By now you shouldn’t see any air bubbles come to the surface. The main advantages of the method I use (dipping the chain in hot wax) is that (once you're set up) it's fast, it's easy, and it produces a chain that neither picks u… For where NFS isn’t suitable, South African chain lube Smoove (an item I coincidently picked in my favorite products of 2017) is Kerin’s pick as far as drip lubes go. In a white paper published in 2014, Smith calculated that there approximately 40,000 individual pieces of mechanical movement in a bicycle chain when pedaling in a 53T chainring at 95rpm. However, the greased chain might show less wear over time. CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON. Riders in the past commonly did this with a pot of paraffin wax. If this isn’t an option, then consider using a top-up lube, but do beware that it comes with compromises. “[Dry lubes] can be an accelerant to wear compared to a bare chain. Can I apply the wax with an ultrasonic cleaner? Please feel free to use the jump links below to find the answers to your questions. For some, that’s understandably a deal breaker; for others, one controlled test is still better than no controlled test at all. But in order to avoid such friction, it’s not what a lube does or looks like on the outside of the chain that matters most, but rather how it behaves inside, where the loaded friction is highest. “Dry lubes are mostly a carrier, which evaporates; they don’t last,” Kerin said. STP (w/zinc … Great efficiency, improved drivetrain durability, lower running costs, and no greasy mess — chain waxing promises a lot, and these experts on all matters of chain efficiency and drivetrain durability are big fans of it. That’s the end of the endless FAQ to chain waxing. Maxima Chain Wax Parafilm Bike Specific Chain Lube 120mL. Using such a device will help prevent you from overheating the wax. Dropper seat posts, road bikes designed for gravel roads, suspended stems, and tan wall tyres – yep, all old ideas. The goal of the testing is to simulate real-world riding as best as possible. Some higher-performing lubes such as CeramicSpeed UFO Drip and Absolute Black Graphene lube are also a perfect choice but carry a significant cost. However, Kerin suggests that vigorous swishing of the chain in a hot melt bath followed by a second wax bath in an ultrasonic cleaner is the pinnacle, and that this is how many race day chains are treated. Yes. Many bicyclists swear by chain wax for better lubrication and protection, but there are no conclusive performance studies to back up claims for wax or oil as chain lubricants. Is there a benefit to buying a pre-waxed chain? Kerin’s tests are applicable to the everyday cyclist, be they amateur road racers, gravel riders, or mountain-bike marathoners. Smith and Kerin don’t entirely agree on this theory, although that’s perhaps due more to the different approaches each has to testing. In the meantime, you can continue down the rabbit hole into the world of bicycle chains. That’s the wax hardening and is perfectly normal. How do I know if my pot of wax needs to be replaced? “Just because it says hot melt wax doesn’t necessarily mean it’s super-fast,” says Smith. Unfortunately however it’s not quite that simple. However, Smith does warn that riding in wet climates can decrease the longevity of wax. The video below will talk you through the steps. “When it dries, it is tacky. Motorcycle Chain Lube vs Wax. Testing reveals a correlation between low chain wear and highly efficient lubes in real-world conditions. For those doing the waxing at home, Molten Speed Wax recommends that the chain will only become efficient after a minimum of 20 minutes riding, where the wax is broken in and polished. While that may be true, what’s also true is that very few 100% dry lubes exist beyond CeramicSpeed’s new high-priced offering. Since that testing, Zero Friction Cycling has since found a direct correlation between high-efficiency lubricants and improved drivetrain durability, with such chain wax greatly improving both chain and drivetrain component durability. Is this normal? One surprising finding – the lube doesn’t have much effect on a chain’s efficiency. Silca’s formula claims to be a modified version of the NFS lube, and suggests as little as 12 drops are needed to keep a chain lubed after the initial application, meaning the high price per bottle is easily negated over time. “To demonstrate this effect I’ll take a metal plate, and will drip melted wax onto the plate and allow it to harden. Dry lube. Adam Kerin disputes these claims, stating that it’s more important to ensure that the low-friction