Chain Waxing Tutorial

Dude, to be completely honest IMO 6-8 baths is excessive. I run wax on all my stuff and I do max 3 baths, this last one I did it in 2 baths because I was lazy and I try to re-use my mineral spirits on the factory grease. I left it in the first bath for like 2 days and then the second bath for 2 weeks (just never got around to finishing it) and then did a bath in acetone before waxing it. Unless you are looking to eek out every single watt, 2-3 baths really should be all you need.

I think we obsess about getting every single ounce of speed from our equipment out when really what is 1-2 watts going to net us? If you are that hungry for watts buy the Ceramic Speed pre done wax. As long as you can strip the factory grease from the chain the wax can do its thing.

Anyways I will be happy to be proven wrong here, but I have been doing this for a long time now and I am just way too lazy to be doing 4+ baths on my new chains. I would rather put in a bit of extra time on the bike and put down the fork a bit and see performance that way. I don’t enjoy fiddling around and inhaling chemicals more than I need to.

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Plus IMO if you run the chains a few times and do the rewaxing, you will inherently work the grease out over time (if you have any left, assuming 2-3 baths don’t remove enough, which I really, really think will remove more than enough). Even if you remove 95% of the grease, you should have enough wax adhesion and by the time you wear through the chain a bit, you will get 100% adhesion from sequential baths. As it is, a slightly worn chain is faster than new anyways so it really, really dosnt matter. Just make sure you strip the grease. You do not really need a 99.99999% clean chain. 95-98% or whatever should do.

And to beat a dead horse I use paint thinner, as I cannot get my hands on mineral spirits where I live. Again you can chase perfection all you want, but if you are within 95% of “perfection” (whatever that is) I deem it as acceptable, as eeking out the remaining 5% is exponentially more time intensive and tedious. Diminishing returns.

In engineering you can see this in bearings. You pay exponentially more for the 99.999 vs the 99.99, seems familiar? (cough ceramic bearings, not that I am bashing them or saying you should not get them either, but there is a time and place and importance for the extra thousandths, going to space is one of them, your bike… not… so much?)

Just read the horror post about a chain disintegrating after having been left in SG for too long. Just left 2 brand new chains in diesel for 3 days now. Safe to use?

6-8 is excessive. I do 1, maybe 2. It works out fine.

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The Simple Green horror post is me. My guess is, you’re OK, or more specifically, your chain is OK. After all, diesel sits in gas tanks and fuel lines for days without causing corrosion whereas SG is not designed to be a “storage” bath for metals. I’m not implying that diesel is perfect — water and ethanol contamination can cause diesel to become corrosive. But this tends to occur in diesel storage tanks and engines where fuel sits for long periods of time. I can’t imagine 3-days in a diesel bath would cause any problems.

If you have any doubts, give your chain a good look over after cleaning and before waxing. Maybe use it on the trainer first before going outside, and then look it over again. I’ve read that the process that seemed to affect my chain is called “hydrogen embrittlement.” And indeed, it was brittle. Clear as day it has many cracks. I wasn’t looking for cracks before I dipped it in the wax bath, so I have no idea if they were visible then. For what it’s worth, after waxing I used that chain on a Ramp Test, Carpathian Peak, and was 29 miles in on a road ride when the first break occurred.

Incidentally, SG also offers an aircraft grade cleaner that contains an anti-corrosion agent to “battle corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement.”

And, no surprise, concern around SG and bike chains is nothing new:

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I can’t speak to how mineral spirits behaves, but I’ve been using gasoline to strip new chains and haven’t thrown any out yet. The grease settles to the bottom and I can pour off the majority clean layer into another jar. With 3 jars you can accumulate the grease dregs in one. Not sure what I’ll do with that jar when it gets full, but I’d estimate I’ve got about 10 years to think of something.

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Way excessive, at least for my chain usage.

When I get a new chain, which isn’t very often since I have 4 in rotation, I put it in 4L plastic wide mouth plastic jug, add just enough mineral spirits to cover the chain and shake vigorously. I generally let it soak over night and will give it a few more shakes periodically. Take it out to dry and do a final alcohol bath to remove any mineral spirits that may remain. As far as letting it soak, the mineral spirits come in a mild steel can that will last for years without degrading so I figure a chain soaking for a few hours is pretty safe.

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So you’re saying you follow the directions to the letter instead of deviating for no reason? Hmmm. I wonder why it works out so well for you and not others

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who are you replying to?


waxed yesterday, dura ace chain for first time.
no big deal element wise. OCD 100%
NOTICED chain ring much more noisey than usual.
maybe chain ring 52T is worn out 10,000 miles.

Thanks for the shout out MI-XC…you might prefer this blog post with a lot more info:

When I switched to waxing it seemed noiser to me too. I did some searching and found out that oil might have better noise dampening properties than wax. It doesn’t mean that oil is a better lubricant. Since then I’ve got used to the waxed chains and can tell when it needs rewaxing because the noise is from the lack of wax.

Just started waxing. Done 500kms or so, but on an old chain. It makes a slight noise only on the small chain ring. Not squeaky. Cant figure out when I need to take it off.

I have two chains just before replacing them (they have 10 thousand kms each) and last me about 3-400 kms. On another bike I have completely new chains and switched them after 4-500 kms. But I am slightly OCD and annoyed when it becomes noisier :slight_smile:

Issue is, I dont know what noise I should hear? Will it be similar to a lubed chain which has run dry?

Don’t worry too much about it. Yes, it would be similar to a dry chain when lubing it. Squeaking noises. If you can’t tell just replace them after around 400-500 kms if new.

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Thank You . Adaptation one more time one one more thing. I did a Petit today. I’m thinking I gonna like this waxing.


This is my third session waxing my chain. I’ve looked at various recipe and continue to refine my own. My current mix has 80% paraffin wax and 20% Paraffin oil. I am not sure if it’s scientific, but I like how It doesn’t crust on the chain as much. I included a heavy cleaning and took out the cassette and gave it a deep cleaning. I had to clean a few parts that had accumulated wax build up.

We’ll see how it feels when I take it for a ride.

I’ve slowly figuring out more intermediate maintenance work like removing the cassette and chain to clean In more detail.

These threads have now got me curious about adding Teflon. Not because it will necessarily make any speed difference, but just to nerd out.