Chain Waxing Tutorial

I’d ride it one more time, if it’s dry, to rub off the light rust so the wax goes on good steel. Unless it’s gotten squeaky, then just wax it. I wouldn’t expect that waxing to last as long as normal.


Quick questions here… Ive got a 5 hour gravel race coming up this weekend and it looks like it could be rainy. In my experience, wax doesnt hold up in wet weather… at all. Ive got 3 waxed chains and Im thinking strip one and put some more traditional lube on it for the race then decrease things after the race. Thoughts?

Also, how to strip the wax off? Or even to strip it off at all? Just put the lube on over/with it?

Boiling the chain in hot water will melt the wax off and give you a clean chain. Could give it a soak in alcohol to be sure but probably just boiling it is fine

There’s your answer. Adam (ZFC) covers this somewhere on his website.

I have been putting my used waxed chains in the oven, heat to 200 degrees, then remove and give chain a good wipe down. A lot of the dirty wax will run out of the links before you give it a wipe down.

I was not keen on boiling in water as I would then have to make sure the chain is totally dry before re waxing.

Why? It just boils out of the chain when it’s in the wax. Alcohol boils faster though.

Could also boil in water to ensure washing out of all wax and then bake to dry

I was just worried the water would contaminate the wax. The boil and bake option seems a good idea so will try that next time.


How many miles are you guys getting between re waxes and how do you know when it’s time?

I get 150miles
When it starts to get loud I start the process over

Next waxing is with silica stuff been using speed wax. Also will clean with chemical and bake prior to waxing to see if I can go 200 miles between waxes

That’s surprisingly short I thought I recalled something like 300-400 miles. Still I’m good reapplying every 150-200 that’s a summer week for me. Loud is hard to agree on I guess, cause the super secret I use is initially quiet, like eerily silent, but then picks up some noise after 100 or so. I thought it was loud till I rode next to someone on a group ride who’s sounded like pennies in a blender

If you listen to the Marginal Gains Podcast, Josh from Silca does some great deep dives into the waxing process (I’m talking mega-nerdy, detailed dives). One of his repeated cautions: don’t use Simple Green, and certainly don’t soak in Simple Green. Apparently it encourages something referred to as hydrogen embrittlement of the chain. This is well-known in aerospace circles, hence why Simple Green makes specific aerospace rated products that don’t have this issue. He advocates citrus degreasers followed by a denatured alcohol bath, with no real extended soaking. Instead, swishing for only a few minutes at a time in a series of Gatorade bottles. There is a YouTube video on his process on the Silca Velo channel.

The upshot: I think the Simple Green had more than enough time to embrittle your chain and compromise its integrity.


I don’t think I’ll be getting 300-400.

I added drip wax after my initial MTB ride on a newly waxed SRAM chain.

After one initial ride on my gravel bike, the wax seems to do a better job with the Shimano chain.

I think it’s due to the Shimano chain having less tight tolerances than SRAM allowing the wax to penetrate more.

I’m not super concerned about duration between waxes. As I can always apply drip wax and extend that duration.

The reason I switched to waxed chains was primarily for longevity in a single event. I want to be able to ride 50+ miles on MTB and 100+ miles on gravel in dry dusty conditions and not have to worry about chain gunk and relubing.

It’s also so much nicer to have a clean chain and not have black oily marks getting on everything that touches the drivetrain.

You got that right. For sure, embrittlement was the condition and the Simple Green soak was the culprit.

I’ll check out that podcast episode. Thank you!

Any suggestions on favorite master link pliers? I’m ideally looking for a single pliers that can be used for both taking off a master link and installing a new master link.

Right now I’m leaning towards the Park Tool MLP 1.2

I have a cheap Probiketool one. It works, I find installing a link can also be done by rotating it to the top and pressing on the pedal to click it in place

I have those and they work fine but since I started using the Connex Link they just sit the tool tray on my work stand gathering dust. The reusable, tool free Connex Link is just too quick and easy to use even though I have bunch traditional quick links in stock.

The Connex link scares me cause of how easy it comes apart in videos, feels like if I backpedal and there’s a brief detention of the chain it could just fall apart

The shimano one looks weird, but works a lot better than the Park one. TL-CN10. More expensive than I remember paying for it a year ago. Shimano TL-CN10 Pliers | BIKE24

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I’ve used the Connex links for Shimano for a full year on two road bikes without any issue of the chain coming apart. I did however break one during a ride. The place (Cantitoe Road) I ordered them from sent me another one free of charge.

I haven’t yet used them on my gravel bike, but I was thinking of going that route.