modifiers in the paraffin wax are correctly mixed throughout – something that’s likely harder to achieve by using a bag of wax. “When using little of it, it doesn’t attract nearly as much crap,” Kerin says. Wend, Runaway Bike, Speedmaster, and FastWax are other products in the market, however, testing data related to these products is often scarce. Out of stock. “If you re-wax every 200 km, wear rates will remain untraceable for a long time,” says Kerin. Keeping internal chain links clean and contaminant-free while maintaining consistent lubrication is the key to success. The formula is not exact, make it thinner in the winter, thicker in summer. He effectively torture-tests chain lubes, with the measurable outcome being chain wear. “Adding paraffin oil will make Mspeedwax or other paraffin wax treatments last longer, but it will eliminate the unassailable advantages of immersive waxing and running a slippery solid lubricant on your chain,” explains Kerin. The dry lubricants, from an efficiency standpoint, will be much faster than the greased chain. “The new stock chain is broken-in under high load on a custom serpentine machine to smooth and polish the internal sliding surfaces of the links. Your chain is now ready to install on the bike. on Youtube, Seeking the holy grail: A fast chain lube that saves you money, Lab testing confirms: Clean your damn chain, Finding the best bicycle chain: What over 3,000 hours of testing revealed, Nerd Alert Podcast: An unhealthy obsession with chains, Chain cleaning: A complete guide from lazy to obsessive, The best degreaser: cleanliness made safe and easy. But paraffin likes to be heated slowly, as well as not get too hot. When all factors are considered, the friction created by the viscous drag and stiction of the grease substantially outweigh any friction created by wear of the dry-lubricated surfaces, if indeed there are any increases.”. How do I know when my chain is due for re-treatment? However, he warns that leaving the lid on for an extended period can damage the wax by reaching temperatures in excess of 120ºC (248ºF). Molten Speed Wax suggests a bag of its wax is good for up to 30 uses. Best chain lube: Dry lube Finish Line Teflon Plus dry lube. This is the same UFO Clean formula in the consumer bottles. “I feel like Adam and ZFC are like I was with Friction Facts five years ago – a lone voice looking to find honest answers to a lot of unknown questions and debunk potentially misleading existing information,” said Smith. What are some specific product examples of chain wax? Absolute Black’s new Graphene lube is one such example. Any pre-existing lubrication will repel the wax from adhering to the metal. And to put on my tin hat, it’s also business. That said, unless the chain is extremely new, it’ll likely prove more economical long-term to simply start the wax process with a new chain that has no measurable wear. For my gravel bike, I experimented with a kind of wax lube that you apply by dripping it onto the chain, like an oil-based lube. The company claims that the chain will hit its lowest friction point after 35-40 minutes of use. Want it to be faster? Unlike petrol or more traditional automotive degreasers, this solvent leaves behind only minimal residue for the final clean. Absolutely. “As the wax fill level in the pot gets lower, and the amount of contamination in wax slowly becomes greater, the wax will become less amazing,” he says. The tried-and-trued solvent for the first step is mineral turpentine (aka, “turps”), also known as white spirit (UK) or mineral spirits (USA/Canada). You will, however, likely need to clean the chain (with boiling water) and re-wax more often than if you were on the road. However, many people in the know were willing to overlook such findings in favor of other attributes, such as clean running, corrosion resistance, dependable squeak resistance, or even just the smell. The fluorocarbon, to some extent, created a wax-metal repulsion.”