Author Topic: Cassette cleaning  (Read 1929 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Cassette cleaning
« on: March 03, 2019, 10:33:38 pm »

Have just given my cassette a damn good clean. The small rings that are separate I could put through the ultrasonic cleaner, but the larger block of rings that are a single unit are too big to fit in my cleaner. I had to make do with citrus degreaser spray, a brush, a tooth brush, and cloth. It was laborious, messy, and made a right mess of the sink. The size of the block makes it a bit hard to do the Sheldon shake.

What is the best way of cleaning a cassette? There seemed to be something a bit like mud, and even the odd bit of twig deep between the sprockets.

Is there a better way? Or should I just be hunting a bigger ultrasonic cleaner?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 10:40:28 pm »
i use a dishwashing brush, apply some degreaser and then turn pedals to rotate casette quickly whilst holding brush against it. No need to piss about taking the cassette off, let alone ultrasonic cleaners.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 10:42:25 pm »
i use a dishwashing brush, apply some degreaser and then turn pedals to rotate casette quickly whilst holding brush against it. No need to piss about taking the cassette off, let alone ultrasonic cleaners.

That would make a right mess of the hallway carpet...

Much easier to take off the cassette and clean it in the sink...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 10:44:25 pm »
Ahh. No garden, I take it.


Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 10:45:09 pm »
I've taken to 'flossing' between the sprockets with a manky old microfibre cloth (something with a bit more thickness to it than a J cloth) soaked in detergent/degreaser, without removing it from the wheel (or indeed the bike, but it's probably easier if the chain's out of the way).  The freehub makes this quick and easy, and it's surprisingly effective if the cassette isn't too horrendous to start with.  I'd rather do that twice as often as a proper cassette-in-the-sink scrubbing.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2019, 10:56:42 pm »
Ahh. No garden, I take it.

6th floor city apartment...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2019, 11:03:00 pm »
I just floss with a rough kind of rope, using a bit more of a meter or so per clean.

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2019, 11:14:31 pm »
Doing that to an ultrasound cleaner strikes me as a very good way of killing the cleaner unless you spend as much time cleaning it as you do the cassette.
A dishwasher would do a good job but your housemate(s) might object.
One way to do it is to have a suitable container to do the job rather than using the sink (like a plastic 5l drum with a hole cut out of one side to make a washing tube). Old toothbrushes are handy for brushing sprockets. This way you don't have to clean the sink afterwards which saves a bit of work.
My approach is to scrape the muck out between the sprockets with a small screwdriver, rinse with aerosol degreaser and reoil. Since I use more freewheels than cassettes I don't take them off the wheel. CBA!

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2019, 11:21:07 pm »

Have just given my cassette a damn good clean. The small rings that are separate I could put through the ultrasonic cleaner, but the larger block of rings that are a single unit are too big to fit in my cleaner. I had to make do with citrus degreaser spray, a brush, a tooth brush, and cloth. It was laborious, messy, and made a right mess of the sink. The size of the block makes it a bit hard to do the Sheldon shake.

What is the best way of cleaning a cassette? There seemed to be something a bit like mud, and even the odd bit of twig deep between the sprockets.

Is there a better way? Or should I just be hunting a bigger ultrasonic cleaner?

J

I found that Cillet Bang and a 1" and a half inch decent paint brush in a used plastic paint tub did the job of shifting everything that the road threw at my bike and the vulnerable parts including the chain,the cassette,the triple chain-rings.
This involved a quick wash down with warm water and then drying off of the components and then re-lubricating them again.
Your ears are your rear-end defenders,keep them free of clutter and possibly live longer.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2019, 07:30:17 am »
I'd use pipe cleaners if I really wanted to give it a proper going over.
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Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 07:55:15 am »
Is there a better way?
By the by, the best degreaser available in the Netherlands by far is Dasty superontvetter. Pity that it is only sold in Wibra shops.

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 07:57:01 am »
I'm with soaking it first, I have some re-purposed foil tins. Put cassette in and fill with degreaser to soak. Occasional agitation, then mechanical cleaning with a brush. Rinse off and lubricate.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 08:01:48 am »
Degreaser then floss with off-cuts of old towel, tee-shirt or whatever else is handy. The thing has to work smoothly, not win a beauty contest.
Tout à gauche sur le plat

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 08:28:02 am »
Doing that to an ultrasound cleaner strikes me as a very good way of killing the cleaner unless you spend as much time cleaning it as you do the cassette.

My understanding is for teeny parts or seriously manky stuff is to put them in a container with what fluid goes in the ultrasonic cleaner, then put that in the cleaner which also contains fluid.

