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Waxed Chain=More Resistance?

Old 12-27-19, 12:16 PM
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Tandem Tom
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Waxed Chain=More Resistance?

So is there more resistance with wax vs. other lubes?
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Old 12-27-19, 12:56 PM
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Yes/No. I doubt it's EXACTLY like other lubes. It probably even changes with temperature,
Which other lube?
Is it detectable by human legs?
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Old 12-27-19, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Yes/No. I doubt it's EXACTLY like other lubes. It probably even changes with temperature,
Which other lube?
Is it detectable by human legs?
Doesn't have to be. If the mind knows, the effect, good or bad, will be there. (The well documented "placebo effect".)

Ben
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Old 12-28-19, 12:28 AM
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The first time I used wax (not bottled), I spun the crank backwards and was shocked how many times it turned (revolutions) in comparison to oil. Been hooked on wax ever since
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Old 12-28-19, 12:32 AM
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It starts out stiff but within the first mile or so it should be low resistance.
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Old 12-28-19, 01:34 AM
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Not in this test, but Squirt is also usually way down at the bottom, under 5 watts. CeramicSpeed's own testing (of course) shows their UFO Drip to be the "absolute best," at the low, low cost of around $60 a bottle.
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Old 12-28-19, 10:55 AM
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I love that plot. Reminds me of "How to Lie with Statistics". Or at least distort with statistics. So first, there is no evidence of variability, nor any indications of how many repeat measurements were made. This means that one cannot state, with any confidence, whether any of the lubes is better than the other (see below). The tests need to be repeated at least three times each, and the standard deviation or other measure of variability included before the comparison is valid.

But let's assume that the variability is low and the differences are accurate and valid. So, look at the base value of the ordinate (vertical, or y-value) scale. It starts at four watts. This magnifies the small differences between the different lubes. The difference between the paraffin (or even "Molten Speed Wax", see below) and the vast number of lubricants that are in the 5.5 to 6.5 watt range is (drum roll, please.....) 1 watt.

But these measurements are under ideal, dry, and clean conditions. What would happen if we applied water - let's say dirty water - to the testing process and ran each chain for a couple hours. Let's also blow some dirt and grit onto the chain during this test. I suspect that we'd get different results! The real test is what is the power loss totaled over time, for the time period between each chain cleaning and lube. So I'm not sure that the values plotted have any meaning in the real world.

Any scientifically valid test would have some measure of data variability. If all of the measurements are +/- 50% based upon three measurements, then the difference between the 4.8 W paraffin and all of those lubes around 6 W is not statistically significant. That is, the difference between the paraffin value and the others is very likely due to random noise. If its +/- 5% based upon dozens of repeat measurements, then you have some statistical significance. So the plot is pretty well meaningless.

That said, I'm an engineer and I like the mechanical setup that they used. BTW, one should site sources. The original article by Caley Fretz was done someplace called the VeloLabs in 2013. Here. A followup was done in 2014. Read about it here.

The chart from the update is here:

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Old 12-28-19, 12:52 PM
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Note that olive oil scores well on that test. Suggest you not try that one. Olive oil dries very very slowly, will eventually convert to varnish.

Test rig has a single chainline, presumably well-aligned. Try with a derailleur and see what happens when chain drives at angle. Apply some real power on a real bicycle and see what happens when all is well out of line. My first assumption (could be wrong) is the wax will scrub, scour, and flake off quickly. High power riders have always been very skeptical of wax.

I use NFS, which happens to score well on this test. When anyone IME tries NFS in a short time they are all amazed at how smooth and quiet the chain is. Of course waxers cannot test any oil on their chains so they are well-insulated from further input.
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Old 12-28-19, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post

That said, I'm an engineer and I like the mechanical setup that they used. BTW, one should site sources. The original article by Caley Fretz was done someplace called the VeloLabs in 2013. Here. A followup was done in 2014. Read about it here.
Anyone looking for a long read on lubes.. if you have a spare afternoon or so, try this linked 58 page PDF article HERE

This was found at this site.. lots of stuff to read if so interested: https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/lubetesting/
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Old 12-28-19, 01:23 PM
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It's hard to imagine anything better overall than chainsaw bar oil considering the environment it operates in.
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Old 12-28-19, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
It's hard to imagine anything better overall than chainsaw bar oil considering the environment it operates in.
Do you actually use it?

