Waxing a Wipperman chain

Does anyone have experience waxing an 11 speed wipperman chain using MSW? I think I read somewhere that the tolerances are too tight for the wax to penetrate unless you literally run it on a machine but can’t seem to figure out if that’s just a myth. I know that if you leave it in the wax for an extra hour or so it should penetrate in theory… I’ve waxed KMC chains with MSW before with no issues, but just want to see if it’s actually possible for this brand. It looks like wattshop uses the KMC chains for their 11 speed chains.

One search result:

Yeah, this is what I saw, but then I’m also seeing on Amazon that one guy had success waxing it so I’m wondering if that’s just smoke and I couldn’t seem to find that thread for real on slowtwitch

I use wipperman 10 speed chains and MSW , no problems. Also I haven’t found any difference in time soaking, and 5 to 10 minutes is sufficient in my opinion.

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I have been waxing a Wipperman 11-speed chain since this spring. Seems to work fine. I notice no real difference between it and a waxing a regular Ultegra chain.


I’ve waxed a Wipperman 11-speed. That part was fine. The problem came when the chain was .01 mm wider than Campagnolo allows. Caused nothing but shifting problems the whole way through. Just double check compatibility with your drive train and you should be fine.

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Like any chain you want to make sure it soaks long enough to get up above the wax melting temperature. When you first drop a room temp chain into hot wax, you’ll get a layer of hardened wax on the outside surface of the chain. As the chain heats up, everything will equalize in temp. Hotter the wax the quicker that will happen. After the chain is up to temp, some agitation will help get the wax between the plates and pins. I’d be concerned that 5 min wouldn’t be enough for hot pots at the lower end of the temp range. That said, MSW’s recommendation of 1 hr plus is excessive.

Yeah, I know haha it’s super easy if you just follow the instructions on their site for cleaning and waxing. I have a friend who only dunked his in for like a minute and I was like sick dude have fun with that! My only concern was that it was “too tight” to be waxed due to the production process of the chain but it seems like that’s not going to be an issue. Cheers!

MSW actually recommends starting from cold and letting the chain come up to temp with the wax. That’s why it takes the hour (which seems right for my crock pot). That’s what I usually do, though sometimes a second chain has to go in to the hot wax.

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This is a great video explaining one way to wax a chain. He emphasizes letting the wax cool down to 150 F with the chain in it. The wax is less runny and should stick to the chain. Plus, dumping the chain into water immediately hardens the wax quickly to make sure that there is no run off.

I was skeptical but the method really does work. The downside is the cooling and reheating of wax. Makes the whole waxing process that much longer. I think that doing a batch of chains like this then using squirt lube to touch up a few times is the best approach



How did it go with touching up waxed chain with Squirt? I waxed my 11 speed wipperman mtb chain with Absolute Black’s Graphene wax. First ride on it and shifting wasn’t too great compared KMC with pure Squirt like previous chain. Not sure was it the chain, or lube (or lack of it). Thinking of topping up with Squirt but really liking the clean chain feel.

Another concern is that i wash the bike with MucOff soap but avoid the chain. Surely some soap will reach the chain. Any issues I should address before next ride?


Many years later…

I still wax my chain but, to be honest, I forgo the use of Squirt as a touch up solution if I don’t have to. When traveling it works and it extends the life of a waxed chain definitely. However, the chain gets gunky with the mix of squirt’s wax and a general MSW or base waxed chain. My preference is to just maintain a waxed chain rather than to wax and then try to use squirt from there on because of this.

My current process now is to just fully wax and wax according to instructions rather than trying to hack the process. To speed things up, I use a double boiler to melt the wax rather than a crockpot. This isn’t recommended in some of the guides as faster melting of the wax can degrade it but I’m not a pro and i’m not trying to eek out every bit of performance, I just want a waxed chain. I am able to heat the wax quicker this way but it does mean I have to keep a more watchful eye on how hot the wax is getting. The entire process to wax all my chains and get them to riding status takes about an hour this way rather than 2-3 with a slow cooker.

As for shifting with wax, I’ve never had any problems. Note that whenever you wax a chain, it takes about 20 minutes of riding for the chain to fully break in and be riding normally.

