Friday, May 06, 2005

Isopropyl Alcohol

When you've a bike with disc brakes it's important to keep them as clean as possible, which is especially important when your re-lubing your chain, bleeding hydraulic brakes and generally squirting around cleaner or lube.

But what to use ? For a long while I used methylated spirits which doesn't leave an oily residue like white spirits and generally worked well. However, more and more people are now using isopropyl alcohol as their preferred cleaner - it's similar to car brake cleaner but with the oils removed.

Initially I hard trouble sourcing it as my local chemists didn't stock it, but I eventually identified that Maplin stock some as a printer circuit board cleaner, part# RE71N. The aerosol dispenser makes it easier to use than a cloth (clean) over a bottle of meths too.

With this stuff around, if any lube makes it to the disc it is easily removed and although it will evaporate, I tend to wipe off the excess with a clean, lint free cloth/tissue. I've even doused slightly contaminated pads in the stuff with no ill effects.

After use, you may find that the brakes take a few pumps to get the disc and pads biting again but you shouldn't get any squeal that some cleaners tend to impart.

A final word of warning tho, keep it away from forks and shocks as it'll such the lube out of the seals/bushes and kill off your bouncers double quick.