I have loads, but I wouldn't get it anywhere near my bike.
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Old 12-28-19, 11:15 PM
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Plain Gulf wax feels a bit stiff on the chain when cooled after being freshly dipped in the crock pot. But the excess wax sheds quickly during a ride. Presumably the chain movement heats up the wax enough to reduce any drag felt in a cold waxed chain.

Main reason I prefer wax is it runs cleaner. My bikes live inside. I have to watch for leg tattoos and cat cattoos from grimy chains. It's fine for our mostly dry and dusty environment.

When the bike is clean and the waxed chain has had one good ride under it, around 20 miles or so, it *feels* slicker overall. But that's probably due to lots of little changes, including switching to sealed bearing pulleys on the rear derailleurs. That made a big difference on my bike with a Suntour GPX rear derailleur. And even the inexpensive Tacx sealed bearing pulleys run more smoothly than Shimano Centeron. That's probably as good as any magical chain lube potion for efficiency.

Now, liquefied wax/paraffin? That's another story. White Lightning Easy Lube feels gummy to me and doesn't seem to run as slick as plain Gulf wax. The first week I tried Easy Lube as directed, squirted onto the chain as it ran across the cassette/freewheel, it clogged up between the cogs like big boogers. The clogged mess causing shifting problems and pedaling felt like sludge. I had to floss the cogs with an old shoelace to degunk the mess. That never happened with Boeshield T9 or Gulf wax. I've switched to drizzling Easy Lube onto the bottom run of chain, between cassette/freewheel and chainrings, letting the excessive drip onto newspaper. It's very wasteful compared with melted wax.

And I dunno about Boeshield. It's convenient and a decent preventive for rust and corrosion. But a so-so lube. It doesn't dry completely so it still attracts grime, not much better than regular wet lubes. It dries with a slightly tacky feel, about like a Post-It Note.

Easy Lube and Boeshield T9 dry to a tack less sticky than Park CL-1. The Park lube goes on with a medium light fluid, and within a day or two semi-dries to a very sticky but tenacious film that resists being washed out by rain or cleaning the bike with soap and water. Park CL-1 gets a middling rating on the Friction Facts test. Seems about right. I don't notice any problems on my hybrid/errand bike that has CL-1 on the chain, other than the usual grime from any wet lube. It doesn't feel like I'm wasting watts. But I rarely push hard on that bike, it's mostly for casual rides, so I wouldn't notice minor differences. Most power losses are due to sitting fairly upright with wide bars, catching the wind like a sail.

The only way to avoid messes and residue with Easy Lube and Boeshield is to remove the chains, apply the liquid lubes off the bike, let the chains completely dry, wipe down the outside plates and... it would have been less trouble to just dip chains in a crock pot of melted Gulf wax.
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Old 12-29-19, 12:38 AM
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T9 Boeshield is fantastic for keeping finished cast iron surfaces from rusting. A lil' bit of T9 on some steel wool, buff down the tops of the table saw, band saw, etc, and they stay smooth and rust-free for 10-12 months.

As a chain lube? Meh.
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Old 12-29-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Do you actually use it?

