Wax chain lubricant

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by reich17, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. reich17

    reich17 New Member

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    I'd like to hear other cyclists experiences with wax chain lubricant. Any pointers in it's use? Would you even recommend it's use?

    Thanks
     
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  2. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Not a huge fan of the wax chain lubes, kinda gummy. I clean my chain every couple of weeks and use a light oil, same as on my guns.
     
  3. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    Dry lubes (wax) typically work best in dry conditions. Where I ride, my chain never gets wet, and there is a ton of dirt and dust. Pedro's or white lightening are good brands, but there are others, do a search and you'll find lot's of discussion on this.
     
  4. Weisse Luft

    Weisse Luft New Member

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    Wax is a better lubricant for the low speed, high load application of the bicycle chain. It also has the added benefit of attracting less dirt and transporting this dirt into the rollers.

    The problem with wax is application. I have seen many cyclists who apply lube like White Lightning immediately before a ride. What happens is the semi-solid wax is "pumped" out during riding and it then accumulates on the chainrings, cogs and jockey wheels where it does absolutely no good. Then this rider gets a bad impression and claims this lube is junk. No, if you read, understand and follow label instructions, it works FINE.

    Make sure you start with a clean, dry chain. New chains require a complete cleaning in straight solvent. Repeat with fresh solvent 2 more times. Used chains need cleaning until no more dark stuff is washed off/out. Let the chain dry or spray off with the White Lightning cleaner.

    Apply WL slowly to the chain until it is wet, almost dripping. Let it dry for 2-3 hours and apply again. Let dry for at least 4 hours, longer if cooler temps are present.

    Relube when the chain rollers start to "rattle" or other noise is heard. A stiff Nylon bristle brush is great for removing the spent WL from chains, rings and cogs. Just dry brush these parts until clean.

    I typically get over 8000 miles out of Dura Ace 9 speed chains using this procedure. I never have a wax buildup problem and my drivetrain is not a nasty, oily mess. I can touch my chain with no worry and never get that dreaded Cat 5 Tattoo (chainring dirt on the right inner calf)
     
  5. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    If you don´t ride off road or in very dusty conditions there are no advantages to a dry lube - it costs more , it´s more difficult to apply properly and makes chain cleaning more difficult .
    Use a light machine oil and clean by soaking in parafin / petrol ( not indoors !! )
    always always leave to dry completely before re-oiling - the oil needs to penetrate to the interior moving parts and can´t if the solvent , what ever it is , hasn´t evaporated completely .
     
  6. Mr_Potatohead

    Mr_Potatohead New Member

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    I recently tried the homebrew Pro-Link. A mixture of 3 parts mineral spirits to one part motor oil and can testify that it works quite well. The mineral spirits thin it out so that it penetrates quickly and completely. The thinner also makes it easy to wipe the excess off the outside of the chain. Yet it evaporates leaving only the motor oil behind on the inside of the links where you need it.

    I've tried white lightening also and can say it's cleaner but not as quiet or as smooth.
     
  7. spinerguy

    spinerguy New Member

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    yup, I also use white lighting & those 2 hrs drying are quite annoying when in rush but It does keep my chain free of dirty oily residues. It seems tho that it washes off in water rather quickly. After getting wet from poodled water or light rain chain gets really upset: it cries ;)
     
  8. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    Poodled water, as in the dog? What's the little guy doing in the water to make it "poodled?"

    Is your sig spelt wrong? Was it supposed to be "Spinnerguy" or are you really Spinerguy?

    :)
     
  9. spinerguy

    spinerguy New Member

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    As requested:

    Please read "puddle" as opposed to "poodle" hehe

    The signature comes from my beloved tubular Spinergy set even though I don't race but Iam a speed seeker.

    About a week ago passing a bunch of slow roadies just to hear from the "leader" ATACK!! HOLD THE LINE!!! Ahh the rush of engaging on road chases just to prove who has more stamina :D

    I live for that........................ Have you all a great (chasing) weekend!
     
