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WARNING! Another Chain Lubrication Thread!

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WARNING! Another Chain Lubrication Thread!

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Old 07-03-18, 08:38 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I do a lot of complicated procedures as my work. One procedure takes me time to weigh samples, prepare reagents, add reagents, do the reaction (2h) and then time to do the titrations. The actual titrations take only 3 minutes to complete but I would never claim that it only takes me 3 minutes to do a titration. It takes the better part of 8 hours to do a sample set. If it takes two hours to wax a chain, it takes two hours of working time. You may be sitting around for 2 hours but it still takes 2 hours.

On the other hand, why does everyone seem to think that the chains have to be cooked for extended periods of time when you wax them? There isn't anything in the chain that isn't penetrated by the liquified wax in minutes or even seconds. Chains don't have tight clearances.
If you pay a painter to do a job do you pay him for the time he spends watching the paint dry?

When I put the chain in the crock pot it's a cold block of wax. I plug it in and leave the room. I have no idea how long it actually takes for the wax to melt because I'm not sitting there watching it. I'm doing other things. I frequently leave to go ride my bike and take the chain out when I get back. So sure, it takes a couple of hours to wax a chain.
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Old 07-03-18, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
If you pay a painter to do a job do you pay him for the time he spends watching the paint dry?
Not necessarily but I do pay him (or her) for the time it takes to prepare and clean up as well as paint. If the painter has to do multiple coats or other procedures before painting etc., I'd be expected to pay them to "watch the paint dry".

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
When I put the chain in the crock pot it's a cold block of wax. I plug it in and leave the room. I have no idea how long it actually takes for the wax to melt because I'm not sitting there watching it. I'm doing other things. I frequently leave to go ride my bike and take the chain out when I get back. So sure, it takes a couple of hours to wax a chain.
Then it doesn't take "two hours", does it? On the other hand, if you paid someone to do the procedure, you'd be paying for that 2 hours of "watching the paint dry".
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Old 07-03-18, 08:57 AM
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@cyccommute, I honestly don't understand your point. Heating up wax and putting a chain in it isn't that complicated.
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Old 07-03-18, 08:59 AM
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So I gather that lubing your chain, wax or not wax, takes time.

seriously though, some people do what they do because it relaxes them and some others will do what they do because they're going to claim it is the best way.

I'm not going to put my 2 cents in chain lubrication techniques but I will say that some of the dialogue here has been very helpful for those of us looking for chain lubrication information. I'm currently using some stuff that is oil and smells like bananas. But I'm tired of the chain tattoo on my pants and I'm thinking about giving waxing a try no thanks to the insight of some of the people whose posts I tend to read more often than not in these forums.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
@cyccommute, I honestly don't understand your point. Heating up wax and putting a chain in it isn't that complicated.
It's not the heating wax or putting a chain in to the wax that is the issue. It's all the other falderal associated with waxing chains that is at issue. Waxing chains involves a fair amount of work. There are a lot of steps that people tend to discount for only limited to no improvements. Using a wax in a solvent gives the same results without any of the complications.

Part of my point about chains in general is that people don't need elaborate rituals to maintain something that is going to wear out anyway. People who use oil use elaborate cleaning schemes because they have to deal with the associated gunk they collect along the way. People who hot wax have their own elaborate procedures that are nearly as futzy. It's all unnecessary because you are going to get the same result as I do with a far less elaborate cleaning scheme.

On the other hand, you estimation of around 10 minutes per chain is much more believable if you discount the other parts of the procedure.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I just plugged in my Lil' Dipper crockpot. That took the number of seconds it takes for me to walk to where it's located.
Now I'm going about my usual morning business. I won't think about the crockpot again for several hours.
In a few hours, I'll pull the chain off of whatever bike is in the workstand, and drop it in the pot. That might take upwards of 30 seconds.
Then I will go back to whatever I was doing. In 20 minutes, or an hour, or whenever, I will put that chain out and re-install. Maybe 30 seconds.
Then I'll repeat with subsequent bikes. The Lil' Dipper might be plugged in all day-- sometimes I don't unplug it until right before bed.

