Adventures in OCD: Today's Chain Waxing

OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
No, its sad that you invest so much time and effort in such a mundane task.
Thanks for your support.

Besides, when you factor in the time and effort required to properly clean a chain on-bike (if that's possible) plus all the mess and filth involved, I don't think it's much more work to remove the chain periodically and sling it in a pan of wax for a few minutes.

Shame on me for taking pride in looking after my gear and having the gaul to do something differently to everyone else, I guess :rolleyes:
 

Kryton521

Über Member
I take it back Foodie, thought you were diverting the conversation! Never knew that existed! But then I don't surf......

I got wax from Amazon, just plain ordinary paraffin wax, 5kg? Used for making candles, {what a waste of effort!} and then mixed it with paraffin to about 2-1 I think.
Should probably top up the paraffin content, think it's getting a bit stiff.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
I take it back Foodie, thought you were diverting the conversation! Never knew that existed! But then I don't surf......

I got wax from Amazon, just plain ordinary paraffin wax, 5kg? Used for making candles, {what a waste of effort!} and then mixed it with paraffin to about 2-1 I think.
Should probably top up the paraffin content, think it's getting a bit stiff.
It appears the lighter fractions in the mixture boil off as temperature rises. I topped mine up with oil a while ago but think I overshot somewhat and it ended up a bit soft.. I think it's one step to far to try and determine the correct amount to add from the density :tongue:
 

12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
I've had the same crockpot of wax for 10 yeats or more. I use canning wax and have added things like synthetic grease, moly sulfide and toilet bowl beeswax seal (which is very sticky) so the wax stayed a little greasy and doesn't flake off the chain. This takes a while to melt in the crockpot, but once it has, I let the chains soak for 1/2 hour or so, pull them out with a bit of bailing wire that was put through the chain before immersion, and when cool, throw them back on the bike. While this whole thing takes a couple of hours, including letting the crockpot cool and putting it away, the actual time of my involvement is maybe 5 minutes a chain.
 

Kryton521

Über Member
Wow! Who knew! I certainly didn't! It really is a thing!

Although now been replaced with plastic/silicon things.

And I couldn't get any so brought "surfers beeswax instead!
 

12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
A seal is anywhere from $2 to 8 depending if it has a plastic flange or bolts to go with. The wax used to be beeswax but nowadays petroleum although it is very sticky. Traditional beeswax is very good but isn't cheap. On the other hand commercial chain lube isn't either.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
How are you getting on with your waxed chains @wafter ?
Thinking to have a go at this as I get through too many chains.
Much the same tbh; still continuing to impress with no sign of getting close to wearing out yet; although admittedly I've not been out on the bike anywhere near as much as I'd have liked during the past year.

FWIW the highest mileage chain continues to be the one that's the subject of this thread, which is now on a little over 3k miles and still shrugging off any attempts from the chain-wear checker to write it off :tongue:

I did buy a couple more chains as they were a good price at the time, however waxed them as soon as they arrived and probably missed a trick as one would have served as a decent side-by-side comparison for wear / elongation with the original.

As you can tell from this thread I'm a big fan of waxing; best thing I can suggest is to give it a go and see how you get on :smile:
 

alex_cycles

Active Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Much the same tbh; still continuing to impress with no sign of getting close to wearing out yet; although admittedly I've not been out on the bike anywhere near as much as I'd have liked during the past year.

FWIW the highest mileage chain continues to be the one that's the subject of this thread, which is now on a little over 3k miles and still shrugging off any attempts from the chain-wear checker to write it off :tongue:

I did buy a couple more chains as they were a good price at the time, however waxed them as soon as they arrived and probably missed a trick as one would have served as a decent side-by-side comparison for wear / elongation with the original.

As you can tell from this thread I'm a big fan of waxing; best thing I can suggest is to give it a go and see how you get on :smile:
Today the ultrasonic bath and the slow cooker arrived. Wax, Molybdenum disulphide and Teflon on the way (trying the recipe here )
I might not get to it until the spring though, and I think I'll restrict it to my 11-speed chains as the 9-speeds seem to last a lot longer.

Most I've had out of an 11 speed using Mickle-like method is about 2500 miles, but all too often it's around 1000, which isn't enough.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Today the ultrasonic bath and the slow cooker arrived. Wax, Molybdenum disulphide and Teflon on the way (trying the recipe here )
I might not get to it until the spring though, and I think I'll restrict it to my 11-speed chains as the 9-speeds seem to last a lot longer.

Most I've had out of an 11 speed using Mickle-like method is about 2500 miles, but all too often it's around 1000, which isn't enough.
Excellent work :becool:

Tbh I'm pretty shocked that you're getting as little as 1k miles from a chain; that sounds terrible! Are there any particular circumstances that you think might be responsible for this - rider weight, power output, environmental factors, chain quality...? For the sake of clarity my chains probably get an easy life - I'm not too heavy (c. 75kg), not hugely powerful (rides average 100-150W on Strava if that's to be believed) and generally a fairweather cyclist.

I think you're right about the 9-speed chains; which would figure as I think they're a fair bit wider than the 11-speed offerings so consequently have more bearing area and take longer to wear as a result. Still no reason not to treat them to a wax if you get on with it though - even my old 2x5 speed shopping shed gets waxed; something I was very glad of when it uncharacteristically threw it's chain recently.

I think the primary means of wear on oiled chains is abrasion from the dust that sticks to / becomes mixed with the oil and subsequently works its way into the links through capillary action. Obviously the presence of this abrasive slurry on the drive surfaces of the cassette and sprockets should also be responsible for wear of these components; however (as is usually bourne out by the need to replace chains more frequently than these other components) chains probably have a harder life due to the reduced bearing area involved and theres's probably less sliding contact at their contact surfaces with the cassette / sprocket.

How often are you finding you need to replace cassettes and sprockets? I hope that the waxing serves to prolong the life of all drivetrain components, but (hopefully!) it'll be a long time before I can confirm the mileage I've got out of mine!

Anyway, I hope it goes well - let us know how you get on ;)
 

alex_cycles

Active Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Excellent work :becool:

Tbh I'm pretty shocked that you're getting as little as 1k miles from a chain; that sounds terrible! Are there any particular circumstances that you think might be responsible for this - rider weight, power output, environmental factors, chain quality...? For the sake of clarity my chains probably get an easy life - I'm not too heavy (c. 75kg), not hugely powerful (rides average 100-150W on Strava if that's to be believed) and generally a fairweather cyclist.
I got my road bike in June 2019 and have just put the 8th replacement chain on. In that time I've done 14684 miles. Until this year I was using the bike all year round. I try not to go out when it's raining, but there has been a fair amount of wet road riding.
I think, at first I didn't know how to look after a chain. Nowadays it gets a wipe after every ride. Most recent one lasted 2577 which is the best so far (fitted 12th July - so summer riding mostly). I ride about 600-800 miles a month.

I replace the 11 speed when it reaches 0.5% wear (as per instructions) which is meant to avoid the need to replace cassettes and chain rings too often. I have gone through a set of chain rings though in the first two years (why aren't they made of steel?),

How often are you finding you need to replace cassettes and sprockets? I hope that the waxing serves to prolong the life of all drivetrain components, but (hopefully!) it'll be a long time before I can confirm the mileage I've got out of mine!
I changed one set of chainrings at 9047 miles. Fitted one new cassette as well, but I have two different wheelsets so the wear life on cassette is not quite as clearcut. I think, initially I was ignorant of the causes of chain wear. Bit better now, but if waxing can make them last even longer, it'll be worth it. (Wax and MoS2 has arrived - awaiting PTFE now).
 
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