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Immersive waxing / it should be more popular

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Immersive waxing / it should be more popular

Old 09-27-23, 08:13 PM
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I'm not a fan of doing it on my mtb, but TBH that's mostly due to water from creek crossings and that sort of thing
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Old 09-27-23, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2
Is chain waxing also okay for gravel bikes as well? I've read some people opt not to wax their gravel chain, but I'm not sure what the consensus is on that? My gravel terrain here in SoCal tends to attract more dust and grit, so I usually mist hose my bike and wipe it down. My road bike doesn't get as dirty.
Wax is even better for gravel since it doesn't attract any dust unlike oils. It also works better in the wet.
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Old 09-27-23, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums
Hi FH,

This note about 1% catches my attention. When's the last time you had waxed and checked that chain? It would seem that your chain has been out of spec for a while.


Especially at 1%.
We’ve had a very dry summer so my “get-wet>>wax” practice failed. Definitely went too long.

This is on a 10 speed cassette. The 10 speed chains don’t seem to last as long as my 8 speed chains, but that’s an impression not a measurement.

Over 1000 posts on wax, and I deserve my 0.5% of the blame. Remember if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.
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Old 09-27-23, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
Wax is even better for gravel since it doesn't attract any dust unlike oils. It also works better in the wet.
My experience in the wet is that the wax comes off ("shears" off?) and that it starts grinding and needs to get re-applied. That seems to be the general consensus as well - that wax isn't great for wet climates like the PNW. Not sure why that is, but my chain certainly starts grinding prematurely after it gets appreciably wet.
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Old 09-28-23, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2
Is chain waxing also okay for gravel bikes as well? I've read some people opt not to wax their gravel chain, but I'm not sure what the consensus is on that? My gravel terrain here in SoCal tends to attract more dust and grit, so I usually mist hose my bike and wipe it down. My road bike doesn't get as dirty.
If I had to pick I’d wax my gravel bike over my road bike. Road bike stays relatively clean while a waxed gravel chain doesn’t attract dirt which drastically reduces cleaning time and really extends the life of chains, chainrings, and cassettes as dirt isn’t holding into things and grinding it down.
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Old 09-28-23, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
My experience in the wet is that the wax comes off ("shears" off?) and that it starts grinding and needs to get re-applied. That seems to be the general consensus as well - that wax isn't great for wet climates like the PNW. Not sure why that is, but my chain certainly starts grinding prematurely after it gets appreciably wet.
It does shear off from the outside, but that's largely irrelevant. With hard waxes the inside remains pretty well protected. If the wax is soft (ie. mixed with oil or just soft to begin with) it has much less protection against water.

I've found that hard wax (proper grade paraffin or hard wax mixes) works in really wet conditions between 100 - 200km if that distance consists of multiple rides and for around 200km if it's one ride. By comparison, no oil I've tried has remained squeak free for more than 50km in similar conditions. Unless of course the chain is a black mess of caked oil dust and rust. Of course in mountain biking it's more relevant to consider hours of operation since average speed is so much lower.
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Old 09-28-23, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon
One more step, tool, or consideration to make this process work with ideal effectiveness. And we're still hearing "Chain waxing is so much better. It's not harder or more complicated. In fact, it's even easier than drip lube."

I'm sticking with my favorite drip lube. About every 200 miles (or however often I fee like doing it), I wipe down my chain, crank, and cassette, and then add more lube. The whole process takes maybe five minutes, doesn't require chain removal from the bike, and all I have to buy and store is a bottle of lube and a rag. But tell me again how wax is so much easier.

I think guys wax chains because they enjoy waxing chains, not because there are any major benefits. It's kind of like Hank Hill: "I"m going to change the oil in my truck. It's not due. I'm just changing it for fun."
It's nothing complicated. You get the initial setup done, you turn the heat on and drop your chain in it. It's cheaper, more effective, quieter and your chain will last 2-3x longer.

As I say to everyone, it's all a matter of what type of person you are. I enjoy spending time maintaining my bike in my garage. It's always clean. Chain waxing does not bother me and the benefits are worth it. Some of us only wants to ride their bike and lube their chain. It's also fine.
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Old 09-28-23, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
The argument is not that wax is much easier than wipe and drip but that it is superior in terms of drivetrain efficiency and longevity. So waxing is for people who desire these benefits and/or enjoy that kind of process. One thing to consider is that people that wax never have to clean their drivetrains (cassette, chainrings, jockey wheels,...) because they stay clean, so worth factoring in in terms of time and fuss. Beyond that, people that get into waxing may want to improve their workflow or setup, but these steps are just incremental and highly optional. Your chain and my chain are beyond comparison based on our maintenance choices, and that is certainly ok.
Fair enough. As long as we're talking honestly about it. I have no real opposition to waxing conceptually, but when I read things like "It's no more difficult than drip lube," I think, "Ahh... seriously?"