But that doesn't mean chain waxing takes 12 hours. It takes a matter of seconds. It's such an uninvolved process, I don't think I'm in contact with a chain for more than a minute total.
This isn't a restaurant line. I'm not trying to get a waxed chain out to a customer. Sure, hours go by. Hours when I'm not messing with chains.
But I'm dealing with chains for a grand total of about 10 minutes, every other week. Doing 4 bikes. That's 1 minute, 15 seconds per bike, per week.
I'm not buying that you can take a chain off, dip it, pull it out, cool it and reinstall it in 1:15. I've worked on far too many bikes to believe that. It takes more than 30 seconds to remove the chain and more than 30 seconds to install the chain...even with a quick link. It takes me more than 30 seconds to lubricate a chain with any lubricant...wax or oil...and I'm not removing the chain.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by srestrepo View Post
So I gather that lubing your chain, wax or not wax, takes time.

seriously though, some people do what they do because it relaxes them and some others will do what they do because they're going to claim it is the best way.

I'm not going to put my 2 cents in chain lubrication techniques but I will say that some of the dialogue here has been very helpful for those of us looking for chain lubrication information. I'm currently using some stuff that is oil and smells like bananas. But I'm tired of the chain tattoo on my pants and I'm thinking about giving waxing a try no thanks to the insight of some of the people whose posts I tend to read more often than not in these forums.
You are using Triflow. The banana odor gives it away. Yes, it is really messy. I would, however, suggest you try a wax-based lubricant before you try waxing. Start with a new chain, clean the factory lube off with mineral spirits (about 15 minutes from putting the chain in, shaking it, and letting it dry), then drip on the wax-based lubricant of your choice. Ride for a while and see how it works. White Lightning says to apply it every 100 miles but that is way off. I go about 600 miles between applications and get about the same mileage out of a chain as everyone else.

To be clear, I have tired waxing in the past using exactly what everyone else is using...Gulf canning wax...and I found the procedure to be too much of a hassle to be worth the results.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...On the other hand, you estimation of around 10 minutes per chain is much more believable if you discount the other parts of the procedure....
I listed all five steps, and timed it with a stopwatch at well under ten minutes. There are no other parts of the procedure. It's still a lot more than your method which probably only takes 2-3 minutes if you put a drop on every link.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I'm not buying that you can take a chain off, dip it, pull it out, cool it and reinstall it in 1:15. I've worked on far too many bikes to believe that. It takes more than 30 seconds to remove the chain and more than 30 seconds to install the chain...even with a quick link. It takes me more than 30 seconds to lubricate a chain with any lubricant...wax or oil...and I'm not removing the chain.
Started the stopwatch on my phone.
Took the quick-link pliers off of the pegboard.
Removed chain from bike.
Walked the chain and link over, dropped them in the pot, gave a quick stir with the official Stir Stick.
Walked back over, put the pliers back on the board, stopped the timer.

28.3 seconds.

I will take the few seconds I saved to point out that just because you can't do it doesn't mean it's impossible. Notice I didn't add the time it took to walk from my desk to where my bike is? I took a shower in between starting the pot and putting in the chain-- should I have included that as well?

At this point, your position of "It takes too much time" has worn so thin it can barely even be seen. Now it's just an ever so thinly-veiled and curmudgeonly "White Lightning is good enough for me, gal-durnit!"
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Old 07-03-18, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You are using Triflow. The banana odor gives it away. Yes, it is really messy. I would, however, suggest you try a wax-based lubricant before you try waxing. Start with a new chain, clean the factory lube off with mineral spirits (about 15 minutes from putting the chain in, shaking it, and letting it dry), then drip on the wax-based lubricant of your choice. Ride for a while and see how it works. White Lightning says to apply it every 100 miles but that is way off. I go about 600 miles between applications and get about the same mileage out of a chain as everyone else.

