$$ed wash. I use the mist setting on my hose, get as much dust off as possible, wipe down the frame and run the chain through a rag to dry it. Then I let the chain completely air dry and lube it. I do wipe down the fork and shocks with a shop rag as soon as possible after each ride to remove any possible contaminates.

I admittedly don't do a full drivetrain clean as often as I should. This would involve taking off the rear wheel, scrubbing the cassette, degreasing the chain.
Catrin2011-09-26 04:12:56 +0000 #4
Thanks for the tips! I have used Rock and Roll in the past, but had a problem with it and have since tried White Lightening Clean Ride and also Finish Line. I DID like the Rock and Roll though, and am considering returning to the mountain bike version.

Thanks for the brush suggestion, I figured out last night after returning home that I need something like that for the cassette. I wiped the chain off well, but after driving through that storm I don't think much is left...
tzvia2011-09-26 04:46:26 +0000 #5
The main thing to remember, the oil that does the job is inside the pins- not all over the outside- anything on the outside of the chain will only attract dirt. It should be almost dry on the outside-only enough lube to keep it from rusting and that is not much.

I use White Lightning lube as a cleaner- it sucks as a lube, but it does a good job displacing dirt so I can just wipe it off with a rag. Then I lube with T9 (I've tried a lot of lubes, but keep coming back to T9), making sure to wipe off any excess. Then I hit the cassette with a shop rag, between the cogs like flossing, and the chainrings get a wipe. Done. I only hit the chain with chain cleaner every 5 rides or so, or if I got it wet while riding.

Park makes a cassette brush that I sometimes use to scrub the cassette and chain if it is really bad- it's thin enough to get between the cogs and I can jam it into the chain if needed.
ridebikeme2011-09-26 04:11:19 +0000 #6
Another lube that you could consider is Squirt. I've used it extensively since 2009 on both my mountain bike and road bikes. It seems to handle all conditions pretty well, and was first used by professional cyclocross racers. It's a lube that needs to dry on the chain before riding, so I recommend to customers to add lube after your ride so it's ready for your next one. It's also a lube that you don't need to add frequently, otherwise it gets gummed up. To check, all you need to do is rub a rag or your finger across the chain to see if there is any left on it...if there is lube on it, don't add any more.

When I started using this is was late fall here, so I went an entire fall and winter here without cleaning my drivetrain... just to see what it was like.And yes, that means through a really wet fall and winter snow and believe it or not, the drivetrain was incredibly clean.



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