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opinions on wax lube for chains?

Old 12-15-11, 02:27 PM
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opinions on wax lube for chains?

I've always used triflow but i'm getting tied of trying to get the occasional black stain out of the leg of my pants. I've heard some people say that using a wax lube would remedy my woes. anybody ever used a wax lube? how well do they work vs. triflow? does the chain really stay relatively clean?
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Old 12-15-11, 02:41 PM
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I tried wax lubes once.

The chain wasn't as dirty, but it was noisy. Then I read about how wax isn't a good lubricant and how the parts that need lube aren't lubed with the wax.

I'd rather have a lubed chain that was a little dirty than a clean, unlubed chain.

I found that dry lubes, like Pedro's Extra Dry or Finish Line Dry worked okay and weren't as dirty.

In the end, I decided to use Finish Line Cross Country Wet lube. Its a dirt magnet, but it keeps the chain nice and quiet. I just have to wipe the chain down every once in a while and the dirtiness doesn't bug me.

Last edited by stdlrf11; 12-17-11 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 12-15-11, 03:33 PM
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I have been using wax as my primary lube on my commuter for the last year (about 3,000 miles). I live in a part of the country that doesn't have weather, so that probably helps to make the wax work better.

I have a crock pot in which I have a mixture of paraffin and bees wax. About every 1000 miles I remove the chain, Wipe off the grit and stuff stuck on the outside (usually there is very little) then soak the chain in the melted wax, after soaking for ~10 mins, I take it out and hang it to dry, then put it back on the bike.

With wax my drivetrain stays much cleaner than it did with oil, and my chains seem to last about as long as they did with oil.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:28 PM
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I think it depends a lot on the condition you ride in.

I ride a mtn bike, now with dirt and gravel paths on my commute every day.
Using white lightning (a wax base), the chain and rear area stay relatively clean, but the chain lasted only 6 weeks on average (about 1000 miles). Then I tried chain saw oil, which is very low cost; the chain lasted longer for sure, but it was a huge pain each week to clean the dirt/sand/etc off the chain, rim, spokes, sprockets, etc... This might be a good choice on dry roads, but I got tired of all the cleaning work. Now I use the Finish Line Teflon lube (available in a large refill bottle), it seems like a good compromise for me, a lot less cleaning up than oil, and I clean & lube the chain at least once every 150 miles.
By the way, some wax lubes do not work well in cold temps.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:42 PM
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My chain is waxed right now, although I only have maybe 50-100 miles on it. stdlrf11 is right. It's quite noisy, and often feels like it is just chain on chainring because of it. I'm pretty sure it's fine though, considering I'm not getting the dreaded squeak. All in my head, probably.

I've recently (today) considering going back, but I think I'm going to hold on a bit. The cleanliness is unparalleled. The jury is still out for me, but I'm going to go with it for awhile.

Also, it's been raining constantly after an entire summer of almost no rain. I hear wax is less-good in the rain (although I added a small bit of TriFlow to mine), so I might try to rewax at about 200 miles.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by stdlrf11 View Post
Then I read about how wax isn't a lubricant and how the parts that need lube aren't lubed with the wax.
What are you speaking of specifically?
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Old 12-15-11, 05:10 PM
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https://www.webbikeworld.com/t2/motor...chain-lube.htm This stuff works great. It doesn't get dirty, lasts longer and shifts better than wet lubes.
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Old 12-15-11, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by amgarcia View Post
What are you speaking of specifically?
Now that I re-read that, it doesn't make sense. I should have worded it better.

I used the White Lightning bottle, and it just seemed like wax flakes suspended in some solution. It didn't seem to penetrate well, and it didn't lubricate it enough to stop the noises.

From what I read, and as I understood it, wax isn't fluid enough to penetrate all the metal surfaces on the inside of the chain. You can heat it up and dip the chain in, but that seems messy and dangerous. Also, when the wax hardens, it doesn't seem to stay where it needs to be. It gets rubbed off and the contact surfaces are left bare.

