emily’s bike stuff
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Chain Wax!

It’s done! I’ve been running a waxed chain for a week now. It was easy and the result has been great, as far as I can tell. Jay had an old, reasonably small slow cooker lying around so I didn’t even have to find a used 2qt one.

I used an empty bottle and Silca Chain Stripper to strip the chain of its factory grease. This is a Shimano CN-LG500 chain. I rinsed the chain off directly in the sink. The chain stripper didn’t get as dark as I expected after sitting and agitating. Then again, it’s a new chain, and I think I used way more chain stripper than I intended because I didn’t pick a good bottle. Also the chain did end up loud and clean to the touch. Next time I do this I’d find some container that lets me use a shallower pour of chain stripper and really shake up the chain. Things were a bit too tight here.

A bunched up chain in an empty bottle filled with Silca chain stripper

Here’s the Silca Hot Melt Wax in the slow cooker, ready to melt.

Hundreds of wax pellets sitting in a slow cooker

I took a wire clothes hanger and bent it into a chain swisher. I cut off the part of the hanger that was the unwound hook so that it would fit through the chain better. This worked really well and I’m just gonna use that hanger forever.

A clothes hanger fit through the links of a chain

I put the chain straight into the semi-melted wax after rinsing it. It took probably 1.5 hours in this slow cooker to fully melt the wax.

A chain submersed in nearly melted wax inside a slow cooker

I agitated the chain thoroughly after the wax had fully melted and then took it out and hung it with the hanger. This little setup on my window latch above the kitchen counter worked great.

A chain suspended over a slow cooker via a clothes hanger hooked on a window latch
A close up view of the chain suspended over the slow cooker

I let it cool for 20 minutes and then put it into a plastic bag with its quick link to take to the bike shop. I installed it on a new drivetrain a couple days later. It went smoothly! I didn’t bother articulating the chain much to get the wax off. I installed it right in the new drivetrain with a bit of fiddling and it went well.

A close up view of the waxed chain

Gus helped, of course.

A cat stepping on a plastic bag containing a newly waxed chain

It’s hard to have any informed thoughts yet, but my initial impressions are positive. I feel confident that re-waxing won’t be difficult. It takes a while to melt the wax but it’s largely unattended time. The drivetrain does feel a bit smoother and quieter, but that could just be what I want to feel. I installed it on Nov 3rd with roughly 2050 km on egret so let the durability tracking begin!

You can zoom in and see how waxy the drivetrain gets. But not dirty! I’ve been running my finger over the chain all week and it’s been clean the entire time. It’s so wild! Even after some rain!

A buff tabby cat lying in front of a bike with a waxed chain installed