I have loads, but I wouldn't get it anywhere near my bike.
Is your bike afraid of oil? I have been using it for years because it works, doesn't wash out in the rain and lasts. When I was healthy and riding 5 or 6 days a week I removed my chain, cleaned it in an ultrasonic cleaner, rinsed it, dried it and put it back on the bike and lubed my chain. I would repeat every 800 miles. I have had one chain last over 19,000 miles. (the fenders and mud flaps helped)
I dilute it 4parts unscented mineral spirits to 1 part bar oil. It is cheap and effective. My biking friends use it and are happy with it.
The black on a chain comes from the wear on the inside and can be wiped off between cleanings.
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Old 12-29-19, 10:05 AM
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I'm currently experimenting with paraffin wax. Similar to the Oz cyclist, I'm using 1/3 wax, 1/3 paraffin oil, and xylene or mineral spirits as a carrier. I heat the mixture in a quart jar till warm,(clean the chain first) and let it soak till all the air is out of it. Hang till dry/cooled. I reapply with a small squirt bottle when needed. So far I'm very pleased with the results. Clean, quiet, and smooth.
Last year using an oil based chain specific lube, with only 800 miles on a new chain I managed to ruin a sram red power dome cassette. Half of those 800 miles were on the trainer. The chain was completely out of spec.and it destroyed my cassette. First ride in the spring, the chain slipped and almost put me over the bars.
Im pretty fastidious about maintenance. I lube frequently, and clean when its neccessary.
I cant detect any extra drag using wax, just the opposite actually. It is a bit involved to use due to it turning solid, you have to warm it to use it. Maybe it will stay liquid in the warmer months, well see.
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Old 12-29-19, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Is your bike afraid of oil? I have been using it for years because it works, doesn't wash out in the rain and lasts. When I was healthy and riding 5 or 6 days a week I removed my chain, cleaned it in an ultrasonic cleaner, rinsed it, dried it and put it back on the bike and lubed my chain. I would repeat every 800 miles. I have had one chain last over 19,000 miles. (the fenders and mud flaps helped)
I dilute it 4parts unscented mineral spirits to 1 part bar oil. It is cheap and effective. My biking friends use it and are happy with it.
The black on a chain comes from the wear on the inside and can be wiped off between cleanings.
Since I don't get any of "the black stuff" with wax, I guess it is doing a better job preventing "the wear on the inside". It has the additional merit of not adhering to dirt and debris like chainsaw oil. But I will keep this in mind next time I have to use my bike to saw down a tree.
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Old 12-29-19, 10:55 AM
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Bar oil is a perfect example of my "any lubricant will work" statement. It's not designed for the task, it's not the best choice for it, but it works. I don't want a chunky black drivetrain, so no thanks. My bikes currently have between 1,500 and 2,000 miles on their recently-refreshed drivetrains, and I could run my hands all over the chains and gears and my hands would stay clean. That's why I wax. No need to degrease if you never use grease.
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Old 12-29-19, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ls01 View Post
I'm currently experimenting with paraffin wax. Similar to the Oz cyclist, I'm using 1/3 wax, 1/3 paraffin oil, and xylene or mineral spirits as a carrier.
As of this week, the Aussie switched to another blend that adds PTFE powder and eliminates the paraffin oil. Pretty much the same thing other fans of wax have already been doing for years.

I didn't watch the entire video because it shouldn't take 20 minutes to give 90 seconds worth of information. But he likes to ramble and it makes my eyes twitch watching his careless handling of flammable liquids near ignition sources.
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Old 12-29-19, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
As of this week, the Aussie switched to another blend that adds PTFE powder and eliminates the paraffin oil. Pretty much the same thing other fans of wax have already been doing for years.

