Let me start by this, if you are finding it ridiculous then you haven't given it a try. Apart from the initial cleaning stage it is much easier than dealing with normal lubes.
Yeah sorry but no thats not possible. Not being disrespectful as to your claims but I'm making a factual statement blunt by its nature. I've been a daily rider since the mid 1970's, although I took about 15 years off somewhere in the middle of that. So I am accustomed to a daily grind in riding. Its not an occasional recreational vehicle. Convenience coupled with effectiveness is paramount. First of all I park my bike at a city park or a convenient park bench so I can sit in the sun and not a dreary garage. Further, I stop mid-commute, typically so its not even a special trip. I ride thru a park on my way to work and I stop at a bench I am already passing (that no one is already sleeping on).
For me there never is a heavy initial cleaning stage. I never let a chain get dirty in the first place. And that includes riding singletrack. Right after a mud bath, I use a bug sprayer loaded with simple green to do a low-pressure soapy wash, followed by another bug sprayer with plain water. This cleans the drivetrain as well as the entire bike. I do the same thing every few months with a street-driven bike. Oddly, I get the bike clean but I feel dirty for taking off the dust coating it earned serving me.
But back to normal chain maintenance: If I am riding a bike with a center stand, I put one hockey puck under each stand leg (standard kit on such a bike already) which lifts the back wheel. then I use an old shop rag, holding it under the area I am about to wipe, and squirt down onto and along the center of the chain for the length of its upper travel between chainring and cog. I immediately wipe those links top, bottom and side. that segment of chain is now done. I move the chain a length forward and repeat until the master link comes around again. This is a 10 minute process. Total. In a few weeks I do it again, keyed to when the chain makes a little noise which tells me its drying out. I am using Rock And Roll which is a combined solvent and lubricant so one pass only is needed.
If I am not riding a bike with a center stand, I wrote the procedure up in this post
. Different method of advancing the chain but otherwise the same fast procedure.
Let me summarize the reasons:
1. It is much much cleaner. No gunk, rollers always roll freely even after 200 miles, no build up on the cogs, jockey wheels. Cleaning the bike including the drivetrain is most of the time not needed and when it does only a little bit of car wash soap (non-wax added ones to keep the frame and brakes as they are) is all it takes.
that may be true with the type of terrain you ride in, but for dusty and sometimes now rainy California streets it is not. I noted my cleaning procedure above. For street riding I wash it just to make it pretty. My drivetrain stays clean by its nature. Probably in part because of the lube I use which does not attract dirt, which is what those jockey wheels will otherwise cake with. And also because the manufacturer's prescribed procedure includes the immediate wipe down, which keeps the exterior from being wet.
2. Application intervals are far longer. MY wax last at least 180-200 miles. That is more than double of most of the lubricants I have tried. Shifting performance of wax at 200 miles is far better than shifting performance of regular lubes at 90 miles btw.
Your wax takes a lot longer to deal with and apply than the procedure I detail above. Not to mention the dedicated equipment you have to buy to prepare it/apply it. Plus are you doing the ultrasonic clean thats recommended before application? Mo' money and mo' gadgetry. 200 miles? Thats a week for me. If I do my full exercise commute I am doing 32 daily miles, not counting weekday bank runs, post-work shopping trips, or my Saturday/Sunday trip down to my workshop. If I cheat and take a shorter route to work I'm still right at around 200. So with all that posturing out of the way: my chain lubrication interval is every two weeks (in summer heat, which around here is damn hot); longer in the winter if it doesn't rain. I just broke down a few days ago and re-did the chain even though it wasn't making anywhere near the noise I usually let it get to.
3. About the price of chains. Unfortunately the price is not $20 if you are using a 10+ speed drivetrain. My chains are in the $50+ range. I was replacing a chain every 1500-2000 miles on a bosch mid drive in the best case. That adds up.
Same here. I need two 11s chains for my Surly Big Fat Dummy. Using two KMC 11e's means a hundred bucks a pop. On the BFD I think I am at about 1600 miles on its first chain with no measurable (Park chain gauge) wear, and that bike has a BBSHD on it. I also keep a spare sized chain in my onboard kit on any mid-drive bike I own in case of disaster so do that math
Thats part of why I brought up the SRAM chain I did above. Its a cheap mid-friendly alternative good for 8, 9 and 10s drivetrains. The bike I am building now - a steep-hill-climbing version of my flat-land Bullitt daily driver - got a 9s drivetrain in part because of the 11s chain cost and frequent lack of availability (that wasn't the only reason).
