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Anti-squeak chain wax additive badly needed.

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Anti-squeak chain wax additive badly needed.

Old 07-08-20, 06:50 PM
  #1  
masi61
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Anti-squeak chain wax additive badly needed.

Hello - this is year 3 of chainwaxing for me. I used Molten Speed Wax with both my road bikes with a 2 chains per bike and changed them out about every 100 miles. This interval is more frequent than the claimed 400 mile interval and the reason is chain noise.

For year 3 I decided to make a blend of 1/3 Molten Speed Wax, 1/3 Gulf canning wax (paraffin) and 1/3 of some beeswax based bike wax I found on eBay. I also added about 1 to 2 tablespoons of Behlen’s Paraffin oil. I was hopeful that my blend would not flake off so fast and that it would penetrate the rollers a bit better to give me a chain as quiet as a wet lubed chain.

My first couple chains were indeed quiet for over 100 miles. After, say - 130 miles, the squeaks would return and bother the crap out of me because it manifests as a gnashing type of squeaking that complains under duress mostly such as when powering up medium hills seated or steep hills while standing. The effect is worse on the 39 tooth middle ring and the 30 tooth granny ring on my Dura Ace 7803 triple crank and my 39 tooth ring on my 7800 double crank.

Here lately, the gnashing is back by the second 40 mile ride on a fresh chain. This happens with Wipperman Connex, KMC, SRAM & Taya chains that I am using. Really odd. Please don’t tell me to abandon chain waxing! I think it has so much promise. I mean, my cassette cogs, chainrings and chain stay really clean. This is huge for me.

I may just go back to the Molten Speed Wax product 100% in my crockpot but the thing is - I had the same chain noises returning after 1 to 2 rides with that mix too.

I thought I read somewhere that the addition of the Paraffin oil softened wax to make it a bit stickier which helped reduce hard flakes shedding off too quickly leaving an underlubricated chain. I was reluctant to use more than a couple tablespoons though because I noticed that after removing the waxed chain from the crockpot the wax would dry and harden disproportionally on the bottom side when left on it’s side to cool. This led to an odd problem I had not experienced in a while - a chain that would skate momentarily on the tops of the chainring teeth before dropping silently into position. This little aberration I can live with since the chain is being pretty silent then.

But it it is the gnashing grindy sound when under torque that just saps my confidence when climbing. I really like climbing and enjoy trying to perfect my climbing rhythm but this chain unhappiness has now gotten to the place that I want a freshly waxed chain for every ride of 40+ miles. Using a master link, this is not as time consuming as it sounds and if this is the way it is going to have to be to stay with wax and have the chain be quiet - well I guess I’ll just deal with it.

So, for the mechanics out there that do chain waxing - what secret quieting additive can you share? Perhaps I am missing some trick pertaining to heating and cooling wax. Lately I pull the chain from fully liquified wax but I did try turning off the heat and pulling the chain out after the cooling wax is just starting to re-solidify. This technique may have yielded one of my more quiet chains but could have also been one where wax flakes got on my rims and hub barrel.

Thanks for reading my post and I look forward to what works for folks. BTW, my wear on KMC and SRAM chains is only average. I get up around 0.75% to 1.0% stretch sooner than I would expect. Since I am on a 2 chain system I would guesstimate that an individual chain is only lasting about 2,000 miles or maybe a bit less. I would say this is the exact same mileage I was getting from the Pedro’s “Chain J” wet lube I was previously using. The Pedro’s chains were silent but much messier. I suspect that the Wipperman will be longer lasting but it is nearly as noisy as my titanium nitride plated KMC.

