Considering waxing my chains (MTB/Gravel)

I wax five chains at a time which further cuts the time needed per fresh chain.

No way there should be enough wax build up to cause chain skipping, so yes, you definitely need to do a better job of wiping down the chain after waxing–done while it’s still hot. You should see only a little bit of wax flaking once cool and dry, on the chain, not enough to ever cause a buildup on the cassette.

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I followed the Molten Speed Wax instructions since I tried their product. My one deviation was using a hot plate vs crockpot, but I use a thermocouple wire on my multimeter to keep the wax from getting too hot. About 200 deg F is the hottest I’ll let it get.

MSW instructions only have you hang the chain to drip excess wax as it cools. After cooling you can bend the stiff links around something like a piece of pipe.

I’ve done 5 or 6 chains on various bikes, haven’t seen any excess wax yet, and only hang them to dry, no wiping.

Perhaps it’s wax temperature, or wax viscosity issue leading to more wax on the chain? Do you lay it down to cool? Laying the chain flat with the outer plates laying down may leave more wax on one side vs hanging vertical.

I’m wiping the chain off immediately on removing it from the slow cooker, then hanging it up for a few minutes and loosening the links by rolling over PVC pipe. I’ll try wiping it down a bit harder.

Random related (and potentially stupid) question. I am heading away for weekend to see inlaws and taking the bike for sanity. Have a roof mounted rack and it’s likely it will be raining when I am driving. Has anyone removed their chain while transporting to avoid getting wet and corrosion on the way/degrading the wax? If so, any issues with cranks moving and hitting rack (Thule 598)

Before anyone suggests putting the bike in the car, I could do that but kids would need to go on roof which is tempting but very illegal :sweat_smile:

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I’ve been using squirt all summer and love it. I use it mainly for mountain biking but also. road and gravel (don’t do as much of those two). The winter months on Vancouver Island allow MTB all year round but with A LOT of rain and puddles. I generally need to relube every ride in winter months.
My question is, would proper parafin waxing my chain be helpful in the winter or would it just need to be redone too often to be useful?

Something I’ve used is the Evoc chain cover. This way your chain stays on, relatively dry and it partly protects other parts of the drive train. It’s not perfect, have to remove your pedals to get it on, then I put them back on before transport to keep the pedal/crank interface sealed.

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Thanks, I might not get one in time for this weekend but seems like a good option for longer term

You can always simply strap the crank to the chainstay to prevent it moving. I’d suggest using an old toestrap but that would show my age.

If you had enough toestraps they could keep the kids still…

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The watts savings are real, not hogswash, but that’s not why I wax. Longevity and cleanliness improvements are massive which saves me a lot of time and cost. I wax my MTB chain after every wet ride and it takes about 5 mins total using quick links. Because there’s no oil, cleaning the rest of the drive chain and bike is a simple hose-down saving me a heap of time. You are using one of the all time worst lubes for longevity I’m Muc-off, according to Kerin’s independent testing, so will really notice the difference.

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The bike comes first :smiley:

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There is always a small amount of wax buildup on my cassette and it has affected shifting performance before. When it did, I removed the cassette and poured boiling water on it with a kettle, just like how I clean my chains.

I have changed my waxing technique a bit to reduce excess wax and improve lubrication. Previously I removed the chain from the slow cooker at just above the wax melting temperature (around 62ºC in my case). I am now following the Zero Friction Cycling guide. They recommend heating wax and chain to 90ºC, swishing the chain vigorously for 45 seconds and then removing it from the pot - this works great if the chain is kept on the wire hanger throughout the process. At 90ºC, the amount of wax remaining on the outside of the chain is minimal.

Its only illegal if (you get caught).
Actually, its only illegal if you do not have seat belts up at the roof rack. :stuck_out_tongue:
The simplest solution I have for you is to get a roll of shrink-wrap and wrap your drive train.

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Thanks - I have a spare one-up strap for carrying spares on the MTB that would do the trick.

Shame don’t have enough to strap the kids, a quiet car trip would be nice.

My solution to the buildup is perhaps a bit easier. Just find a small flathead screwdriver that fits between the cogs (the end of a wire coathanger also works), slide it between the cogs, and spin your wheel. The wax in between will scrape right off. Takes about 30 seconds.

I second this. I just use an old bankcard and scrape between the cogs. Each time change chains give it a quick once over.

Yes, I get that build up too between the 11 & 12 cog, just scrape it off every 1000km or so. It’s never caused skipping, but probably could if you let it build up. Just takes a few seconds, and at the same time I quickly brush down the whole drive train to clean off all those little wax flakes that seem to collect everywhere. Using MSW; follow the guidelines and remove my chains at around 93C; break-in the links by hand while the chain is still warm (not hot); and there’s very little wax left on the outside of the chain.