I like riding my bike but not cleaning my bike. Unfortunately cleaning my road bike especially the drive train is a necessity. Of course the most difficult part, the chain, is notoriously difficult to clean correctly.
In the past I have tried chain cleaners that look like the one on the right. In short, they don’t work.
The next evolution is to adopt a chain like the SRAM Powerlink or the Connex link, which can be easily taken apart. I still have to manually scrub the chain and it seems like no matter how many times you scrub the chain, it is still super dirty. Finally I came across the following YouTube video:
The host uses an ultrasonic cleaner and his result was really impressive. I went to Amazon and got myself one.
I took off the chain and put it in the ultrasonic cleaner with a “cap” full of Simple Green all-purpose cleaner from Canadian Tire with hot tap water. I then run the cleaner for 10 minutes. After the first cleaning, the chain already look pretty spectacular. I lift the chain and repositioned it in the cleaner and run it for another 10 minutes. Took the chain out, rinse thoroughly with my garden hose, and put it back on. Here is the result with no scrubbing:
Another nice thing about using this technique is that while the ultrasonic cleaner is doing its job, you can scrub the bike down. This bike cleaning session is the easiest one yet.
In summary, I highly recommend that you get an ultrasonic cleaner!
Update: Someone asked about cleaning the ultrasonic cleaner. There was no issue whatsoever. The grease did not stick to the container, and all I had to do was pour the dirty liquid out and give it a quick rinse. That was it. Simple. I see others on YouTube use a ziplock bag to contain the chain and the detergent, but I opted not to do that.