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Chain wax-er thread

Old 09-17-21, 09:18 AM
  #1  
pipeliner
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Chain wax-er thread

Anyone using this Absolute Black Graphenwax? As far as that goes, what wax are you using? I ride gravel a bunch and my main concern was the dry dusty conditions turning my lube into dirt-grit. So I started using wax and have been using paraffin wax. I generally have to reapply after 70 miles or less. I would love to come up with a wax that is more durable.

Is the Graphenwax stuff worth it? Anyone else use a concoction that extends the intervals?
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Old 09-17-21, 09:57 AM
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I use paraffin and PTFE powder .... never bothered tracking durability. Do you have to re-apply because you have worn off all the visible wax or because your chain gets really noisy or what?
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Old 09-17-21, 10:14 AM
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Yeah the chain gets noisy and starts to shift poorly eventually.
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Old 09-17-21, 01:09 PM
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Well .... dust and gravel?
I am not sure you are doing it right though .... because the wax is supposed to get Inside the chain, in between the rollers and pins, and it shouldn't get forced out by dust. Not sure ... but sorry, other than what I have said I cannot help.
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Old 09-17-21, 01:26 PM
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I use Molten Speed Wax, but I only switched to it on my trainer bike (in part due to getting cats that like to rub up against things), so I can't compare it to riding gravel.
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Old 09-17-21, 02:12 PM
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I'd never heard of "Absolute Black Graphenwax" so I searched for it. I don't think I've ever had my snake oil detector go off quite so hard or so fast.

First off, paraffin wax coming from a bottle with a spout.

Second, graphene. Wonder material when it's applied flat. It's going to have to be shaken up, in all likelihood, so the microscopic flakes are going to be randomly oriented.

Third, 3-10W friction reduction. In a bike chain application where ordinary friction is about 1 W. What are they comparing it to, the sticky gloop that was used to preserve WW II machinery and tools?

Recommendation 1: see what your local bike shop (LBS) is selling, and buy some. They should have a good handle on local conditions

Recommendation 2: if you really want to wax your chain, buy some paraffin wax, mix in your choice of additives, cook the chain in a small crockpot or double boiler, hang it to drip. Reinstall when cool.
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Old 09-17-21, 02:13 PM
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If you melt crayons, can you get designer colored chains?
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Old 09-17-21, 03:02 PM
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For a romantic sunset ride with my wife, I float scented tea lights in our water bottles. Doesn’t seem to help with the shifting though.

John
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Old 09-17-21, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I'd never heard of "Absolute Black Graphenwax" so I searched for it. I don't think I've ever had my snake oil detector go off quite so hard or so fast.
Yea, I’ve been seeing their ad copy and there’s a whole lot I see wrong with what they claim. They also claim “up to 1800 km per application”. Say what? That’s over 1100 miles! Even oil won’t work that long. I get a whole lot more than the 100 miles that many wax lubes claim…up to 700 miles…but that’s way over the top.

First off, paraffin wax coming from a bottle with a spout.
There’s a ton of them out there. Rock ‘N’ Roll, Squirt, Finish Line Ceramic, Smoove, and even the first one White Lightning. Just because the lubricant uses a solvent to dissolve the wax doesn’t mean it isn’t paraffin. It goes on the same way oil lubricants do with the same idea, i.e. the solvent moves some of the old lube off and leaves behind the oil when the solvent evaporates from the solution.

Second, graphene. Wonder material when it's applied flat. It's going to have to be shaken up, in all likelihood, so the microscopic flakes are going to be randomly oriented.
Well that’s not too different than putting Teflon particles in a oil/solvent solution and claiming benefits from the Teflon. Or putting ceramics in the lubricant. Plastic, ceramic or graphite additives have a dubious role to play in the lubricant and are mostly there for marketing.
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Old 09-17-21, 09:39 PM
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"*Doesn't melt off your chain on a hot day."

