Clean well lubricated derailleurs are an essential part of a smooth shifting drivetrain. In this article, it will demonstrate in four easy steps how to clean and lubricate your rear derailleur.
First thing you will need is a small flat blade screwdriver, then a good brush set like the finish line brush set, finish line speed, clean speed degreaser, finish line dry Teflon Lube to spray down the derailleur with, and finish line extreme Fluora fluorinated grease to apply to the pivots. Last but not least, you will need your trusty rack.
Step one: Cleaning the derailleur pulleys.
Cleaning the derailleur pulleys is simple. Shift the chain down into the smallest cog, hold the blade of your flat blade screwdriver up against the pulley and rotate the crank. Any grit will come off onto the blade of the screwdriver. When you’re done, wipe it off with a rag and repeat the process if necessary. In order to make it easier to access the top or jockey pulley, you can shift your derailleur so that the chain is in the largest cog. This will open up the derailleur body and make easier to access the pulley. Once you have done that, press the blade of the screwdriver against the pulley, just like you did with the body. To reach the inboard side of the pulleys, those closest to the wheel shift the chain back down into the smallest cog. And then open up your brake so that the tire clears the brake pads. How to do this will vary depending on the brake system that came with your bike. Once the tire can clear the pads, open up the quick-release lever. Loose the lever or the quick-release nut if necessary. Give the wheel a good hard tap and remove it from the frame dropouts. Once you have done this shift the derailleur back out as if to the largest cog and repeat the process that you used on the outboard sides of the pulleys. Hold the tip of your screwdriver up against the pulley and rotate the crank. Sometimes it can be hard to reach the side of the bottom pulley but all you need is one small contact point.
Step two: Brushing off the derailleur.
Brushing off the derailleur pot body saves you a lot of work and a lot of degreaser. Later on, I like to begin with a brush like this one that has long stiff bristles. Go over the whole derailleur body and don’t worry if you pick up grease on the derailleur pulleys and accidentally smear it on the body itself. Although this might not come off with a brush, the degrease will take care of it later. Once I have gone over the entire derailleur body with this brush, I like to move on to another one. That is actually ideally suited for frame tubing and fork blades but it has small stiff bristles. That can press easily and make it possible to get into tighter places. For example, the space between the cages houses the derailleur pulleys and the main body of the derailleur.
Last but not least, I like to use a small cylindrical brush with stiff bristles to clean the tightest places in the derailleur body, particularly the pivots which we need to pay special attention to. In order to ensure that is lubricant, we apply later. Don’t drive any dirt deeper into the pivots and cause premature wear.
Step three: Degreasing the derailleur
This is one of the easiest steps. Finish line speed clean degreaser is a very powerful degreaser that comes very forcefully out of the cane and dries almost instantly which means that you don’t need to rinse it with water. Blow it dry with compressed air or wait for it to dry before you apply Lube. Supplely spray the entire derailleur body down again. Pay special attention to the pivots and the rail the derailleur in which the spring is housed and then wait. If you are an anxious person who cannot wait a couple of seconds for the degreaser to dry by itself, you can go over it with a rag.
Step four: Lubricating the derailleur
I like to do this in two steps.
First I take finish lines dry Teflon Lube and spray the entire derailleur down like speed clean degreaser. The carrier fluid and dry Teflon Lube evaporates almost instantly and leaves behind coating solid Teflon particles. These particles penetrate the tighter places on the derailleur very easily, including pivots.
Then wipe off any residue with a rag but don’t be too obsessive about it. I find that it actually makes it easier to wipe off dirt that picks up on an ensuing ride. Using finish lines extreme flora fluorinated grease, inject grease into the moving parts of the derailleur. Most derailleurs are shaped like parallelogram with two long sides and two shot sides that rotate relative to one another. All the points of rotation should be lubricated if possible, depending on your derailleur. This can be up to 20. Make certain to get the pivots and the parallelogram. Unlike dry Teflon Lube, extreme Fluora is lightweight fluorinated grease. And it will pick up dirt if you leave excess residue on, so be sure wipe the excess off with a rag. Once you have wiped off all the excess, shift though your derailleurs full range of motion as if you have the wheel in but without rotating the crank. This will allow the Lube to work into the pivots and at the same time, it will force any excess Lube out of the pivots. If you see any excess Lube come out in the course of shifting through the derailleur full range of motion, just wipe it off with a rag.