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Another Chain Waxing Thread

Old 08-15-19, 09:01 AM
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Another Chain Waxing Thread

After messing with various chain lubes and the mess they leave for the last year, I decided to try waxing the chain instead. It didn't hurt that my wife was getting rid of a functional Crock-Pot (with missing control knob) in favor of one of those fancy Pioneer Woman models. It's now my chain cooker.

Having noted significant differences in the various lubes I've tried, I was skeptical of waxing. But, I think I'm a convert. Just the lack of mess is reason enough. It's nice to come back from a ride without grease marks on my leg. At about 400 miles I noticed the chain starting to get noisy. I changed to a freshly waxed chain at 448 miles. I did the change without gloves and my hands weren't even really dirty.

Here's a pic of the cassette at about 250 miles. At the same mileage with lube it would have been nasty!



Conditions were dry for the entire 448 miles, so it will be interesting to see how it works out this fall. For now, I'm quite pleased.
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Old 08-15-19, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post

Conditions were dry for the entire 448 miles, so it will be interesting to see how it works out this fall. For now, I'm quite pleased.
Wax lubes work well in dry, and stay clean because it's a hydrocarbon that's solid along most of the ambient temperature spectrum we'll see. Even full wax impregnation will disappear pretty quickly once it gets wet. Cool wax will ball up and flake off of wet metal. I think the case is settled until some new technology comes along: wet or oil lubes for wet riding, and dry lubes for dry riding to keep dust from sticking to the chain. Missing links for everyone!

Tangent follows:
From a materials science standpoint, it's an interesting problem with no single solution. You could make a better chain that holds onto its lubrication better somehow, or use materials with less inherent friction in the rollers and joints. You could abandon a chain entirely and use a belt or driveshaft, since you can shield the bearings on the driveshaft better than the exposed rollers. But cheap chains operate just as efficiently as wonderchains, just with an expected shorter service life.

I wonder how NASA would design a bicycle that could operate reliably without supplies like lube...
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Old 08-15-19, 09:41 AM
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Wait you don't know how to ride without getting a chainring tattoo?
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Old 08-15-19, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Wait you don't know how to ride without getting a chainring tattoo?
Well, I do now.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:19 PM
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I bought some chain wax for my trainer bike... need to try it out.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:31 PM
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Waxing is where its at!!
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Old 08-15-19, 03:50 PM
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If you're a normal person, buy a bag of MSW and use it for 2+ years, when it runs out, buy another bag.

If you're not normal, you can use this:

The Doctor's Own Chain Brew
-6 to 8oz paraffin wax
1 puck of Mr Zogs Sex Wax. (Temp range doesn't seem to matter. I'm currently using cool water blend)
-2floz paraffin oil
-1floz Slick50 Recharged High Mileage Engine Treatment

I average around one month between dips, so ~500 miles per application. The additives make the chain hold on to some road contaminants a little more than straight wax, so running your fingers along the chain comes away with a sorta light-gray smudge, but it's not staining, and it just wipes away. I think it's just dust and general road grime. But far less flaking, and it can stand up to moisture significantly better than straight wax. Bonus, smells of coconuts.

I've been tinkering with the blend since I started doing hot wax (three crockpots in service) and the above-listed blend is what I've been using for the past 6-7 months without changing the recipe. As there's less flaking/dripping, I can go a long time without having to add ingredients to the pot-- one of the pots hasn't been touched in those 6-7 months.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
If you're a normal person, buy a bag of MSW and use it for 2+ years, when it runs out, buy another bag.

If you're not normal, you can use this:

The Doctor's Own Chain Brew
-6 to 8oz paraffin wax
1 puck of Mr Zogs Sex Wax. (Temp range doesn't seem to matter. I'm currently using cool water blend)
-2floz paraffin oil
-1floz Slick50 Recharged High Mileage Engine Treatment

I average around one month between dips, so ~500 miles per application. The additives make the chain hold on to some road contaminants a little more than straight wax, so running your fingers along the chain comes away with a sorta light-gray smudge, but it's not staining, and it just wipes away. I think it's just dust and general road grime. But far less flaking, and it can stand up to moisture significantly better than straight wax. Bonus, smells of coconuts.

