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How To Wax A Bicycle Chain | Maintenance Monday

How To Wax A Bicycle Chain | Maintenance Monday


The subject of waxing
a chain has been around for quite some time now, and we’ve had so many
requests for a video on it, so that’s what I’m gonna give you, how to wax your chain. Now, there’ll be some of you, as well, who are asking, why would I want to do that? What’s the point in waxing my chain? Well, according to Friction
Facts and Velo Magazine, there’s actually a number of benefits. One of them is performance gains. Everybody likes that, right? Also it repels dirt, and that really means that your drivetrain is gonna last a little bit longer. You won’t have all that grinding feel. Now, the UK is not really
blessed with great weather, so this is probably the
ideal place to give it a try. Now, before we get started, you’re gonna need to do a few things. You’re gonna have a
perfectly clean drivetrain. So your chainrings, chain,
jockey wheels, and cassette. Make sure that there’s no dirt on there, no grime, no existing lubricant, all of those, make sure it’s gone. There’s a link in the description below. If you’re unsure of how to do that, click through to that and you’ll be able to do that easily. Also, importantly, you’re gonna need this. This is some paraffin wax. It’s available in hardware
stores or even online, so get some of that. Preferably try and get
some small granules, ‘cuz it’ll melt a lot
faster than the big chunks. You’re also gonna need one of these. This is a slow cooker, also known as a crockpot. Get one of these, ‘cuz it’s much safer than
doing it on a hob at home. Also get yourself some
gloves, some safety glasses, and also one of these, a coat hanger. You’ll probably have one
of those lying around. That’s important. You’ll see why. Maybe some old rags and some newspaper just to prevent any drips. And you’re good to go. Okay, you’ve got yourself one of these. Nice and clean, free of contamination, no dirt whatsoever, lovely chain. That is ultra important to
make sure the wax sticks to it. Okay. You have to preheat the slow cooker and then get your
paraffin wax or your bar, whichever you decide to buy. Pour it in. Now, you’re gonna need enough in there that the chain itself is
actually submerged inside. It should take probably that much, probably five to 10 minutes to melt. In the meantime, keep a close eye on it, ‘cuz you don’t want this
getting out of hand. It shouldn’t do, not in this. And whilst you’re waiting for it to melt, you can also give it a
little stir, as well, just to make sure that you’re not getting any solid bits of wax in there, you know, there’s no lumps. That also helps speed up
the process a little bit. So now that your wax has melted, you’re gonna need to slowly
lower the chain into the wax and leave it for about 20 minutes or until there’s no
small bubbles appearing from the links and the
rollers of the chain. Now, with a hook, or in my case, an old coat hanger, you just hang up the chain. It’s a little bit warm, so you are gonna wanna wear
some protective gloves. Hang the chain up to drip dry. That’s gonna take probably
between 10, 15, 20 minutes, depending on how hot it’s got
inside of your slow cooker. The good news is, though, I’ve got a chain that
I’ve prepared earlier. Why have I got one? Well, in between the
chain cooking in its wax, Sy Richardson ran in,
gave me another chain, and said he wanted to give this a try. So, yeah, I’ve got two of them now. So here’s one which has already been melted in the wax. As you can see, the links are
actually a little bit stiff, reason being the wax has got well and
truly inside of those rollers. So what you’re gonna wanna do is actually flex the chain around a bit and break off that wax. So that wax, essentially you
don’t want it going everywhere. You don’t want it to be
filling up your drivetrain and risk gunking it up. Also, with a cloth, simply take it and wipe
away any excess wax that you may have on the
outside of the chain, because it’s no good there. What you wanna make sure is that it’s the inside of the chain, inside the pins and rollers. That’s where the wax has gone. The good news, as well? That wax in there, you can reuse it. So just put the lid on, turn it off, next time you wanna wax your chain, there it is. Now all that’s left for me to do is to go and fit these back onto my bike and Simon’s bike. Unfortunately I’ve got to do his too. And we’re gonna come back and actually report to
you on what we’ve found. Okay, so we’ve both been out, we’ve both given it a test. Si, what do you reckon of it? Well, firstly, I’ve got to say thank you very much, Jon, for actually getting me a
chain and preparing it for me, because it’s something
I’ve been intrigued about for a long time, but honestly I’ve never
actually been bothered to do. So it’s been bloomin’ interesting. My first thoughts, I’m not entirely sure what
I think about gold chains, but apart from that. It’s quite noisy, isn’t it? For something that I, I expected it to be, like, ghostly silent, and it’s not. But it is, it is still clean. I only did 60k on it, but 60k in autumn in
the UK is pretty grim. So, you know, it’s not bad. Yeah. Yeah, the noise factor, actually we did hear back at Eurobike from our friends at CeramicSpeed that in fact a silent chain doesn’t necessarily mean
a faster chain, so… You spent a lot longer on
it than I did, didn’t you? You did, what, a couple hundred k? Yeah, yeah, yeah, about 200, 250k. It worked just fine, and the noise really was the only thing which was off-putting. The bike, though, the
chain, rather, spotless. Drivetrain, absolutely spotless, so… Yeah. You, I get the feeling, then, that if you’ve got the time and you really wanna maximise
the efficiency of your bike, then it’s a good thing to do, particularly maybe if you’re about to do, like, an epic 12-hour
ride in bad conditions, I could definitely see it’s worthwhile. But it’s interesting about, you’re saying that
CeramicSpeed said it’s faster. Personally, this might be controversial to some, I’m willing to sacrifice a couple of watts for a silent bike, because I just prefer bikes
that don’t make any noise. So there we are. He’s spoken. Well, what about you? Well…
Are you gonna do it again? I think I’ll, I think I’ll do it again, yeah. Really?
Yeah. The only thing that’s putting me off is having to buy a new power
link or joining link each time. Yeah. That’s the only thing, really, that puts me off doing it, ‘cuz I’m not sure how
long it’s gonna last. Apparently, so they say, when it does wear away and you need to re-coat it in wax, the noise is, the noise tells you that
you need to re-coat it. So it’s quite…
It gets even louder. Yeah, quite a scream, apparently. Quite a scream. Well, next time you melt your
paraffin wax bath, though, just drop one in for me, mate, you know? Yeah, not a problem. Thanks very much.
Yeah. Yeah, I will do. All right, do make sure
you subscribe to GCN after this video. To do that, just click on Jon’s handily placed globe. Sorry, man, I’ve nicked
your subscribe there. That’s all right.
Gonna throw up some videos. Yeah. So to learn how to fit and re-fit a chain, that’s with Si. Click just down here. Yeah. And for one more? Oh, let’s do how to get your
drivetrain perfectly clean. Nice.
Where’s that? That one’s just down there, mate.

100 comments on “How To Wax A Bicycle Chain | Maintenance Monday

  1. Looks like we are going to have to send Jon back in with some paraffin oil to see if that silences the chains. Or maybe Jon and Si have just got impressive hearing?!

  2. You forgot an important additive……paraffin oil! This must be added to provide a lubrication to the wax otherwise you get what you got. flaking wax.

  3. Just the thing for track chains. I often have to change cogs and sprockets and the advantage of having clean hands afterwards is worth it alone

  4. Could I just put heat a pot of water on a oven top and put a pot in that pot with the wax in so that it warms slower, like u do when melting chocolate?

  5. Won't the wax become hard and flake off? I thought an oil, like paraffin oil, is needed to mix with the wax to keep it in a semi liquid state and prevent the problem.

  6. I have been using paraffin, a jumble sale crock pot, and adding graphite powder. The molten wax (give it a stir to mobilize the graphite particles) transports the graphite into the rollers and this seems to help when the wax itself is wearing off. Chains last longer, for sure, with this method. And work better in bad conditions.

  7. Soz, that's a total waste of time and money… Crock Pot?.. Jeezzzus! you guys are paid way tooo much. Candle wax? This is 2018, not 1918. Clean the chain in warm soapy water, thoroughly dry, then use a modern dry or wet lube. Bobs your aunties hubby.

  8. I have been doing this for some time. In dry dusty times, there is nothing better. The chain will repeal some water, but in very cold weather, apparently it didn’t work out so well. I love having a clean drivetrain, so this is something that I can and will do again.

  9. I do not think this kind of chain is a good idea for lubrication … Do not introduce it to a tadpole chain! After a dreary MTB tour I would like to know how to clean up the stuck ground from the rollers of the chains! In addition, the result of this waxing in the video is very ugly and I think it is not normal for the chain to stick together! Would it be possible to soak the chain in a heated oil for a longer period of time we used to sing? For example: Muc-Off, or the like … ??

  10. im quite new to this wax thing, but does this completely replace the need for lubing the chain? so wax once and wait until noise dies down before doing it again? thanks.

  11. This is just nuts. There are plenty of videos that properly demonstrate how to wax a chain. Do these guys live in a vacuum? YOU DO NOT JUST USE PARAFFIN TO LUBE THE CHAIN. Paraffin needs a companion wet lubricant first to hold the paraffin in place, secondly to improve shifting, thirdly to keep the chain quiet, and finally to prevent corrosion. The noise from the chain is because most of the paraffin is GONE. And if one lives in a climate where inclement weather is frequent, don't wipe the chain off.

    There are several wet lubes that can be mixed with the paraffin but the best is a good lightweight synthetic motor oil. The best combination I've found is one pound of paraffin to 9 ounces of motor oil. Shifts are buttery smooth, the chain won't rust, wear is almost nil and the chain stays clean. The normal lube interval I employ is 300 miles. Others have gone even longer.

  12. Does it make the drivetrain last longer though? that would be the point overall… no mention of that… Also why do you guys keep mentioning that it "looks clean"… that has nothing to do with lubrication. motor oil that is effective becomes dark because it is holding contaminants, Even 1/2 used dark motor oil is still good and has half its life left… Using some bike chain oils the chain looks dark after 1 ride which doesn;t mean it is a bad thing, just that it is effectively holding the metal shavings…

  13. Waxed chains back in the 80s. Extremely quiet running.
    Kept 5 chains. Cleaned in gasoline. Got very clean. Waxed all 5 in paraffin in a crock pot. Good for about 250-300 miles per chain in dry weather. About 10 days of riding for me back then. Chains and drive train stayed very clean, did not hold grit. Extends life of drive train components. Saves $$$.

  14. I tried using squirt wax on my chain, I leave my bike chained up outside at work during the day. After a couple of weeks of bad weather my chain started to go rusty. I've switched back to conventional oil and my chain is not going rusty any more. To be honest I'm not a fan of wax.

  15. Haha, the chain he prepared earlier looks stiffer than my brothers crusty socks, you need to mix that wax with something to soften it, come on guys, where is the research on this… You scrunch the chain up and chunks of solid wax are coming off, it's supposed to stay in and on the chain, your conclusion part of the video also confirms this.

  16. Just don't turn your chain into a wax sculpture. Of course it's noisey, it's sucking up all the shit from the road and running it through your gears.

  17. Great Clip, are you coming with me on the Sydney to Surfers ride 5 May -11 May 2018
    http://www.sydneytosurfers.org.au/
    If you cannot make the ride please become a sponsor just click on the link and put $20 into Youth Off The Streets
    https://sydneytosurfers2018.everydayhero.com/au/les-simons-supreme-athlete

  18. #askgcn, Hi Jon. is there any evidence of waxed chain will eat the RD pulleys? I tried waxed chain for the last 300ish KM, and the RD already cover 2400ish KM, and realized that the upper pulley become pointy (the teeth become deeper) and the lower pulley teeth worn out on the inner side (with an angle toward outside).. is it because of the wax flake? kindly reply.. thanks!

  19. Is there a recommended temperature range for cooking the wax? Or is there maybe just a recommended temp per the manufacturer of the paraffin?

  20. I just use candles from the dollar store mixed with paraffin oil (lamp oil) at a 1:1 ratio. this softens the wax so it doesn’t flake off or stiffen the links. BTW always wipe down the chain after submerging it. I recently found this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D12BFIXZCes where he mixes the paraffin wax/oil mixture with xylene to keep it liquid and puts it in a squirt bottle to lube the chain. I tried this and it works great. Now I keep paraffin wax and paraffin oil mixture in a crock pot for new chains and wax/oil/xylene in a squirt bottle to re lube previously waxed chains.

  21. Absolute rubbish, total amateurs. They didn't do it correctly. If you take a block of wax (or beads) then melt them down, when it cools it goes back to that original state. The reason the chain is noisy is that the wax is too hard and it simply shears and flakes off. Follow Oz cycles instructional and also take a look at his Q+A video for troubleshooting. Look into adding a little Moly into the mix- that's the key ingredient for reducing the wear. The Molten speed wax has it incorporated into it and they also make "race powder" which is just more Molybdenum Disulphide to sprinkle on for friction reducing goodness.

  22. This is not the way at all to parrafin wax a chain, you don't just use the wax alone, and it shouldn't be dry and flaky when it's done, way too dry viscosity. Why do a video on waxing a chain without the most basic knowledge/research, only takes 20 minutes at most to research how to do this treatment properly and you didn't even do that?

  23. What are the chances that GCN could actually do some riding tests between a normally lubricated chain, a waxed chain and a Ceramic Speed UFO chain?

  24. This is probably a very dumb question, but you never know: should I keep using my lub (muc off c3, the wet pink one) after waxing my chain? I should, right?

  25. this video should be deleted as its absolute bovril! waxing chains is the darkest of dark arts and anyone doing it properly is not talking about it on the internet!!!!! no only on the dark web deep in the onion layers ! good luck you slippery wax gypsies

  26. maybe try this? Maxima 74920 Chain Wax – 13.5 oz. Aerosol

    or apply hard wax while turning the crank, then take a heat gun over the chain to avoid removing it.

  27. Why not wipe off the excess wax when it's warm? And 2, why on earth would you not reuse a link? I've never had a problem reusing.

  28. If you hang it horizontally, won't the lower parts have more wax deposited onto them? I suppose it trickles downwards towards the bottom half of the respective pin/roller anyhow, but horizontal seems cumulative.

  29. Today I waxed my chain for the first time, I have used the Finish Line Ceramic Wax Chain Lube. Tomorrow I will give a test run and see how much noise is the chain but yes I immediately noticed that odious sound. The instruction says to reapply the wax after the first or second ride, I intend to do after the first ride. I hope my chain is not to much noisy

  30. Since I use to wax my chains like they described I found after a few years of doing that is that the chains wore out faster at around 5,000 miles on the older wide chains I used in the 70's and 80's, which probably explains why there is more noise they spoke about in this video with waxed chains, that noise is coming from metal to metal contact which means the chain is wearing away faster. When I switched to a chain lube in a bottle (when TriFlow came out) my chain life doubled and then some, I averaged about 13,000 miles per chain after I stopped waxing. So while a hot waxed chain maybe a tad faster (I read only about 1 to 2 watts) a non waxed chain will wear longer, so a person has to decide which is more important to them.

  31. It sounds like you didn't use the friction facts recipe, I think that the molly and teflon additives MIGHT help with the noise? I would love to see this video redone with the original friction facts recipe.

  32. The chain waxing thing dates from back in the days of five speed clusters. The tolerances on a modern chain can be a lot tighter; I wonder if the noise is the twelve speed chain adhering a little bit as it comes off the bottom of the chain ring. You might check for fouling of the chain ring, or it could be that unadulterated candle wax doesn't work as well on modern drivetrains.

  33. Now then boys I'm amazed this is how you think you wax a chain. Watch OZ CYCLE before waxing your chain he has a much better method and result than this stupidly stiff flakey chain. GO TO OZ CYCLE now.

  34. Why would you need to "buy a new Power Link"? I would think that you need to replace them based on total miles (when you replace the chain), not just because you take them apart more often.

  35. Isn't it easier to dissolve the wax in terpentin or ether? Dissolvent will evaporate after puting liquid on the chain. Why are you making this stuff so annoing and difficoult? You are waisting your time, and teaching to do stupid things guys!

  36. Guys, Great video. I’ve been waxing my chains for almost 2 years now, and I concur that it does a better job of lubing the chain, and staying clean longer.
    A couple of notes:
    1. I use a mix of parafin candles and parafin oil, blended until the wax is a slight creamy consistancy. I think this will solve your noise problem, as my drive train is really quiet with this approach.
    2. When I take the hot chain out of the cooker, I plunge it into cool water vs hanging it up hot. This causes the wax to harden immediately, trapping it in and around the rollers instead of dripping out.
    3. This goes without saying, that the entire drive train (cassette and chaing rings) should also be cleaned prior to installing your newly waxed chain.

    Cheers!

    RayK

  37. Was Molten Speed Wax not out when this video was made? The video didn't mention it and neither have many in the comments that I have seen. Molten Speed Wax solves all of the problems of mixing wax with oil and trying to get the perfect ratio. At around $20 for Molten Speed Wax that can be reused many times there's no reason not to buy it.

  38. I do something similar, I use putoline chain wax, has graphite and is the right consistency without the need to use oil. For quick top up between full waxes I cut the wax 50/50 with Xylene, keeps the wax liquid to carry into chain then the thinners evaporates leaving the wax in place.

  39. The UK is blessed with mild and wet winters, visit Canada during the end of February, it might change your perspective a little

  40. You did it WRONG! That is why the chain is so noise! You need to mix the molten paraffin with liquid paraffin (paraffin lamp oil in the USA) to get a creamy consistency! Do it right next time!

  41. The Friction Facts bloke says for ultimate performance you should mix 1 kg of wax with 5 grams of PTFE powder and 1 gram of molybdenum disulphate.

  42. Waxing chains has been around and was a mystical magic chain treatment back in the 70's. One man I rode with did his waxing in an old metal coffee can, he didn't want to mess up a cooking pot. He heated the can on a gas stove and dipped his chain in the can. He used that can more than once and one time the flame melted the bottom of the can. The magic wax pored onto and extinguished all the flames. The wax plugged all the gas vent holes in the burner. His wife took one look at the situation and said, "You're cleaning all that out!" When we talked about how often he waxed his chains we all said, "one time too many!"

  43. Safety Tip. Don't know Slow cookers, but using the double boiler method (wax pot inside a pot with water): If you leave the solidified wax 'plug' in the pot and then heat it up to use again: Be very careful. The wax on the bottom will melt first, builds up some pressure. You (being impatient) poke at the still solid top 'crust' making a small hole– allowing a stream of pressurized hot wax to shoot out and hit you in the face. I'm guessing that a slow cooker is easier and safer to use, but I don't see any reason the same thing wouldn't happen. (An artist friend working with wax to make encaustic (paint and paraffin) got badly scalded.

  44. On a motorcycle wax should be applied when the chain is warm. Otherwise the rollers go dry. I've always used a wet lube. On a bicycle I use 3 in 1. Used it for 20 plus years. I've tried other types listened to the hype and just went back to what works for me.

  45. Right, been using wax and parafin oil in a rice cooker for the last two years. Commute through the winter 4-5 times a week through salt infested uk roads and have literally changed my chain 3 times only. I wax my chain every 2 weeks even in the summer as it does wear off, whatever the conditions, and they wear out super quick. Repelenishing the wax every 2 weeks is ESSENTIAL!

  46. 7000 km out of my first waxed chain and still counting. I rotate 3 chains to minimize work, whipperman has a reusable quick link that can be disassembled with fingers only and reused.

  47. Guys, please don’t bother with buying new chain links it’s safely reusable. I’ve been riding bike trials (crossing obstacles on a bike without seat) for a long time and every time chain snapped, it wasn’t the link. More than that I’ve never seen a broken link though i saw quite a few broken chains.

  48. Now i want to try this myself on my mountain bike to see what happens and to see how long it lasts in the swedish mud.

    Some sound doesnt bother me, i ride a mountainbike in the forest on technical terrain and i bet the sound the bike makes and the sound of the chain hitting the chain stay guard will be alot louder than the chain itself

  49. Or just take a wire hanger that hangs the chain and holds a stick candle and let it burn all the way down. It will melt down the candle and then chain. Done.
    More cost effective and less effort.

    …or just buy good thick oil for your chain.
    I use Lucas oil additive. I’ve used the same chain for years.

  50. I just use White Lightening which is a wax based lube that you drip on the same way you use a petrol based product. Easy, fast and very effective!!

  51. You guys were doing it wrong. You should mix the Wax with Kerosene. Add a teaspoon of Teflon powder in. You should not break the links or wipe it down when done. Just put it on and use it. Then it will be perfectly silent

  52. Hi Jon, we have a lubricant here in the states called "White Lightening" which comes in a bottle or tube. it contains both oil and wax in a liquid state and It's generally used on days that rain is in the forecast.
    Myself, I am like Sy that likes a quiet bike….. and everytime you do those free wheel spin sound test, I personally gringe when I hear most. I have saved free hubs from several old or damaged wheels just for the sound of silents from the free wheel. There is a sound but you will only hear them when I'm passing you well away from you loud free hub. LOL! 🙂

  53. There is a chance the wax didn't get all the way into the links. Also, when you hang it up to dry, the wax will run out. When you remove the chain, dump it straight into cold water to solidify the wax. This has to be done immediately to prevent the wax running out of the links. You need to add paraffin oil to the wax to make it runny, otherwise it can have trouble getting all the way into the links. Ideally lube should resemble grease when it's dry, but we don't grease on our chains because grease can't get into the guts of the links. It's about a 50/50 ratio of wax and oil. If the wax is too flakey, or too runny, the wax will have trouble staying within the links. It should be a bit like a thick cream when it's dry. Also, you don't need to let it sit for 20 minutes. Once the wax touches all parts of the inside, that's all you need. Letting it touch the chain longer, won't make it adhere better. Just move the chain around constantly, until you are sure the wax has penetrated the links – no more bubbles escaping. I also add 5% molybdenum disulphide and 1% polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Works very well. I live in Australia so I only ride in dry weather, and lube every 400km.

  54. I've been waxing my chain for several years now and here's what I would suggest:

    1. Use a water bath if you do not have a slow cooker. Works just as good at $0 additional investment.

    2. Use an ultrasonic cleaner instead of a slow cooker (if you have one) or a water bath – it will get melted paraffin into the rollers much more efficiently

    3. Do not hang the waxed chain to let it drip. Run a rag along the chain several times to get rid of the excess paraffin while the chain is still hot. Ultimately, you want to get the paraffin inside the rollers, not to let it dry on the outside of the chain and start flying all over your freshly washed bike once you start pedaling.

    4. Rewax your bike every 100-150km or 2-3 showers.

  55. thanks for this video good job if you add some paraffin oil to your mix of wax it will have the same effect and the noise will stop and the treatment will last longer i have already tried and it worked very well

  56. Scott's pro tip–when still hot and liquid, wipe off all the excess wax before allowing it to cool down. That way, you don't have to remove the solidified wax afterwards.

  57. I've bought some Squirt, it's a wax you put on a clean chain and there's no need to remove the chain. I haven't tried it yet. It's wax mixed with water, but the water evaporates.

  58. Don't forget, when you're lifting the chain to let it 'drain' the wax is running out of the guts of the links. Si's chain was noisy because it wasn't lubricated properly.

  59. I'm so immature… what a great euphemism. Videos on how to "wax your chain". Lol

    Nice clip though. Thanks.

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