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Idea for a wax specific bike chain.

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Idea for a wax specific bike chain.

Old 12-26-18, 02:25 PM
  #1  
masi61
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Idea for a wax specific bike chain.

After riding an entire season on a 2 chain Molten Speed Wax system it really got me wondering about the specific chain designs and how some might be better for wax and some might be worse.

Some of the lightweight chains I have seen from KMC and Taya have cut away side plates for weight reduction. The Taya Nove-91 9 speed chain that I’m considering trying has side plate cutouts that partially overlap the inner link. It made me wonder if these sideplate cutouts would hold onto the wax longer in use, prolonging the interval between when chain squeak sets in.

To me, the squeaking issue is one of the biggest detriments of chain waxing vs wet lube. I follow all of the detailed instructions from the Molten Speed Wax website and have yet to achieve 400 miles of trouble free use in dry conditions that they say can be attained. I mean the chain remains clean but it is noise that is the issue after about 80 to 100 miles of use. I have been pulling my (hot) waxed chain out of the crock pot of liquified wax after sloshing it around with my coat hanger “swishy tool” on both sides. I then hang the chain to cool off and later flex the links to eliminate binding. It’s pretty cool that first ride when riding a freshly waxed chain and everything feels buttery smooth with shifting and the noise is minimal. This perfection is fleeting unfortunately.

Which leads me back to the Taya Nove-91 chain. The little over-lapping side plate cutouts just might hold little blobs of wax, enough to continually lube a critical interface on the chain for a longer mileage interval than chains without this feature.

But even better would be a wax specific chain that might instead of a cut out on the side plate, would just have a domed or dimpled design on the interior of the side plate overlapping where it comes into contact with the inner link. The advantage of this (over the kind with the full cutaway) is that the dimple would hold onto the wax where the cutaway one might hold it for a while but eventually it would flake off. So...KMC or SRAM or YBN or Wippermann - are you listening?

I would think with just a few little design modifications to the plate design - much quieter, longer lasting wax performance could be achieved.

Lastly, if a wax specific chain is possible, then why not also a chain that is completely lube free? What I’m talking about here is a chain that would use self lubricating plastic inserts on the interface between the inner and outer plates and then also use the same plastic material inside the individual chain rollers. It would increase the cost of the chain some but I would not think by much.

Tell me me what you think...
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Old 12-26-18, 02:36 PM
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"a chain that would use self lubricating plastic inserts on the interface between the inner and outer plates and then also use the same plastic material inside the individual chain rollers."

Durability. Not sure a design like this can last the miles.
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Old 12-26-18, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
"a chain that would use self lubricating plastic inserts on the interface between the inner and outer plates and then also use the same plastic material inside the individual chain rollers."

Durability. Not sure a design like this can last the miles.
Lack of durability did cross my mind, but why do you think this would be any less durable than your average chain?
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Old 12-26-18, 02:52 PM
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I don't know of any plastic that is as strong as steel AND can resist wear when moving as well as the steel in a chain does. If there is one, is it as lubricious as Teflon?
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Old 12-26-18, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I don't know of any plastic that is as strong as steel AND can resist wear when moving as well as the steel in a chain does. If there is one, is it as lubricious as Teflon?
I’m thinking of that white plastic “PTFE” that woodworkers use for the sliding surfaces of jigs and fixtures. I’m not suggesting that the chain be made out of this material, just that it be utilized as “inserts” and “bushings”. Yes, this would involve hundreds of tiny parts but to me it would be worth it for a manufacturer to create it.

Last edited by masi61; 12-28-18 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 12-26-18, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
...but to me it would be worth it for a manufacturer to creat it.
I doubt that it will be "worth it" for any manufacturer even if the strength issue went away. Hint: It won't.
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Old 12-26-18, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I doubt that it will be "worth it" for any manufacturer even if the strength issue went away. Hint: It won't.
Properly implemented, I would pay more for a chain if it could be run without lube. I’d pay 50$ instead of $30 for a chain, for example...
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Old 12-26-18, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Tell me me what you think...
Is this really what you are asking? Or is it "I will argue with you if you don't agree with me."
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Old 12-26-18, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Is this really what you are asking? Or is it "I will argue with you if you don't agree with me."
Huh? I’m not seeking a street fight. I guess if you are not a fan of my idea then that’s OK, but it would be fantastic if others who have read my query could at least verify that what I’m seeking has some merit.

I’m being a bit silly thinking that one of the big chain companies might start producing a wax-specific chain or even a PTFE bushing’d Lube free chain, but not that silly...

i opened my thread outlining how I road tested 2 chains on my number one road bike for an entire season of heavy use (3500 miles - not my best annual mileage but enough to mean something). My observations about the (subtle) squeaking issues are real, not imagined.