Last edited by masi61; 07-08-20 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:24 PM
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I agree that's pretty discouraging mileage from your chains, especially given all the time and effort you invest.
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Old 07-08-20, 09:14 PM
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I use the UltraFast recipe for my wax (1 pound of food-grade paraffin wax with a melting point of approx 130F, 5g pure Teflon (PTFE) 3-micron powder, 1g pure MoS2 sub-micron powder) which is pretty much the same as Molten Speed Wax. I get at least 300 miles on the chains before they start to get noisy. Are you getting the wax to 200degF, and allowing the chain to get to the same temperature? And are you agitating the chain in the liquid wax? I usually find that I get a lot of air bubbles coming out once I agitate the chain. After that I let it sit until the wax temp gets back to 200 degF. Just before pulling the chain out I'll agitate it again, more to mix up the MoS2 as it tends to settle out, then pull the chain and let it cool. Molten Speed Wax's swisher tool works really well for handling the chain.
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Old 07-08-20, 09:51 PM
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I just use 100% Gulf canning wax (paraffin) and Shimano XTR chains. I change them out every 200 to 300 miles, and I don't have this noise problem. I wonder if for some reason the Shimano XTR chain is more amenable to waxing? It has some sort of special bonded teflon coating, and I have often wondered whether the wax (or whatever lube) simply seals the exterior of the chain, and protects this interface. I ride a lot of off-road conditions, but avoid getting the chain wet (rain is seasonal here in Coastal CA; it won't rain again until Oct or Nov). Those are the only differences I can think of. The life of my chains has at least tripled since I started doing this, FWIW.


I get up around 0.75% to 1.0% stretch sooner than I would expect.
How many gears? Mine is 11-speed. I never let the chain go further than 0.50%. If you do, the problem may be you have trashed out the cassette and/or sprockets.

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Old 07-08-20, 09:59 PM
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I use Tiki torch brand fuel(99% white mineral oil/aka paraffin oil) @$13.99 /gal from home depot with plain jane food grade "gulf wax" melted paraffin from most supermarkets in a dedicated chitnzy rice cooker I think I paid $15 for, and I never ever use soy, palm or beeswax(and I'm a beekeeper!). Beeswax attracts impurities faster, is softer at first and it also hardens less uniformly and changes its elasticity per heat/reheat cycle. YMMV, but my k.i.s.s. formula has worked real well for me once I'd heard about chainwaxing. Also before you ask, no the citronella scent does not keep skeeters at bay, lol

You mentioned your wax, what's your pre-wax cleaning regimen like? I put the chain in a sealed glass jar I've held onto for a few chain cleanings now, w/diesel fuel @100:1 with 2 cycle oil added(just seems to work a little better than straight diesel but I can't 100% verify that, just my own trial and error), and it strips the old gunk and wax out with that mix quite well, the filth i get out is impressive!! Then I run it in my(chitnzy & cheap) $25 ultrasonic cleaner with hot water, a small drop of dish detergent and simple green for 2 eight minute cycles(the longest it can go). I towel dry, then put it in my toaster oven on 250 for about 5-ish minutes without preheating(warms up chain and flashes off any residual moisture), only then putting it into the wax. Again, my riding style etc makes a big difference, but completely and utterly stripping the chain of any and all old wax deposits/contaminants, then going to a simple wax mix has worked stunningly well for me.

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Old 07-08-20, 10:02 PM
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Yeah, I have much the same questions as posed in post 3. How long in the pot, are you agitating the wax, etc. You mentioned doing a 2-chain rotation, I'm assuming you leave one chain immersed in the hardened wax while you're riding the other?

As to additives, a bit of Slick 50 helps with longevity, but allows the wax to get a bit dirtier. I've had good fortune just throwing a puck of Mr. Zogs into my wax blend. Cool water formula is what I've used, also makes the shop smell nice.

