Chain Waxing Tutorial

Mine aren’t nearly that dirty. So I guess I’d qualify it with “YMMV” :slightly_smiling_face:

Here’s a few excerpts from the latest Zen Master’s Guide that are updated and I hadn’t read before:

“Speaking of Racing (2): consider a dedicated racing chain… when training chain hits 0.5% wear, the racing chain becomes your training chain.”

This seems like a good idea if you’re seeking every single marginal gain.

And then here’s what they say about the two-pot system (in lieu of cleaning every time, which kind of defeats the purpose of simple waxing):

If you can find a second $8 crock pot, this way makes some sense to me. As mentioned, I see some impurities in my wax when I discard it after roughly 20 waxes, but it’s nothing crazy and certainly less than what I would get on oiled chains, so I haven’t messed with it.

But if I can also get more bang for my MSW buck, it might be worth it to get a second crock pot.

Did your wax get to hot and burn? I been waxing for 2 1/2 years and haven’t seen anything like that except for a time where I forgot to turn off the crock pot for a few days.

There might be some dirt and grit, but its never been brown (except for the time I burned it - which was more dark greyish - it was no longer white when it cooled)


I throw mine is a toaster oven at about 250 for a bit before putting mine in the wax. Dries them out great and never had any issues with popping of moisture or moisture being trapped causing issues once waxed. No dealing with an additional chemical step so kind of a wash on steps in the process. We happen to have 3 toaster ovens for some reason so toast and chains aren’t going into the same one.

Been waxing for 7 or 8 years on my tri bike, 2 trainer chains and 1 race chain I rotate through. For some reason never bothered with the other bikes in the house but after going from a 32 to a 36 on the “gravel” bike cassette needed a new chain so figured I would wax it. First ride sunday, despite 100s of hours on the tri bike with waxed chains I was still in shock how much quieter it made the other bike.


No, it didn’t get too hot, I melt on hi then switch to low and it’s never discolored the wax, it definitely came from the chain. Maybe I’m just grimy LOL.

FWIW Normal there is a little grit in the wax that settles out, once I get a bit of that on the bottom of the wax I heat up the pot upside down. The wax plops out and I can scrape off the dirty stuff leaving pure crystal clean wax that can be melted back in the pot and used.


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Alright, need some help here…

So, I have been bouncing between Squirt, Silca and CeramicSpeed.

CeramicSpeed = Easy to apply, keeps chain pretty clean, easy to clean, decent run time
Silca = Very runny so not very easy to apply, keeps chain extremely clean, easy to clean, pretty short run time
Squirt = Cheap, easy to apply, chain gets dirtier than the above, hard to clean completely, long run time

My cleaning process between chain applications is to spray it down with CeramicSpeeds own waxed chain cleaner, scrub it, and then rinse.

For some reason I have a really hard time keeping the chain clean with Squirt, and also cleaning when using Squirt. It kind of creates this stickiness on the chain, whereas Silca and CeramicSpeed flakes off the chain? So excess wax always falls off.

I always apply it and let it dry over night.

Any other with similar results?

That’s just how squirt is - it’s not a true wax that sets, it’s a blend with something like paraffin oil that might last longer, but runs dirtier and is harder to clean.

76 page explanation from ZFC here if you’re interested…

I mainly do immersive waxing, but for topping up I use SSS on the ‘best’ bike and Tru Tension on the commuter. TT is better than squirt so I’d recommend that.


Thanks for the help, makes total sense! Will stick to SSS in the future since it just seems to be the best, and also easiest to clean!


I’m using silca for road and squirt for MTB

Laugh all you want… for the last 14 months I have used nothing but Gulf Wax. I don’t ‘add’ anything to it. Boil the chain, dry it off, toss it into the Gulf Wax. It’s white in color, but ‘clear’ when on the chain so the drive-train continues to look like jewelry.

It’s about $3.00 from the grocery store and runs amazingly clean. Zero grit/dirt, and lasts about 250 miles. Buttery smooth pedal feel. Is it the fastest? I don’t know. Neither am I.

Seriously. I’m not just trying to punk y’all. Try it once. The most you’ll lose is about $3.00.


That’s what we used in the '80s. That was before the chain wax people found out about marketing.

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Yup. A buddy of mine used to use straight paraffin on his Bianchi. It was probably about 1983. His parents had him on that stunning celeste-color rocket ship, and I was on a 75# (or so it felt) Nishiki .


I use gulf wax mixed into the molten speed wax. That way to get some of the additive still to help with friction while extending the life of the wax quite a bit. Split the MSW like 3 ways and add a bar of gulf

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I just had a chain break on a new 10 speed ultegra chain I waxed, after only ~120km. The outer plate on one of the links got bend (nowhere near the missing link). I only noticed some chain skipping for a few seconds and then my chain dropped after downshifting my front gear. I didn’t put a lot of power on the chain.

Can someone confirm this has nothing to do with hot waxing and is probably just a case of bad luck? I have almost no wear on my casette, though chainset is almost worn i think.

I am new to cycling and this never happened to me before. Slow cooker temperatures don’t impair chain integrity right?

No, although after nearly boiling my wax yesterday I’d suggest not using ‘high’ and waiting a bit longer for it to melt!

Sounds like the chain got damaged from a shift, I’ve broken a chain by mis-timing a front shift in the past.

The other thing that can damage chains (that you haven’t mentioned doing so may not be an issue) is soaking them for a long time in caustic cleaners.


That’s a good question….was it soaked in simple green for awhile ?


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I’ve waxed exclusively for more than 3 years, always using low on the crockpot. Never broken a chain like that. As others have mentioned, the cleaner you used might be the issue. What did you use? Some caustic degreasers are (anecdotally) known to cause issues if you soak them too long.

I’ve always used Mineral Spirits (even recycled mineral spirits) and had no issues. ZFC has recently updated the Zen master’s guide… I just took a brand new YBN chain out of the box, full prep and into the wax in about 30 minutes. Makes the whole process even easier.

Quoting myself here, I’d appreciate some feedback to calibrate my expectations. Chain still seems too dirty to me - had degreased chain and cleaned drivetrain again (mineral spirits, denatured alcohol).

Is that a typical result for the drip-on Super Secret/True Tungsten type lube? Would hot melt wax make any difference, or is it likely to be an issue with my drivetrain preparation?

After ~200km of dry road riding, running chain through my hand or towel (with some pressure, admittedly):

Boiling water bath products gunk:

Super-Secret-immersed chain, not ridden yet: Spotless.

Did you start with a new chain? If not, it’s quite difficult to get it to the clean state that a new chain can achieve. When you cleaned it in mineral spirits, I assume you had the chain off the bike, did you do successive baths in progressively cleaner spirits? Did you do a final bath in alcohol and did that final alcohol bath remain clear?

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Originally it was a brand new chain, yes, 3 spirits + 2 alcohol baths, clear.

After first ride, seemed too dirty, so I repeated the whole procedure. After another 200k I took the above photos. Result identical both times, I just didn’t take pictures after the initial ride.

The second result is what I am used to with immersion waxing IME. It’s always clean to the touch, even after riding. I might get a little bit of waxy residue on my hand if I have to touch my chain but it brushes right off.

Part of the reason I started immersion waxing was so when my kids touched my bike (as they inevitably do) it’s not automatic bath time.