So, if you have some relevant constructive feedback to give about how you don’t like my idea, I’ll listen. Has the bike forum planetoid been so contaminated by trolls that a person cannot think out loud about a worthy evolutionary design that there is a real niche for?
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Old 12-26-18, 03:55 PM
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You've received what constructive feedback there is -- durability, and there's no incentive for manufacturers to make this. Your "yeah buts" don't change that.

I'm all for innovation but there's a reason that bike chains haven't changed much in 100 years. Sometimes there's not much to improve.
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Old 12-26-18, 04:03 PM
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I'm wondering why you don't get 400 miles of quiet use? I make my own out of standard gulf wax mixed with bees wax, but I don't think the composition would matter than much. I regularly get more than 2 months on road in dry and wet conditions. I get the equivalent on my MTB (over 50 hours) before I ever hear anything. My cross bike stays perfectly quite from August until the first mud race - usually October. I use SRAM chains, both 10 and 11, various models.
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Old 12-26-18, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
You've received what constructive feedback there is -- durability, and there's no incentive for manufacturers to make this. Your "yeah buts" don't change that.

I'm all for innovation but there's a reason that bike chains haven't changed much in 100 years. Sometimes there's not much to improve.
so one random respondent raises the question of durability of such a chain. I share the same uncertainty. Since the product doesn’t currently exist there is no proof at all whether there would be any difference at all in durability. As I talked about in my post, I’m looking for quietness and prolonged mileage from my chain wax. I never really mentioned any expectation of increased chain life/durability, although - if it could be attained, who wouldn’t want that?

I’ve have seen many subtle refinements in chain design (over the years). So to suggest that chain design is stagnant would be a disservice. I see a small renaissance in the practice of chain waxing in order to take advantage of the cleanliness and reduced friction that this system makes possible.

So yeah, one person expressing a brief reservation about chain durability (that I share) , does little to quell my personal enthusiasm. I certainly don’t need the endorsements of cynical skeptics whose authority has not been established.

I’m quite secure in the product knowledge that I have already gained, so sure - you telling me my idea sucks because the technology has existed forever - sorry this just doesn’t resonate for me.




Last edited by masi61; 12-27-18 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 12-26-18, 04:27 PM
  #13  
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Try a wax lube that's solvent based and lube more often. It takes no more than 2 minutes to lube and wipe off a chain. I'm using a home brew wax lube that really keeps the drive train clean and costs less than 10 cents per ounce. I haven't used it long enough to compare chain life with a wet lube, but I never have a noisy chain. The formula is simple: 6-7 ounces of naptha (white gas) to one ounce (by weight) of paraffin, plus 2-3% of any decent oil. I'm using heavy weight gear lube. I buy the white gas camp stove fuel for $8.50 per gallon at Walmart. It's cheaper and faster drying than minerals spirits.

it's ridiculous to think that wax will properly lube a chain for hundreds of miles. Just because it doesn't squeak doesn't mean it's well lubed. If chain life is good it probably proves that almost no lube is needed, not that the wax is doing a good job.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-29-18 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:12 PM
  #14  
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@masi61 -- Try a moly lube like Dri-Slide or a paste/grease type moly. It's incredibly slick and embeds in metal to the extent that a strong solvent is needed to dislodge it.

20-30 years ago moly was the rage among target shooters so I tried it on my long range target rifles and airguns. It worked exactly as claimed, mostly preventing leading up the barrel with soft lead wadcutters or pellets. I ignored the recommendations to *not* use it on trigger sears. Moly was so slick it removed any reliable feel from a trigger sear and the trigger pull felt more like sliding or skating that a proper sudden click. I had to use toluene or something like that to clean it off.

But moly in a thin solvent like Dri-Slide probably won't quiet the drivetrain. It may not wear and will probably be very slick, but it'll be noisy.

There are moly greases, but you're back to the same problem with any wet lube or grease -- attracting debris and gunk. Even if it doesn't cause wear, it's still a mess.

And moly will leave ink-like stains and smudges. So even if you use it on the links, you'll want to wipe down the exterior plates.

I misplaced all my old lubes, including Dri-Slide and moly greases and pastes. Otherwise I'd have tested it already. But it sounds like a lot of trouble, dribbling it into the links, letting it work in, then wiping down the outside of the chain and using something else to prevent rust.