I suppose I can agree with the claim that, for most riders, there are real benefits to be had. They come at a cost. Many riders find the juice is worth the squeeze, but many others will not.
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Old 09-28-23, 11:22 AM
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It clearly involves more steps, that's for sure, but I firmly believe that the ''benefits outweigh the costs''. Even using ready-to-use wax based lubricant in a bottle like SQUIRT is better - by far - than conventional lube. On long rides, I can hear my friend's chains getting noisier after 100+kms while mine remains quiet as a bosch dishwasher.
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Old 09-28-23, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
The argument is not that wax is much easier than wipe and drip but that it is superior in terms of drivetrain efficiency and longevity.
I'll concede on the cleanliness claim. Also longevity, perhaps.

But efficiency? How many Watts do you think a drip lubed chain robs from the rider's effort, and how many for a waxed chain? I bet it is less than one Watt of difference. Even a rusty, never-lubed chain is probably not taking more than a couple Watts. It's noisy, may be hard to shift, and will wear out quickly, but it's not significantly less efficient.
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Old 09-28-23, 12:00 PM
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Never checked actually. A few watts, like 5, may-be?

People are shaving their legs to save 10w, so
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Old 09-28-23, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2
Is chain waxing also okay for gravel bikes as well? I've read some people opt not to wax their gravel chain, but I'm not sure what the consensus is on that? My gravel terrain here in SoCal tends to attract more dust and grit, so I usually mist hose my bike and wipe it down. My road bike doesn't get as dirty.
I agree with the others who have said that the advantages of chain waxing are even more prominent for a gravel bike than a road bike, which makes total sense when you compare the particles picked up from riding on the respective surfaces. The problem with an oil-based lubricant is that debris adheres onto the surface of, mixes into, and become suspended within the lubricant, forming a black slurry paste that wears down the chain and any other contact interfaces. Whereas once paraffin hardens, there is much less adhesion of debris, which does not penetrate into the wax.

We are both in SoCal, where it rarely rains, so all the handwringing about riding in the wet does not apply to us. FWIW, I rode my gravel bike with its waxed chain in light rain all the time earlier this year without issue. I did not ride in heavier rain not because of any concern about the chain, but because it is too much work to wash my bike afterward.

Last edited by SoSmellyAir; 09-28-23 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 09-28-23, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon
I'll concede on the cleanliness claim. Also longevity, perhaps.

But efficiency? How many Watts do you think a drip lubed chain robs from the rider's effort, and how many for a waxed chain? I bet it is less than one Watt of difference. Even a rusty, never-lubed chain is probably not taking more than a couple Watts. It's noisy, may be hard to shift, and will wear out quickly, but it's not significantly less efficient.
I think/IIRC, the difference between a dry/un-lubed chain and a lubed chain is somewhat significant, like 10 - 15 watts maybe? Don't quote me on that. But between wax and wet lube? Yeah that's gotta be like a handful at most, say 1-5. So not gonna make much of a real world difference unless you're going for some sort of indoor velodrome record. Of course in time trialing, maximizing one's performance (relative to fitness) is all about the sum of marginal gains, so maybe it's a good choice there as well.
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Old 09-30-23, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
You didn't clean the new chain to remove the factory lube?
I use this as it seems to work on my KMC chains, a guide from KNC on maintenance:A new chain usually feels sticky at first. These are residues of the high-performance grease used during assembly. Remove this grease with a thin-bodied oil or cleaner (no aggressive grease solvents!), lightly oil the rollers and remove excess oil with a cloth.
We recommend never to degrease the chain completely. Also when changing to wax, we recommend to degrease the chain only on the outside. If you degrease the chain completely, we recommend to soak the chain in wax for 12–24 hours, so that this can penetrate into the inside of the chain.
https://www.kmcchain.eu/Maintenance
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Old 09-30-23, 10:34 AM
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I am a convert - turned to waxing all my/my wife's road/gravel chains - love it! However, speaking of MTB - I mostly ride my MTB in NorCal dry/dusty conditions, so thought waxing should work well for my mtb - I learned otherwise. Only after a couple of rides in completely dry conditions my chain started making this horrible grinding noise and shifting seriously deteriorated. It is 12 speed Shimano BTW. Go figure...
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Old 09-30-23, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by vtje
I am a convert - turned to waxing all my/my wife's road/gravel chains - love it! However, speaking of MTB - I mostly ride my MTB in NorCal dry/dusty conditions, so thought waxing should work well for my mtb - I learned otherwise. Only after a couple of rides in completely dry conditions my chain started making this horrible grinding noise and shifting seriously deteriorated. It is 12 speed Shimano BTW. Go figure...
What chain is it? Some more high end chains have a hard anti friction coating which also resists wax, making the wax duration pretty short. It takes some time for that coating to wear off and let the wax to adhere properly.
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Old 09-30-23, 10:48 AM
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Shimano 12 spd XT/Ultegra
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Old 09-30-23, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by vtje
Shimano 12 spd XT/Ultegra
My 11 speed XTR chain on my gravel bike did this after a particularly dusty ride in the CZU burn scar. I did the same ride again, a few days ago with a clean chain, just after the light rain we had, and didn't have a problem.

