A bit of a waxing mystery

Ok, so I suspect I know what’s happened here, but I’d like some more experienced heads to chime in.

I thought I’d give chain waxing ago, and started with my TCR (with AXS). As I had a spare, I went with a new chain. I used the sous vide Silca secret blend method, and all in all it worked pretty well. I got two long ish dry ish rides out of it, and by the end of a third, long slightly wet ride, the chain clearly needed re-doing. No problem, almost 300km in damp weather.

Having experienced success, I thought I’d do the Campag chain on the rim brake bike. The chain on this is probably 1000km old, so I ordered a new one. For whatever reason, it hasn’t showed up yet, so I thought fine, I’ll just have to clean the old one very thoroughly. 7-8 passes later, and I thought it was good to go.

Anyway, 70km into my first ride with it (some moisture on the road but a dry day) and the chain is as dry as the Sahara. I got home, washed it down in boiling water, rewaxed it, and… it’s still very dry. It’s like the wax isn’t sticking.

I can only assume that this is because in fact the chain wasn’t/isn’t sufficiently clean for the wax to adhere, even though I thought it was pretty spotless. Any other guesses?

I really thought this was the way forward but it’s maybe turning out to be a bit more hassle than I wanted…

Edit: 1 more thing - if I do persevere, is there any advantage to the crockpot method over the ‘boil in the bag’? I just about get the pouch method past the other half, but a crockpot full of wax might be pushing it (so it would have to be worth it :rofl:)

@RecoveryRide How are your prepping your chains before dipping? Please say mineral spirits….

Crockpot 12-15 bucks on Amazon, makes a world of a difference.

Zerofriction The best resource out there.

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The 3 bottle method described here is fantastic. The chain could be wiped up against a wedding dress and it would be ok. I add a 4th bottle of alcohol. Look for Gatorade bottle method. PS I bought the “green” version of mineral spirits and it works fine. It’s milky and not stinky at all.

Get the crock pot. Just do it in the garage to get past familial objections.

I/ve been waxing my chains for over a year now and am having good success. I followed the instructions on YouTube from Oz Cycling Ultimate Chain wax - make it yourself - YouTube . I just use paraffin wax I buy from the local grocery store, an inexpensive crock pot (from Amazon or maybe get one from your local thrift store) and I use PTFE powder (also found on Amazon). I don’t use any molybdenum, just wax and PTFE. Make sure to clean your chain and prep in exactly as shown on Oz Cycling YouTube video. After the first cleaning and prep follow on waxings are fairly straight forward and doesn’t take too long once you get the hang of it.

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Cleaning a new chain or a used one is crucial. My technique is to soak in gasoline( found this works better than anything else, shake very well, then I wash with simple green in an ultrasonic cleaner. Rinse the chain with clean water, then rinse in denatured alcohol. Let dry before waxing. I usually get about 2000 miles of all kinds of weather before needing to rewax. (gasoline = petrol; denatured alcohol = methylated spirits)

2000 miles between waxing? That’s 3200km, more than 10x the recommended re-wax interval. I wax too, so speaking from experience ~300km is optimal, 500km at a stretch. I don’t care how well you prep or what kind of wax you use, there is no way it’s lasting 3200km.

OP, check out the Zero Friction videos on YT regarding chain prep.


Agreed - maybe they added a zero? I target 250-300 outdoor miles

6 month on my trainer bike

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No, I had about 500 miles on the chain before a cross country bike trip. I had an extra waxed chain in reserve. I didn’t have shifting problems or noise or chain “stretch” until far into the trip.


  • chain into plastic container with white spirit (UK equivalent of mineral spirits)
  • stand for 2-5 min (first pass only), shake for 2 min
  • drain off solvent into waste tank, rinse out container, wipe down chain with paper towel
  • repeat 3-4x (for new chain)

Then as above but with meths 2x

I don’t go overboard cleaning a new chain. The way I see it is the manufacturers could grease get locked into the rollers with the waxing, I don’t see that as an issue.

Worse case the grease melts into the wax, and I don’t see that as an issue either.

I don’t even attempt to wax an old chain, not worth the bother.

You are following the best procedures there. Perhaps you didn’t get quite a decent swishing of the chain?

The only other thing could be the boil hot above optimal temperature range, which can have an impact on the wax solution.

Am I the only one who thought this thread was going to be about shaving?


But that grease is an issue the whole point is to strip to bare metal and remove 100% of all factory grease. Optimally one breaks the chain in for 50-100km before they prep/strip before waxing. ZF and Silca outline basically the same process and make it crystal clean it’s about removing all grease, especially in the rollers the most critical element of the chain assembly.

The prep and stripping is what drives the cost of a race prepped chain from Molten or Silca.

I don’t recommend a final pass with meths in that instance :grimacing: :grimacing:

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Wait…last 2 baths in meths…Meths in UK is the same as denatured alcohol?

meths = methylated spirits, which I am fairly sure is the same as denatured alcohol…

From KMC Maintenance: Even chains need affection!
“We recommend never to degrease the chain completely. Also when changing to wax, we recommend to degrease the chain only on the outside. If you degrease the chain completely, we recommend to soak the chain in wax for 12–24 hours, so that this can penetrate into the inside of the chain.”

How many leave their pot on for 12-24hrs?

Waxing isn’t the holy grail imo. I use MSW but only because it’s clean, and easy to clean the chain before next application of lubricant.

I started waxing my road bike chain and I’m loving it. To simplify and make swapping easier and quicker, I have two chain’s, one waxed on the bike, another one waxed and ready to swap.

Its appeal to me is:

  1. To reduce wear on consumables. As a fairly high mileage rider, if the claims about extended lives of chains and cassettes are even remotely true, I will save hundreds of £s over the expected life of a bike.
  2. Cleanliness. Mucky, grimy, oily drivetrains are a bit of a pet hate. Shallow? Maybe, but it’s a thing :rofl:

I would therefore really like to be able to make it work. Let’s see where I get with the new Campag chain and maybe a crockpot.

If you give up on waxing, something like Smoove solves the problems you mentioned and takes about 60 seconds to do.