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November 24, 2014, 08:25:39 PM

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Author Topic: Easy Spoke Cleaning  (Read 105 times)


  • Grand Gearhead
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Easy Spoke Cleaning
« on: November 22, 2014, 08:59:50 PM »
Maybe this has been posted before but I don't recall reading about it.

I'll admit, I allowed my rear wheel to get pretty dirty.  In fact, I probably haven't cleaned it for over 1/2 a year so it was covered with dirt and chain lube.  The spokes and rear hub were black so I decided the whole thing needed some cleaning.

I've had success using one of the orange cleansers so I started with that and some paper towels.  Although it worked, sorta, most of the chain lube on the rim showed no sign of giving up its hold.

After 15 minutes of spraying and rubbing I got to thinking, "What is a good solvent for oil and grease that won't attack rubber?"

Acetone, MEK, lacquer thinner all will remove grease but they all will attack rubber and the thoughts of one of those fluids getting down thru the spoke nipples and on my inner tube weren't pleasant.  Then it hit me.  Disk Brake Cleaner.  It kills grease and in small quantities won't damage rubber!

A short time later armed with a can of Disk Brake Cleaner and some paper towels, I dampened some paper towel with it.

One wipe and the offending oily deposits simply dissolved and disappeared.
Two strokes of the damp towel on a spoke and the oil and dirt vanished.

I will say I recommend wearing rubber gloves and doing this cleaning outside is a good idea.  Although Disk Brake Cleaner doesn't have any hazard warnings and it isn't explosive, stuff that can do that much damage to oil and grease can't be good for the human body.  Besides, the rubber gloves keeps the dirt off of your hands making clean up of your body parts easy.

Have fun and keep it rubber side down. :)
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Re: Easy Spoke Cleaning
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2014, 10:30:33 PM »
I love using brake cleaner for cleaning my whole chassis, but especially the rear wheel.  People think I'm crazy or joking when I say I detail my Indian with brake cleaner, but it works fantastic.  With my older motor I spew oil everywhere, and my rear wheel is constantly filthy.  I got tired of all the grime all over the back half of the bike and decided that brake cleaner would be the fastest most efficient way to clean.  To make my life even easier, I was at work when I decided this where I have a SureShot sprayer and brake clean in a 55 gallon drum.  I spray down the whole chassis, motor, rear fender, pipes and rear wheel and give it a quick wipe with a microfiber.  Then I'll give it a wipe with detailing spray to seal it.  And in between hosings I wipe down the chrome and rear fender with a microfiber wet with brake clean.  I've been doing that for over a year and it works great with no damage done to the finish or other parts.
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer


  • Grease Monkey
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Re: Easy Spoke Cleaning
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2014, 10:56:06 PM »
Good to know....I've used brake cleaner to clean up grease/oil spots but was always afraid it would ruin chrome or polished metal.

Off topic, but kinda related:   if you ever have a part that is anodized aluminum and is an ugly color (and anything other than 'aluminum' or 'black' is ugly) you can use spray oven cleaner to get the color off of it and get it back to bare aluminum.
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Re: Easy Spoke Cleaning
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 02:14:39 PM »
Better move quickly with the oven cleaner it will also eat the aluminum away if left to long.   ERC
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Re: Easy Spoke Cleaning
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 02:19:25 PM »
Just a note about brake cleaner. When I install titanium valves, they always have a warning notice in the box to not use brake cleaner or any solvent that has chlorinated hydrocarbons in it. Apparently it attacks and weakens the titanium alloy. Maybe this is an unusual situation but I thought I'd mention it in case anyone is using any titanium.
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Re: Easy Spoke Cleaning
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 08:49:12 PM »
Easy spoke cleaning on my dirt bike is some mean green and a pressure washer..lol . On my RE its some Honda spray polish (with carnauba wax) and a old towel. I like that fuzzy oven mit thing someone suggested, I'm gonna have to look for one. ;)


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Re: Easy Spoke Cleaning
« Reply #6 on: Today at 05:27:06 AM »
Trying to clean hard to reach spaces was something that I hated as it scraped skin off fingers and hand by sharp metal corners and edges of screws or nuts. Could not find anything that would fit these narrow spaces, and something that would not damage paint.

Then out of all the places, a dollar store had a fantastic design of microfiber attached to a flat plastic handle. The microfiber cloth can be taken off and washed and re-attached. It reaches all the hard to reach places e.g., spokes, hub, inside surface of fenders, behind starter motor, almost everywhere.

A brief intro of its applications -  It can clean bike in 5 minutes.... may be 10  :).

« Last Edit: Today at 05:00:18 PM by singhg5 »
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