I pretty much agree with Thewhitmores, in that kerosene or WD40 both do an effective job of cleaning the chain. I have discovered a problem with this, however. While either does an excellent job of cleaning up the chain they are, nerveless, a very thin oil which tends to diminish the ability of the lube to get a good bond to the chain. It's much like painting something; you don't prepare the surface by spraying on a coat of oil. I still use kerosene but in the form of Gunk. You can buy it at any auto parts store. I prefer a brand called S.C. Gink Concentrate from NAPA Auto Parts. All gunk does is make the kerosene water soluble, so you just brush or spray it on and then wash the bike normally. This way the chain is absolutely clean and the chain wax will stick and stay put. Immediately after applying the chain lube, take a rag and wipe off all the excess as this only pick up more road grime. Don't forget to get all the water off the chain before lubing, as the water will keep out the chain lube, which isn't exactly the idea here. I can literally ride all day an not have one spec of lube on my polished rims. AS you can see below, my bike doesn't need a chain guard as there's nothing to sling. The picture was taken after about a 400 mile weekend ride. I can dust the wheel, but no oil removers are needed.
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