I've been tinkering with the blend since I started doing hot wax (three crockpots in service) and the above-listed blend is what I've been using for the past 6-7 months without changing the recipe. As there's less flaking/dripping, I can go a long time without having to add ingredients to the pot-- one of the pots hasn't been touched in those 6-7 months.
(Making notes.)
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Old 08-15-19, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
If you're a normal person, buy a bag of MSW and use it for 2+ years, when it runs out, buy another bag.

If you're not normal, you can use this:

The Doctor's Own Chain Brew
-6 to 8oz paraffin wax
1 puck of Mr Zogs Sex Wax. (Temp range doesn't seem to matter. I'm currently using cool water blend)
-2floz paraffin oil
-1floz Slick50 Recharged High Mileage Engine Treatment

I average around one month between dips, so ~500 miles per application. The additives make the chain hold on to some road contaminants a little more than straight wax, so running your fingers along the chain comes away with a sorta light-gray smudge, but it's not staining, and it just wipes away. I think it's just dust and general road grime. But far less flaking, and it can stand up to moisture significantly better than straight wax. Bonus, smells of coconuts.

I've been tinkering with the blend since I started doing hot wax (three crockpots in service) and the above-listed blend is what I've been using for the past 6-7 months without changing the recipe. As there's less flaking/dripping, I can go a long time without having to add ingredients to the pot-- one of the pots hasn't been touched in those 6-7 months.
When you say paraffin oil, is that the same as mineral oil?
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Old 08-15-19, 05:38 PM
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I use the UltraFast Chain Lube recipe, which is 1lb of household paraffin wax, 5g of pure PTFE (Teflon) powder, and 1g of pure molybdenum disulfide (MoS2).
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Old 08-15-19, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
When you say paraffin oil, is that the same as mineral oil?
Paraffin oil = lamp oil. They say it's supposedly kerosene, but mine is fairly viscous. I initially tried it after seeing a waxing video on YouTube where the guy added lamp oil, presumably to soften the straight paraffin. It does make the wax softer without adding tackiness, so it stays in the mix.

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I use the UltraFast Chain Lube recipe, which is 1lb of household paraffin wax, 5g of pure PTFE (Teflon) powder, and 1g of pure molybdenum disulfide (MoS2).
This is where I started as well, but I saw absolutely no perceptible difference between the UltraFast recipe and straight paraffin. No change in shift quality, chain noise, or longevity. My biggest overall change came from softening the wax by mixing in the Mr. Zogs.
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Old 08-15-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Paraffin oil = lamp oil. They say it's supposedly kerosene, but mine is fairly viscous. I initially tried it after seeing a waxing video on YouTube where the guy added lamp oil, presumably to soften the straight paraffin. It does make the wax softer without adding tackiness, so it stays in the mix.

This is where I started as well, but I saw absolutely no perceptible difference between the UltraFast recipe and straight paraffin. No change in shift quality, chain noise, or longevity. My biggest overall change came from softening the wax by mixing in the Mr. Zogs.
Interesting. I'll give your recipe a try when my current batch runs out.
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Old 08-15-19, 06:36 PM
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I used to wax but after moving I started riding again and for some reason decided to go back to conventional lubes. It didn't take long at all to remember how much I hated the black, grimy drivetrain and all that comes with it. After a couple of weeks, a new mini crockpot & a new bag of MSW I was back on the waxing train and I'm never going back. I have 3 chains so I don't have to rewax so often and run them 300 miles before swapping out for a fresh chain.

I also bought some YBN QRs11 quick links they claim you can reuse up to 5 times before discarding to cut the cost of swapping out quick links so often. Still working through my stock of KMC links so I haven't had a chance to try them yet.
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Old 08-15-19, 11:27 PM
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I'm averaging almost 300 miles/wk on regular lube. I lube my bike twice per week, each time taking 2 minutes, that's less than 5 minutes spent lubing per week. And I don't get chain tatoos on my legs.. I must be doing something right.
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Old 08-15-19, 11:36 PM
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I rotate two chains on each bike. About 90 seconds, once a month. Nothing ever needs to be cleaned.
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Old 08-15-19, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
Waxing is where its at!!
Ahhh

a manscaper...
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Old 08-16-19, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I rotate two chains on each bike. About 90 seconds, once a month. Nothing ever needs to be cleaned.
Same here....works great.
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Old 08-16-19, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr.Lou View Post
Ahhh

a manscaper...
So so so many things I want to type here but it would just take the thread off the rails!
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Old 08-16-19, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
If you're a normal person, buy a bag of MSW and use it for 2+ years, when it runs out, buy another bag.

