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    Senior Member SpasticSprocket's Avatar
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    Using wax as a "dry" lube.. I'm a little weary, how about you?

    So I saw this article on using something like paraffin wax on bike chains as a dry lubricant. I'm a little cautious of the idea, I mean, it seems to make sense, but how effective is this really? Does anyone here use this method personally? Would you advise for or against it?

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    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    White Lightning

    Quote Originally Posted by SpasticSprocket View Post
    So I saw this article on using something like paraffin wax on bike chains as a dry lubricant. I'm a little cautious of the idea, I mean, it seems to make sense, but how effective is this really? Does anyone here use this method personally? Would you advise for or against it?
    There are several wax based lubes that are commecially available. The key is that their use is limited to dry riding conditions. They are said to attract less grime, but will wash away with rain or any substantial water.

    I've used them during the late summer months on my mountain bike chain, when trails get very dusty and dry. I switch to wet lubes at other times. I don't use wax lubes on my road bikes.

    There are so many threads on lubricant, you might want to search for those.

    For general purpose, I use 10-30W synthetic motor oil thinned 1 part to 4 parts mineral spirits. I lube and wipe frequently (weekly under normal conditions, daily when in rain or dirt), and the mineral spirits do seem to help to bring some of the grime out from the chain's insides.

    There are some real experts on lubricant here on BF. They'll likely chime in.

  3. #3
    Senior Member OldBridgeRider's Avatar
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    I use wax on my chain b/c it does help keep the gunk off and does a relatively good job on lubricating.. HOWEVER you need to reapply after every ride b/c it does not last as long. I may be switching to another form of lube for next season.
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    Senior Member SpasticSprocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBridgeRider View Post
    I use wax on my chain b/c it does help keep the gunk off and does a relatively good job on lubricating.. HOWEVER you need to reapply after every ride b/c it does not last as long. I may be switching to another form of lube for next season.
    For me that would mean a daily reapplication, which mostly defeats the purpose I wanted to achieve.

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBridgeRider View Post
    I use wax on my chain b/c it does help keep the gunk off and does a relatively good job on lubricating.. HOWEVER you need to reapply after every ride b/c it does not last as long. I may be switching to another form of lube for next season.
    The need to relube the chain after each ride is overstated. I use White Lightning exclusively year round and I lube on roughly a 6 week (or about 1000 mile) cycle. I don't see excessive wear nor is my chain noisy. I used the same lube on a month long tour of Appalachia and only had to apply after rain. If I had used Epic, I probably wouldn't have had to do it that often.

    The melted wax method is much more labor intensive, however
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    Senior Member OldBridgeRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    The need to relube the chain after each ride is overstated. I use White Lightning exclusively year round and I lube on roughly a 6 week (or about 1000 mile) cycle. I don't see excessive wear nor is my chain noisy. I used the same lube on a month long tour of Appalachia and only had to apply after rain. If I had used Epic, I probably wouldn't have had to do it that often.

    The melted wax method is much more labor intensive, however
    You get that much ride time out of a single application? I put on a pretty decent amount of it after a ride, and after about 60 miles I can hear the chain start to squeal and eventually by the 100+mile mark, start its normal skipping routine under heavy loads.
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    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    There are several wax based lubes that are commecially available. The key is that their use is limited to dry riding conditions. They are said to attract less grime, but will wash away with rain or any substantial water.
    One good soaking in a mud puddle or being caught out in the rain is all it takes.

    Some like the wax lubes, but they aren't for me.

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBridgeRider View Post
    You get that much ride time out of a single application? I put on a pretty decent amount of it after a ride, and after about 60 miles I can hear the chain start to squeal and eventually by the 100+mile mark, start its normal skipping routine under heavy loads.
    If your bike is skipping gears under heavy load the lube probably isn't the problem. That said, White Lightning works better out here in the dry and dusty west than it does in the east.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpasticSprocket View Post
    So I saw this article on using something like paraffin wax on bike chains
    Yup, that used to be the hot ticket to lubing chains and having a relatively clean chain. That was before White Lightning came out with their waxie lube in a bottle and others followed. Years ago I used the melted wax method and it worked fairly well but is a PITA to do everytime your chain needs lubing and didn't last too long in the wet. There are many better and easier lubes out there now. I use Chain-L now and it lasts forever.