I think if the dust particles are fine enough (we call it "moon dust"), you can get this happening with wax. With a wet lube, you probably won't hear anything, but you have a fine grained grinding paste.
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Old 09-30-23, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by vtje
Shimano 12 spd XT/Ultegra
It has a Sil-tec coating which might repel the wax. That'll go away eventually.
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Old 09-30-23, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
It has a Sil-tec coating which might repel the wax. That'll go away eventually.
Wax and the Sil-tec coating are both hydrophobic, so it shouldn't do that.

I suspect what wax does is protect the Sil-Tec coating on the pins and rollers, making the chain last longer.
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Old 10-01-23, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
Wax will dissolve factory grease? Let me doubt that.

My overnight-soak-in-a-jar-of-fuel trick does a great job and is basically effortless.
Doubt it all you want. It is true tho. Melted wax will dissolve and mix with factory grease no problem. Even if you are not replacing 100.00% of the factory lube, so what? You get it next time around. Again, precleaning is a waste of time And money. Just dump it in, straight from the package, swish a bit and ur fine. While we are at it. Crockpots are a waste of time too. An ordinary sauce pan and a stove top will get you done in 1/10 the time. The excessive fear of fire and what not is really misplaced. No more dangerous than frying an egg.
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Old 10-01-23, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan
…Crockpots are a waste of time too. An ordinary sauce pan and a stove top will get you done in 1/10 the time. The excessive fear of fire and what not is really misplaced. No more dangerous than frying an egg.
I am not afraid of fire. My wife, on the other hand…..
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Old 10-01-23, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan
Doubt it all you want. It is true tho. Melted wax will dissolve and mix with factory grease no problem. Even if you are not replacing 100.00% of the factory lube, so what? You get it next time around. Again, precleaning is a waste of time And money. Just dump it in, straight from the package, swish a bit and ur fine. While we are at it. Crockpots are a waste of time too. An ordinary sauce pan and a stove top will get you done in 1/10 the time. The excessive fear of fire and what not is really misplaced. No more dangerous than frying an egg.
can't agree with it being a waste of time. i've posted a pic of my two bath jars of mineral spirits and the first bath is really quite dirty with bits of metal flakes on the bottom.also, my wax is very clean after 3 years of doing it this way.

i use a crocpot not because i am scare of catching fire on a stove top but becasue it is significantly more convient to do this work in the garage where my ride is being cleaned while theh wax is doing its thing.

what i do find to be a complete waste of time is "soaking" the chain in hot wax for an hour. really? what a complete waste of time and energy. like the metal plates and pins are going to absorb wax, really? just agitate until the wax makes it way into all voids. takes a screwdriver and about 20 seconds (if that).
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Old 10-01-23, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan
Crockpots are a waste of time too. An ordinary sauce pan and a stove top will get you done in 1/10 the time.
Nah. Permanently set up crockpots are ideal for this, just pressing a couple buttons and having it heat up to the right temperature and hold absolutely stable, for however long, without messing around in the kitchen or handling hot sauce pans, minding cooling sauce pans, storing stuff, really could not be any easier.

And even if skipping the solvent rounds to strip factory grease is possible without purpose defeating detriment to the wax base, I will gladly do that step once a leap year when I process a new chain into the rotation and keep the wax extra pristine. Especially for more expensive chain specific waxes where a lot of the money goes into the right consistency, I won't have that soften out from the factory grease of multiple chains over time, now that I know that wax in a crockpot can be in service for years.

what i do find to be a complete waste of time is "soaking" the chain in hot wax for an hour. really?
Yeah that is nonsense. The chain needs to be in the wax long enough to heat up to wax temperature so agitation effectively flushes out what was inside the chain. Having it sit there for longer is useless, rather agitate it a couple more times than add soaking time. But I certainly forget my chains in there for a while because I pop them on the hard wax as I turn on the pot and may get distracted, part of the convenience of the crockpot.

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Old 10-01-23, 06:48 PM
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I have a mini crock pot dedicated to melting wax. I would never want to put anything for consumption in that (and I use only pure caning wax, no Mb or PTFEs).

The good thing about a crock pot is you can do everything safely outside.
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