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Old 05-21-17, 10:54 AM   #1
hhnngg1
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Haven't used my degreaser since going to a waxed chain

Just commenting - I went to a dip-waxed paraffin chain 2 months or so ago, and it's been awesome. So clean, so smooth, and so quick! I switched to wax really because I was sick and tired of chain tattoos and since I was starting to learn to wrench my bike, it was driving me nuts.

I just wanted to add that the most telling thing of the cleanliness of it all is that I haven't touched my big jug of orange degreaser I bought this summer after starting to wrench my bike a single time after I've switched to wax! I used to use an entire hand bottle of the stuff in 2 days when I was messing with the derailleurs and chains!

No more blackened towels, no more blackened work gloves. And it rides great. (I'm in a dry clime - no rain/snow/glop here which would be a bit more troublesome for a purely waxed chain.)

I'm using straight paraffin right now with no additives. I bought some paraffin oil to mix in the slow cooker mix as per a youtube video but haven't needed it at all.
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Old 05-21-17, 11:10 AM   #2
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Glad it works for you. I used a paraffin/graphite mix for decades, but when I started all weather commuting 6 years ago, I found that it wasn't lasting more than a few days of wet, cold commutes. It was definitely clean, and I miss that aspect.
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Old 05-21-17, 11:18 AM   #3
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Yes, would def be more troublesome in rain/glop.

I don't bike commute but I have in the past. Wax is so good for me about being clean with no chain tattoos that I would gladly take on the extra inconvenience to make it work if I did have to ride in rain.

Just thinking off the top of my head, but it would likely require

- 3 or 4 separate chains with masterlinks so I could wax them all simultaneously and have at least one ready to go at all times.

- Long-term bath of mineral spirits or paraffin oil to immediately dunk chains in if I've ridden through rain to avoid rust - those can then get dumped directly into the paraffin bath at the 2x/month dip-wax session (more if really rainy)

- This would def require removing the chain and reinstalling it with a masterlink very frequently, on a nearly daily basis if it's really wet. That's def a big turnoff to some (most) but I don't mind it; I get a weird sense of satisfaction whenever I'm removing a dirty chain and putting on a nice freshed waxed one! (It's fast as well - like < 30sec to remove and <60 sec to remount).

Right now with no commuting, I have two chains that I wax simultaneously, so there's always one ready to go, and I've been changing it just for kicks every 2-3 weeks of riding (not because it needs a change, I just like doing it.)

It really is almost shocking to not have to rely on that orange degreaser anymore - that was probably one of the absolute vital necessities to have in bulk when I was working on my bike with normal lube and I still made a mess of the gloves, clothes, etc.
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Old 05-21-17, 11:21 AM   #4
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Ah, a chain lube thread. I have also just recently switched to dry wax lube because in my advanced years I now realise I will never intentionally ride in the rain again. I have fond memories as a child doing "maintenance" on my and my playmates bikes with a large oil can filled with common motor oil. Probably causing the belief that the drive train should always have a thick cruddy build up of greasy black foulness to even operate properly
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Old 05-21-17, 12:06 PM   #5
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I changed to Molten Speed Wax a few years ago, potentially a little more maintenance but worth it in my opinion.
I keep a spare chain ready to go at all times. It is a 5 minute job to swap.
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Old 05-21-17, 12:09 PM   #6
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Wax sounds great... until I remember that I ride 250 miles a week and would be rewaxing my chain every 10 days or so-- and more, when it's wet. Would also be going through like 6-8lbs of wax a year.

The economy of it has me sticking with wet lube, and the associated drawbacks.
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Old 05-21-17, 03:22 PM   #7
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buy a chain case and forget about it.
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Old 05-21-17, 03:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Wax sounds great... until I remember that I ride 250 miles a week and would be rewaxing my chain every 10 days or so-- and more, when it's wet. Would also be going through like 6-8lbs of wax a year.

The economy of it has me sticking with wet lube, and the associated drawbacks.
I'd be surprised if you used that much wax - I just bought a 3lbs pack for $10 on Amazon and I've been using the first pound over and over again and it barely loses any volume with each use. (I don't discard the extra - works great!)

Even if you used 10 lbs a year, that would be like $30 of paraffin. But no way in heck you'd consume 10 lbs of chain wax unless you're throwing out the perfectly good extra with each use.