So for the past few months if I don't get a chance to re-wax the chain (Gulf wax in Little Dipper crock pot) for awhile, I'll use Boeshield T9 to touch up the chain. Supposedly Boeshield T9 is just paraffin in naptha or something like that. It seems compatible with the waxed chains. It does leave some residue that attracts debris, but not as bad as other wet chain lubes.

I'm tempted to try Smoove, which has good reviews even from skeptics. $15 a container.
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Old 12-27-18, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ldmataya View Post
I'm wondering why you don't get 400 miles of quiet use? I make my own out of standard gulf wax mixed with bees wax, but I don't think the composition would matter than much. I regularly get more than 2 months on road in dry and wet conditions. I get the equivalent on my MTB (over 50 hours) before I ever hear anything. My cross bike stays perfectly quite from August until the first mud race - usually October. I use SRAM chains, both 10 and 11, various models.
I’m not really sure either. I ride a road triple crank and I have noticed that I hear this faint squeaking or creaky noise when in the 30 tooth chainring and climbing. It happens in the middle and big chainring too, just not as much.

My KMC chain I was running was quieter than the SRAM PC1091. The KMC chain appears to be overstretched now, measuring over 1% elongation on my Park Tools chain checker. I did start using that KMC chain possibly in winter 2017, but the mileage does not appear to be any greater than average for me.

I’d rather not add solvents or additional lubes to the Molten Speed Wax. Right now, just using the wax - the chain remains very clean. It is mostly this faint noise that I am trying to minimize (when climbing, when in granny ring, when standing on the pedals). I am a near Clyde with body weight just below 200# so I guess I am hard on chains. But not that hard. Since I ride a triple, I often keep my cadence high and my torque no more than moderate.

I’d really like to stimulate more discussion about different brands or designs of chains. I think I will try the one that I referenced (the Taya Nove-91) in my first post to test my curiosity about cut-outs holding onto wax.

In previous chain waxing threads I have seen where some who use the crock pot method advocate that the temp be lowered in the crock pot as you prepare to pull out the chain. The purpose for this is to thicken the wax slightly to get it to stay where you want it more. I’ll probably try this but I’m thinking it will mainly just congeal on the outside, leading to more mess as the excess flakes off and deposits in the rear wheel and the derailleur pulleys.





Last edited by masi61; 12-27-18 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 12-27-18, 07:09 AM
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As far as the holes in the sidenplates holding more wax for future lubrication, they don’t really. The wax plugs up the sideplate hole and then sits and collects grime in my past experience with KMC chains with the sideplate slots in them. Doesn’t mean a different design couldn’t work but one thing to consider is how much clearance/spacing between cogs there is and if the “collector” would fit. Also the lube needs to be at the pin, not the middle of the chain link.

For imbedding PTFE between the side plates and around the links, I don’t it would be a lasting idea. We use the stuff as side wipers/sealers on various applications such as mold seals, belt wipers, liners and, albeit a different scenerio than a bike chain, it doesn’t last very long. The stuff works great as hopper liners or sliding surfaces where there isn’t a lot of force being applied to it but once one starts putting any force on it while using it tends to wear quite quickly. The material is too soft for the demands of being used in a chain where the pin will be grinding into it constantly. That said, if someone was able to come up with a self lubing chain that worked I’d be getting in line quicker than a hipster at the Apple store on new phone day.
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Old 12-27-18, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by silverado8405 View Post
As far as the holes in the sidenplates holding more wax for future lubrication, they don’t really. The wax plugs up the sideplate hole and then sits and collects grime in my past experience with KMC chains with the sideplate slots in them. Doesn’t mean a different design couldn’t work but one thing to consider is how much clearance/spacing between cogs there is and if the “collector” would fit. Also the lube needs to be at the pin, not the middle of the chain link.

For imbedding PTFE between the side plates and around the links, I don’t it would be a lasting idea. We use the stuff as side wipers/sealers on various applications such as mold seals, belt wipers, liners and, albeit a different scenerio than a bike chain, it doesn’t last very long. The stuff works great as hopper liners or sliding surfaces where there isn’t a lot of force being applied to it but once one starts putting any force on it while using it tends to wear quite quickly. The material is too soft for the demands of being used in a chain where the pin will be grinding into it constantly. That said, if someone was able to come up with a self lubing chain that worked I’d be getting in line quicker than a hipster at the Apple store on new phone day.



