Chain Cleaning Service in the US?

Is anyone familiar with a chain cleaning service (wax submersion preparation) in the United States?

Similar to https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/product/cleaning/

FWIW - I live in a condo in San Francisco and it’s challenging to use solvents/chemicals to degrease and clean an OEM/Used chain.

Consider buying an ultrasonic cleaner…doesn’t require heavy solvents (and you should absolutely not use them anyway) and it is the same thing most do.

Cheap on Amazon,put a small amount of Simple Green HD (not regular SG…the purple stuff), mostly water and away you go.

If you bring your bike in for service , Bespoke Cycles on Clay will probably do it. I just got my gravel bike serviced there, and part of that was getting a new chain. I had them run the chain through there ultrasonic cleaner and lube it with squirt.

Thanks!
Oz believes solvent baths are still necessary before the Ultrasonic baths (source).

FWIW - Oz notes SRAM factory lube is even trickier to remove and requires additional solvent baths.

Also, mineral spirits is a mild solvent with ‘fairly low acute toxicity…’ (Wiki).

They key is proper disposal and in SF I can discard old solvents at The Household Hazardous Waste Facility

I would pay for a factory lube removal process.

Interesting - Bespoke is down the street from me. Appreciate the tip.

I wonder how thorough they clean the chain.

Ari has an ultrasonic cleaner that looks “commercial” grade, and that’s what he uses + cleaning fluid. So it comes out pretty stripped.

If you go, tell him Matthew sent you :grin:

There are a number of companies that sell pre-treated chains. Recently this was discussed on the TR podcast.

ICE Friction. They will sell you a pre-treated chain and will also recondition it if you send it back (for a fee).

If you want to go the DIY route, I recommend these videos from Josh Porter of Silca. He touches on a lot of the important aspects of cleaning and waxing a chain. Once the chain is cleaned well, the waxing is not that difficult. I’ve used both Molten Speed Wax and more recently tried Silca’s new wax. Silca did make it dead easy my putting the wax in a bag that can be heated up in a bag of water.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Tips:

Silca Wax:

2 Likes

The pre-treated chains are pricey and understandably so.

I’m interested in just outsourcing Step 1 - cleaning off factory lube. Step 2 Waxing is the easy part.

I might explore asking bike, motorcycle, and auto shops if they’d clean my factory chain (chain #2) for a fee. If not, maybe outsource to a handyman website (TaskRabbit) or something similar.

If you could get someone to put it in mineral spirits for you for a day or two, that will work well to strip a brand new chain of the factory grease.

I get my mineral spirits at Home Depot and pour some into a glass mason type jar and put then soak the chain it it directly. It sounds like this might be challenging for you in the condo though.

Wow, this guy is great. I think I’m a SILCA convert.

Your average aqueous degreasers available at Home Depot are weak sauce.

This is what we use in the machine shop: https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/40282535 (Trim Clean 2030).

I don’t know why it says “Solvent-Based”, because it is not. It’s water based and we mix it at 5-10% in ultrasonic and industrial parts washers.

More expensive than Simple Green, but a gallon of this stuff will last years for bike parts. It’s a lot friendlier than solvents.