I highly suggest following a major guide to waxing a chain to the letter; no deviation. Two guides I recommend are Molten speed wax’s instructions and a more exhaustive guide by Zero friction cycling at the following link:

The zero friction cycling guide is the best because it explains why you do certain things in the waxing process.

I’ve found (despite my past attempts using other guides and the video above in my previous comment) that any problems that come up from waxing are 90% due to not following the steps in either of these guides. MSW’s and Zero Friction Cyclings guides to waxing are the best of all and if you follow them exactly you rarely, if ever, have any problems.

I say this because I tried using Oz Cycle’s methods before. He’s changed the video multiple times and theres not really a good explanation why. His most recent video is pretty much the same as MSW’s guide now. In total, I think Oz cycle has meant well but other guides are better.

Zero friction wrote about Oz cycle’s videos on waxing which convinced me to also move away from Oz’s approach. You can read it here:

There are new wax products now that look promising to use as a touch up vs doing a full wax method. Check out what Silca has been doing; creating their own wax product as well as a waxed based wet lube that is meant to be used after you’ve properly prepped and waxed a chain for the first time. This might be the approach you are looking for if you want convenience but I have not tried it.

In total, and if you’re someone considering waxing a chain, its an involved annoying process that you have to commit to if you do it. There are no short cuts as of now and if you’re someone who doesn’t like to devote time in their life to maintain their bike, just use a wet lube.


Thanks so much for the insight. Really glad I am on the wax bandwagon. Come to think about my shifting issues, it did happen only in the initial part of the ride after minimal adjustments (exactly as zero friction predicted) it got better. I guess it did feel “different” rather than poorer. Thanks for the document links too!

No problem.

Zero Friction’s document suggests to put your newly waxed chain in the small cog, big ring for 20 minutes and spin out to really break in the chain quickly.

Read through the rest of the doc when you can. Its incredibly thorough in how to wax the chain.

Hope that helps and ride on

That document is basically a short book. Lots in there but also a bit of information overload. If you want a simpler explanation and tutorial then I recommend the following videos from Silca.

How to clean the chain

How to wax

Friction Facts doesn’t address the hydrogen embrittlement concern that Josh mentions in the Silca video, but it is a real phenomenon. Though I don’t believe Silca did as good of a job as FF in explaining the break in and effect on shifting

Wow, lots has “chainged” and a lot of good information. I did waxing research 2.5 years ago when Nate first mentioned it on the podcast. I’ve been waxing ever since. Fast forward, bought a new bike, bought a few extra shimano chains. Turns out I should have bought YBN chains as they take the wax better and last longer?

Anyway, thoughts on where to buy these? Im concerned about getting fakes on Amazon. Looks like Nashbar sells them and I’ve purchased from Nashbar before. Any other tips on where to get the YBN chains?

These are ok but, imo, if you want a video that tells you what to do without any explanation, just follow MSW’s videos. They are shorter than even Silca’s.

Here is how to clean a chain

Here is how to wax a training chain

After many years of waxing and “trying to hack the process” in various ways, i can swear that this entire process from start to finish is the best. Save yourself some time and headache and follow to the letter. If you want to experiment for the sake of trying different things, go ahead but it won’t be faster imo.

Again, be safe with this people. Dedicated area, proper equipment, and safety. I cringed watching the silca chain melt video. Especially after he explained how the wax additives he uses, when put on plastic goggles, can never be removed because they are fully impregnated into the plastic. And he’s waxing the chain in his actual kitchen…

Nah, doesn’t matter. Chains a chain. If you were optimizing for an hour record then you can get deep into the weeds about what is the best and most efficient chain and what not. Ignore that and just wax your chain to have a clean bike all the time.

Just, to caveat, make sure the chain you use fits the tolerances of your groupset. If you use Campy, for example, you can’t use any random chain (or quick link for that matter) as the tolerances are often wrong and can cause massive problems.

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Who’s kitchen should I be waxing my chain in?

If anything, yours after you sell cyclists the wax they use for their chains. He’s not doing too shabby by the look of it…