Old 2nd October 2019, 07:38 PM #1
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Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

I have a few tins of aerosol brake cleaner in the shed.
As I'm quite a cheap bastard I thought I would use them to clean the bike chain rather than going out and spending my Confirmation money on a designated chain cleaner.
I'm assuming it will be safe to use on O/X-rings as it doesn't react with a brake calipers rubber seals .
Exhaustive searching on the net has turned up various opinions ranging from 'absolutely harmless' to 'one application will cause the chain to implode'.
Any reason you think I should or shouldn't use it?
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:02 PM #2
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

Brake cleaner would penetrate the o or x rings i would think. Better to use Kerosene/Paraffin oil as it will only wash. I have never used a cleaner on my chain which has done nearly 40,000 miles. I use gear oil on the chain and wipe off the excess with a rag. Works for me. The spray on lubes seem to attract dirt and grit which tends to build up over time.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:21 PM #3
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

I personally wouldn't use it. There are strong solvents in brake cleaner, which will dissolve the grease in the rollers if the spray gets past the o/x rings.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:57 PM #4
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

A litre of kerosene costs fuck all in the local agri store or petrol station.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 09:16 PM #5
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

I wouldn't use kerosene either.

Use a brush with some engine oil. Brush it on from the inside.

Leave wheel run for a min to work it in. Clean off with rag.

You'll have a clean protected chain
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Old 2nd October 2019, 09:42 PM #6
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

definitely overkill on a chain, ive seen 50,000km on a did zvmx 530 chain with regular cleaning with either diesel or kerosene and a spray of wurth chain wax
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Old 2nd October 2019, 10:28 PM #7
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

In work I find brake cleaner is fucking useless on anything other than dry brake dust. I detest using the stuff on leaky brakes, it goes to crap when it meets any moisture that the leaking fluid absords.

I wouldn't put it near an o/x-ring chain, the rubber in brake seals is peculiar.

A little bit of kerosene on a bristley brush works well on a chain for me. Then a "dry" aerosol lube with a little applicator I bought keeps the stuff fairly in the right place without a shit-ton of wastage.

This is all with the rear wheel free to spin.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 08:37 AM #8
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

Originally Posted by cloghan0
Brake cleaner would penetrate the o or x rings i would think. Better to use Kerosene/Paraffin oil as it will only wash. I have never used a cleaner on my chain which has done nearly 40,000 miles. I use gear oil on the chain and wipe off the excess with a rag. Works for me. The spray on lubes seem to attract dirt and grit which tends to build up over time.
+1 exactly what me and my two sons use kerosene to clean then gear oil to lube it but 100% wipe off excess with rag works brilliant. Have 22K on my chain at the mo and still plenty of life left in it only got 15k using "proper" chain cleaner and lube before.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 10:26 PM #9
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

Kerosene, the magical cleaner.
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Old 4th October 2019, 10:17 AM #10
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

WD-40 is fine for cleaning the chain if you have some sitting about. Spray directly on or else onto a cloth and the give the chain a good scrub. Repeat for really stubborn greasy bits. If you want, you can even wash the chain using your normal bike cleaner after. Then reapply your chain lube of choice - for me it's normal engine oil applied with a brush, then wiped down with a cloth to remove excess.
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Old 4th October 2019, 02:58 PM #11
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

Does gear/engine oil not fling off like fook when on the move (even after wiping off the excess) ?

It would't have any major sticking/clinging properties and the centrifugal forces at 160mph are pretty strong....
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:58 PM #12
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

Cheers for the input gents.
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Old 4th October 2019, 07:35 PM #13
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Re: Anyone use brake cleaner to clean a chain?

Originally Posted by Big H
Does gear/engine oil not fling off like fook when on the move (even after wiping off the excess) ?

It would't have any major sticking/clinging properties and the centrifugal forces at 160mph are pretty strong....
Little rev and it's gone. I had no issues on a gsxr600 for 8 years. Used to only adjust the chain at every tire at 2k miles
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Old 4th October 2019, 10:20 PM #14
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Originally Posted by corkgsxr
I wouldn't use kerosene either.

Use a brush with some engine oil. Brush it on from the inside.
This.

I'd also be reluctant to use anything (even Parafin) that would cut oil inside o-ring chains.
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