The only thing I can say for certain is absolutely DO NOT solvent-clean the chains between dips. I tried that technique, as it was recommended by someone here on BF. I started a pair of two-chain rotations on two bikes at the same time, using FSA Team Edition chains. The bike that got solvent-cleaned chains lasted less than 1,600 miles per chain. The chains that just rotated bike to pot and back were just replaced this week at roughly 2,500 miles per chain-- not great compared to others I've used, but still over 50% longer than the ones that were repeatedly cleaned.
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Old 07-08-20, 10:08 PM
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Go to a motorcycle shop and get some chainlube from them (it is a liquid lube that hardens from aerosol form). or just use regular lube and a master link for cleaning at xxxx miles...
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Old 07-08-20, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by canopus View Post
Go to a motorcycle shop and get some chainlube from them (it is a liquid lube that hardens from aerosol form). or just use regular lube and a master link for cleaning at xxxx miles...
How about you do what you do, and we'll continue to do what we do. If you don't use wax on your chain, I'm afraid you've stumbled into the wrong thread. Try a different one.
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Old 07-08-20, 10:29 PM
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Maybe next time read the OP. Nowhere did anyone ask what kind of lube to switch to. The OP asked about wax additives. Your post is akin to entering a thread about soccer cleats and talking about basketball shoes.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:22 AM
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I use MSW on Shimano chains. While the chain does not feel absolutely buttery smooth after maybe 50-100 miles, itís far from unbearable after that. One time I think I rode 300 miles on the chain and it still didnít quite feel ďsqueakyĒ. Rattly, sure. But there is clearance in the chain and the chain doesnít have fluids to damp the noise.

I do have to say that the chain never feels as buttery smooth as when I ride in an absolute downpour. I would be willing to put up with nearly anything at nearly any cost if I could have a chain that always felt like that. By the way people described wax, especially based on the data Iíve seen, that was what I was expecting.
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Old 07-09-20, 04:30 AM
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I have waxed chains using pure paraffin, paraffin mixed with beeswax, paraffin mixed with bar chain oil, paraffin mixed with light oil, all producing the same results. Pure paraffin was the most satisfying, however I had to re-lube at 100-130 miles otherwise squeaking would ensue. I now use Dumonde Tech lube which I believe has Teflon in it, which brings me to this, add Teflon to the wax solution with perhaps some type of oil or solvent carrier to get the wax and Teflon into the pivots. I have not tried this, but it makes sense to me.
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Old 07-09-20, 05:01 AM
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Basically here is the problem, you can have a lubed chain, or you can have a clean chain, but not both. The lube needs to have the ability to move around in the joints of the chain, as it's pushed away from pressure points it needs to flow back, which means it has to have some fluid properties, it's called Thixotropy, the ability to be a solid or a liquid depending on pressure. Solid wax lubes for a little while, but eventually is pushed away from the friction points.
I use Putoline Chain Wax, which is a commercial chain wax for motorcycle chains. It seems to have some lanolin in it, going on the smell. It's a bit sticky and it's black, probably from some moly additive, so there goes your nice clean chain and cassette. But.... it works extremely well, on tour I get maybe 800-1000 miles before I need to put a few drops of some kind of lube on the chain to quieten it down, not squeaking, just not completely silent. It also makes the chain last super long. The links are full of grease, so there's no room for anything else in there.
You could probably add some lanolin grease but not the moly to make your own more fluid wax that's clear. But it comes with the turf that some stuff is gonna stick to it if it's effective. Seems that lanolin grease is easy to find here in Australia, probably because we have shedloads of sheep, Like Inox-Lanox MX4 grease, Lanotec and many other brands.
Incidentally I've got much better results melting wax in an electric skillet. I paid $10 from a charity shop. It's much quicker than a crock pot/slow cooker and much more controllable because of the thermostat. You do have to make sure you don't set the thermostat too high and wander off, just like cooking French fries.. You can also make a wire mesh rack that fits over the wax and under the lid. Once you've waxed the chain it can be sat on the rack above the wax, so any excess can drain back in the hot air above the wax.

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Old 07-09-20, 05:07 AM
  #13  
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Not to go in a different direction but...!
I wax all our chains and as we are cycle touring I start out with hot waxed chains but on the road I have been refreshing with CleanStreak. Just got a bottle of Squirt. It is goi g on our next tour in Montana and Wyoming.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:30 AM
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Rather than hot wax, I use paraffin dissolved in naphtha (camp stove fuel). I also add automotive gear lube to the paraffin. If paraffin is melted and as much as 30% gear lube added to it, the oil will remain mixed after the paraffin cools and hardens. When I make my lube, I pour the melted mixture into the naphtha, so it dissolves quickly. The ratio of solvent to paraffin can be as little as 3/1, but it may require a temperature around 80 degrees to have a water like viscosity. The bottle of lube may need to be placed in hot water to liquify it. I've used as much as a 6/1 mixture that stays liquid at lower temperatures, but that has a lot less paraffin in it.