I didn't watch the entire video because it shouldn't take 20 minutes to give 90 seconds worth of information. But he likes to ramble and it makes my eyes twitch watching his careless handling of flammable liquids near ignition sources.
I wont go into the safety thing about what and how he does things. He's a grown man, he does his thing his way. I respect that.
I am looking for a way to liquify the wax, without heating it, that wont introduce an excessive amount of carrier. Some folks have just raised the amount of spirits until it stays liquid but after the carrier evaporates off you aren't left with enough wax to lubricate things. So for now I am left with heating the mixture until its liquid. I thought about adding transmission fluid, or some synthetic oil to the mix but then it would attract debris.
I think that has been the issue with paraffin wax lubes all along, the carrier to wax ratio is to high in commercially available liquid form products. Adding in PTFE is just more solids in the mix as far as I'm concerned at the moment. It might help with surface wear of the tooth form and exterior of the rollers. But my aim is to get the lube inside the rollers and plates of the chain, that's where the real wear is at. I can get the wax on the exterior of the chain easy enough, getting it inside the chain, on the bike, at room temp is the challenge.
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Old 12-29-19, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ls01 View Post
I wont go into the safety thing about what and how he does things. He's a grown man, he does his thing his way. I respect that.
I am looking for a way to liquify the wax, without heating it, that wont introduce an excessive amount of carrier. Some folks have just raised the amount of spirits until it stays liquid but after the carrier evaporates off you aren't left with enough wax to lubricate things. So for now I am left with heating the mixture until its liquid. I thought about adding transmission fluid, or some synthetic oil to the mix but then it would attract debris.
I think that has been the issue with paraffin wax lubes all along, the carrier to wax ratio is to high in commercially available liquid form products. Adding in PTFE is just more solids in the mix as far as I'm concerned at the moment. It might help with surface wear of the tooth form and exterior of the rollers. But my aim is to get the lube inside the rollers and plates of the chain, that's where the real wear is at. I can get the wax on the exterior of the chain easy enough, getting it inside the chain, on the bike, at room temp is the challenge.
If you have scented candles there's probably always some unburned wax left over. Scrape it out and add it to the crock pot of Gulf wax. Or buy a couple of scented candles from the dollar store. They usually have some holiday overstock at a fraction of the price of expensive scented candles. Scented candles already have the paraffin oil added. It's just enough to soften the mix slightly. I've been doing that for awhile. Works fine. Smells weird, between the various scents, like potpourri that can't decide what it wants to be.

BTW, scented candle wax is also good for de-squeaking noisy spokes. My one bike with black spokes develops a squeak from spokes rubbing. I smoosh some soft scented candle wax between the spoke crossings. Lasts a month or so before I need to repeat it.

I also use it for my Shimano SPD-SL cleats and pedals. The rubbery tips that make SPD-SL cleats better for walking than Look Delta also make clipping/unclipping feel balky, mushy and imprecise to me. Smearing wax on the friction points restores a crisp clip/unclip feel but doesn't compromise foot retention.
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Old 12-29-19, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ls01 View Post
I am looking for a way to liquify the wax, without heating it, that wont introduce an excessive amount of carrier.
Squirt is just paraffin, slack wax (paraffin precursor), and water.

I've found by far the simplest and cleanest solution is to gently heat a block of paraffin in a mini crock-pot, put my chain in it when it has melted, swirl it around after letting it sit in there for 15 minutes to give time for temperature equilibration, and then pull it out and let it cool and dry while hanging on something. I do three at once, and they last about 400 miles.

I suspect all this or any lubricant is really doing is protecting the inner surfaces of the chain from contamination.

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 12-29-19 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 12-29-19, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I suspect all this or any lubricant is really doing is protecting the inner surfaces of the chain from contamination.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribology
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Old 12-29-19, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Speaking of surface science, in the case of Shimano XTR/Dura Ace (at least), the "low-friction SIL-TEC treatment", i.e., siliconized bonded surfaces, is what comprises the interface. The conventional lubrication essentially protects the bonded surfaces on the pins and rollers, and helps to prevent oxidation (rust) on the exposed steel plates.
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Old 12-29-19, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
It's hard to imagine anything better overall than chainsaw bar oil considering the environment it operates in.
I've used it, good lubricity and tenacious. I live on the sand-bar called Florida and the silt that accompanies our sand is attracted to that stuff like magnetism.

For best use, thin it like 4:1 with mineral spirits, saturate the chain and then wipe off everything you can.
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Old 12-29-19, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
It's hard to imagine anything better overall than chainsaw bar oil considering the environment it operates in.

Do you mean the environment where it only has to do it's job for a matter of minutes before being replaced from a reservoir?
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