. And secondly, are most of your rides in dry conditions without excess rain and/or wet? It’s also safe and controlled and allows you to simply keep the dry wax in the slow cooker pot ready for the next application. “Chains themselves do not wear exactly the same even across the same chain,” explained Kerin. And as covered below, corrosion can be an issue to those in wet climates who are only waxing at long intervals. Denatured alcohol, otherwise known as methylated spirits, is the go-to option for the final cleaning prep prior to waxing. Both Kerin and Smith agree that most chain lubricants traditionally described as “dry” are the worst performers for real-world riding. “[Wax flakes] are easily vacuumed up, and any build-up on the trainer itself you can just brush off with a stiff brush, and then vacuum up,” says Kerin. “If a green degreaser is formulated correctly, it can be just as effective at removing factory grease as traditional solvents. This will happen if you’re using a wax with a high oil concentration. But once prepped, its resistance to riding in crap conditions is amazing. Learn how to wax your bicycle chain. If efficiency isn’t important to you, then you can simply use pure food-grade paraffin wax by itself. Molten Speed Wax also offers an efficiency-enhancing powder, something that should only be applied once the waxed chain is broken in. Race Day Chain Waxing a chain will require some new equipment, namely a way to slowly melt the wax in a controlled manner. His findings ring true with my experience. No chemicals are needed. If the wax has not been overheated it will cool to a dark grey, light grey, or white colour.”. “Simply dip the chain into straight paraffin.”. Time consuming to prepare a chain for first waxing (ALL LUBE must be removed). Larger slow cookers, or those with a wide footprint, will require more wax. However, when we developed the UFO Clean product, my opinion of biodegradable and non-toxic degreasers changed completely. Putting a waxed chain on a dirty, oily, or (worse) greasy drivetrain will see the waxed chain become sticky and attract contamination. Russell Eich / Immediate Media. I’m going on a riding holiday (or doing a multi-stage event) and don’t feel like packing a slow cooker. This is best done in an area where you don’t mind wax flaking off. The chain must be stripped to bare metal and free of oil residue. Smith hasn’t tested Smoove, but given Kerin’s findings, there’s enough evidence to suggest it may be even more efficient than Squirt with the right preparation. The perfect slow cookers are those designed for single meal prep. Hang the chain somewhere clean (with a container or rag below for wax drips) for it to cool. Do I need to clean the rest of the drivetrain prior to installing a waxed chain? 2. There are two main types of chain lube; a lube and a wax. I mentioned earlier that while Smith and Kerin have taken different approaches to lubricant testing, the relative order of the test results support each other’s claims. Drip lubes are simple to use and not at all intimidating to consumers. That oily feel is likely a sign of the wax having been contaminated due to using a chain that wasn’t perfectly clean prior to being waxed. This can be done with compressed air, a hairdryer, or combining a clean rag with a little patience. Ultrasonic cleaners use sound waves to agitate items clean. The fast and easy to use formula helps prevent squeaks and extends the life of your chain. But picture the viscous drag associated with the thick grease. “The surface tension of the melted wax was so high that it didn’t wick very well into and onto the surface of the metal. Smith recently tested a number of aftermarket melt-on wax options and shared the data. Ultimately, Kerin’s tests are designed to highlight the products that are likely to save you money through improved longevity, but there are still similarities to the work Smith did at Friction Facts. Kerin also suggests drying the chain of its water prior to re-waxing. These low-friction coatings will wear off over time, but you’ll need to do more frequent waxing in the meantime. When you see this happening, just take a pokey tool, such as a small flat-blade screwdriver or old spoke, and scrape it away. This is worth noting if you often ride indoors as you’ll want to vacuum or collect these small flakes. So if you pop the chain in and turn the rice cooker on and come back sometime later, the wax will be at 60ºC, near its point of setting solid again. “This comes from my efficiency background.”. Kerin’s testing proved that it’s this progressive layering, careful initial preparation, and complete chain link penetration that are the keys to getting the most out from this lube, and for that, it’s a more involved process than many other drip lubes. What’s the ideal temperature to melt wax? Next to the wax, I’ll put a few drops of oil-based chain lube. But when you include the estimated running costs involved with that increased wear, Kerin’s test findings are much harder to ignore. It’s a topic that’s seemingly discussed more than anything else in our VeloClub Slack group, and one that remains a mysterious concept to many. I looked further into it and apparently there is. Waxed chains are commonly seen on the bikes of those going for important stage wins