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    I did it years ago. I fried my chain in a Fry Daddy I bought at w-mart. It works, but if it rains it's time to do it again. I found that I had to fry it every 350 to 400 miles. A chain would last about 3500 miles.
    Now I remove my chains, run them through an ultra sonic cleaner, install and lube with chainsaw bar oil mixed with 4 parts mineral spirits. The service interval is every 650 to 750 miles. I could go til the chain squeeks but I don't.
    My last 8 speed chain lasted 16,000 miles. I have the same type chain on my 7 speed tourer and it has over 15k miles on it.

  11. #11
    Number One iareConfusE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBridgeRider View Post
    You get that much ride time out of a single application? I put on a pretty decent amount of it after a ride, and after about 60 miles I can hear the chain start to squeal and eventually by the 100+mile mark, start its normal skipping routine under heavy loads.
    If your chain is skipping on your cassette, the lube is not the problem. Either your chain is way too stretched, or your cassette is very worn. Replace both together and that issue will be gone without having to relube all the time.

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    I use wax with graphite powder, according to a formula that has been put forth on another forum hosted by a well known magazine. I have been happy with it, the chain is quiet, the drivetrain stays clean. I find that I have to heat the chain and recoat every 5-600 miles or so, takes about 5 minutes once the oven is up to temperature. Chain life seems to be about what I was getting with conventional wet lubes, about 3K miles on a 10 spd chain (I use KMC). I haven't noticed a problem after riding in the rain. If you don't use a master link, however, the method would probably not be viable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    If your bike is skipping gears under heavy load the lube probably isn't the problem. That said, White Lightning works better out here in the dry and dusty west than it does in the east.

    White lightning is the brand name... you mean you use clean ride, epic or wet?

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    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    I hot wax my chains but I put some DuraLube in it not much but a little. I do this once a month on my road bike my commuting bike I let go for months I say I do that once every 3 months.
    I like it because it stays somewhat clean, nothing like what oil leaves. It works for me some it may not getting the right mix helps I found, wax alone is useless to me you need to find something you like to mix with it in a small amount.
    I use this to melt it wife had an extra one works great GiGi Honee Wax Warmer on sale you can find them for $20
    Last edited by JTGraphics; 09-11-12 at 07:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpasticSprocket View Post
    Using wax as a "dry" lube.. I'm a little weary, how about you?
    I'm a bit weary of chain lube threads too, but I assume you meant leary. (sorry couldn't resist)

    Don't be leary (or weary), you can't lose anything by trying. I say that as someone who makes a chain lube as unlike dry wax lubes as possible. You should feel free to experiment until you find the product that best fits your needs and personal preferences.
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ben4345 View Post
    White lightning is the brand name... you mean you use clean ride, epic or wet?
    I use Clean Ride. But White Lightning was, up until a few years ago, the name of the original product.
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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Also not everyone rides under the same conditions. Some people have more dust and dirt than others. While rain is common with some people. You have to choose the best lubricant for the conditions you ride in. And time & convenience plays a large role in choosing a lube as well.

