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  • Waxing my chain – what am I doing wrong?
  • krixmeister
    Full Member

    Have tried the whole “waxing my chain” thang, with Absolute Black wax (is that the problem?) and an el-cheapo small slow cooker.

    I do the “Silca method” of shaking the h*ll out of the chain in a plastic bottle full of degreaser, rinsing, drying, then put into the slow cooker for an hour or more, moving around/shaking a bit there to get the wax into all the nooks and crannies.

    No matter what, after a short day of riding, the chain is getting rusty, and needs re-done. Is this just the way it is, or is the Absolute Black wax useless, or am I doing something wrong?

    nickc
    Full Member

    Rusty chain are a feature of chain waxing, not a glitch. The wax is probably still in the chain bits that matter, so it’s probably all good, if you don’t want rusty bits, I think some folks run a lube around the chain.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Yes, rust on the outside always happens after wet rides unless you dry your bike well but it’s not a problem because the inside is well protected.

    You can spray wd40 on a rag and run the chain through it after the ride if you like.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Plutoline seems to leave a coating on everything so it’s a bit more messy but it doesn’t rust.

    frogstomp
    Full Member

    The quality of chain is also a factor – I find that X01/XX1 chains are less susceptible than X1, presumably due to a higher chromium content. Obviously more expensive initially, but they do seem to last significantly longer too.

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    The more expensive chains don’t rust as quickly (which sounds obvious when typed out), but a rusty surface on a chain is normal for chains that are dipped in a wax solution. I wax my chain but use Squirt and leave the chain on the bike – it gets a clean in a chain cleaner once every 6-8 months (I’m tight and run my drivetrain into the ground, so I tend to swap things every 2.5-3 years!), rinsed off and quickly dried with some kitchen roll. I then apply the Squirt lube so the chain is coated. This takes me about 5 minutes in total, so isn’t that much of a chore but isn’t needed more than that.

    I do however wash my down every 2-3 weeks and once it has been hosed, the bike is bounce ‘dried’ – so all the drips that are on the bike are off. I then run some Squirt over the chain and that is it…no surface rust and chain remains good to go between washes. I reckon I could get another couple of weeks between applications but as I’m hosing down I do a lube as a matter of course.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I just slather a rag in a light dry lube (currently using up some Juice Lubes Viking Juice) and run the chain through it after any wet ride. It cleans off some of the surface dirt (I’m still on Putoline so the outside of the chain is typically a bit black and sticky) and prevents rusty bits forming. The whole drivetrain usually feels all the better for it afterwards too.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I just slather a rag in a light dry lube (currently using up some Juice Lubes Viking Juice) and run the chain through it after any wet ride.

    That will stop the Absolute Black style waxes from re-adhering when you next bath the chain.

    I’m using wax for the first time this winter on my winter road bike with a 105 chain. Surface rust is a bit of a problem after a wet ride. I just dry the chain with a towel (whilst on the bike) and that seems to keep it at bay.

    What sort of mileage are people re-waxing at – I am doing mine every 220 km (two rides) and it seems fine for the first 100 ish km, but by the end of the 2nd ride it definitely sounds ‘dry’ and looks a bit sorry for itself.

    highlandman
    Free Member

    I don’t understand the interest in wax lubes, they seem to cause a lot of angst and many folk comment that they don’t seem to work very well over extended distances.
    Or you could just use a good wet lube, quick wipe down after each ride and re-apply a few drops as it’s a lot simpler and helps the chain last longer as well as staying rust free..? A simple tip is to use a second hand kitchen dish sponge, the green nylon side, to wipe post-rinse water and black muck off the chain before re-applying wet lube.
    Quick, simple and reliable; no stress on long rides too as a well treated chain will easily do over 200 continuous mixed terrain miles on a single lube.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    That will stop the Absolute Black style waxes from re-adhering when you next bath the chain.

    Well, assuming the extremely thin coating of dry lube has actually survived the next wet ride (which I doubt) and also doesn’t just absorb into the hot wax in the slow cooker.

    But also, I don’t really care if the wax adheres to the outside of the chain, I don’t think anyone pretends that wax stays on the outside surfaces of the chain do they?