Disclaimer: I've only read about it somewhere. When I've had recourse to use an ultrasonic cleaner it was one at work and therefore Someone Else's Problem.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

hulver

  • I am a mole and I live in a hole.
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2019, 08:43:09 am »
I use baby wipes to floss between the rings. They're pretty good at degreasing, and they get inbetween the rings pretty well. I also give a good spray of wd-40 first to loosen any hard stuff, then floss with the wipes.

For any really tough stuff, baby wipe wrapped around the end of a screwdriver.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2019, 09:20:26 am »
prevention is the best cure, i don't let the muck to build up by wiping it down after every ride, so the cassette looks new and shiny all the time. it takes 10min to clean the whole drivetrain after a weekend's ride - time well spent. all parts are kept dry (except the inside of the chain rollers) so the dust particles don't stick to them.

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2019, 09:31:16 am »
I use a generous spray of Muc Off followed by an old toothbrush to get into all the gaps between the sprockets

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2019, 09:38:29 am »
prevention is the best cure, i don't let the muck to build up by wiping it down after every ride, so the cassette looks new and shiny all the time. it takes 10min to clean the whole drivetrain after a weekend's ride - time well spent. all parts are kept dry (except the inside of the chain rollers) so the dust particles don't stick to them.

I'm riding too much for that, this bike is also my commuter, my training bike, my race bike, my Audax bike, and my shrink...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2019, 09:45:02 am »
I find that 10 mins spent cleaning transmission parts is much better value than 10 mins with any shrink :)

(I also find the "flossing" techniques pretty time-efficient, as well as very therapeutic. I tend to use whatever materials are going to end up in the bin anyway e.g. rags - even newspaper is some use. )
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2019, 09:50:04 am »
Ahh. No garden, I take it.

6th floor city apartment...

J
When I’m working on the bike indoors I put it upside down on an old quilt cover/rug. I find this better than newspaper for coverage and absorbing spills (which find their way through gaps in the paper).

I use a knife or screwdriver or similar to get the big muck out, then spray with any degreaser or apply white spirits with a brush.

I use old t-shirts torn into strips and folded once or twice to get between the sprockets.

An old toothbrush is quite good on stubborn bits, but doesn’t have the reach. However, if I can’t get to it with the knife, the t-shirt floss or the toothbrush, I can live with it.
L'enfer, c'est les autos.

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2019, 12:31:50 pm »
if you have access to a pressure washer, shifting the worst of it with that is not a bad idea. It is normally possible to blast the crud from a cassette without aiming the jet at bearing seals etc.

FWIW chain lubes vary in what flavour of sticky crud they generate, and this sticky crud is what makes a lot of the unshiftable stuff on a cassette. Unfortunately winter quality chain lubes (which have any resistance to road salt) tend to make for extra-sticky crud.

Some suggestions;

a) hot (pressure or other) wash works a lot better than cold. Most flavours of sticky crud are softened when hot.

b) if you can't bear the labour intensive 'gotta get it done' frenzy, maybe it is worth thinking about having a second cassette & chain which you use on rotation?  This way the dirty parts can be left to soak; a Tupperware container is usually leak-tight enough that a cassette can left inside it soaking in paraffin/white spirit for a day or two. (BTW a shallow bath of solvent can often be made to wick up a cassette wrapped in rag/tissue and thus the solvent can be made to soften crud that isn't actually immersed.) The stinky/fire hazard business of further cleaning can be done elsewhere/outside at a more convenient time if you don't want to stink your flat out. The solvent can be re-used many times.

FWIW I would be a bit more worried about leaving a cassette to soak in a water-based cleaner for days; such cleaners are often corrosive enough that they can cause problems where solvents do not. I also worry about putting crud from chains and cassettes into the water system.

cheers

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2019, 02:43:22 pm »
Just take it off and put it through the dishwasher when the mrs is at work.

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2019, 03:24:44 pm »
Makes me nostalgic for the days of the hot trichloroethane tank at work.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2019, 06:10:58 pm »
I'm with soaking it first, I have some re-purposed foil tins. Put cassette in and fill with degreaser to soak. Occasional agitation, then mechanical cleaning with a brush. Rinse off and lubricate.

I do similar with a couple of old shallow plastic containers, just big enough for the largest sprocket.  Dismantle as much as possible, chuck it all in, spacers included and come back a couple of days later.  Quick wipe, rinse under the tap and reassemble.

Spare casette on bike while this one is soaking
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Cassette cleaning
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2019, 06:24:41 pm »
I cleaned three casettes this weekend.   O:-) 

The right hand brush of this set (Halfords) comes in handy.


You can use empty ice cream tub, or large yoghurt container etc, and put the whole thing in a large plastic bag to avoid spray.  I used a cheap equivalent of Muc-Off, the halfords brush, some old socks, and water rinses.  Casettes cleaned up well, not spotless, but then I didn't want to spend ages...   ;)
"an inordinate fondness for beetles"