As said though, it probably could be annoying to have to remove chains constantly if you're in regular wet weather. I'd do it now but probably wouldn't do it before.
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Old 05-21-17, 04:10 PM   #9
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II just bought a 3lbs pack for $10 on Amazon
Linkie?
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Old 05-21-17, 04:43 PM   #10
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Does White Lightning qualify as "wax?" if so, my bike ALWAYS rides much better when i use that.
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Old 05-21-17, 04:52 PM   #11
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I imagine that's different, as I was never able to get so much as 100 miles out of White Lightning between applications.

Another point on the issue of economy-- the industry gets us again with 11-speed and non-reusable quick-links. If I found a source of free wax, I'd go broke buying bulk packs of quick-links.
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Old 05-21-17, 05:18 PM   #12
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I just wipe off the crud then spray/wipe/drip on some random silicone based chain lube I happen to have this month. I kinda of understand the fascination of a non blackening chain but...
I'm always riding in wet and dirt anyway.
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Old 05-21-17, 06:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I imagine that's different, as I was never able to get so much as 100 miles out of White Lightning between applications.
+1
Pedro's Ice Wax, on the other hand, lasts much, much longer.

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Old 05-21-17, 06:08 PM   #14
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I've always been curious about wax. I've had some chains get really nasty and then jam and I managed to get the tape, hoods and everything sticky and black by the time my commute was over. Then I learned to through nitrile gloves in my seat bag.
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Old 05-21-17, 06:26 PM   #15
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I never heard of chain wax. I recently switched to full synthetic chain oil but I sure like the sound of a clean dry yet lubricated chain. Provided the chain is clean, does it need to be removed and degreased before applying the wax?

checked Ebay and see there are many many brands to pick from.
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Old 05-21-17, 07:48 PM   #16
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I mean, I am certainly intrigued as well, if the longevity can be at all enhanced-- I'm coming up on a drivetrain overhaul (new cassette and chain) and that would be a perfect opportunity to switch lube. Any way to get 500+ miles out of wax? If I can get a minimum of two weeks (in the dry) I wouldn't mind a non-greasy chain...
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Old 05-21-17, 07:53 PM   #17
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I am also intrigued. Like DrIsotope, I live in CA where it doesn't rain between May and October, and I do about 1/4 of my riding on unpaved roads, trails, etc., so if there is a way to keep all the sand and junk from getting in the drivetrain that isn't a royal PITA, I'd give it a try. With my 11-speed Shimano chain, I would prefer to take it off as infrequently as possible.
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Old 05-21-17, 08:18 PM   #18
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Waxing chains has been around for decades and for decades it has been a very effective method to lube a chain. I've tried all the lubes like most of you. I don't ride in the rain and rarely get caught in the rain so wax is the way to go for me. I used to hot wax my chains years ago but it is a bit of a hassle. Being a fly fisherman it got me thinking....

I've been tinkering around a bit with paraffin and Coleman fuel. For fly fishers nothing is better to float a dry fly. I figured what the hay, I'll try it on a chain.

Works like a champ! Unlike melted paraffin, dissolved paraffin permeates every nook and cranny of a chain because it is far less viscous than straight wax. It seeps into everything on a chain. I dissolve one bar of paraffin in a quart of Coleman fuel in a Mason jar. Shave the wax to make it dissolve faster. Once dissolved, dip and dunk the chain and let it sit in there for a couple of hours. Pull it out and hang it on a nail to dry. Presto! A paraffin-impregnated chain without dealing with molten wax and the over-waxed chain melted wax sometimes causes.

I know what some of you are thinking, that sounds like those "wax" lubes on the market right now. Yep, but it's better and cheaper, except for Squirt lube, that stuff is excellent. Notice that most if not all of those store-bought wax lubes have solids that you have to constantly shake? Not so with this formula (or Squirt). The wax is actually dissolved in the Coleman fuel and it is no longer a solid. No shaking required. In Squirt it appears to be dissolved in solution too.

One thing to consider though is air temperature. When it gets below, say, 70 degrees, it may coagulate. You can either heat the Mason jar in hot water or use less wax in the mix to keep it liquid.

If you fly fish, cut the wax to half a bar in a quart and put it in a one ounce Nalgene jar. Best fly floatant ever! In fly fishing circles it's known as "Bergman's Formula".