I relube after 150 miles or three rides, to be sure that I never get chain squeak. Lubing takes only a couple of minutes with no chain removal required.

I would never use paraffin oil. It's really a solvent with no lubricating value. Put some in an open container and it will eventually evaporate. Lubricating oil does not evaporate.

Chain life is very good with this lube.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 07-09-20 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I use the UltraFast recipe for my wax (1 pound of food-grade paraffin wax with a melting point of approx 130F, 5g pure Teflon (PTFE) 3-micron powder, 1g pure MoS2 sub-micron powder) which is pretty much the same as Molten Speed Wax. I get at least 300 miles on the chains before they start to get noisy. Are you getting the wax to 200degF, and allowing the chain to get to the same temperature? And are you agitating the chain in the liquid wax? I usually find that I get a lot of air bubbles coming out once I agitate the chain. After that I let it sit until the wax temp gets back to 200 degF. Just before pulling the chain out I'll agitate it again, more to mix up the MoS2 as it tends to settle out, then pull the chain and let it cool. Molten Speed Wax's swisher tool works really well for handling the chain.
I think I will start with a fresh batch of Molten Speed Wax. I did buy a candy thermometer that I was going to use to check the wax temperatures, maybe it is time to start using it. I do agitate the chain in the liquid wax and I do use the MSW swisher tool which I agree works really well.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
I think I will start with a fresh batch of Molten Speed Wax. I did buy a candy thermometer that I was going to use to check the wax temperatures, maybe it is time to start using it. I do agitate the chain in the liquid wax and I do use the MSW swisher tool which I agree works really well.

I too wax with MSW for a few years now. I use 25% paraffin and 75% MSW. Temp is critical IMO of the product. If you don't get it hot enough and get the chain hot it doesn't work as well IMO. I found that the temp suggested is important. I tried it at various temps and the hotter the wax the better it performed. Make sure the chain is warm too that helps a bunch!

I live in a more dry place but I get 400 miles out of a waxing and change no more than 450 even if I am not getting the signs. One thing I will also say is the more "solid" and chain is the better it works. I use KMC and Shimano and the Shimano chains have better wax hold for lack of better words. KMC chains the lightweight ones with the cut out on the plates just don't last as long. the more chain to stick too is better it seems? just my thoughts.

Temp though, I feel that is important of the wax.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Hello - this is year 3 of chainwaxing for me. I used Molten Speed Wax with both my road bikes with a 2 chains per bike and changed them out about every 100 miles. This interval is more frequent than the claimed 400 mile interval and the reason is chain noise.

For year 3 I decided to make a blend of 1/3 Molten Speed Wax, 1/3 Gulf canning wax (paraffin) and 1/3 of some beeswax based bike wax I found on eBay. I also added about 1 to 2 tablespoons of Behlenís Paraffin oil. I was hopeful that my blend would not flake off so fast and that it would penetrate the rollers a bit better to give me a chain as quiet as a wet lubed chain.

My first couple chains were indeed quiet for over 100 miles. After, say - 130 miles, the squeaks would return and bother the crap out of me because it manifests as a gnashing type of squeaking that complains under duress mostly such as when powering up medium hills seated or steep hills while standing. The effect is worse on the 39 tooth middle ring and the 30 tooth granny ring on my Dura Ace 7803 triple crank and my 39 tooth ring on my 7800 double crank.

Here lately, the gnashing is back by the second 40 mile ride on a fresh chain. This happens with Wipperman Connex, KMC, SRAM & Taya chains that I am using. Really odd. Please donít tell me to abandon chain waxing! I think it has so much promise. I mean, my cassette cogs, chainrings and chain stay really clean. This is huge for me.

I may just go back to the Molten Speed Wax product 100% in my crockpot but the thing is - I had the same chain noises returning after 1 to 2 rides with that mix too.