To be clear, I have tired waxing in the past using exactly what everyone else is using...Gulf canning wax...and I found the procedure to be too much of a hassle to be worth the results.
it has been a few years since I tried White Lightning but I recall having a very squeaky chain when I used it. The wax build up on the derailleur pulleys was more than what I am currently using (Molten Speed Wax). For me, I ride in fairly wet areas and even though it is road biking, I ride through my share of wet roadways or get caught out in random rain this time of year. If the rain is heavy, I change out my chain the very next ride. The White Lightning I had been using would be lucky to quiet the chain for 50 miles under my conditions, and 100 would be the limit.

I can’t say for sure but my guess is that submerging the chain in hot wax is going to penetrate the interior spaces of the chain better than drip type wax lube (suspended wax with a volatile solvent carrier).

As I said, I have been using Molten Speed Wax on a 2 chain system. I’m not using a crock pot but instead I am using a Pyrex 4 cup container with the wax in it. It is heated in my heated ultrasonic cleaner in a hot water bath (not all that fussy regardless of what folks might say). I heat my 3.5 gallon tank to the max and flip the chain a few times, slosh it around a few times and run the ultrasonic at the same time for a few cycles. I pull out the chain and let the liquid wax dip off - things start to cool quickly. I hang the chain in a straight line from a spoke. Once dry I flex each link back and forth to free up. Even when flexing links, most of the wax seems to stay put, I just have not observed much flaking - just a bit - and if you choose to you can collect it and reuse it. I do have to scrape the excess wax from the master link in order for it to properly click and lock securely but his is easy.

Molten Speed Wax is a grey color due to some extra ingredients that act like dry lube. As I said, it seems to mostly stay put. It tolerates some rain riding without becoming overly noisy. Is it totally silent? No. When in my 30 tooth granny ring climbing it makes a faint “sloshing” sound, not really squeaky but I wish I could silence it a wee bit more. Changing the chain after 200-400 miles restores more silence.

i may give the guys at Molten Speed Wax a call again and ask for more tricks on how to obtain a dead silent chain. Someone here said that chain tolerances are not that tight but I suspect that getting the melted wax into the rollers is more effective if done under specific conditions. In other words, the tolerances are tight enough to get all the wax where we need it a challenge. I have no proof that my ultrasonic headed water bath works any better than the crock pot but I may be onto something...





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Old 07-05-18, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
It's not the heating wax or putting a chain in to the wax that is the issue. It's all the other falderal associated with waxing chains that is at issue. Waxing chains involves a fair amount of work. There are a lot of steps that people tend to discount for only limited to no improvements. Using a wax in a solvent gives the same results without any of the complications.

Part of my point about chains in general is that people don't need elaborate rituals to maintain something that is going to wear out anyway. People who use oil use elaborate cleaning schemes because they have to deal with the associated gunk they collect along the way. People who hot wax have their own elaborate procedures that are nearly as futzy. It's all unnecessary because you are going to get the same result as I do with a far less elaborate cleaning scheme.

On the other hand, you estimation of around 10 minutes per chain is much more believable if you discount the other parts of the procedure.



I'm not buying that you can take a chain off, dip it, pull it out, cool it and reinstall it in 1:15. I've worked on far too many bikes to believe that. It takes more than 30 seconds to remove the chain and more than 30 seconds to install the chain...even with a quick link. It takes me more than 30 seconds to lubricate a chain with any lubricant...wax or oil...and I'm not removing the chain.
So - just to poke you a little on the hot was vs. the was-dissolved-in-a-solution -

Is it possible better results are achieved using hot wax because in submerging the chain completely, you're ensuring wax touches every surface? By "dripping" liquid wax on the chain, how do you ensure the penetration necessary to really make sure it's lubed?