    For me, I require the following list:

    1. at least 500 miles between chain-cleaning and lube
    2. at least 8000 mile life out of the chain before 1/16" wear

    I ride over 10000 miles a year with roughly 8000 of that on-road. The rest is a mix of rain and dusty/dirty conditions. For my conditions, the only chain-lube that meets all my requirements and sometimes even exceeds them with a 10000 mile lifespan from a chain is the Chain L No.5 oil. It's the only lube I've found that has EP & anti-wear additives. Which makes a much bigger difference in lubrication & chain-life than the base oil. And it doesn't require much work to apply. My time is more valuable to me than constantly cleaning and soaking a chain to get 8000-10000 miles out of it. Chain L No.5 does that for me with the least amount of effort.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-12-12 at 07:23 PM.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The benefit of a Quick link does make the taking it off , soaking chain clean,
    then putting it in the melted wax bath , atop a double boiler scheme , is a bit easier .

    but it still is a chore.. most of my milage is on low cost 8 speed chains, On IGH,
    I tend to clean and oil them on the bike then pitch it in a bin , after wearing in too much.

    Or did you intend to use wary ,skeptical, instead of something about fatigue.

  19. #19
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    ...For my conditions, the only chain-lube that meets all my requirements and sometimes even exceeds them with a 10000 mile lifespan from a chain is the Chain L No.5 oil. It's the only lube I've found that has EP & anti-wear additives. Which makes a much bigger difference in lubrication & chain-life than the base oil. And it require much work to apply. My time is more valuable to me than constantly cleaning and soaking a chain to get 8000-10000 miles out of it. Chain L No.5 does that for me with the least amount of effort.
    Careful. You might trigger a Chain L lovefest amongst those of us who are happy users.

    It is a slippery slope .

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    Careful. You might trigger a Chain L lovefest amongst those of us who are happy users.

    .
    Feel free, though I have to admit that I don't get 8-10k miles per chain. I might have ask Danno his secret.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Feel free, though I have to admit that I don't get 8-10k miles per chain. I might have ask Danno his secret.
    I don't even measure mileage. I just like that I can go weeks without having to even think about lube.

    That said, I probably should order another bottle or two. Have been meaning to do that.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    I don't even measure mileage. I just like that I can go weeks without having to even think about lube.

    .
    I don't measure mileage either. I don't have an odometer or computer on any of my bikes. But I know how long the commute is, so it's a matter of going by the calendar. Likewise I know roughly how much I ride the road bike. I oil chains when they ask for it, typically 800-1200 miles.
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    "I oil chains when they ask for it, typically 800-1200 miles." FB- you a chain whisperer now, too?
    Enough with these endless chain lube threads-this has got to be the most discussed topic on the web. Just use whatever you got and be done with it, already!.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willbur View Post
    "I oil chains when they ask for it, typically 800-1200 miles." FB- you a chain whisperer now, too?
    Enough with these endless chain lube threads-this has got to be the most discussed topic on the web. Just use whatever you got and be done with it, already!.
    I guess I must be, but anybody can hear or feel when their chain needs lube, and a decent lube has enough staying power to give you a decent margin. I agree that people make this too complicated, it's a bike chain, find a lube you like, and keep it oiled (or waxed, ot tefloned, or whatever).
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  25. #25
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWMass View Post
    I use wax with graphite powder, according to a formula that has been put forth on another forum hosted by a well known magazine. I have been happy with it, the chain is quiet, the drivetrain stays clean. I find that I have to heat the chain and recoat every 5-600 miles or so, takes about 5 minutes once the oven is up to temperature. Chain life seems to be about what I was getting with conventional wet lubes, about 3K miles on a 10 spd chain (I use KMC). I haven't noticed a problem after riding in the rain. If you don't use a master link, however, the method would probably not be viable.
    I have used a similar concoction for 30+ years with good results. I mix in a bit of motor oil into the melted paraffin along with the graphite. Every 200 to 300 miles, I remove and clean the chain and then immerse it into the melted mixture for a few minutes. When I take it out, I wipe it down thoroughly to remove the excess and then hang it up to solidify. It's dry, doesn't attract a lot of gunk, makes for a very quiet drivetrain, and the chains last thousands of miles. What's not to like. Oh, did I mention that it's cheap.

    I keep the solidified mixture in a metal #10 can, ready to remelt.

    -G

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