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Remove Grit and Grease from Bicycle Parts

Cycling clubs as well as individual bicycling enthusiasts know that maintenance plays a critical role in keeping riding equipment in tip-top shape. A benchtop ultrasonic cleaner is unsurpassed for removing grit and grease from these parts in record time, and without the mess of using brushes and solvents to clean sprockets, bearings, gears, cables, chains and other components.

Bicycle part cleaning is fast thanks to the power of 40 kHz cavitation action in an ultrasonic cleaner such as the 1.6 gallon* Sharpertek TOV180-6L. The unit is equipped with a heater and a timer allowing cycling enthusiasts (and repair shop owners) to develop their own routine based on the condition of the parts to be cleaned. A typical cycle is 10 minutes of sonication but it will depend on the degree of contamination. The unit’s Sweep function provides a uniform distribution of cavitation action throughout the cleaning bath.

Tip: Take time to hose away gross dirt such as mud before sonic cleaning bike parts.

Bike part cleaning is safe thanks to today’s biodegradable ultrasonic cleaning solutions. An ideal formulation is elma tec clean A4, a universal cleaner for removing dirt, grease, oils and other contaminants from all metal parts and plastics. This is diluted to 1 to 5 percent with water. It is also safe for parts because cavitation, while powerful, does not damage metal or plastic.

As noted above you will develop your own routine, but here’s a good way to start using the TOV180-6L.

Step 1: Prepare the cleaning bath. Add water to the tank fill line and the required amount of elma tec clean A4.. (Be sure to allow for solution displacement by the parts.) Activate the units Degas mode to both mix the solution and drive off trapped air. This should take about 10 minutes. Note that degassing must be done each time a fresh solution is prepared. The unit can be turned off until you are ready to clean the parts.

Step 2: Cleaning. Turn on the unit and set the thermostat to 50?C. As the solution heats carefully place disassembled bicycle parts in the mesh basket. Do not overfill the basket: multiple cleaning cycles are better if you are working with a large number of parts. Lower the basket into the solution and set the timer for 10 minutes. Cavitation bubbles created by the 40 kHz ultrasonic transducers will implode violently against surfaces to blast away contaminants from all surfaces including cracks and crevices impossible to reach by hand scrubbing.

Step 3: At the end of the cleaning cycle remove the basket and examine the parts. (Never reach into an operating ultrasonic bath as it may be hot!) Repeat the cycle if needed, otherwise rinse them in fresh hot water, allow them to flash dry and then treat them with fresh lubricants or a rust inhibitor.


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