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Old 05-21-17, 08:20 PM   #19
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But how long does it last? Eleven speed chains don't have reusable links, so it's best not to remove them very often.
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Old 05-21-17, 09:11 PM   #20
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Does that Coleman fuel attract dirt (chain tattoo) like a regular lube? I like the idea of the dissolving, but I avoided the liquid form lubes precisely to avoid the chain tattoo issues.

I melt my solid paraffin in a slow cooker (takes about 15-20 mins unattended) then dunk my chain in there for about 5ish or so minutes, and then remove, wipe off the extra on outside. I just leave the wax in the slow cooker for next time - any road crud sinks to the bottom and hasn't been enough there to warrant even carving off the dirty wax in my case.

The chain starts off with some small paraffin flakes being shed for the first 10 minutes of riding, but after 30 mins or so, the whole chain becomes super clean looking as all the extra paraffin flakes off. It still does get small amounts of dirt (inevitable) so if you grab the chain and run it, you'll def pick up small amounts of dark stuff, but it's so clean that a minimal wipe on anything removes it - you don't even need to wash your hands to get them clean.
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Old 05-21-17, 09:23 PM   #21
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hhnngg,

The Coleman fuel route is dry, just like straight paraffin. It does not attract dirt. Well, you need to let the chain dry for a couple of hours before you ride. If you can still smell the fuel it's not yet dry. No chain tattoos.

The cool thing about the Coleman fuel dissolved method is there's no wax clumping and you can re-lube the chain on the bike. I use an old lube drip bottle.

I've been comparing that dissolved method to Squirt for a few months now. I think both are equally effective in dry conditions but Squirt may actually be better in wet conditions. If I didn't have such a penchant to do things myself I'd stick with Squirt lube (I still use it though)...remarkable stuff and the folks at Squirt are really awesome. If you haven't tried it you should. It's that good.


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Old 05-22-17, 06:31 AM   #22
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Was looking around and found this. I've cooled on the wax idea, seems it doesn't provide proper lubrication for long. It also appears you have to be pretty devoted time wise to the chain. I run vintage components and my greatest concern is wear, think I'll be sticking with synthetic wet lubricants.

from a Pedro's representative.

sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with Ice Wax 2.0. My name is Jay and I am the product manager and engineer at Pedro's. Hopefully I can help you get the most of out your Ice Wax 2.0. First, I want to make sure you don't have one of the bad bottles of Ice Wax 2.0 from a batch of bad Ice Wax 2.0 we had in 2010 that thickened over time due to improper manufacturing causing reactions with the natural ingredients. If you think you have a bottle from this batch we are happy to replace it. The correct formula is pretty thin and was designed this way for two reasons. The first is to help Ice Wax 2.0 penetrate into the chain where it is needed. The second is that Ice Wax 2.0 has a detergent action when applied and binds with contaminants and then helps push them out of the chain. Assuming you have the correct, thinner formula, please try the following approach:

1. Degrease your chain and let dry.
2. Apply Ice Wax 2.0 to the rollers of the chain (directly down the center looking from the top). This is the only part of the chain where you want lubricant.
3. Wait a few minutes to let the lubricant penetrate.
4. Surround the chain with a rag or towel and wipe away any extra lube from the outside surfaces of the links and the outer roller surfaces. This should leave plenty of lubricant on the internal surfaces of the chain where you want it, and a thin protective layer of lubricant on outer surfaces to help prevent dirt and ingress from reaching the inner surfaces. If there was some dirt or ingress left in the chain after degreasing, you may notice that the rag is a bit dirty after wiping the chain. If this is the case, you can repeat steps 2-4 applying a second lighter coating of lubricant.
5. Lastly, allow time for the Ice Wax 2.0 to dry and set up on the chain. Ideally, you would lube your chain at least an hour or so before riding, but even 15-30 minutes will help the lubricant set up and help it last longer.
6. Ride! Ice Wax 2.0 should last for a few mountain bike rides at the very least, but the telling sign is how the chain feels. After letting it set up and before heading out for a ride, touch the chain rollers between your fingers and notice that you can feel the wax on the chain. it should feel just a little tacky. When reapplication is needed, you will no longer feel this coating on the surface of the chain. Assuming you haven’t been riding in extreme mud or rain, you should be able to use steps 2-5 only, no longer needing to degrease as often, using the Ice Wax 2.0 to push out contaminants each time you reapply.
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Old 05-22-17, 06:36 AM   #23
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continued

1. "Degrease your chain and let dry" -- Would you allow 10 minutes air-dry or fair to assume a few wipes with a towel is sufficient?