  10. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Don't know if all waxes are the same, but I used Ice Wax and didn't like it. Seemed my chain was noisier and just not lubed as well as with a light, penetrating oil. Plus, the stuff flaked off and was messy.
     
  11. Weisse Luft

    Weisse Luft New Member

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    Ice wax is junk. It is viscous and will not penetrate to the inner workings of the chain. Chains do not need any external lubrication as the rollers roll onto the cogs and rings. All bearing motion is inside with the rollers sliding on the flanged side plates.

    Any lubricant less viscous than light grease will only provide some level of boundary lubrication. The pressure-velocity product of chains cannot have full hydrodynamic lubrication with any oil. You either have visco-plastic grease type lubrication or you have some level of boundary lubrication friction.
     
  12. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    Weisse Luft - could you further explain this 'boundary lubrication' thing, and why an oil is not sufficient for bike chain lubing? In other words, oil doesn't bond with the metal like a parrafin lube does, and therefore wears off quickly?

    I've been using Finish Line KryTech parrafin lube on a Shimano drivetrain, but on my new Campy chain & cogs I'm going to try the synthetic oil/mineral spirits homebrew gig - just made a batch tonight. I've gotten a build-up with the KryTech, albeit not until quite a period of use between cleanings.

    However, soaking a clean chain with a wax lube and proper drying is the best way to use it. Perhaps that would be the better way to go than with the homebrew?
     
  13. Weisse Luft

    Weisse Luft New Member

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    Full hydrodynamic lubrication is where the moving surfaces are suspended from any contact by a film of a fluid. This fluid could be air as in the case of the read/write head on the hard drive of the computer you are using. Or the engine bearings of your car. In the bicycle chain, there is no case excpet for very light pedaling where the moving surfaces in the chain are actually suspended by a film of oil. In most cases, the metal parts are indeed contacting, wearing with every pedal stroke when any liquid lubricant is used. Even when a hot wax is used, there is still metal to metal contact and wear, it just much less than compared to liquid lubricants.

    The trade off is chain wear vs. efficiency. There is a bit more drag with the solid lubricants like wax due to the deformation of the lubricant. Its not noticable, only theoretical.

    Oils have better application in wet conditions as it redistributes where waxes and greases tend to wash away. Water prevents reflow of the lubricant in these cases and provides an escape path. Eventually, even the best oils will be washed out. All it takes is a bit of dirt to act as a "zwitterionic" agent, capable of being wetted by both water and the oil. A soap of sorts. And metal ions are great at this effect.
     
  14. nickiula

    nickiula New Member

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    For years, I used to use a commercial wax infused with teflon. It was sold in tins (similar to double size can of tuna). You would melt this wax over a double boiler and then soak your cleaned chain into the melted wax. It worked great. I have not seen that wax for sale for quite a few years. I started using melted candle butts. My chain is cleaned and waxed every 200 miles (or less). My dura ace 10 speed shifts quietly and crisply. In between cleaning and waxing, I almost never add any lubricant. It is cheap and one of the side benefits is having a bike that smells like pumpkin, sandalwood, vanilla, apple pie, etc.... I won't get 8,000 miles from my chain, but at least 5,000. The number one reason I like the candle wax is because my pedaling feels incredibly smooth -- like cutting through butter with a warm knife.

    I am new to this forum and relatively old school. About 15 years ago, I stopped training and made the decision to ride for the same reasons I loved riding as a kid! I went from 200+ miles per week to 100+ miles. At 58 years old, my spirit is willing, but my knees think otherwise.

    Can some one answer this question? Since it is so easy to remove the rear cassette. What do you think if I also soaked my cassette in the melted wax? I also have 4 or 5 bottles of different White Lightening that are 20+ years old. Think they are still good? I was thinking of emptying them into my melted candle wax?
     