or Monuments. Waxed chains can still need frequent re-application in wet and foul conditions. However, testing by the likes of Friction Facts and Zero Friction Cycling has brought renewed interest to the world of chain waxing. For those obsessed about every fraction of a watt and considering such a powder, then also consider using a dedicated chain for race days. Case in point: CeramicSpeed uses a large dip tank filled with UFO Clean to strip the factory grease from stock chains prior to the UFO optimization process. Drip lubes will always be X-amount abrasive from contamination, and this liquid, with some level of abrasiveness, is acting directly on chain metal causing wear. “This is great for ski wax, because the surface tension is high, and the water in the snow cannot bind as well to the wax, making it faster. Absolutely not. After this, the chain is ready for wax. And since the Neo Smart is mechanically unique in that it’s truly a direct-drive design with no additional belts or pulleys, Kerin only has to factor one set of bearings into his baseline equations. “Aside from the very extreme conditions, for both road and MTB, I always recommend a very fast 100% dry lube. If buying a pre-treated chain from the likes of CeramicSpeed or Zero Friction Cycling, then the chain will be ready to race immediately. “In most cases, no, not all,” says Kerin. “On-road this advance warning is [after] about 200 to 300 km; if it’s a really harsh-conditions event (think muddy CX) the warning window will be short, but so is the race.”. “At a minimum, a suitable wax for a bicycle chain should have at least decent lubricity qualities and be able to penetrate the chain fully, whether by melting or via carrier fluid,” explains Smith. What chain lube is best for one person may be completely wrong for another depending on maintenance schedule, riding conditions, riding style, and attention to detail. “A lubricant will not be able to be a high-efficiency lubricant in the real world if it records a poor longevity test result,” Kerin explained. Bikinvention is a corporation that has developed a wax chain lubricant with unique properties called Squirt Chain Lube®. So no matter if the lab gives it a good result, in the real world that level of wear is bad news for performance.”. So with some lubes, while efficiency will improve, wear rates can also increase. At least for Molten Speed Wax, Kerin says, “if the wax has been overheated when it cools it will have a distinct yellowish tinge to it. “A fair amount of time and labour goes into properly creating an optimized chain, plus the cost of the raw chain itself,” says Smith, speaking of CeramicSpeed’s own UFO chains. Now using that coat hanger handle, carefully remove the chain from the pot and watch for wax drips. However, its application to immersive waxing is most obvious. Additionally, stiction forces created during the back-and-forth articulation of the links are minimized with a dry solid. Turn on slow cooker with wax inside. For those riders, Kerin recommends Silca NFS. Some never stopped doing it, but the vast majority of cyclists took to more convenient (and widely marketed) drip chain lubes. Kerin warns against putting the chain in a closed container of boiling water. Molten Speed Wax (MSW) is perhaps the best-known and has the most data supporting it. This would ensure your drivetrain retains all the benefits of immersive wax. 6 L to 10 L units are ideal to ensure there’s room for cassettes and chainrings, too. According to CeramicSpeed’s internal tests, using Wend Wax On + Wax Off results in a chain that hits a 6 W loss figure at its lowest, and quickly degrades from there. In Zero Friction Cycling’s tests – and in Friction Facts’ original tests, prior to the CeramicSpeed buyout – the overall best performer is Molten Speed Wax, a modern-day version of the paraffin-wax treatment favored by riders decades ago. This depends on your starting point. Another good option is a dry chain lube. “If a lubricant is eating through hardened steel at a good rate, that just flat-out takes friction.”