From the Sheldon Brown Website:
Waxing Chains

An alternative approach to chain lubrication is to immerse the chain in hot wax. This is a variation on the oil/solvent approach. The hot wax is of a thin enough consistency that it can theoretically penetrate into the private parts of the chain, then when it cools off, you have a nice thick lubricant in place where it can do the most good. The major advantage to this approach is that, once cooled off, the wax is not sticky, and doesn't attract dirt to the outside of the chain as readily. Downsides of the wax approach include the fact that it is a great deal of trouble, and that wax is probably not as good a lubricant as oil or grease.
I'm no expert in the subject, but when my chain is squeaky and noisy, it doesn't seem lubricated enough. I like having a quiet drivetrain and I don't mind wiping it down at the end of the week to keep it clean. I would much rather do that than mess with hot wax or bother with a lube that doesn't lube.

Hope that made more sense.
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Old 12-15-11, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by stdlrf11 View Post
In the end, I decided to use Finish Line Cross Country Wet lube. Its a dirt magnet, but it keeps the chain nice and quiet. I just have to wipe the chain down every once in a while and the dirtiness doesn't bug me.
yea, verily finish line wet lube is a dirt magnet. i use it in winter. that is some seriously sticky stuff. i can feel the resistance to pedalling, but it does it's job. i use the citric acid stuff that costs $3/quart from an auto parts house when cleaning the drive train, then rinse in water, towel dry and re-apply.

in summer, it is tri-flow. i've been through the waxes and found them harder to clean, maybe because of what chemical cleaner(s) i was using.
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Old 12-15-11, 05:59 PM
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I've been using my Teflon motorcycle chain lube on my commuter as an experiment. Chain definitely stays cleaner and is super quiet, but I can't speak to its long term effects, but I'll keep using and see what happens. Works awesome for my motorcycle, so I guess it should work for my bicycle. Is the Teflon stuff what you're talking about or is there really wax lube?
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Old 12-15-11, 06:23 PM
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I use Squirt Chain Lube on my commuter, so far it has worked well. Seems like I have to apply it more often though than the ProLink I was using in the past. ProLink was a terrible dirt magnet.
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Old 12-15-11, 07:25 PM
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My chain lube is whatever is left at the bottom of the crankcase oil containers from my latest oil change. I clean the chain w/brake fluid really well then apply crankcase oil or grease after wiping the chain as dry as possible. Only the chainring/cog surface is left w/any lubricant. It's been my experience that the chain stays clean longer using this method. I can tell when it needs a treatment as it begins to feel 'scratchy'. May be a week or 2, but no longer than that. The chainring and cog teeth are thoroughly cleaned as well. Consistant and timely maintenance is the key, regardless of what one uses for chain lubrication. Have never used teflon or wax lubricant.
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Old 12-15-11, 07:45 PM
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I've tried a LOT of different lubes over the last decade -- Finish Line(didn't like), Pedro's Ice Wax(excellent), the lightest grade I could find of Mobil 1(wonderful for wetter conditions), stainless steel cleaner/polish(easy to apply and works VERY well), a few I can't remember, but my favorite was Giant Liquid Silk. It went on easy, the chain was virtually silent in use, it was clean on the chain, and when the chain started to 'ruckus' a little bit, you knew it was time to reapply.

My old backup is the Mobil 1, I bought a quart of 0W-20 two years ago, still have probably 22-24 oz. of it. The SS cleaner/polish is just too easy and successful to pass up right now....
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Old 12-15-11, 10:15 PM
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ProLink Gold
or
for really wet, ridiculously bad conditions, I like DuMonde Tech
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Old 12-15-11, 10:26 PM
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A problem I just ran into using the heated wax immersion: it's been raining, and my chain is filthy. The only way I can think to clean it is to pull off the chain, scrub it, and rewx. Any suggestions besides just wiping it down?
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Old 12-15-11, 11:36 PM
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For me a dry lube is best. I tried Ice Wax, and it worked pretty well, but since it didn't last very long it became relatively expensive. For the past year I've been using a can of spray lube (3 in One Professional Silicone Spray Lubricant). I bought at the hardware store for $3. It dries in about the same time as any other dry lube, lasts as long as the Ice Wax, and the spray can lasts several times longer than a bottle of Ice Wax. Because the spray can is cheaper but lasts longer, in the long run I spend substantially less on chain lubrication.

I typically get about 5K miles out of a chain, no matter what kind of lube I use, as long as it's lubed.
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Old 12-16-11, 08:57 AM
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I make my own from 1 part motor oil diluted with 5 parts paint thinner.

Applied properly, it CLEANS and lubes the chain, Never have to remove chain to clean, or use some silly chain cleaning device.