I thought I read somewhere that the addition of the Paraffin oil softened wax to make it a bit stickier which helped reduce hard flakes shedding off too quickly leaving an underlubricated chain. I was reluctant to use more than a couple tablespoons though because I noticed that after removing the waxed chain from the crockpot the wax would dry and harden disproportionally on the bottom side when left on itís side to cool. This led to an odd problem I had not experienced in a while - a chain that would skate momentarily on the tops of the chainring teeth before dropping silently into position. This little aberration I can live with since the chain is being pretty silent then.

But it it is the gnashing grindy sound when under torque that just saps my confidence when climbing. I really like climbing and enjoy trying to perfect my climbing rhythm but this chain unhappiness has now gotten to the place that I want a freshly waxed chain for every ride of 40+ miles. Using a master link, this is not as time consuming as it sounds and if this is the way it is going to have to be to stay with wax and have the chain be quiet - well I guess Iíll just deal with it.

So, for the mechanics out there that do chain waxing - what secret quieting additive can you share? Perhaps I am missing some trick pertaining to heating and cooling wax. Lately I pull the chain from fully liquified wax but I did try turning off the heat and pulling the chain out after the cooling wax is just starting to re-solidify. This technique may have yielded one of my more quiet chains but could have also been one where wax flakes got on my rims and hub barrel.

Thanks for reading my post and I look forward to what works for folks. BTW, my wear on KMC and SRAM chains is only average. I get up around 0.75% to 1.0% stretch sooner than I would expect. Since I am on a 2 chain system I would guesstimate that an individual chain is only lasting about 2,000 miles or maybe a bit less. I would say this is the exact same mileage I was getting from the Pedroís ďChain JĒ wet lube I was previously using. The Pedroís chains were silent but much messier. I suspect that the Wipperman will be longer lasting but it is nearly as noisy as my titanium nitride plated KMC.
Just use oil, your chain will last longer.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Just use oil, your chain will last longer.
No it won't. I can say that with some degree of certainty, as these are just the containers that still hold product. Empties have been discarded, so this isn't even all of what I've tried or currently use.

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Old 07-09-20, 10:24 AM
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Good Heaven's Dr. I! That's quite a lineup.

I have a packages of MSW that I've not used. Just never got to it. Right now, I just use the DuPont spray-on lube that has PTFE (actually, it has genuine Teflon(R) brand PTFE!). I guess (to judge by the THREE crockpots, resumably for wax) that you're a real fan of dipping into molten wax. What are the trade-offs that you find most compelling using a molten wax plus additive approach vs a dry spray on or even a petroleum based oil? Vs the effort involved in removing and cleaning the chain?
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Old 07-09-20, 10:36 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by canopus View Post
Go to a motorcycle shop and get some chainlube from them (it is a liquid lube that hardens from aerosol form). or just use regular lube and a master link for cleaning at xxxx miles...
As a longtime motorcyclist with cans of that stuff in my garage, I would not, and do not use it on my bicycles. It works great on a motorcycle where the chain is being driven at high speed, and gets hotter, but on a bike, no. What it is great at on the bicycle, is drying to a nice sticky substance that allows dirt to be trapped on the chain. It is annoying to clean off. Use a bicycle lube, or plain oil if you want an oil based chain lube. For waxing, you may need to use some sort of oil based additive to your wax.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:11 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by canopus View Post
How about you donít be a dick and I wont either. I canít help it if you donít know about motocycle chain lube that has wax in it. Iím afraid my patience for jerks doesnít exist anymore.
Boy you are sure crotchety. Did you not get your grape nuts this morning?

Watch your language and have some respect. Read the guidelines you agreed to when you signed up here.

Capisce??
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Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.
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Old 07-09-20, 09:36 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Good Heaven's Dr. I! That's quite a lineup.

