Offroad bikes and chain waxing?

Month ago I waxed chains for my road, gravel and MTB bikes and mounted them on road and gravel but not on MTB. On road is great but on gravel I had really noisy chain in both very dusty and very wet rides so I’m no questioning my descision to wax chains for MTB and Gravel…

I used silca secret chain blend for waxing and secret lube for additional dripping and I think I did a god job hot waxing (new chains, compleatly degrased with multiple steps with degreaser and alcohol… and then puting them in hot wax for a few minutes and so on and so on…) and on my road bike everything is great.

How is your experiance?

Rewax them once and see what happens.
Wax is great for off-road, since it doesn’t attract nastiness.


But what about mud and rain?

I use squirt both on my cross bike and mtb. It works great, but I do re-wax them very often, basically after every ride. It is nearly always muddy here, when its dry I leave it a bit longer.

Squirt for me is not sticky and doesn’t attract dirt, however I use a different wax on my road bike, which seems a bit softer and stickier, but also lasts longer.

Maybe you just need to wax them more often?


Yeah… the truth is that I went through mud and my cassette and RD was full muddy so probably nothing would help…

Josh from SIlca was talking in DJ YT video that it doesn’t make sense to relube with wax drip while riding so I didn’t take any drip with me so the last two hours of my race were so noisy and I hope that I didn’t destroy the chain.

Yeah, I don’t see how you can relube with drip wax while riding, because it needs to dry for a few hours at least IMO. But some people do top up during rides.

Tbh, I only rarely do off-road rides that are more than about 3-4 hours, and those are usually races or special events that I use a new chain with factory grease for.

That’s not my experience. During a MTB 100 my Gold lube got washed off in a creek crossing. It sounded horrible, crunching as if the chain was gonna break. At an aid station I put on some Squirt and it was back to normal.

Maybe not back to normal performance, but certainly it was quiet and shifting well so as good as it was gonna get.

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@blind76 I just did mine for the first time for a gravel/road coarse. It went well. i used the Silca Secret Chain Blend too.

You mentioned you threw in the wax for a few minutes.

  • Did you agitate to get all the bubbles out?

  • Did you turn the wax off and let it start to cool and get that gloss on top before taking out slowly to make sure wax is adhering at the melting point?

  • if wax was on there good, after it cooled did you loosen each link so not stiff.?

It may need a couple miles to break in and to me it would be logical to do so good conditions those first couple minutes. I had trouble shifting into the big ring at first until after it broke in.

I will be waxing my chain for mtbx but will have to wait for next chain. The one on bike currently is used too long with lube to attempt.

yes, after cooled I had to brake every link because it was stiff.

I have MTB stage race next week and have an old chain and the new one which is waxed and thinking to switch them but I will probably wait until after the race because of bike washing and possible rain and everything…

For a stage race, you could re-wax overnight. Or, given enough chains, simply put a freshly waxed chain on every day.

I think there’s a difference between a muddy/sandy chain and a poorly lubricated/waxed chain. Waxed/lubricated chains address the friction within the rollers and links. If there is mud/sand on the cassette or anywhere else in the drivetrain other than within the rollers and links, then it’s essentially beyond the power of the wax/lube to address. Not sure if that makes sense the way I’m describing it, but I’m just trying to avoid misattributing noisy chains to ineffectively waxed/lubed chains. I’m not surprised that a quick re-lube quieted the chain down, you’re essentially washing it. If you have waxed your chain, I suspect that quick water spray would be best - newer lubes will frequently have solvents in addition to lubes that serve to clean the chain while lubricating at the same time.

Just my $0.02

I took up mountain biking last summer and was going to try to stay with conventional lubes. After a week I couldn’t stand the black mess the chain, chainring & cassette had become and the corresponding “tattoos” on my calves. Since I’ve been waxing my road bike chains for years I purchased 3 more chains for my mountain bike so I could have a 4 chain rotation like the road bike.

Ten months later I’m 100% satisfied with the results and will never go back wet lubes. I run 125-150 miles between chain swaps and my drivetrain remains very quiet and never squeaks. This is using plain Jane Gulf Wax with a little nano PTFE since I had it laying around. The chain is probably the cleanest thing in the bike most of the time. Caveat, I live and ride in the desert so no wet riding, streams, mud etc. but have lots of fine dust most of the time. On the rare occasions when it does rain, I take the day off.


I wax my CX bike. Get great results, but I do wax and clean more often than my road bike. Before I waxed, I cleaned and lubed more often than my road bike, too. Crux of the matter is that you’re going to clean and lubricate more often if you ride in dust, rain, and mud.

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squirt is a bit different than some other wax lubes as it is a mix of paraffin and slack wax which makes it a semiliquid wax rather than a totally solid wax. I’ve also applied midride with more luck than so other wax based lubes. I’ll often run a hot waxed chain and top off with squirt to extend the cycle for a few weeks before I swap it out to a new chain and start the stripping and hot wax process over

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Same, but I’ve been mega impressed with Tru Tension Tungsten and am hoping that will work similarly on a top up. I have also tried silca but suspect that’ll need longer setting times. If anyone’s tried more than one I’d be interested what their conclusion was!

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I use silca now as my top up but yes it needs to dry, it doesn’t work well at all if you apply and ride. 24 hours minimum and 48 hours for best application. So I keep the small amount of squirt I still have remaining when I’m sometimes in a hurry and know the bike needs a little bit of lube to eek out a ride when I don’t have time to swap a chain, gets silca drip when I remember to apply after a ride, and gets a hot waxed chain usually when I’ve accumulated enough chains to do a batch of waxes. For water and muddy conditions I still stick to silca NFS and will switch to synergetic once I run out. I know some people claim to have luck with wax in the wet but thats never been the case for me.


Agreed, for me on long rides if it rains early I’m in for a day of a chain that either sounds like a percussion instrument or, worse, a group of mice chasing the bike. Squirt had worked to keep it quiet but TTT out performs it in ZFC testing, so I’m hoping carrying that and using it to top up in those circumstances will work. None of the wax emulsions seem like they’ll stay on the chain particularly well if you just apply and ride, but squirt seems to do OK for that.

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might have to pick some up to keep on hand when my squirt runs out!

I’ve had success with the Molten Speedwax stuff, good first waxing will get me around 150-200mi of riding (granted, all dry miles), then throw some squirt on it to get another 100mi or so. Then I usually lightly clean the chain and rewax. Every so often I do a full cleaning.

Maybe is Silca… maybe some other waxes and lubes are better with watter… I’ll try squirt and see the results