I concede the fact about extra time, to me, this is just more time to listen to the Mariners game and drink beer while I am working; I like that aspect. As far as the "chain is going to wear out anyway" to this I say - then why clean anything if it's just going to get dirty? in fact, why maintain your bike at all if the components degrade more after each mile? Also, some riders (not me but some) may live in rural areas where it's not convenient to swing by and have their chain reinstalled each year or so, for them, it may be a HUGE advantage to extend the life of the chain even for a few months.
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Old 07-10-18, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
If you pay a painter to do a job do you pay him for the time he spends watching the paint dry?

When I put the chain in the crock pot it's a cold block of wax. I plug it in and leave the room. I have no idea how long it actually takes for the wax to melt because I'm not sitting there watching it. I'm doing other things. I frequently leave to go ride my bike and take the chain out when I get back. So sure, it takes a couple of hours to wax a chain.
How do you go for the bike ride with the chain in the Crock Pot?

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Old 07-10-18, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
So - just to poke you a little on the hot was vs. the was-dissolved-in-a-solution -

Is it possible better results are achieved using hot wax because in submerging the chain completely, you're ensuring wax touches every surface? By "dripping" liquid wax on the chain, how do you ensure the penetration necessary to really make sure it's lubed?
Submerging a chain in wax or dripping on a wax in solvent (or oil in solvent) achieve the same thing. The liquid will penetrate the internal parts of the chain that needs lubrication. One method...well, two actually...involve a room temperature liquid and one a hot liquid. On the other hand, with wax, you are encasing a lot of material in wax that doesn't need to be encased.

Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
I concede the fact about extra time, to me, this is just more time to listen to the Mariners game and drink beer while I am working; I like that aspect. As far as the "chain is going to wear out anyway" to this I say - then why clean anything if it's just going to get dirty? in fact, why maintain your bike at all if the components degrade more after each mile? Also, some riders (not me but some) may live in rural areas where it's not convenient to swing by and have their chain reinstalled each year or so, for them, it may be a HUGE advantage to extend the life of the chain even for a few months.
You are not understanding what I've said. The chain will wear at the same rate, no matter what lubricant you use. Wax...hot or solvent based...doesn't extend the life of the chain over oil lubricants. The reason I don't use oil and suggest that others don't is because the drivetrain needs to be cleaned often. Waxed chains don't need cleaning as often but the process of doing hot wax is more complicated and time consuming. Solvent wax lubrication has all the advantages of waxing...clean chains and clean drivetrains...without unnecessary steps.

I'm a proponent of keeping things as simple as I can. If I get the same results...about 3000 miles of wear per chain...as the other methods with a single step, why add unnecessary steps? That applies to chain cleaning as well.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Started the stopwatch on my phone.
Took the quick-link pliers off of the pegboard.
Removed chain from bike.
Walked the chain and link over, dropped them in the pot, gave a quick stir with the official Stir Stick.
Walked back over, put the pliers back on the board, stopped the timer.

28.3 seconds.

I will take the few seconds I saved to point out that just because you can't do it doesn't mean it's impossible. Notice I didn't add the time it took to walk from my desk to where my bike is? I took a shower in between starting the pot and putting in the chain-- should I have included that as well?
So you timed a tiny portion of your procedure...or do you ride your bike without the chain or with the chain in the crock pot? You didn't account for getting out the crock pot, heating it, taking out the chain and letting it cool, reinstalling it and then cleaning up afterwards. That takes more then your 28.3 seconds.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
At this point, your position of "It takes too much time" has worn so thin it can barely even be seen. Now it's just an ever so thinly-veiled and curmudgeonly "White Lightning is good enough for me, gal-durnit!"
No, that is not my point. Since you keep missing the point and completely misrepresenting what I have said I'll restate my point...yet again. Why over complicate something that doesn't need complication. You have an elaborate procedure...which includes chain cleaning, obtaining equipment for waxing, storing the equipment for waxing when not in use and, finally, actually dipping the chain...that gives you exactly the same results I get by simply dripping on a lubricant from a bottle once every 6 weeks or so. If you were getting double the mileage I get, your elaborate procedure would be worthwhile. If oil based lubricants doubled the mileage I get, they might be worth the extra effort of cleaning up after the Exxon Valdez.

