Friday, February 10, 2017

Waxing The Chain

Resource Links:

Molten Speed Wax: Cleaning Guide
Molten Speed Wax: Waxing Guide
Molten Speed Wax: Ultrasonic Cleaning
Molten Speed Wax: Why Wax

What I Have:

Ultrasonic Tub - Not to be used on new chains
An inexpensive mini slow cooker, wax (Molten Speed Wax), chains and quick links

I will use the guides from Molten Speed Wax in this process. There are some other good instructional videos at Youtube on cleaning and waxing the chains, but I will stick with MSW for my first try for the 2017 winter and spring chain updates for two bikes. For the etap update I will be using a Premier Tactical Bike waxed Connex 11 speed chain for this season, but I will also have a backup chain that I will clean and wax later on. 

Molten Speed Wax notes that ultrasonic cleaners do not remove the grease from new chains very well so I will stick with their method of using mineral spirits and denatured alcohol in a jug following their steps. 

I have the following:

Park Tool Chain Link Tool MLP12
Park Tool Chain Breaker CT3.2
KMC 10 Speed Chains (new)
Molten Speed Wax
Slow Cooker (inexpensive and dedicated for this process)
Mineral Spirits (clear)
Denatured Alcohol
Plastic Wide Mouthed Jug with screw top
Clean rags (old white t-shirts)
Solvent Resistant Gloves
Safety Glasses
A place to hang the chains while drying

I have had the ultrasonic tub for a number of years and it works great. I will probably use later in the season for follow up treatments. I may stick with Molten Speed Wax (MSW) or I may switch to regular paraffin wax. What I like is that Molten Speed Wax contains PTFE and molybdenum. A 1 lb. bag will treat up to 8 training chains or 16 race chains. For the cost if individually adding moly and PTFE to paraffin seems to be worth the price.

You might think that I got some sort of compensation from Molten Speed Wax as much as I mentioned their name, but I assure you they have no idea who I am. I purchased my bag of MSW from Amazon Prime and this is just the route that I plan to start into dry chain lube.


I went through the MSW steps as best possible, which included several mineral spirit baths and the overnight bath and then the denatured alcohol bath into the slow cooker for 60 minutes with a homemade swisher tool. I was treating two chains in the baths and just as MSW noted, there were metal shavings present in the first two baths. However, I only put one chain in the cooker at a time. It is kind of time consuming process when you have other things to do, but based on my observation the steps are necessary if one wants good results, whether it is a training or racing chain. I ended up using the ultrasonic tub to clean the cassette on the Felt B10 and that also took three baths to get clean and then a bath in the alcohol before dipping each cog into the wax and using a small paint brush on the largest gear cluster.

I am so looking forward to see how this performs out on the road and mostly in context of a cleaner drive train. On today's ride the old oily chain was thrown off to the inside while downshifting. What an absolute mess to put that chain back on and all I could do to wipe off some of the nasty black oil from my fingers was in the roadside grass, which is not very effective. It was nice to sit on the couch breaking the dried waxed links from their rigor state and the more I worked the chain links loose the better it felt in the hands without an oily mess. 

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