There are a myriad ways to care for your bike chain, and I don’t want to debate that here. That said, I would love to listen to the NA podcast that was teased recently, in which Zach and Caley rebut Friction Facts and talk about why waxing bike chains is a waste of time. I do not want AK on the podcast, because personally I think he’s said his piece and won over everyone he’s going to win over already. In addition, both Caley and Zach are much better at ranting than they are at truly debating, and that’s what I want, unfettered ranting from two curmudgeonly anti-nerds about the nerdiest topic in cycling. Who’s with me?
I’m a confirmed waxer, and would like to listen to this.
I prefer facts to ranting so would rather listen to Jason Smith and Adam Kerin. I suggest you head over to Hambini’s YouTube channel if you’re after non-factual ranting
I’m waiting for the rebuttal Zach and Caley promised in the March 30 podcast as well. However, I believe one of them begged off of it in an episode since then.
I don’t need ranting or even a debate. But I would like to hear at least a reasoned basis for the antipathy toward waxing.
What is backing your “non-factual ranting” rant of Hambini ???
Honestly - and this is coming from a waxer - the case against it is pretty simple. Waxing is more complex overall, especially at the start when you have to thoroughly clean the chain. Each single step in that process is not hard to learn, it’s just that there are a lot of steps. Lots of steps = fewer adopters, and of the adopters, some proportion will make mistakes, get poor results, and then de-adopt - which is what Zach is grumpy about.
Now, it’s true that the above might change. Adam Kerin’s review of Ceramicspeed’s chain cleaner sounds pretty promising! If he’s right, that stuff is really effective, so no need for a post-degrease alcohol rinse. It’s still a couple of soaks in the cleaner, so it’s a simpler version of the existing process rather than a completely different process.
The rise of good drip wax lubes is another big deal also. Now you don’t have to get a crockpot and reusable master links if you don’t want to. Of course, by the time you figure out all the steps you need to take to degrease the chain, the additional step of getting that crock pot is not a big step, or at least I found that it wasn’t.
I don’t know how feasible this is, but if bike brands shipped their chains without packing grease, that would make the adoption process even simpler. I raise this only because I saw a couple of Sensah Empire groupset reviews on YouTube, and their sellers appear to be shipping completely dry YBN chains (claimed to be anyway) with the groups. Alternatively, buy a pre-cleaned and treated chain. Molten Speed Wax, Silca, Ceramicspeed, all sell them in the US (stock permitting, anyway).
I know of a few professional mechanics who wax their chains. I know a lot more who use a good drip lube and simply make a good habit of wiping their chain post-ride and give it an occasional cleaning. I’m in the second camp - a good drip lube is just easier. And I have waxed (for road use), it’s not difficult. It is far more time consuming, though.
The reality for most consumers is that it’s hard enough just to get them to lube their chain at all, let alone to get them to follow all the steps of effective chain waxing. Almost every time I have ever broken down the process for a customer, their eyes glazed over and I’m fairly certain that they retained nothing I said. Whereas a 60-second wipe and lube is simple, will still prolong the life of their drivetrain parts, and they might actually do it.
Certain environments don’t play well with wax, too. That’s a reality. Here in Bend, waxes do okay on the road, but when we get into our deep-summer volcanic moon-dust season for offroad riding, the wax doesn’t last. I actually wore out MTB drivetrain parts faster when I was using waxes. Riding off-road in those conditions, I pretty much just plan on a post-ride wipe and lube for any ride over about 90 minutes.
In addition to that, I realize some people find Park-style chain cleaners laughable (as I did for many years), but my drivetrain parts began to last noticeably longer when I started using them once every 15 ride hours or so, regardless of which chain lube I used.
Ive been on MSW for about 5 years and find it far simpler than drip lubes once cleaning is taken into account. Agree with your observations. Btw I am very good riding buddies with AK and find the anti wax comments on Nerd Alert bizarre in the absence of a fact-based rationale.
I don’t think you’re waxing you’re MTB chain right then. I have 15,000km out of a SRAM XX1 chain and it’s still less than 0.5mm wear. I wax with MSW after every wet or super dusty MTB ride. There is zero chance drip lube is coming close to that longevity on a MTB.
That isn’t the point. There are far more steps to effective chain waxing. Getting the general riding population to follow those steps is not a realistic expectation.
In the end, the best chain lube is the lube you’ll actually use. Not much else matters. So, until there is an effective wax application that can be applied in 60 seconds and lasts 5+ hours in the worst conditions, drip lubes will win the usability award for consumers. End of story.
Initial cleaning and setup aside (which you can outsource to one of several vendors if you prefer) waxing probably takes less time. Unclip chain, put in wax pot. Come back later and hang it up. Come back later and reinstall. Less effort if you use multiple chains. Then factor in not having to clean the frame or sprockets.
While I totally agree (and use hot wax on both my road bikes), it’s always going to be a very hard sell to most cyclists. The perception is that it’s a lot of work and is complex, which even though untrue, is what prevents the initial ‘investment’. I think most riders will always go for the ‘standard wet lube and periodic clean’ approach. I have to say the main appeal to me was component longevity as a higher mileage rider, but the cleanliness is probably my favourite aspect of it now.
I suppose I’m here for the intelligent folks who can hold in their mind that time taken cleaning and time taking lubing are both time. Maybe I’m more optimistic about human intelligence than you
It’s not the time taken, it’s the quality of the time…
Waxing will always remain something for a limited number of people. How many riders have ever taken off a chain?
Can we talk about Shimano’s anti competitive move to disable Di2 on Hammerhead head units? Pretty serious escalation of future policy of cutting integration with other companies - the consumer loses out ultimately.
Exactly which functions were disabled? Gear indicator? Power meter?