  15. bikeman1962ca

    bikeman1962ca New Member

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    I can't say what that would do. It could be a good thing to do, but it might be a bad thing as well. If the wax dry's out over time it might actually hold the dirt in your cassette and cause a lot of unwanted wear. I think that a Teflon lubricant would be better, as it would coat the cassette with film of Teflon that would help to keep things from wearing to quickly. If you need some Teflon lubricant you can go to http://urbicycle.com. They have Teflon lubricant on their "bicycle gear" page.
     
  16. nickiula

    nickiula New Member

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    Thanks bikeman. Makes sense. The next time I hot wax my chain and clean my rear cassette, I will definitely lubricate the cassette cogs individually using a Teflon lubricant. Right, now I am not doing any thing to the cassette -- just hot waxing the chain.
     
  17. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    I was having noise issues with my Campy chain and started using the White Lightning wax lube and it really helped. I made sure it had time to set up and reapplied a couple of times after a cleaning. It kept my chain much quieter than when I used Prolube, which had been my old standby. I just recently tried Chain-L and find it to be far superior to the wax. Depending on your riding conditions, I would suggest giving Chain-L a try.
     
  18. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    Chain-L works for me. The first few times after you apply it, you'll be wiping a lot of black residue after a ride, but it runs pretty clean after some time. It really lasts longer between applications than any other lube that I've used, although it smells like the 80 weight gear oil I used to put in my transmission and rear diff back in the day. [​IMG]
     
  19. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I have several different types of drivetrains, Suntour, Shimano, and Campy, no SRAM though. On the older stuff it seems that the Chain L works the best, but on newer stuff it's a toss up between Prolink Extreme and Rock N Roll Gold, but Chain L does hold up better in rainy weather even though the ProGold Xtreme isn't bad. They all seem to make the drive system run smoother and quieter, but Chain L seems a wee bit too thick for modern thin chains (in my opinion), I've noticed a bit snappier chain to gear engagement with the other two. So I use the Chain L on my older 5, 6 and 7 speed bikes including my touring and mountain bikes, and the others on my 10 speed road bike. I do have a 10 speed touring bike with Campy but I rarely use that bike but since it is a touring bike and thus the potential of bad weather I use Chain L on it, my other touring bike is an older 6 speed that gets used more but again Chain L works the best due to it's better rain performance. The jury is still out on the Rock N Roll Gold but it seems a lot like ProGold Xtreme in it's color, thickness, and durability so far, but for me the real test is in how long will the chain last.

    People have noted that Chain L lasts a long time, and it does, but I have a real issue with leaving any lube on a bike a long time so after about 250 to 300 miles I clean the chain and re-apply regardless what the directions say or others say. The other lubes I use last the same amount of time so there is no advantage there between the three.

    I use to hot wax my bikes back in the olden days, after a while we discovered Slick 50 and added (can't recall the amount any more) to the wax which seemed to work better than just wax alone, but then a "new" type of lube came out called TriFlow so I tried it and what do you know the chain lasted about 3 times longer! but the down side was getting a black chain that had to be cleaned a lot. So what did I want, a clean to the touch chain or longer chain life? I chose longer chain life. Later I tried liquid wax in a bottle and that stuff was pure junk, 65 to 75 miles was all it would last thus on long rides I had to carry a bottle of it just so I could lube the chain to prevent wear which didn't seem to work anyways since my chain life went back down again dramatically.

    The main things you have to remember is lube choice is very personal, some people will like one more than another and vice a versa; but the most important thing to remember is to keep your chain clean because you can't stop road grit, dust, sand, etc from landing on your chain, nor can you stop the chain and gears from shedding very small bits of metal onto the chain and gears where the oil holds it there so it can grind away your chain and gears...unless you never change gears! A car has an oil filter to keep things clean your bike chain has no such thing so you have to do it manually and do it frequently. I happen to use and like the Park Chain cleaning machine, it cleans the chain and it has a magnet at the bottom that attracts the metal filings.

    Again this is just my opinion and the way I do things, it's not the only way to do things, you have to decide which is best for you or just keep doing it the way you've been doing it and ignore all of us!!
     
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