This is a great question. The ideal scenario is a chain that is completely free of all degreaser, water, and contaminants. As you could imagine, any degreaser left on the chain will affect new lubricant as it will try to break down the new lubricant. In practice this is difficult to achieve short of using an air compressor to blow dry the chain. I generally take the following approach.
a. Degrease the chain with Oranj Peelz or Pro J.
b. Since both of these Pedro's degreasers are water soluble, I rinse the chain well with water to remove as much of the degreaser as possible.
c. Wrap the chain with a rag focusing pressure on top and bottom of rollers and backpedal until chain appears to be mostly dry.
d. Then wait 15-30 minutes for the chain to air dry.

3. "Wait a few minutes to let the lubricant penetrate" -- How many times should I cycle the chain backwards after the full chain is lubricated or should I not cycle it at all?

You bring up a good point I forgot to mention. I generally cycling the chain until the lubricant has visually spread over and into the chain. I would guess this takes 5-10 full cycles of the chain but I usually judge this visually by how well the lubricant is penetrating as I cycle the chain.

6. "... Assuming you haven’t been riding in extreme mud or rain, you should be able to use steps 2-5 only, no longer needing to degrease as often, using the Ice Wax 2.0 to push out contaminants each time you reapply" -- Does this mean aside from wet/muddy conditions, I should be able to simply reapply the lube after a couple rides (in dry/dusty conditions) without degreasing the chain and still get maximum usage? Would degreasing be better or simply wasting money and time if I'm using Ice Wax as my main lube?

Ideally, everyone would degrease their chain every time, let it fully dry, and then apply new lubricant. Unfortunately, most people, including myself, don't always have time to be this thorough and diligent with their maintenance. What is nice about Ice Wax 2.0 is that when applied in its liquid state, the ingredients act as a mild detergent which helps to remove contamination from the chain. This allows for reapplication to a marginally contaminated chain without the need to degrease. The Ice Wax combines with the contaminants and when you wipe the excess with a rag, you will see it is a darker color than the Ice Wax because it has removed contaminants from the chain. When using this method, I generally apply a heavy first coating, cycle the chain and let the lube penetrate, wipe the chain with a rag, and apply a second lighter coating and wipe that again lightly with the rag.

In our testing the biggest factor in the longevity of Ice Wax 2.0 was the amount of time we let it set up after application. For this reason we always advise people to apply Ice Wax 2.0 the night before a ride if possible. This extra time to set up will provide the best performance and longevity.

To answer your final question, Syn Lube is definitely intended for harsh conditions including wet and snow and Ice Wax 2.0 is better for dry to intermediate conditions. We are just releasing some new labels for our bike care which should make understanding the appropriate conditions easier for the end user. Each has conditions icons to indicate when to use each lube. I attached a photo of the new Chainj label to show the concept. Your suggestion of using a wet lube for the winter months and Ice Wax 2.0 for the summer is a perfect approach. In terms of switching back and forth, I tend to make the switch fairy often to continually improve my first hand knowledge of our lubricants and find that a normal degreasing is enough to make the switch. If your chain is particularly bad, you could try a few cycles of degreasing to be sure. The wax should be fine to apply as long as the chain is dry and free of degreaser.
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Old 05-22-17, 07:00 AM   #24
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I def disagree that chain waxing (dip waxing) is time consuming relative to proper lubing.

It's wayyyy faster than compared to a proper chain relube in which you should really be thoroughly cleaning the chain, removing degreaser, drying, and then relubing carefully link by link.

Compare to heating paraffin in a crock pot (takes 20 mins but is unattended), dunking the chain for 5 mins, then remounting on bike. A grand total of <3 mins of actual hands-on time assuming you're not a wizard with the masterlink. You don't even need to degrease/clean the chain - the wax dunk does it for you!

The wear issue is worth considering, but if you wax 2 chains simultaneously, you can have a fresh chain ready to go every week, no problemo if you really want max performance.
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Old 05-22-17, 07:40 AM   #25
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BS
Easiest is oil based, like chainsaw oil, gear oil or Chain-L. No cleaning of the chain. When it gets dirty wipe it off, takes 3 seconds. No need to degrease chain....ever.

Afraid to get grease on your hands? Afraid to get a mark on your leg? Male or female?
I'm afraid to eat in your kitchen any food made in a crock pot. Oh, you bought a crock pot just to lube chains? That's an added expense you didn't mention.
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