Been doing this for a decade, chains last >10,000 miles. Better than any commercial bike cleaner/lube, cheaper, available at any walmart.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by buzzbee View Post
I think it depends a lot on the condition you ride in.

I ride a mtn bike, now with dirt and gravel paths on my commute every day.
Using white lightning (a wax base), the chain and rear area stay relatively clean, but the chain lasted only 6 weeks on average (about 1000 miles).
You were doing something wrong if you chains only lasted 1000 miles. You could use absolutely no lubricant, dust the chain daily with silcon carbide and still get more than 1000 miles out of a chain.

I've been using White Lightning exclusively for about 15 years. I don't put on new chains every 1000 miles and I don't apply the lube before every ride. I go 4 to 6 weeks (300 to 500 miles) between applications. Your chain doesn't have to be dripping oil to be lubricated and, in dusty conditions, not having a bunch of sticky oil to serve as a trap from chain chewing grit is actually a plus. And it's clean.
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Old 12-16-11, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MattFoley View Post
I've been using my Teflon motorcycle chain lube on my commuter as an experiment. Chain definitely stays cleaner and is super quiet, but I can't speak to its long term effects, but I'll keep using and see what happens. Works awesome for my motorcycle, so I guess it should work for my bicycle. Is the Teflon stuff what you're talking about or is there really wax lube?
If you're using the same stuff I am (and I think you are), I bet you'll get more life out of your chain. I have in the year or two I've been using it.
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Old 12-16-11, 01:12 PM
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I tried using wax (paraffin) for a couple of chains, with regular cleaning. The chains lasted about 2,000 miles each.

I tried Pedro's Ice Wax, with more cleaning. The chain lasted about 2,000 miles.

About that time, somebody did an experiment in which he wiped the half a chain, but didn't clean with mineral spirits or degreaser, and cleaned the other half before lubing. Both halves lasted the same amount of time, so I started wiping and stopped "cleaning."

Prolink Gold and Boeshield are sorta kinda like wax. Both have to be wiped regularly to prevent some of the nastiest grinding paste I've ever seen from building up on the chain, pulleys, and sprockets. Oh, and in my experience, the chains last about 2,000 miles.

I've gone back to oil for the bikes I use most often. (The chains seem to last between 2,000 and 2,500 miles. See a trend here?) I'm staying with some flavor of White Lightning for the travel bike, mostly to try to keep the chain from getting so nasty when it's time to pack or unpack.
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Old 12-16-11, 01:40 PM
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With the snap links , removing the chain cleaning it
and heating wax to a melting point [double boiler]

and re doing it the old fashioned way, is more practical..
but another threshold of PIA.

A Wax chain lube at room temperature the wax is a solid,
and so I would not expect it to penetrate
under the rollers where it needs to be.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-16-11 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 12-16-11, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You were doing something wrong if you chains only lasted 1000 miles. You could use absolutely no lubricant, dust the chain daily with silcon carbide and still get more than 1000 miles out of a chain.
Of course, I could be doing something wrong.
The 1000 miles is a worst case winter number (wet, dirty every day) from a new chain to where it reached the 0.75 mark on my chain length tester, not to where the chain actually fails. It could also be the Nashbar chains I was using at the time too.
Whatever, you mileage may vary.

I liked white lightning, used it for 10 years, and I'm not sure the finish line lube I have now is better (but it is less expensive)
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Old 12-16-11, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by stdlrf11 View Post
Then I read about how wax isn't a lubricant and how the parts that need lube aren't lubed with the wax.
I'm curious where you heard this? The matrix of wax and ceramic nano-particles on the Finish Line product I use is indeed a very effective chain lubricant:

https://www.finishlineusa.com/product...c_wax_lube.htm

Though it's true that my drive-train it is a tad noisier than with wet lubes, I have never had a problem with the functioning or chain wear, and I never get a chain-ring tattoo anymore.

Last edited by cellery; 12-16-11 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 12-16-11, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by amgarcia View Post
a problem i just ran into using the heated wax immersion: It's been raining, and my chain is filthy. The only way i can think to clean it is to pull off the chain, scrub it, and rewx. Any suggestions besides just wiping it down?
THIS https://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
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Old 12-17-11, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool View Post
Nice. Completely forgot about this tutorial. Miss SB alot. One of a kind.
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