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Chain waxing, rain and durability

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Chain waxing, rain and durability

Old 06-20-19, 03:36 PM
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alias5000
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Chain waxing, rain and durability

Hello everyone,.
I'm looking for some real-life experience regarding how chains hold up in rain conditions that have been waxed (immersed in a cooker, not the bottled lube kind). It is easy to find amazed people reporting up to 500km before re-waxing, but once you get to rain, it gets more convoluted.
How is this going for you, specifically for commuter duty, in which there is limited ability to avoid rain? How well does your chain hold up to the wet elements? Is it worth it for you as a commuter? Do you use the chain-swapping system, or do you only have 1 chain ready at a time?

I'm using squirt lube right now and like it, but I suspect that hot-waxing is likely a more durable way in the dry. But I definitely cannot get 500km in without cycling in the rain, therefore my durability is limited by rain cycles.

Just for context: please, let's not let this derail into a general lube thread. There are other great lubes out there, but I'm focused on wax for commuter duty right now.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:56 PM
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I use wax on my chain. Years ago I bought a Fry Baby for that purpose. I live in Houston where it can be wet, hot and dry. My wax lasts about 1000 miles unless it is raining a lot. I use paraffin without any additives. I wax when I hear the chain start squeaking. My rides are road riding, not commuting.
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Old 06-20-19, 05:29 PM
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I use Squirt Dry Lube as well. I'll reapply once a week or after a rain. Applying it is so easy (takes literally less than a minute from start to end) that I find it's not worth the trouble to use real wax. Not having to deal with chain tattoos and cleaning drive train is also a plus for me. These are my findings. Yours may vary and that's find by me
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Old 06-20-19, 07:54 PM
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Maybe it's true that waxing gives you better service intervals. I don't know, as I will never wax my chain. The important thing for me is how much time the service takes. Dripping some oil on and wiping a rag is sufficiently quick for me. I live in New York, and our climate became sub-tropical a couple of years ago. So now rain is frequent enough that I don't need a calendar-based reminder. I just oil after the chain gets wet. I use heavy oil which, in theory, lasts longer than light oil.
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Old 06-20-19, 08:25 PM
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I was skeptical but, after reading glowing reviews on effectiveness of immersing chain in hot wax, I bought beeswax at a hardware store and immersed chain in the wax heated on a hotplate. Well, this might have been the worst lubrication and protection against rain my chain ever experienced, short of immersing the chain into water. The latter is obviously a lubricant, so at least one functionality is provided there . There is a tension there between gaining a personal experience and wasting time. The current wave of commercial hot waxes for bike chains emerged only afterwards.
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Old 06-20-19, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
I use Squirt Dry Lube as well. I'll reapply once a week or after a rain. Applying it is so easy (takes literally less than a minute from start to end) that I find it's not worth the trouble to use real wax. Not having to deal with chain tattoos and cleaning drive train is also a plus for me. These are my findings. Yours may vary and that's find by me
I agree, I've just been going through my last bottle at a rate I'm not absolutely thrilled with, hence my considerations
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Old 06-21-19, 04:13 AM
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I use wax in the summer but switch to oil in the winter. Wax never held up well for me in the rain.
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Old 06-21-19, 08:46 AM
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I tried waxing a couple of chains and swapping them, so I didn't have to re-wax so often. Each waxing lasted about 300 miles if it was dry. Going in, my average chain life was about 2,000 miles. After multiple waxings, one chain lasted 2,000 miles.

The other chain was the one that was on the bike when I was caught by a thunderstorm on the way home. This was, IIRC, 100-150 miles after it was waxed and installed. I ran inside when I got home instead of changing the chain (they were both due for a waxing at the time). It squeaked horribly the next day, and by the time I got to waxing both chains the day after that, it was coated in rust. I tried wiping it off, rinsing with mineral spirits, oiling and wiping -- the rust was there to stay. Since iron oxide is abrasive, I rinsed the oil off and planted the chain under a blueberry bush -- acid loving plants like that often need some iron in the soil. The blueberries have done well, and I went back to oiling the chain after that experiment.
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Old 06-21-19, 08:50 AM
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I'm curious about this, too. I've used Rock and Roll Extreme for quite a while and was reasonably happy with it, but I've been thinking about trying wax, too. Saw a youtuber (can't remember who) who mixed some paraffin oil with his wax to make a softer, stickier wax. I've wondered if that might be a good way to go.

I finished a bottle of Rock and Roll last week and the shop I stopped at didn't carry it so I got a bottle of Finish Line Wet instead. So far I'm really pleased with its tenacity in wet weather. Much better than Rock and Roll Extreme.
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Old 06-21-19, 09:49 PM
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Yes, Rock and Roll Extreme, another memorable experience. There was this poster riding many miles who on different occasions repeatedly raved about how good lube R&R was. At that point I was still experimenting with chain lubes - I caved in and got myself R&R. It was the first lube I ever encountered that would wash off in no time with plain water, again short of water itself.
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Old 06-23-19, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I use wax in the summer but switch to oil in the winter. Wax never held up well for me in the rain.
That's what I do too. Around October until I store my bike for the Winter (usually end of November/early December) and when I start again in late March/early April up until mid May, I switch to oil. Otherwise I would be reapplying almost daily. I can better appreciate the clean drivetrain when I switch to wax
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Old 06-24-19, 04:17 PM
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I'm trying Finish Line Ceramic at the moment, and after getting caught in the rain a couple of times it seems to be holding up rather well.
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Old 06-24-19, 04:21 PM
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alias5000
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
I'm trying Finish Line Ceramic at the moment, and after getting caught in the rain a couple of times it seems to be holding up rather well.
Is this the finish line ceramic wax or wet lube?
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Old 06-24-19, 04:37 PM
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I wax all my chains for our 6+ bikes and retouch with squirt occasionally for the majority of the season including the commuter, but during the rainy season I switch to Chain-L for the commuter, nothing else lasts here in the PNW
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Old 06-24-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Is this the finish line ceramic wax or wet lube?
Good catch. It's the Ceramic Wet Lube.

I've been using Finish Line Dry on my other bikes, and I'm happy with it, but it would indeed wear off pretty quick in the rain, so I decided to try the Ceramic Wet for my wet weather bike. As I said, so far so good, but I'm curious to see how much dirt might eventually build up.
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Old 06-24-19, 06:51 PM
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I don't worry about it. My chain usually stretch around 1k miles. In my area it rains half the year, i think chains can take it.
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