I'm suggesting to others who might consider hot wax that there is an easier less elaborate method of lubricating your drivetrain to keep it clean and functional without a whole lot of extra effort. I've tried waxing in the past and have not found it to be worth the effort. You can do whatever floats your boat.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
How do you go for the bike ride with the chain in the Crock Pot?
I have 11 bikes and at least two chains for all of my bikes that have waxed chains.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
So you timed a tiny portion of your procedure...or do you ride your bike without the chain or with the chain in the crock pot? You didn't account for getting out the crock pot, heating it, taking out the chain and letting it cool, reinstalling it and then cleaning up afterwards. That takes more then your 28.3 seconds.
I have more than one bike, and more than one chain for each bike, so sure, I can absolutely ride with a chain in the crockpot. I don't get the crockpot out of anywhere-- the thing is about the size of a quart paintcan, it sits on a corner of one of my workbenches. I plugged the Lil Dipper in about 10 minutes ago, right before I ate a bowl of cereal. I don't let the chain cool down, I just slap it on the bike. Seriously. The post-waxing process takes maybe a minute.

Why over complicate something that doesn't need complication. You have an elaborate procedure...which includes chain cleaning, obtaining equipment for waxing, storing the equipment for waxing when not in use and, finally, actually dipping the chain...that gives you exactly the same results I get by simply dripping on a lubricant from a bottle once every 6 weeks or so. If you were getting double the mileage I get, your elaborate procedure would be worthwhile. If oil based lubricants doubled the mileage I get, they might be worth the extra effort of cleaning up after the Exxon Valdez.
I clean my chains once, just like you. Never gets cleaned again. The equipment for waxing costs less than $25: you need wax and a crockpot. I use less than 1lb of wax per year to maintain 4 bikes. Wax is $2.25 a pound.

I definitely can't match your mythical White Lightning mileage numbers, though. I can't get 1,200 miles out of a wax application. But I couldn't get 50 miles out of White Lightning. So what elven formulation are you using that would allow for application every +1,000 miles? That I would be interested in. However, if your "...that gives you exactly the same results I get by simply dripping on a lubricant from a bottle once every 6 weeks or so" is related to someone who rides around 200 miles a month, then I understand the disconnect here. I've tried White Lightning-- more than one "formulation." They work... for about 2 hours. I have absolutely no interest in applying lube every single day. I wax multiple chains every other Tuesday, regardless of mileage. Chain might have done 130 miles in that stretch, it might have done 400. Thing is, I don't have to think about it.

Oh, with your White Lightning, do you count the 15+ minutes you have to wait for the wax to solidify in your time estimates? You should. I can take a chain out of the pot, put it on the bike, and immediately ride away.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:27 AM
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I rode a 600k over the weekend on a waxed chain, which is my longest ride to date. I added a little squirt at 200k and swapped the chain at 400k. I'm sure I could have gotten away with just adding a little more squirt, but I had the extra chain in my hotel room at 400k so I figured why not slap it on there. Swapping the chain is about as fast as applying squirt. I have a 1,200k next month and will use a similar approach.
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Old 07-10-18, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I have 11 bikes and at least two chains for all of my bikes that have waxed chains.
Aha! That makes more sense.
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Old 07-10-18, 10:50 AM
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SylvainG
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
.....
No, that is not my point. Since you keep missing the point and completely misrepresenting what I have said I'll restate my point...yet again. Why over complicate something that doesn't need complication. You have an elaborate procedure...which includes chain cleaning, obtaining equipment for waxing, storing the equipment for waxing when not in use and, finally, actually dipping the chain...that gives you exactly the same results I get by simply dripping on a lubricant from a bottle once every 6 weeks or so. If you were getting double the mileage I get, your elaborate procedure would be worthwhile. If oil based lubricants doubled the mileage I get, they might be worth the extra effort of cleaning up after the Exxon Valdez.

