My recent post on chain waxing has garnered me several compliments from those people who read my blog and talk with me in person. Almost everyone mentioned they found it interesting. Especially interesting was how such a small thing could make as much difference as an expensive set of aero wheels.
I’ve now waxed about chains about 6 times and can now make some comments.
I’ve only waxed the chain on my road bike once, taking off a KMC ten speed master link is a huge pain, it took longer to get the link off then it did to actually do the procedure. I’m not sure what other 10 speed chains are like, but I won’t be doing this again on my road bike.
I’ve waxed the chain on my Nashbar Touring Bike a few times for recent gravel rides and have some comments about chain waxing for gravel grinders. When its the least bit wet after about 35 miles my chain was squealing. The constant wet grit from the gravel roads stuck to the chain and ground the wax away. Had to stop and lube my chain with oil on all 3 gravel gridners I did that were over 35 miles. Would probably work OK if it was dry, but Velo indicated they were getting around 350 miles in the wet with their chain waxing.
On the mountain bike in wet conditions the wax holds up for about one ride, maybe two or three in dry. It has kept my chain noticeably smoother and seems to be wearing better. The mountain bike rides aren’t long enough to wear the wax off even when its wet, and I can notice a difference between an oily mountain bike chain filled with grit and a waxed mountain bike chain.
On both the bikes that have gotten wet grit covered chains rust is becoming a problem. Especially the mountain bike which I haven’t been oiling. Cleaning the chains in gas strips them pretty good, but doesn’t get the rust off. I think if I soaked the chain in oil when I clean off my bike after a ride it may help.
It takes alot of solvent. Gasoline is probably the cheapest organic solvent available but I think other solvents might do a better job. The Velo article mentioned denatured alcohol, but either way soaking a chain in solvent after nearly every ride gets kind of expensive.
My wax is getting pretty dirty. Even after cleaning in gasoline the chains have rust and residue that seems to seap out when they are in the hot wax. My wax now looks black and has lots of gunk in it. I doubt it’s working as well.
I don’t believe I can actually feel faster with a waxed chain, but I can definitly tell the drive train feels smoother, especially on a mountain bike where the chain is usually filled with grit in 5 minutes.
I’ll probably continue waxing my mountain bike chain, but only until I run out of wax.