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I’m So Close to Waxing My Chain

Maybe I’ve been reading too much internet while stuck at home with a cold but I’m basically convinced to try switching from drip lube to wax.

What’s persuaded me?

  1. I’ve been suspect of waxing because it sounded like something roadies do to eke out 3 watts with mild chain wear benefits. However, the longevity benefit to drivetrain consumables sounds much greater than I realized. There’s plenty of anecdata about chains that last ten thousand kilometers with minimal wear to your chainring, cassette, and derailleur pulleys. This is all because wax doesn’t attract abrasive contaminants (e.g., dirt) like drip lube will. Those contaminants are grinding down your drivetrain little by little. I’m starting to think that waxing your chain is even the environmentally responsible thing to do given the longevity benefits.
  2. The bike I ride the most these days is an e-bike (egret). The chainring doesn’t move if you backpedal the crank on a mid-drive e-bike. This makes it hard to clean off drip lube when I don’t have a work stand available.
  3. This e-bike has nearly chewed out this chain1 to 0.5% wear in 1850 km. Waxing should last far longer.
  4. I have a new drivetrain coming so now is the perfect time to do it — the cassette, derailleur, and chainring will already be clean.
  5. It sounds way less fussy than I’ve heard about in the past — see below.


  1. Strip a new Shimano CN-LG500 chain with Silca Chain Stripper in mason jars.
  2. Find a used 2qt Crock Pot.
  3. Bend a spoke into a chain swisher.
  4. Throw the chain and wax into the pot on low with the lid off. I’m going to use Silca Hot Melt Wax. I’ve heard slightly better things about Molten Speed Wax but mainly from a performance standpoint and Silca is easier to get.2
  5. Hang the chain up to cool/dry.
  6. Throw the chain on the bike without articulating the rollers. This should avoid some mess inside and pre-articulating probably doesn’t matter.
  7. I’ve been riding about 150-200 km every week, so every 1-2 weeks I’ll take the chain off, rinse it with boiling water, and throw it in wax again.

I figure that re-waxing probably ends up taking as long as lubing my chain does now when you factor in cleaning excess lube off.

Thanks to nicoles, meyatt, and bean for your encouragement and suggestions.

Update, Oct 18: I’ve been concerned with disposing the used chain stripper. I contacted Silca and they had this to say:

Chain stripper should be disposed of by taking it to a toxic waste drop-off. The liquid itself can be diluted enough in the water to go down a drain, as I belive it is mentioned in the MSDS, but once you have your chain lubricant and everything it is just best to go to a toxic waste drop-off.

  1. Albeit a low/mid-end 9-speed KMC chain. ↩︎

  2. All of this stuff is out of stock on QBP (or discontinued) so I can’t get it from the bike shop. I try to avoid ordering delivery to reduce the number of cars on the road so at least by getting both things from Silca I can reduce the number of packages. ↩︎