If you're not normal, you can use this:

The Doctor's Own Chain Brew
-6 to 8oz paraffin wax
1 puck of Mr Zogs Sex Wax. (Temp range doesn't seem to matter. I'm currently using cool water blend)
-2floz paraffin oil
-1floz Slick50 Recharged High Mileage Engine Treatment

I average around one month between dips, so ~500 miles per application. The additives make the chain hold on to some road contaminants a little more than straight wax, so running your fingers along the chain comes away with a sorta light-gray smudge, but it's not staining, and it just wipes away. I think it's just dust and general road grime. But far less flaking, and it can stand up to moisture significantly better than straight wax. Bonus, smells of coconuts.

I've been tinkering with the blend since I started doing hot wax (three crockpots in service) and the above-listed blend is what I've been using for the past 6-7 months without changing the recipe. As there's less flaking/dripping, I can go a long time without having to add ingredients to the pot-- one of the pots hasn't been touched in those 6-7 months.
finally somebody thinks I am normal. I have had great success with MSW
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Old 08-16-19, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
This is where I started as well, but I saw absolutely no perceptible difference between the UltraFast recipe and straight paraffin. No change in shift quality, chain noise, or longevity. My biggest overall change came from softening the wax by mixing in the Mr. Zogs.
The teflon & moly are in there to reduce friction which would likely be imperceptible to a normal human. I don't think they are intended to improve noise, shifting or longevity. I have only ever used the UltraFast recipe, so I don't have any basis for comparison. I did a little research on DIY surfboard wax, and I think I can just add some beeswax and coconut oil to achieve the same thing as the Zogs. I'll need tree resin for the cold-water formulation, but I think I'll just skip that since you said the formulation doesn't matter. I also did a little research on slick 50, and it's just teflon with "an advanced chemical support package designed to bond a specially activated PTFE to the metal in your engine" Sounds like marketing mumbo-jumbo to me, so I'll just stick with the moly and teflon and brew up a batch with some paraffin wax, beeswax, coconut oil, and maybe a bit of kerosene if I'm feeling giddy that day. Probably won't be util next season since I only have one crockpot, and I'll use up what's in there first.
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Old 08-16-19, 09:32 AM
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Just from the other perspective because there's no right or wrong here, only preference and riding habits. I gave up on wax the first time I rode the bike with the waxed chain in a rainstorm. I just don't want to use something that might crap out on me 75 miles into a 150 mile ride.
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Old 08-16-19, 09:41 AM
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While your chain may be clean, the fact remains wax is NOT a lubricant.

Last edited by rydabent; 08-17-19 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 08-16-19, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Just from the other perspective because there's no right or wrong here, only preference and riding habits. I gave up on wax the first time I rode the bike with the waxed chain in a rainstorm. I just don't want to use something that might crap out on me 75 miles into a 150 mile ride.
There are plenty of good reasons not to run waxed chains, but I don't think crapping out in the rain is one of them. I've ridden 1,000's of km's of brevets in all kinds of weather on waxed chains. I toss a little bottle of squirt in my bag if there's rain in the forecast for a long ride, and I've only ever had to use it on a wet 600k and 1,200k. Never on a single day ride even if it's wet. I rode a dry 1,000k last month on a single waxed chain with no additional wax required for the whole ride.
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Old 08-16-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
While your chain may be clean, the fact remains was is NOT a lubricant.
Can you explain why that's relevant? If it works what difference does it make if it's a lubricant or not?
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Old 08-16-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
There are plenty of good reasons not to run waxed chains, but I don't think crapping out in the rain is one of them. I've ridden 1,000's of km's of brevets in all kinds of weather on waxed chains. I toss a little bottle of squirt in my bag if there's rain in the forecast for a long ride, and I've only ever had to use it on a wet 600k and 1,200k. Never on a single day ride even if it's wet. I rode a dry 1,000k last month on a single waxed chain with no additional wax required for the whole ride.
All I can say is it crapped out big time for me that time, and I really don't want to have to prepare special for sudden unforeseeable downpours. We get ones that aren't in the forecast a fair amount in New England, and I already have to pack enough stuff to be self-supported.

I'm used to grease and don't mind it, so I think I'll just stay being the old dog. More power to you kids with your stuff that works, too.
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