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I don’t understand the interest in wax lubes, they seem to cause a lot of angst and many folk comment that they don’t seem to work very well over extended distances.

    They perform better, chain lasts longer and drivetrain typically stays cleaner.

    The angst is typically people just getting used to doing it, it does take a little bit of experimentation to get right. I’ve tried going back to drip lubes a couple of times for various reasons and am always disappointed. I even resurrected an horrifically worn CX drivetrain by re-waxing it with Putoline, it’s like the wax filled in some of the worn rollers on the chain or something, before it had been hooking up on the chainring but after waxing it was totally smooth again.

    tabletop2
    Full Member

    I went all in on putoline but just found I couldn’t get it to work on super wet mtb rides. Even wiping down with rag and oil after rides it would just rust every time.

    Now I go for putoline in summer where it can last a month and means I never have to clean my bike as there is no grime. In this application it really is very good

    In winter I just go for a wet lube as it’s less effort

    tjagain
    Full Member

    3000 mainly road miles this summer I retreated my chain once.

    I wonder if those that find it does not last are using too high a temperature and the wax drains out of the rollers

    I have used putoline only for more than a decade. Its cheap and it works so well I will never use anything else

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I don’t understand the interest in wax lubes, they seem to cause a lot of angst and many folk comment that they don’t seem to work very well over extended distances.

    They perform better, chain lasts longer and drivetrain typically stays cleaner.

    That’s the theory.

    I’m trying it for a winter season to see how well it works in practice.

    Definitely cleaner by a country mile – washed my filthy bike after yesterday’s ride and chain looked brand new after just a light rinse with the hosepipe. I’ve not had to clean the chainset or cassette and they just look brand new – no muck at all between the sprockets etc.

    Can’t comment on wear rate till I measure it come the spring….

    Definitely noisier than an oiled chain when running and often sounds like it’s running dry.

    frogstomp
    Full Member

    drivetrain typically stays cleaner

    I thought that was one of the selling points… but wiping the outside with something sticky nullifies that rather.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I wonder if those that find it does not last are using too high a temperature and the wax drains out of the rollers

    The instructions with the wax I’m using say soak the chain at 110C, then cool it off, stirring every 5C drop until it gets to 80C and then remove and hang to dry.

    sirromj
    Full Member

    I wonder if those that find it does not last are using too high a temperature and the wax drains out of the rollers

    What temperature would you recommend?

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    but wiping the outside with something sticky nullifies that rather.

    Yes, it would, but wiping down with a thin/light dry lube pretty much just leaves a protective layer to stop it rusting until the next ride. I used GT85 to equally good effect, nobody would call that funky or sticky 😎

    Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    The AB wax is no good for general use ime – it’s not durable enough. I use it on the TT bike and it doesn’t last very well.

    I’m going to switch to something else next season – and that’s for a race bike where performance outweighs ease of use. For general riding around I don’t think the AB wax is viable.

    kayak23
    Full Member

    Plutoline seems to leave a coating on everything so it’s a bit more messy but it doesn’t rust.

    Not my experience at all. Rusts like a mouldy old ship anchor after a proper mtb muddy, wet, sloppy ride. You can’t just hose your bike down and leave it by any means.

    I imagine it’s excellent for road riding. For mtb in winter slop, I’ve just not found it as hassle-free as the evangelists would have you believe.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I wouldn’t want to come between middle-aged men and their lubricants, but I wonder if some wax enthusiasts are more into the process than the results?

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I’m going to switch to something else next season

    I just bought some random chain wax off Amazon: Enigma Ultimate Chain Wax – Black Edition

    It’s only for my winter road bike so I don’t really care about saving Watts.

    nickc
    Full Member

    but I wonder if some wax enthusiasts are more into the process

    There’s very much the need for a collection of “doings” if you start waxing your chain, and some folks love all that shizzle fo’shure.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    No there isn’t.

    Open tin. Put on hob. Turn hob on. Put chain in tin.

    Reverse steps and refit chain

    fooman
    Free Member

    I wouldn’t want to come between middle-aged men and their lubricants, but I wonder if some wax enthusiasts are more into the process than the results?