4. It does decrease the wear on cogs and chainring since that wear is a result of inter-link distance not matching the distance between the teeth of a chainring. At least for a mainstream mid drive + rider or rider only. I don't know about Bafang ultra.
If you build a bike right in the first place, you take care of these issues (components that wear so quickly; this is why I use 1-piece steel clusters for example) from the start. That includes chain, cogs, chainring, cassette body engagement mechanism and the hub itself. Once you get past picking the right hardware, you have to next choose a frame that delivers proper chainline. And lastly insofar as hardware is concerned, tune the motor so pedal assist and motor startup do not dig into stuff.
No wearing-out of the drivetrain early. No broken chains. No motor shifting… No whining. Read this so you don’t become That Guy on the internet.
5. Re-waxing is actually very easy, take off the chain, run it under boiling water and drop it in a crockpot. You can do whatever you want while the wax heats up. And your hands are always clean while taking off the chain no matter how you handle the chain.
Sitting at a park bench and running a wet rag over the still-installed chain, then riding off, is easier still. Look if you like doing what you are doing thats fine and you should continue... but this goes straight to my reiterating that you are incorrect in thinking your regimen is easier. I'm honestly not aiming my comments at you, but rather at the person who is new and looking for advice on how to proceed.
6. In the long run hot waxing is cheaper not only because you are saving your chain but also you spend less on wax itself. My mixture costed me $10 and it lasts more than 4K miles and I am not using any degreasers when cleaning before re-waxing.
Yeah... I buy a bottle of lube every 6 months or so. Honestly I don't keep track. I can't make a meaningful comment on how long chains last because I have to use mileage as a factor, since I have several bikes at two different residences and I switch off riding them. So a time-based answer is useless. But... 2500 miles for a single-motor bike with a 1500w BBSHD is about right. You also have to bear in mind I put rather a lot into my builds and I've been at this for awhile. I know what works if for no other reason I have had the opportunity to do it all the wrong ways over the years, and did so by and large.
And to see how much metal/dirt if any was trapped in the chain I actually took out one of my waxed chain which has 2500+ miles and instead of boiling water I put it in my ultrasonic cleaner. At the end the amount of dirt(and probably a significant portion was not dirt, ws2 is also dark grey) came out was much less than what I used to have when I clean my regular lubed chains before each re-lube on a parktool. If I put my regular lubed chains in an ultrasonic cleaner even after running them through a park tool scrubber they release ten times more gunk.
ah HAH! You do have an ultrasonic cleaner. I have a rag
So it is not just one benefit, it is a combination of all of these. If you don't care then fine do your own thing.
Its not that I don't care. If there was a meaningful benefit not outweighed by other factors (like lost time and money), I'd do it. I'm not constrained by cost nor ability to perform the task. But if I can get 2000+ miles out of a proper chain with my own regimen, which admittedly also includes savvy riding technique that does not visit stupidity on my drivetrain, then what is to be gained? Speaking of which...
If you can ride a bicycle you already know how to ride a hub drive ebike. Not so a mid drive. Particularly a powerful one that can tear your chain apart. Fear not. The rules are simple.
I spend almost no time or money (after buying it in the first place) maintaining my chain or my drivetrain. But I spend enough time with the right tools for the job to get excellent results. I can use that otherwise lost time for many things. Including simply riding and enjoying the bike.
This is interesting, what bike is this one on, how do you ride it?
This one. 52T chainring and completely flat terrain. 11s SRAM GX. DT 350 hub w/24T Hybrid ratchet and steel cassette body upgrades. Steel Sunrace cluster.
And as for riding it: the answer is hard, considering it is a cargo bike that is commonly loaded with 100 lbs of stuff (and this bike is also my daily commuter). I went to Costco last weekend and the cargo box was filled, as were the 30L panniers on the back.
Now... that bike is cheating, because it is 2wd and I have developed a hardware-based approach to 2wd that completely eliminates the shock to the drivetrain that is typical of a 1500w mid drive. Detailed at the same web site linked above. Look in the 2wd section of the Table of Contents. A more fair comparison would be how my BFD is set up right now:
36T front chainring, 11-46T rear cluster (not steel this time), SRAM 11s NX. Same DT hub and upgrades. c/f rims rated to 200kg each, which is a good thing as I have had those bags fully loaded to bring the bike up to 565 lbs total system weight, which is a VERY hairy thing to balance. Unloaded this bike will climb walls. I would have to check the odo to be sure but I believe its all-original drivetrain is at about 1600 miles.