I'm suggesting to others who might consider hot wax that there is an easier less elaborate method of lubricating your drivetrain to keep it clean and functional without a whole lot of extra effort. I've tried waxing in the past and have not found it to be worth the effort. You can do whatever floats your boat.
Wait! You wax your chain from a bottle (assuming Squirt here) once every 6 weeks or so? How many miles (km) per relube? I relube once a week (with Squirt) and ride about 120 miles (200 km) per week. If it rains though, I'll reapply that evening once the chain is dry. Am I over doing it?

Last edited by SylvainG; 07-10-18 at 10:53 AM. Reason: a word
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Old 07-11-18, 10:37 AM
  #69  
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Question for those who wax: How often do you replace the wax in the crockpot? I find the grit build up after a number of cycles, and it settles to the bottom, but can't figure out a good way to remove the grit while keeping the paraffin. Seems like a waste to toss it, but I really don't like the idea of allowing the grit any chance of getting into the innards of the chain.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NewATBikeComute View Post
Question for those who wax: How often do you replace the wax in the crockpot? I find the grit build up after a number of cycles, and it settles to the bottom, but can't figure out a good way to remove the grit while keeping the paraffin. Seems like a waste to toss it, but I really don't like the idea of allowing the grit any chance of getting into the innards of the chain.
Every second or third waxing cycle, while the crockpot is off and the wax has solidified into a sort of puck, I just poke at the edge of it with a piece of wood I keep nearby. This will pop the wax puck out of the pot in one piece. Flip it over, and there's the ugly, gritty stuff. I just shave it off with a utility knife blade. The grit is like 0.2mm thick at most, and pretty magnetic-- I think most of it is chain.

I can wait to do this because I measured the inside diameter of my Little Dipper, then went to the dollar store and got one of these:



Usually called a "fryer skimmer." I put a bend in the handle so it fits the pot better, and lemme tell you-- putting the chain in and taking it out is a lot nicer. No more splashy-splashy. Chain also doesn't touch the bottom of the pot anymore, so it's out of the grit.
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Old 07-11-18, 05:25 PM
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I dont have a crockpot setup so I tried white lightning. My experience hasn't been great. I will say that the chain is, cranks and cassette are really clean but my jockey wheels got all gummed up. Also, it's been about 140 miles and my drivetrain sounds horrible.

I get why people switch, it's definitely cleaner. But it sure as hell isn't quiet and I love a quiet drivetrain... I dont know what to do now.
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Old 07-11-18, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by srestrepo View Post
I dont have a crockpot setup so I tried white lightning. My experience hasn't been great. I will say that the chain is, cranks and cassette are really clean but my jockey wheels got all gummed up. Also, it's been about 140 miles and my drivetrain sounds horrible.

I get why people switch, it's definitely cleaner. But it sure as hell isn't quiet and I love a quiet drivetrain... I dont know what to do now.

Could you give your jockey wheels a bit of a do over with an old toothbrush every so often to ungum them, maybe dipping the toothbrush into some denatured alcohol?
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Old 07-12-18, 09:15 AM
  #73  
NewATBikeComute
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Two cool ideas in one reply. Thanks!
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Old 07-12-18, 09:25 AM
  #74  
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Cat piss is The best chain lube period, since it not only lubes the chain, it prevents theft. ​​​​​​​
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Old 07-12-18, 10:30 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by srestrepo View Post
I dont have a crockpot setup so I tried white lightning. My experience hasn't been great. I will say that the chain is, cranks and cassette are really clean but my jockey wheels got all gummed up.
The mechanic at my LBS said that he charges extra for tune-ups on bikes that use White Lightning because of the extra work to remove the gunk. I'm going to try Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube but from what this guys says, a synthetic oil works just as well and is cheaper.
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