chain wax vs. lube



shming123

New Member
May 1, 2004
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whats the difference between chain wax and liquid lube? and for the wax, does it keep it lubricated enough? should i put a lot on? do i need to do regular lube and then the wax over it? Today, i put quite a bit on (white lightning) and the conditions are usually humid and 75-90 degree weather. is this a good wax for me? thanks.
 
I have been using White Lightning on my mountain bike for years, and more recently on my road bike, and I find it far superior to liquid lube. It stays cleaner and just seems to work better for me and the conditions I ride in. I don't think you should ever mix the two, and I seem to recall having to completely degrease my MTN bike chain before I switched to White Lightning. Having said all that, some people swear by wet lubricants, so perhaps it's just a matter of taste (although I imagine they both taste pretty bad).
 
No, Dumond and Prolink taste great! And are less filling!

Do a search on this topic -- the two lubes mentioned above have proven SUPER clean on my road bike. I'd never use anything else at this stage.
 
Originally posted by shming123
whats the difference between chain wax and liquid lube? and for the wax, does it keep it lubricated enough? should i put a lot on? do i need to do regular lube and then the wax over it? Today, i put quite a bit on (white lightning) and the conditions are usually humid and 75-90 degree weather. is this a good wax for me? thanks.

A little wax will go a long way IF you apply it correctly. Proper preparation is crucial and no, you NEVER want to mix it with oil, otherwise you will need more frequent maintainence. Proper preparation is a perfectly clean chain. No grit, no dirt and no oil.

The best cleaning method is paint thinner (no MEK, laquer thinner etc, just low odor mineral spirit) or deodorized kerosene are the cheapest. Never use gasoline or any motor vehicle fuel as these can be dangerous. You need to remove the chain to soak and agitate the chain until all dirt is gone. With wax lubes, you need to soak for a few hours.

Once the chain is clean, save the solvent but decant the sediment. Then hit the chain with a degreaser and rinse well. Let the chain dry fully before lubricating. Proper lubrication means soaking the rollers until no more is absorbed. Let it set for a few minutes, then hit it again.

Reinstall the chain and enjoy 200 to 400+ miles. Even though you used WL, you still will have fine grit on the outside of the chain. If you relube now, some of that grit will migrate into the chain where it will accelerate wear. You can minimize this by brushing and wiping the exterior of the chain before relubing but for the longest wear, complete cleaning is necessary.

And if you lube the chain on the bike, you will get excess lube on the cogs where it does little more than attract more dirt.

I take the chain off my road bike and do the above. I get 8000-12,000 miles per Dura Ace 9 speed chain.
 
I know we all tend to our own rituals about proper chain maintenance, and almost nothing is more controversial. Here's a method which seems to work great for my road riding:

1) Wipe the chain down with a rag if it looks dirty after a ride. Use a chain-cleaning machine only for special events to make the chain look shiny.

2) Apply a tiny drop of light oil-based lube to each bushing about every 100-200 miles, or whenever the chain sounds a bit dry spinning it at home on the stand. [I've tried the IceWax stuff, but found it just didn't work as well as the lightweight oil-type lubes.....more noise, less smoothness, as Aztec would say.]

Note: My operating theory is that grit doesn't get into the bushings of the chain as long as it remains lubed, and that any grit between the sideplates is flushed out with the old oil when new oil is applied and flows into the bushings. As a result, I don't think solvent cleaning of the chain is beneficial under normal conditions.