Thanks for your (non-snarky) reply!
I sort of figured that the pin interface might be more important than the overlap of the side plates.
My theory about the overlapping side plates with the inner link is that this is a noise producing area where the tight tolerances required can lead to some metal on metal contact (a source of friction).
If you look at what Ceramic Speed, Muc Off, and Molten Speed Wax and others are doing- it seems like they have been making some gains at isolating sources of friction, then resolving to reduce it.
If little hardened Phenolic lentil sized half domes could be epoxied into the inner surface of micro domed outer plates of a chain I think the results could be increased quietness, reduced friction and reduced need for lubricants.
This would not change the geometry of the chain. That would remain constant for whatever cog spacing chain you were running.
I’m not talking about a DIY situation. This is something that a chain manufacturer could take on. I may talk to the owner of Molten Speed Wax about this. I know he is a dealer for YBN chains. If a dealer who orders a sufficient number of a particular chain to make it financially viable could introduce a small side plate innovation such as this for minimal added cost to the final product - like you I’d make like a hipster at Apple Store...(what a fun metaphor)! I know, I’m crazy but we’re cyclists and we’re hobbyist mechanics - this is what we do!

Last edited by masi61; 12-27-18 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 12-27-18, 07:41 AM
  #18  
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Along the same lines...
Even a shallow hole on the articulating surface of the outer plate inner link interface to house a short length of cyclindrical graphite, AKA pencil lead would be interesting.
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Old 12-27-18, 08:23 AM
  #19  
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You've encountered the primary limitation of molten wax - treatment doesn't last long. I used wax dips for years (and still do this for bikes that I don't ride much, especially in wet conditions). I've added graphite and a bit of motor oil to the wax and that seems to help a bit; however it still does not last long.

I now am a convert to Chain-L, which lasts and lasts, and I find is pretty darn clean after you wipe all the excess lube away.

About your proposal: Chain manufacturers are primarily concerned about durability of their product as well as optimum shifting. There is no way that they will compromise either of these factors so that buyers can achieve a marginal improvement in the performance of an unconventional lubrication strategy. These things are fun to think about, but rarely are worth the time to develop. Still, go for it if you have the time and the engineering skills. Good luck.
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Old 12-27-18, 09:04 AM
  #20  
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Lubricant needs to be located between the pin and bushing to reduce elongation. Lube between the side plates will reduce side plate wear, but no one measures that. The fact that a wax lubed chain makes noise indicates that there is no lube left, which is what you should expect, since wax is a short-lived lube. The chain is not the problem, it's the poor lube and being too lazy to relube at appropriate intervals that are the problem. If you regularly use a chain to 1% elongation, the cassette will undoubtedly skip with a new chain.

A well lubed campy chain can show far less than .5% elongation after 6,000 miles of use, but still be shot, due to excessive side and roller wear. The roller wear can be 20-30 times greater than the pin to roller wear (that causes elongation). There is more to wear checking than just measuring elongation.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-28-18 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 12-27-18, 02:09 PM
  #21  
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shopping time

Maybe you should shop for a new bike with a Gates Belt Drive train..


https://www.bikeexchange.com/blog/be...ive-bikes-2018
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Old 12-27-18, 10:38 PM
  #22  
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If you're saying that you wore out more than one chain in 3500 miles

while lubing/swapping every ride or two,

I think you need a better chain lube.
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Old 12-28-18, 05:31 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I doubt that it will be "worth it" for any manufacturer even if the strength issue went away. Hint: It won't.
could you please explain why this chain would have a strength issue?

This chain aim is going to have self lubricating PTFE or phenolic/graphite inserts. The basic components of the chain will be the same, strong material.
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Old 12-28-18, 07:12 AM
  #24  
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I think you’ll need to sketch a picture for those of us who don’t understand how you are going to avoid metal on metal as being the primary mechanism for transferring force. Any place you have metal on ptfe will be quiet for 1 mile or it won’t be capable of transmitting sufficient force.

Once you’ve sorted out the self-lubing chain I have an even better idea, an anti-gravity machine for cars. And please don’t respond with snarky answers about how it can’t be done.
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Old 12-28-18, 09:00 AM
  #25  
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The interval between wax cycles may be related to either temperature or to chain preparation.

When I wax (or re-wax) my chain I first ultrasonically clean the chain in hot (80°C) soapy water, followed by hot mineral spirits, then hot denatured alcohol. Then I wax at 93°C.

My experience is that the measured / monitored temperature of the wax bath immediately drops (as-expected) once the "cool" chain is immersed. I then wait for the measured / monitored bath temperature to restore to 93°C before removing and hanging the chain to cool / harden.

The biggest detriment to extended intervals is water. If I get caught in the rain, then I swap to the spare and wax the next batch when required.

The rear cassette cog count mandates an increasingly more narrow chain as the count increases. Ensure the fattest possible chain is selected, appropriate to the rear cassette.

How many speeds on the rear cassette and which model number chain is being used?
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