I've never had wax melt off my chain on a hot day. I live in the southeast, store my bikes in my garage which gets damn hot in the summer and the wax has never melted off....

I just use paraffin wax and some ptft powder
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Old 09-17-21, 09:42 PM
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I think wax requires an 'investment'- it's not a squirt it on and forget it until you need to squirt it on again routine*. If you want to wax you have to really, really thoroughly strip/clean your chain (even if brand new), then give it a good long soak in your melted wax concoction in a crockpot/slow cooker. If done right it's great- clean, quiet, smooth. Personally I avoid teflon/PTFE etc- there are enough questions about the health and environmental effects for me to steer clear. I've got several chains I rotate through so I've always got a fresh wax-soaked one ready- depending on conditions is seems like I get 250-300mi or so before it feels like it's time for a swap. My wax mix is around 70/30 paraffin/bees wax. The bees wax is softer/stickier than the paraffin, the combo seems to adhere and lube well.

*I think the wax-suspended-in-liquid products are kind of pointless. If the liquid isn't some kind of solvent that completely evaporates away, it will collect dirt and grit like any other liquid lube. And even if it is a solvent that evaporates away, just squirting the product on the chain isn't going to get the wax deep into the rollers and pins where you want it.

Last edited by ehcoplex; 09-18-21 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 09-18-21, 06:10 AM
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Wax sucks, imho. I went through the whole chain-waxing spectrum of crockpots, ultrasonic cleaners, all the different wax recipes, as well as the ones that are premixed and ready to roll. After participating in dozens of discussion threads, and reading every possible chain-lube method, I've come to the conclusion that synthetic automotive transmission fluid (ATF) is the best choice for all conditions. My arguments follow:

1. ATF is reasonably clean. It does not seem to attract dust and dirt like regular oil. ATF has no tackiness to it, well, not much tackiness anyway - not as tacky as motor oil or bar and chain oil - so it doesn't get as filthy as other forms of lube.

2. It penetrates. ATF will work its way between the chain plates and pins a little easier.

3. Cleans up easier. I hit the chain with a little WD40, and give the chain a good wipe. Usually this does the trick.

4. Economical. A quart of oil - I use Mobil 1 synthetic - lasts a long time. I apply it with a refillable pump-type oil can, let it drip a little, wipe it off and ride away.
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Old 09-18-21, 09:29 AM
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I melt a pot of paraffin wax in the spring and dip two chains per bike for 5 minutes. I change them out mid-season. If they squeak before change out time, I renew them by pulling about 5mL of paraffin in kerosene saturated solution into a syringe with short tubing attached, and slowly depress plunger as I turn cranks backwards while letting tip of tubing ride on top of chain to apply. Best I've come up with so far for my dry conditions riding. Pretty easy with masterlinks for removal and installation. Bought a ten pound block of paraffin a couple years ago that will outlive me.
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Old 09-20-21, 12:56 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I get a whole lot more than the 100 miles that many wax lubes claim…up to 700 miles…
What are you currently using?
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Old 09-20-21, 03:19 AM
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I've used Squirt for a number of years and found it pretty good on the whole. It Requires re-application every 100 km or so, but a 5 min job at the most and the drivetrain remains pretty clean. I've run this on dusty mtb trails without any excessive noise or drivetrain wear.

But now I've found something better. Silca Super Secret. Another drip-on wax, but it penetrates into the chain much better and had excellent results on the ZeroFriction website. I've been using it on my road bike this season with great results. It still needs re-application every 100-150 km, but again it's a 5 min job and the drivetrain remains spotless. Chain wear is also pretty minimal. Mine is only 25% worn after 7500 km, including a few really wet century rides.
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Old 09-20-21, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I've used Squirt for a number of years and found it pretty good on the whole. It Requires re-application every 100 km or so, but a 5 min job at the most and the drivetrain remains pretty clean. I've run this on dusty mtb trails without any excessive noise or drivetrain wear.

