The Ultimate Mid-Drive Chain Care Thread

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Anyone try this? This guy has quite a few videos including some test results and I think I've been convinced wax is the way to go.


Never tried chain waxing, but tests do show it to be a great chain lube. I've always wondered about the rollers and pins after waxing. Like the video showed, you need to break the cooled wax at each chain link, but aren't the rollers and pins also stuck together? The free movement of the rollers on the pins is what minimizes wear on the chain ring and cogs. If these can't roll freely, they're just being dragged over the teeth of the gearing, just sayin'...
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Anyone try this? This guy has quite a few videos including some test results and I think I've been convinced wax is the way to go.



Wax has been tested and shown to be the most effective at preventing chain wear... lot's of studies are available on the web.

It's just a major pain to follow the procedure unless you are a pro-level mechanic. I'll stick with dry lube... C3 Ceramic Muc-Off.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Wax has been tested and shown to be the most effective at preventing chain wear... lot's of studies are available on the web.

It's just a major pain to follow the procedure unless you are a pro-level mechanic. I'll stick with dry lube... C3 Ceramic Muc-Off.
I agree, but still not sure how the rollers can function when the pins are coated with wax...even though test data says the wear is better. Just confused...
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
It's just a major pain to follow the procedure unless you are a pro-level mechanic.

Didn't seem too hard in the video. Basically first time get the chain sanitized of oils and contaminants. Then after that you just need to rinse the chain in hot water before waxing. To wax you just dip in a hot pot with wax, pull it out, wipe off excess, let it dry, loosen up the links, put it back on the bike.
 

smorgasbord

Well-Known Member
Anyone try this? This guy has quite a few videos including some test results and I think I've been convinced wax is the way to go.

I think that wax is only for on-road riders who care about every last watt and are willing to do whatever it takes to gain that last tenth of watt advantage.

For us mid-drive e-bikers, what matters more is chain longevity and ease of maintenance. While the tests run in a garage show wax results in less friction, in the real world that may or may not be the case. We don't ride with a continuous even force for many many miles - we start and stop, we mash and we coast. Motors kick in big time. That kind of sudden pull on the chain might squeeze out some wax and thus the end real-world results for wax may not be as good as lubricants that seep in and stay in under that kind of sudden pressure.

So, wax may not even be the best for longevity and it's certainly the worst for amount of effort required.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Didn't seem too hard in the video. Basically first time get the chain sanitized of oils and contaminants. Then after that you just need to rinse the chain in hot water before waxing. To wax you just dip in a hot pot with wax, pull it out, wipe off excess, let it dry, loosen up the links, put it back on the bike.
Everything a pro does looks easier than it really is when I try it 🤣 I'd be interested in progress reports from setting up to wax your new chain, then each time you re-wax.
 

Hectors Ghost

Active Member
I treat new chains (3 at a time) with Boeshield T-9 and let them dry. When the current chain shows .50 wear on a Park chain checker I pull it and the tensioner and swap it with its clean twin then hang the new chain. After each ride, I spin the chain through a shop towel until no more grime comes off on the towel, clean the gears (only two), and clean the tensioner, then reapply a light coat of T-9. Depending on the riding conditions when necessary I thoroughly clean the chain with a Park chain cleaner filled with Pig Juice. Once clean I spin the chain at full speed 14th gear, run it through a dry towel and coat it thoroughly with ACF-50 dispelling any remaining water. Rub the chain down again and re-apply a coat of T-9. I am getting an average of 750 miles (about monthly) per KTM chain. Daily wipe downs take about 5 mins. and about 30 to swap out a new chain. