Adventures in OCD: Today's Chain Waxing

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
A divisive and arguably thoroughly boring subject, but I'm sold for the most part.

Today having covered around 380 miles since the last treatment, the 11sp KMC chain on the CdF was a little overdue another dunk in the pan.

I usually check the chain for elongation before every 2-3 waxings; my Shimano go / no go tool unequivocally saying "no" so far. Today out of interest I tried to get a more precise idea of wear with a steel tape measure over the majority of the chain's length. I struggled to do this with it hung up so laid it out on the floor; pulling it from one end to try and ensure that it was as elongated as possible and lining it up against the join in our laminate flooring to make sure it was as straight as it could be.

To avoid using the very end of the tape for best accuracy I started 12" in; aiming for the middle of the first pin:

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... and measured to the final rivet at the other end of the chain:

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Over 111 links that's 55.5" measured so no descernible chain elongation whatsoever :blink:

Yes, I checked at foot intervals and I'm not one link out over the chain's whole length. For comparison over this number of links 0.5% elongation would account for an extra 0.275" of length or about 0.6 of a link pitch... which clearly isn't there.

Of course this isn't a perfect test and there are a number of reasons why the length might be under-represented - slack in the chain, measurement inaccuracy in the tape, other things I've not accounted for.. However, on the face of it I certainly can't complain after the 2.2k mostly dry if sometimes dusty miles the bike's covered so far and I'm certainly intrigued to see how many more I can get out of it :smile:


A few more bonus photos for the zero people on here who are interested in this process..

Quick link - I'm not going to lie, a little bit of roughness / scoring can be felt on the inside bearing faces of the pins. This link has been on and off maybe 10 times, and while feeling a bit less resistive to snapping in and out of place still seem secure enough. Ideally I'd prefer a Wippermann alternative as they're supposedly infinitely reusible; but also bloody expensive.

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Recycled spoke chain hanger - still well chuffed with this:

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In action pre-waxing:

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Cassette; which hasn't been cleaned for about 2k miles. The only things apparently present on the surface of the sprockets being wax residue and a little bit of dried dilute mud that I think has probably splashed onto it during the odd damp foray. No filthy black impromptu drivetrain-grinding paste here! Note that some wear can apparently be seen on some faces / edges of the teeth where the surface nickel(?) has apparently been removed, exposing the copper and steel beneath.

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Chainset - again not cleaned for about 2k miles. I can't tell a lot from this tbh but it looks OK to my untrained eye!

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Part of the reason I'm waxing is just to see how it goes / how long the drivetrain lasts, and so far I'm pretty impressed. If there's any interest I'll keep this thread updated as things change (probably when the chain finally wears out) - providing the forum traditionalists don't find me and burn me at the stake first, of course :laugh:
 
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Darius_Jedburgh

Looking for the lost chord.
I'll bookmark that. It will come in handy next time I'm struggling to get to sleep.
 

slow scot

Über Member
Location
Aberdeen
Aren't you glad you didn't live in the Middle Ages? A certain candidate for the stake me'thinks.
But as in the above post, I'll await further instalments with baited breath
 

dodgy

Guest
I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, but as I think you recognise, you need to put the chain under some kind of tension to properly measure any 'stretching' (yes, I know, they don't stretch). Even just an elastic band at each end tied to something.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Out of interest, given I've got a pot of white Wend wax currently sat unused on my dining room table, what wax are you using?
Just normal white paraffin wax (EDIT: mixed 2:1 by mass with paraffin oil) - I think it was £8 for a kilo from Hobbycraft. I've also added some moly disulphide powder - it's pretty fine but I'm not sure how effective this is at actually penetrating the links with the wax. I think basically you're 95% there with the wax and additives represent marginal gains for a lot more outlay.

I wasn't aware of the Wend stuff until I googled it - I see they do a range of wax-based stuff; is yours the "hot melt" type? If so why not give it a try? ;)

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, but as I think you recognise, you need to put the chain under some kind of tension to properly measure any 'stretching' (yes, I know, they don't stretch). Even just an elastic band at each end tied to something.
Yeah, some form of tension certainly wouldn't be a bad idea but this wasn't feasible today. I did pull it straight from one end though and logic would suggest there are no forces to pull the links back together against their own weight. I guess we'll know for sure when the chain checker says so :tongue:
 
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Kryton521

Über Member
I've used Wend wax in the past. Good stuff, but now use the slow cooker and immersion process.

I found the above informative and interesting........ OCD in over drive! :laugh:

I've put PTFE powder into the wax and again, "is it any better than just the wax?"
The next one I'll try, if ever need to replace the wax, is that molten speed? That has good write ups.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
I've used Wend wax in the past. Good stuff, but now use the slow cooker and immersion process.

I found the above informative and interesting........ OCD in over drive! :laugh:

I've put PTFE powder into the wax and again, "is it any better than just the wax?"
The next one I'll try, if ever need to replace the wax, is that molten speed? That has good write ups.
I think Wend do a number of options including immersible stuff..? I saw one of their "deodorant stick" videos and was extremely dubious that rubbing a load of wax on the outside of the chain would do anything to lubricate its internal bearing surfaces tbh..

I was tempted by the PTFE but steered clear on envirnmental grounds; opting for the MoSO4 instead but as you suggest the wax alone (well, actually mixed 2:1 by mass with paraffin oil in my case) is probably nearly as good.

I was also tempted by the Speed Wax but tbh think it's obscenely expensive for what it is - best price I could find some time ago was about £53/kg; compared to the straight paraffin wax and oil mix that came in at about £6.80/kg or about £19/kg with the Moly powder at 5% by mass. Tbh as mine gets used / evaporates I think I'll just keep adding more wax and oil without replenishing the moly to see how things go.

How many miles are you getting out of each of your chains between treatments? I aim to re-wax at around 300 miles; have pushed them to near 400 miles but they're definitely getting a bit squeaky by this point!
 
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Kryton521

Über Member
Weather dependant. Wet & wild Wales, and I'll dry the chain as best I can, but if it's been a really horrible ride I'll give it a full degrease and hot bath.
I'm aiming for 400 kms between "doings", Summer and dry rides. I just feel it's better to do it before it gets squeaky.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Weather dependant. Wet & wild Wales, and I'll dry the chain as best I can, but if it's been a really horrible ride I'll give it a full degrease and hot bath.
I'm aiming for 400 kms between "doings", Summer and dry rides. I just feel it's better to do it before it gets squeaky.
Cool - tbh I'm not sure how much degreasing is necessary (I just chuck mine straight in the wax pan as there's rarely any detectable contamination on it). Totally agree about the squeakyness - under normal conditions this starts to happen at maybe 350 miles plus, unless I get caught out in the wet and all bets are off!
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
:tired: I find that very sad, a bikes for riding not for endlessly fettling, just get out and ride it. If I notice my chain is dirty it'll get wiped with a rag, if I notice its very dirty I'll clean it with a paint brush and white spirit, if its dry it'll get oiled, that will do for me.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
:tired: I find that very sad, a bikes for riding not for endlessly fettling, just get out and ride it. If I notice my chain is dirty it'll get wiped with a rag, if I notice its very dirty I'll clean it with a paint brush and white spirit, if its dry it'll get oiled, that will do for me.
So it's sad that I'm maintaining my bike using the method I choose, but not sad that you're doing the same for yours using a different method..?
 
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