But now I've found something better. Silca Super Secret. Another drip-on wax, but it penetrates into the chain much better and had excellent results on the ZeroFriction website. I've been using it on my road bike this season with great results. It still needs re-application every 100-150 km, but again it's a 5 min job and the drivetrain remains spotless. Chain wear is also pretty minimal. Mine is only 25% worn after 7500 km, including a few really wet century rides.
All of this.
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Old 09-20-21, 06:53 AM
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For the drip ons do you have to clean the chains as rigorously as for the melted wax? Getting a new chain to where I think of it as clean enough takes a while and requires generation of a lot of dirty solvent that I need to dispose.
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Old 09-20-21, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
For the drip ons do you have to clean the chains as rigorously as for the melted wax? Getting a new chain to where I think of it as clean enough takes a while and requires generation of a lot of dirty solvent that I need to dispose.
Initially yes. Easier starting off with a new de-greased chain. Thereafter I rarely de-grease them again unless riding a lot in the wet (which I try to avoid).
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Old 09-20-21, 07:28 AM
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I follow Oz Cycle methods.


He adds Teflon. I don't. Just wax and Lamp oil.

He has a liquid version as well:



He has a chain lube test video as well:


I even used his DIY water proofer.
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Old 09-20-21, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
I think wax requires an 'investment'- it's not a squirt it on and forget it until you need to squirt it on again routine*. If you want to wax you have to really, really thoroughly strip/clean your chain (even if brand new), then give it a good long soak in your melted wax concoction in a crockpot/slow cooker. If done right it's great- clean, quiet, smooth. Personally I avoid teflon/PTFE etc- there are enough questions about the health and environmental effects for me to steer clear. I've got several chains I rotate through so I've always got a fresh wax-soaked one ready- depending on conditions is seems like I get 250-300mi or so before it feels like it's time for a swap. My wax mix is around 70/30 paraffin/bees wax. The bees wax is softer/stickier than the paraffin, the combo seems to adhere and lube well.
For all that work, you get the same (or less) service as I do when I just squirt it on. If you don’t get far superior results…the claimed 1800 km would be closer to what you should get…why do the elaborate cleaning? I use wax in solvent and I get the same “clean, quiet, smooth” performance and I only ever clean the chain the very first time I put it on. And my “cleaning” is 30 seconds of shaking in an old Gatorade bottle.

*I think the wax-suspended-in-liquid products are kind of pointless. If the liquid isn't some kind of solvent that completely evaporates away, it will collect dirt and grit like any other liquid lube. And even if it is a solvent that evaporates away, just squirting the product on the chain isn't going to get the wax deep into the rollers and pins where you want it.
What you “think” is incorrect. First, the wax isn’t “suspended in liquid”. The wax in solvent based wax lubricants is saturated in wax. The extra wax in the bottom of the bottle is wax that won’t dissolve into the liquid but there is wax in solution…which is what is needed for wax lubricants to work.

Most of the wax based lubricants use mineral spirits as the carrier and it evaporated completely. There are wax based lubricant products that add a bit of oil to the mix. White Lightning Epic Ride is an example. But the solvent used to carry the mix evaporates. The oil (with wax in it) remains behind.

Finally, you are just dead wrong on the lack of penetration. The wax solution has a low viscosity…lower than melted wax…and a bicycle chain is hardly a sealed system. The solution will penetrate into any crevice that hot wax does, carrying the wax with it, and leaving the wax behind when the solvent evaporates. Recall that the solution is saturated, which means that as the solvent in the solution evaporates, the wax precipitates out of the solution. The only difference between the two systems is that you don’t have to drag out a pot, melt wax, and dip the chain.
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Old 09-20-21, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
What are you currently using?
White Lightning. I’ve been using it since around 2000. I have dabbled with Rock ‘N’ Roll Red and Gold but haven’t noticed any difference in application or performance.
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Old 09-20-21, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
For the drip ons do you have to clean the chains as rigorously as for the melted wax? Getting a new chain to where I think of it as clean enough takes a while and requires generation of a lot of dirty solvent that I need to dispose.
You don’t have to clean chains for melted wax as rigorously as many people do for melted wax. The whole 97 step process for cleaning a new chain prior to waxing is silly and not based on anything other than a bunch of people not understanding what they are dealing with. The factory lube that people are so diligently removing is similar enough to the wax that they are reapplying that it would dissolve in the hot wax. Stripping the factory lube down to bare metal because otherwise “the new wax won’t adhere to the metal” is based on opinion and bias. From the old “How It’s Made” video on making bicycle chains, the metal isn’t cleaned that carefully at the factory.