    Pointing out issues with waxing is like telling a christian God doesn’t exist. If I’ve got to wipe with oil after riding I might as well oil at the same time and save myself the faff of waxing. That’s the point I stopped believing and sold the waxing kit I bought.

    TJ I’m glad it works for you but from other threads you haven’t been riding much? Multiple bikes and riders frequently out and in minging conditions and waxing was just more work. The benefits of wax in these conditions is overstated, and if they do get covered in mud they are harder to clean. I do carry an emergency 10ml of lube in case oil washes off but I think I’ve only needed to apply once in the last 5 years.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    If I’ve got to wipe with oil after riding I might as well oil at the same time and save myself the faff of waxing.

    I was thinking the same reading this thread.

    And I’m one of the least fussy people I know about how my bikes look, but even I don’t want a rusty chain.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    I don’t understand the interest in wax lubes, they seem to cause a lot of angst and many folk comment that they don’t seem to work very well over extended distances.
    Or you could just use a good wet lube, quick wipe down after each ride and re-apply a few drops as it’s a lot simpler and helps the chain last longer as well as staying rust free..?

    If you use wet lube in poor conditions it’s not lasting one ride. It’s lasting about 10 minutes into the first really crappy section. You might ride 100km on a single application, but you’re only lubed for part of that. The rest of the time your chain is full of wet grinding paste. Just because you apply at the start of a ride doesn’t mean anything useful is left at the end.

    In really bad muddy conditions, a chain waxed with Putoline might only last three rides, but it’s well lubed for all of those three rides. You hear it becoming noisy because there’s no water in it, because water doesn’t hang around inside a waxed chain.

    I know this because if I ride through a muddy puddle with a waxed chain there is no subsequent grinding noise. Everything stays quiet. If you are mechanically sensitive, this is really obvious.

    I use wax for three reasons:

    1. During summer it lasts, well, all summer, even if I clean my bike. It’s a no brainer.

    2. During winter, it keeps my chain well lubed throughout several wet rides rather than just the first half hour of the first one.

    3. It’s overall LESS faff for better results.

    If I’ve got to wipe with oil after riding I might as well oil at the same time and save myself the faff of waxing.

    You could but you’d be riding without lube for much of the time. Have you ever stopped to check the condition of your chain mid-ride? I have.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Not for me fooman. Its so nice not to have to use messy oil. Only ridden 3509 plus miles in the last year.

    Even in really minging conditions it still works.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    If I lube my chain ‘properly’ I find it way more faff than waxing.

    By properly, I mean either removing the chain to clean it in a bottle of white spirits or using a chain cleaning tool and then reapplying the lube. If I don’t do that and just add more lube when it starts to sound crunchy then I end up with a significant build up of gunk on the jockey wheels, chain rings, and cassette which, while it’s satisfying to remove, probably isn’t doing much for the life of my drivetrain. Not to mention the fact you are not actually removing the crunchy stuff by just adding more lube.

    With waxing I take the chain off, loop it onto a specially bent spoke, put it in the slow cooker, switch it on at the minimum temperature, and then take it out after an hour and a half. Then I put it back on the bike.

    It’s the part where I don’t have to clean the chain I like. That and the fact it lasts much much longer than lube.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I tried the AB stuff. Utter waste of money. Followed the instructions with a brand new chain and with a gravel commute in the rain it was so damn noisy I had to start all over again. Second time was no better. Then I got lanolin lube instead and my whole drivetrains are lasting really well without a need to go near a bloody hob or even remove a chain, plus they don’t get noisy even after torrential rain and mud, because you need solvent to get the lanolin off. Neither do I get much crud build up.

    singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    Even in really minging conditions it still works.

    TJ. with all due respect you only ride on the road.

    My bikes regularly look like this after a ride.
    I tried the much praised Putoline and it’s just not worth the faff/no better.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2n5yhZA]Liquid Loam.[/url] by StuartBrettle, on Flickr
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2mTVDk9]Gloopy.[/url] by StuartBrettle, on Flickr

    tjagain
    Full Member

    I dont only rude on the road tho not much real mtbing thesecdays and ime after a ride like thar it was still good for many miles.

