Chain Waxing Tutorial

I won some in a contest and just got it yesterday. I put it on my trainer bike chain yesterday but I doubt I will be able to tell much about how it works until I eventually get it on an outside bike later in the spring.

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I really hate getting chain grease on me all the time. I don’t think waxing is faster (in terms of maintenance time spent), but it’s hella-clean. If noisy drivetrain is your pet-peeve, do whatever works for you in that dept.

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If its already messed up, what have you got to loose on trying it? Just a thought.

Not adding much to this thread, but I had a previous batch that was decent, made from wax pellets that looked a bit yellow. This was relatively long lasting. I made a new batch based on the above Oz Cycle video, with nice pure looking white wax pellets. This has been a nightmare, wearing off in as little as 50k in the wet and leaving a horrible squeaky/rattly chain. I’ve been slowly adding parrafin oil to get it to a similar consistency as the last batch and have finally got there - it’s now possible to scrape some off the block when it’s cold rather than it being rock solid, and I don’t have what looks like a year’s worth of dandruff on the floor after a session.

In conclusion my advice is to not buy a pure looking wax as it’s more hassle than the cheaper stuff!

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As a high level mechanic for over 15 years I recommend NOT waxing your chain learn how to clean and lube your chain properly and you will be in a far better place!

Why? :thinking:

Genuine question - based on?

There seem to be pros and cons for both. Surely it’s down to us which we prefer and why or is there a killer reason oil reigns supreme?
:thinking:

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Chains should be a bare as possible especially now with 12 speed and 13 speed not far behind! Wax simply takes up too much space in modern drivetrains compromising quality of shifting. This goes for lubes with wax in them too, like T9 and many others. For example clearance on a AXS drivetrain is .5mm which is basically as close as you can get it without touching. Now if adjustments are needed to compensate for the growth in chain width the results will be catastrophic once that wax wears off!

Cleaning the chain is really the most important step and cleaning with a product that doesn’t comprise the lube applied after. Stay away from any degreasers most are too acidic. If you can’t find two that play nice find a lube with cleaning properties and just use the lube to clean.

So if I’m running, 10 or 11 speed I’m fine as the clearances are less tight?

I did see a thread asking about waxing 12soeed chains as that was the very thought that was stopping people.

So do we have a distinct line here? Less than or equal to 11 speed waxing is OK more than that it’s too tight…?

:thinking:

For what it’s worth I’m running 11 speed on road and gravel and both seem to run very well.

Thank you much for the ideas. I followed all of Oz Cycling’s latest tips. (They change a lot over time).
Chain was thoroughly degreased. let the wax cool as suggested. I didn’t wipe the wax off.

I think paraffin and PFTE will protect in dry conditions. it will be wise to have lubricant with me to put on the chain to make sure I have lubricant to protect in wet conditions. Or, I find something that works better.

I have some Absolute Black Graphene wax coming and could also try MSW.

Just like a chip pan fire, the destroyer of many a British kitchen (and occasional house) in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They used to show us oil fire safety videos in school, like the “Drugs are bad” informational/safety videos. One video was produced by the English Fire Service showing a remote triggered bucket of water being dumped into a barrel (yes a full sized barrel!) of super hot burning vegetable oil and the Beirut-esque explosion that happened. 12 years old and to this day I’ve never forgotten. A fire blanket is a worthwhile investment if you deep fry for cooking or heat your wax via another method other than a slow cooker. I digress…

Anyway, great thread. I have a few glass jars of petrol to strip chains. Works well. They’re stored in a distant shed without any sources of ignition. I may recycle small amounts of the filtered “dirty” petrol through my lawnmower, suitably diluted with fresh petrol. But I’m expecting a lawnmower repair man and Cat 1 on here to tell me this is a silly idea? :rofl:

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Safety first. Seriously.

Thanks for bringing this up. Can you suggest cleaners and lubes that we should consider using? Thanks.

You’re likely to spend a little bit less time overall with wax, but in larger time blocks. I run three chains in rotation, so when one starts making noise, it comes off and a freshly waxed one goes on. When I have 3 noisy chains, it’s time to clean and re-wax them. Also, no dirty chain marks on your socks or calves. It’s been perfect for my bike on the turbo trainer since my garage isn’t dirty. I don’t really have to clean the chains, just drop them back into the wax. :smiley:

Don’t want to derail the ‘how to’ side of this so feel free to tell me to start a new thread, but…

Is it worth it? Honest question.

I ask because I’ve thought about this quite a lot lately. The idea of no oil/grease everywhere appears, as does better shifting and longer wear periods. I’m not fussed about performance gains as a few watts is irrelevant for a non-racer like me.

But it all does seem quite time-consuming, rather involved, and requiring of a reasonable investment up front.

So, other keen recreational riders - is it worth the trouble? Thanks

Yes.

I thought it was a pain but then I got all the stuff together and gave it a go.

The only hard part is the initial cleaning. After that it’s a breeze to re-wax when you compare it to cleaning and re-lubing with oil…

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For me, absolutely. I can’t stand oily, grimy chains that leave black goo on everything they come into contact with. Getting better life out of chains is great but not the reason I choose to wax. And since I run 4 chains it will be years before I wear them out.

As for time, once you get past degreasing the chain which you only do once and isn’t that bad, I don’t find it excessive. I run each chain about 250 miles which means every 6-8 weeks I have to rewax all 4 chains. I’ve never timed it but it is under 30 minutes total time to do 4 chains. Well worth it for me. And I use a tool free Connex Link so swapping chains only takes couple of minutes.

Cost. $11 for baby crockpot. $4.50 for a pound of paraffin wax which lasts a long time. Wire coat hanger - free. I have minerals spirits on hand for the initial cleaning. Connex Link - $22 which will last thousands and thousands of miles.

I wouldn’t go back to using conventional lubes if you paid me.

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So if I’m riding in dry conditions and on the trainer how long can I expect a waxed chain to last before needing re treatment? Im getting towards the end of my current chain life and have 2 new Dura Ace ones I could potentially rotate around. Currently a satisfied rock n roll gold user and at 5000 indoor/outdoor miles on this chain. Heard wax is “loud” if that makes sense. Ride in a warm humid climate.

Decided to jump on the wax train.

Performed my initial chain degreasing with mineral spirits, but I’m thinking about using Comet instead of acetone/alcohol to remove any remaining degreaser film.

Comet/Ajax/Bar keepers friend work great for getting down to the metal (no hydrocarbon films) for paint prep. I was thinking the same would be great for chain prep. That is… if I can get the grit out of the chain rollers afterwards. I was thinking ultrasonic water bath afterwards would do it though. Will update here if this is a total fail and my chain sucks.

Now that is thinking outside the box! I’m addicted to Bar Keepers Friend in the kitchen because it works like magic on things like AllClad cookware. But, I never thought about using it for a chain.

I think with an ultrasonic you could indeed get all the little bits out of the rollers — but the bigger question is how difficult/exhausting it might be to scrub & clean the chain with a Bar Keepers Friend in the first place. Would you use something like a toothbrush to do it? I’m not in love with acetone / mineral spirits / etc, but they do work pretty darn well.

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Comet is really abrasive. I’d never use it on chain since I’d have no way of knowing if I got all of it out between the rollers and pins. Isopropanol or Ethanol is cheap, readily available and doesn’t leave a film.

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