The question everyone needs to ask themselves is that if all 97 steps are followed to the letter, do you get significantly better results? I know there are people who claim 10,000 miles on a chain but those claims only come from a few individuals and I would suspect an error in estimating the mileage. If all 97 steps made a difference, there would be a significantly greater percentage of people that get 10,000 miles out of a chain. Most don’t which leads me to believe that 96 of the 97 steps* are useless.


*The one step is a single wash with mineral spirits. That is all that is needed for a new chain.
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Old 09-20-21, 10:07 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
For all that work, you get the same (or less) service as I do when I just squirt it on.
Hard to properly compare without testing in the same environment. Different places have gunk that affects exposed surfaces in different ways, like how those of us from the Pacific Northwest are routinely told by people from other places that the rim brake track wear that we experience doesn't exist.

As far as White Lightning is concerned, I don't know anybody locally who's managed to get decent endurance out of their products. This past year, one of my White-Lightning-using friends tested how it would work on his gravel bike, and the chain started screaming just a few miles after we left pavement, or about 25 miles of total endurance for that lube application.
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Old 09-20-21, 12:03 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Hard to properly compare without testing in the same environment. Different places have gunk that affects exposed surfaces in different ways, like how those of us from the Pacific Northwest are routinely told by people from other places that the rim brake track wear that we experience doesn't exist.

As far as White Lightning is concerned, I don't know anybody locally who's managed to get decent endurance out of their products. This past year, one of my White-Lightning-using friends tested how it would work on his gravel bike, and the chain started screaming just a few miles after we left pavement, or about 25 miles of total endurance for that lube application.
Also have to be more specific than just saying White Lightning. They have 4 basic products: Clean Ride, Epic Ride, Wet Ride, and Easy Lube. I think only the Clean Ride and Easy Lube are wax based. Epic Ride, judging by the attached, does indeed seem to be very poor, but it's a wet lubricant.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
WLE.pdf (2.55 MB, 3 views)
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Old 09-20-21, 12:46 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Hard to properly compare without testing in the same environment. Different places have gunk that affects exposed surfaces in different ways, like how those of us from the Pacific Northwest are routinely told by people from other places that the rim brake track wear that we experience doesn't exist.
My daughter went to grad school in Seattle and used White Lightning Clean Ride for the 2 years she lived there. She had no complaints. Additionally, I have used White Lightning almost all states in the US as well as parts of Canada (southwest and around Lake Erie). I’ve been in some pretty drenching rains over 20 years and about 10,000 miles of touring. Most recently, I did 6 hours and 70 miles in a driving rain in Wisconsin this summer. I’ve had similar experiences in South Carolina, Ontario, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Of course I had to put new lubricant on after rain but anyone who understands how lubricants work would do that even with oil.

As far as White Lightning is concerned, I don't know anybody locally who's managed to get decent endurance out of their products. This past year, one of my White-Lightning-using friends tested how it would work on his gravel bike, and the chain started screaming just a few miles after we left pavement, or about 25 miles of total endurance for that lube application.
Did it actually start “screaming” or was it just a louder chain? Wax lubes are louder than oil but in 20 years of using White Lightning in wet conditions and dusty dry conditions, I’ve never had a chain “scream”.
__________________
Stuart Black
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Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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