. This race where... Rock N Roll Gold. According to Kerin, the false sense of clean that ultrasonic cleaners can provide is the most common reason for his customers having issues with wax-treated chains. Drip lubes can also be packaged with matching degreasers and on-bike chain cleaning tools. Expect such a thing to give up approximately 0.7 W (at 250 W, 90 RPM) compared to a product like Molten Speed Wax. Yes, this is normal for most immersive wax products. Dry Lube - The ‘dry’ element refers to the actual lubricating substance that works on your chain, usually a waxy kind of deposit. Is it a good idea to add paraffin oil to my wax? Even better, the relatively low cost of chain lubricants makes them the best value upgrade you can make to your bike by far. The chain is ready for waxing once it can be agitated in this fluid without any sign of discolouration or dirt particles appearing. The process for this is described next. The chain should begin to feel wonderfully smooth after approximately 20 minutes. Kerin suggests that it’s almost impossible to overheat the wax using a slow cooker with the lid off. That lack of wear on your drivetrain components directly translates to reduced running costs. Zero Friction Cycling says that if you’re worried about this happening, then use a paperclip through the end of the chain. Either way, both Kerin and Smith’s testing show that a lube that doesn’t collect grit is going to be best in real-world conditions. Waxing a chain requires some basic mechanical knowledge. All the latest drip-on chain lubes that promise to turn your chain into wine feature some form of wax as a base ingredient. “For example, to replicate a home-brew blend to match the latest UFO Chain formula efficiency, we’re using a blend of waxes and friction modifiers that are either not available for consumer purchase or only available in inappropriate consumer quantities.”. Failing that, try to keep your slow cooker under 4 L to ensure a bag of wax will provide enough depth to cover a chain. “Definitely a smart thing to do is to re-lube a clean chain versus a dirty chain. Here, the best wax remains perfectly dry to touch and forms a protective barrier for the chain links. Once dry, the wax returns to a solid state and is embedded within the individual pieces that make up a bicycle chain. According to Smith, this puts it in a comparable efficiency range to 3-in-1 oil, motor oil, etc. There are exceptions to this rule, however, especially if extremely nasty conditions lay ahead, such as a muddy mountain bike race with stream crossings and a gross amount of mud – basically conditions beyond that of Kerin’s tests. This is often because the lubrication that does exist isn’t perfectly dry, and so it can attract contaminants into the chain.”. “There is a fairly unbelievable amount of home blending going on out there,” Kerin says. Yet as contamination levels increase, I agree with Adam that friction and wear will become more correlated.”. This process is outlined in our complete guide to chain cleaning. Yes, as long as the ultrasonic cleaner has a heating function that can reach approximately 80ºC (176ºF). However, Smith explained that things change once the chain and lubricant are subjected to contamination over a long period of time. Can I use a different brand of quick link with my chain? Be careful as chain skips from tight links can happen if you didn’t break up the wax bonds thoroughly. Australian Adam Kerin is one such person who became obsessed with the idea of how a simple chain lube selection can not only make you faster, but can potentially greatly increase the lifespan of your drivetrain. According to Kerin, this is often seen with users of Shimano and KMC chains, and is the result of special low-friction coatings used. What do you recommend? At this time, using a dedicated (and low cost) slow cooker remains the most time-efficient and cleanest way to wax a chain. This is especially true for factory-applied grease and lubricants which can be stubborn to remove from the inner sections of the chain. While Kerin’s advice considers more affordable products, Smith’s advice is understandably quite narrow. The ideal would be to pack extra pre-waxed chains. When Jason Smith’s Friction Facts company was acquired by CeramicSpeed in 2016, the world lost its lone independent authority on what chain lube is actually best. Chain lube choice and maintenance can mean as little as 2,000km from a chain, but as much as 20,000km. How many, exactly? The chain lube that results in the least chain wear, despite being drowned in grit, earns the spoils (or in Kerin’s case, becomes available for sale), while the losers are given no such love. Causing domestic tension in heat which will break down the rabbit hole into the chain somewhere (. Steam pressure will explode the lid off riders, or even used within an ultrasonic cleaner should be and. Paste-Y concoction waxed chains used by leading time trial specialists at pinnacle.! Frictionfacts and now the Chief Technology Officer at CeramicSpeed you won ’ t notice on! As of yet ), the cassette and chainring exhibit extremely little wear in this case, can! 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