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Thread: Chain waxing

  1. #1
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    Chain waxing

    Anybody else doing this?

    I was tired of cleaning the gunk off my track bike I use for road training, so I started doing this on that bike about a year ago. It's been a success-- everything stays MUCH cleaner. $5 bucks of paraffin wax and a $5 thrift store rice cooker look like they will last into the foreseeable future, so it's also a potential money saver.

    I just started doing it on my road bike too and it's just as great. Though one weird thing, the road bike chain is much quieter waxed than the track chain waxed.

    Anyhow, I'm thinking about just doing this on my race bike too as I can't really see any down side after a year of experimenting.

    Anybody else have experience with this?

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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    I can remember... years ago... I worked with a man that swore by the chain waxing process. Sheldon Brown mentions chain waxing briefly as does the live strong Site.

    But for me.... I live in a wetter climate. Not a dry dusty area where... from what I've read... is where wax really has a benefit. I wash my chain when I wash my bicycle... and apply a light coat of oil then.

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    It's good in the wet too. You just hose it off with water and re-wax. Last a long time if it stays dry.

    Just wondering if other track riders are doing it.

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    Senior Member texbiker's Avatar
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    I have waxed my road and mtb chains for years. Quiet and the chain seems to last a long time. The only downside is riding in the rain requires a sooner re-wax. I don't miss the grease marks on my leg and hands. Not sure why your track chain is noisy. Maybe it is looser than the road one?
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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    Anybody else doing this?

    I was tired of cleaning the gunk off my track bike I use for road training, so I started doing this on that bike about a year ago. It's been a success-- everything stays MUCH cleaner. $5 bucks of paraffin wax and a $5 thrift store rice cooker look like they will last into the foreseeable future, so it's also a potential money saver.
    can we get a "how to" or a demo?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    can we get a "how to" or a demo?
    Hey Quinn,

    Basically, clean the chain of all previous lube. Get a couple blocks of common food-grade paraffin wax, throw them in a crock pot or rice cooker. When fully melted, drop your chain in. Leave for an hour or so, take it out, wipe excess and let cool. Install chain. Done.

    When you feel it's time to refresh, just repeat the above without the cleaning part.

    I think this is a pretty slick system as it just keeps everything really clean. I read some nerdy articles a while back and they claimed this was the lowest tested friction of all lubes as well, so there you go.

    Edit: I also added some graphite powder from the hardware store to my brew, but I don't know if it's necessary.

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    I haven't done it before, but thinking about it, this might be the ticket to keeping my white Stanford skinsuit pretty all season! Andy L.'s mentioned he does this, and I have a lot of faith in his bike OCDness.
    I'm going to try! I'll let you guys know how it goes.

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    L for Lakatosh?

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    Yup!

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    VeloSIRraptor
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    The elder statesmen at my track swear by it.

    with a new crankset and new chainrings in my future - I suppose I should probably do this.
    I have time to scrub all my cogs down, so may as well.
    Will report back in a week or so when I get it done.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

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    Right. Converting the whole stable.

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    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I use a crock pot instead of a rice cooker. It gets the wax hot enough to boil off any water after I clean and rinse off the chain with water.

    I haven't had to change the wax yet. I just scoop out any dirt out of the crock pot while the wax is still hot.

    I found Gulf Wax paraffin wax at my local grocery store. It's used for canning.

    Two tips:
    1. Get a quick disconnect chain link like a KMC. Shimano pin replacement is too much trouble.

    2. Loop a piece of wire or metal clothes hanger on a link of the chain to make it easier to remove from the ho twax.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Too much trouble for me. For the track only chain, I use regular machine oil. For my road-use chains, I use ProLink (a dry lube), which I think is Teflon based.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
    The elder statesmen at my track swear by it.
    this will lock Babypuke in for sure!

    I expect his next threads to be about Tying and Soldering his 36spoke wheels and debating the pro's and cons of Fast-Tack Vs Shellack..


    thanks for the Tips Babypuke.. i actually might give it a go..

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    VeloSIRraptor
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    funny - saw a guy up at Burnaby that had warmup wheels that were:
    28h, 2x, tied, not soldered.

    strange combination - but what do I know about wheel theory anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    Right. Converting the whole stable.
    OK Babypuke!
    im in.. 2lbs of Paraffin wax and a tiny rice cooker..$27 with 2-day shipping on Amazon...

    This had better make me fast!!!

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    Nice, Quinn.

    I'm not trying to convert anybody here, but the reason I started doing thes is cuz I hate cleaning my bike, and chain lube attracting muck and flying all over the back end of the bike is 80% of the cleaning you usually do. Now you basically don't clean the bike (unless you get caught in the rain), just wipe it down. Even in the wet, the lack of oil makes clean up easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    When you feel it's time to refresh, just repeat the above without the cleaning part.
    I've been waxing for about a season now (insert joke here).

    I'd still clean the chain before re-waxing. Dirt accumulates regardless of the lube and putting a dirty chain into hot wax just gives the stuff a pathway into the pins.

    Quiet and fast.

    Velonews had an test on the lubes a while back and wax kicked butt.

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    I just read this the other day... http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/...ibility_311335
    "I kick my own arse today, so I can kick yours race day." - unknown UK track sprinter

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    Being a slave to peer pressure, I am following BP, Q, and Ex down the wax rabbit hole. Not really looking for incremental performance gains, rather incremental cleaning gains.

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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    Being a slave to peer pressure, I am following BP, Q, and Ex down the wax rabbit hole. Not really looking for incremental performance gains, rather incremental cleaning gains.
    Both bikes are switched to wax.. Its just so CLEAN!!! it appears to be quiet and smooth as well- but not getting black sh*t everywhere while changing gears is a huge plus!!

    one question- any tip on how often you need to re-wax? since the chain essentially feels dry its hard to know when it needs to be waxed.. especially right now when my track bike is all roller time..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    Both bikes are switched to wax.. Its just so CLEAN!!! it appears to be quiet and smooth as well- but not getting black sh*t everywhere while changing gears is a huge plus!!

    one question- any tip on how often you need to re-wax? since the chain essentially feels dry its hard to know when it needs to be waxed.. especially right now when my track bike is all roller time..
    I'm still feeling this out. At some point it starts getting noisier maybe? Since it's so easy to do, when in doubt I just drop the chain in the wax bucket again. I seriously think this method is a lot less labor intensive than oil. I;m doing it on my road bike too, 10spd chain but replaced the link with one of those re-useable Wipperman links. Slick!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Yeh- I've got 2 chains for the track bike. So one is ready to go one when the other comes off..

    my 10-speed road bike chain has a KMC Missing link that is super easy to change once you get the right tool.

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    Is wax ok for high-humidity environments? Do warmer climates cause a problem with the lifespan of the coating? I am amenable to trying this out.

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