    You are one of the few that didnt like it. Couple of others as well. I have used nothing else for the last 15 years

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    My bikes regularly look like this after a ride.
    I tried the much praised Putoline and it’s just not worth the faff/no better.

    Be interested to know how you clean your chain before lubing (assuming you do).

    My method is to remove the chain, put it in a bottle of white spirits, shake it around, take it out, rinse it with water, dry it with a compressor, put it back on the bike, re-lube. Ok, that’s a lie. Sometimes I do that but most of the time I just wipe it down and put more lube on.

    But, I’m well aware that I’m shortening the life of my drivetrain doing that. Adding more lube to an already full of cack drivetrain isn’t removing the cack.

    Waxing, on the other hand, means wiping the chain down, taking it off, putting it in the slow cooker, taking it out, and then putting it back on the bike.

    For me it’s less faff and it lasts longer.

    nickc
    Full Member

    But, I’m well aware that I’m shortening the life of my drivetrain doing that.

    I pretty much hose down my bike and wipe the chain with a micro fibre and put more lube on. I change drivetrains all in one go and I last did mine a year ago after 3 years and about just under 6k mileage, and the chain hadn’t got to the .75 mark (mix of XO1 and GX 12 speed). My bikes often look like @singlespeedstu after a ride.

    My drivetrain is clean, it lasts well enough, my gears don’t grind, i don’t have to **** about with a DFF or even take the chain off my bike…Remind me why I should try wax?

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Remind me why I should try wax?

    Nobody’s forcing you to.

    We all ride different equipment* in different conditions. If some people are finding they are chewing up drivetrains or having to be too precious with their cleaning and lubing then they might want to try wax.

    If not then crack on.

    *I generally don’t spend £500 on a cassette and chain. If I did I’d **** well expect it to last.

    singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    You are one of the few many that didnt like it.

    Most just can’t be arsed to enter an argueathon on here.😉

    As for cleaning the chain it gets a scrub with hot soapy water then a blast with a pressure washer.
    I don’t use oil on it though so is doesn’t get into a sticky mess.

    I tried the Putoline on it for around 12 months and as i was having to also lube it inbetween waxes I gradually just stopped using the Putoline and it made no difference apart from less faff.
    Just use Smoove on it now. As long as it’s not done just before a ride it lasts fine.

    nickc
    Full Member

    TBF I’ve generally found that 12sp SRAM stuff is remarkably long lasting, regardless of what happens to it. Much more betterer than even 10sp Shimano which was my benchmark for ages.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    I tried the Putoline on it for around 12 months and as i was having to also lube it inbetween waxes I gradually just stopped using the Putoline and it made no difference apart from less faff.

    Yeah, if I was having to lube between waxes I probably wouldn’t bother either. It also sounds like the more expensive your gear the less benefit you get since it lasts regardless.

    I, however, will always be a ‘sort by discount first’ consumer so I think I’ll keep waxing 🙂

    footflaps
    Full Member

    TBF I’ve generally found that 12sp SRAM stuff is remarkably long lasting, regardless of what happens to it.

    The 12sp Force chain is one of the longest lasting chains ZFC has tested.

    Just use Smoove on it now. As long as it’s not done just before a ride it lasts fine.

    That’s what I’ve been using the last year or so, big improvement on oily chain lubes.

    Not to mention the fact you are not actually removing the crunchy stuff by just adding more lube.

    That is the biggest difference I’ve noticed so far with wax, there is no crunchy stuff in there – you can fiddle with the chain and it’s totally crunch free.

    oceanskipper
    Full Member

    I wonder if those that find it does not last are using too high a temperature and the wax drains out of the rollers

    What temperature would you recommend

    I emailed Putoline a while back with that question and they said no higher than 90deg C (any higher and some of the lubricant components evaporate making it less effective). Obv DFF temps are not that precise so as long as it’s not smoking then it should be OK 🤷‍♂️. I now set my DFF to 100 which gives the Putoline a consistency of single cream. Works extremely well and definitely prolongs the life of the chain as I’ve done  experiments with and without to satisfy my own curiosity.

    Top tip – don’t put MucOff cleaner anywhere near it and it stays rust free. I use  Autoglym car shampoo on the drive train and it never shows any rust.

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