I have a packages of MSW that I've not used. Just never got to it. Right now, I just use the DuPont spray-on lube that has PTFE (actually, it has genuine Teflon(R) brand PTFE!). I guess (to judge by the THREE crockpots, resumably for wax) that you're a real fan of dipping into molten wax. What are the trade-offs that you find most compelling using a molten wax plus additive approach vs a dry spray on or even a petroleum based oil? Vs the effort involved in removing and cleaning the chain?
For me, the wax is 100% about cleanliness. Any differences in efficiency or chain life are so minor as to be insignificant for me. But I never have to degrease a drivetrain, no more pulling the cassette to scrub the cogs in the sink. A pickle jar full of solvent to strip the factory lube, and that's it. Nothing needs to be cleaned after that. The Elite Gourmet pot is full of MSW, the silver Little Dipper is my homebrew blend (like the big puck with the handle sticking out of it on the bench) and the black one is Runaway Bike Hot Tub wax. I'm constantly tinkering with my waxes, trying to get a little more longevity or a little less flaking.

As a somewhat accomplished hot waxer, if I were to give a recommendation to a typical rider, it would be to just use Smoove. IMO, it's the best chain lube in a bottle. Sure, the MucOff stuff will literally last thousands of miles and makes a dead silent chain, but also generate a black mess so intense it looks like the cassette fell in a tar pit (same for ProGold Xtreme.) The Smoove is quiet, easy to use, and lasts as long as any other wax. I've gone to just dipping my chains once a month, and "refreshing" as needed with Smoove. I mean, when I had just one bike I was dipping once a week, no complaints. Once the SSCX bike came along, pulling that chain for waxing became a serious hassle, and I started looking for alternatives again. That's how I ended up with a bottle of Smoove.

For dipping-- which I won't be giving up, as the cost-effectiveness and cleanliness cannot be beat-- I think the stuff from Runaway Bike is better than MSW. Controversial opinion, but I think the Runaway Bike guys have a better blend-- or at least a blend not leaning towards "racy," and more towards "I just want a clean drivetrain that I don't have to futz with that often." Cheaper, too, if you're into that.
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Old 07-09-20, 10:12 PM
  #23  
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DrIsotope, great rundown, thanks. I'll have to find a cheap hotpot on Craigslist or at Harbor Freight to try my bag of MSW.

That said, the Dupont Chain Lube and cleaner keeps things pretty clean and quite zippy (IMHO). I'll check out Smoove once I run out. But one needs to try new things. Thanks again.
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Old 07-09-20, 10:24 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
Boy you are sure crotchety. Did you not get your grape nuts this morning?

Watch your language and have some respect. Read the guidelines you agreed to when you signed up here.

Capisce??
I am respectful all the way up to the point where someone else becomes disrespectful. i offered what i thought was a valid solution to the opís problem. you donít have to agree with it and you can certainly disagree. But it doesnít give you the right to tell me to go find a new thread if you do disagree, that is rudeness.
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Old 07-10-20, 04:21 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Rather than hot wax, I use paraffin dissolved in naphtha (camp stove fuel). If paraffin is melted and as much as 30% gear lube added to it, the oil will remain mixed after the paraffin cools and hardens. When I make my lube, I pour the melted mixture into the naphtha, so it dissolves quickly. The ratio of solvent to paraffin can be as little as 3/1, but it may require a temperature around 80 degrees to have a water like viscosity. I've used as much as a 6/1 mixture that stays liquid at lower temperatures, but that has a lot less paraffin in it.
I would never use paraffin oil. It's really a solvent with no lubricating value. Put some in an open container and it will eventually evaporate. Lubricating oil does not evaporate.
Good call on the naptha/white gas! Zippo brand lighter fuel is also almost pure naptha, and I've often used it as a solvent to resoften old paste wax from kiwi or any other brand of shoe wax that's dried out. My hotwax mix is also usually around 30ish% oil.

However, as far as the usage of it vs mineral oil they're both petroleum VOC distillate byproducts of crude oil refining, just with different carbon chainblocks. To your points though, Naptha actually evaps in air faster than paraffin oil and has a lower specific heat capacity, as paraffin oil has a higher carbon blockchain so it actually holds in suspension with the wax longer and would *technically* be the better choice betwixt the two for a lubricant/solvent combo. So to say one has no value I respectfully disagree with: it's akin to saying it's all English stems from the same source but English with a Southern U.S. accent is better because it's more easily discerned than a Kiwi vs Aussie vs Afrikaaner accent

Last edited by funbuffalo24; 07-10-20 at 04:31 AM.
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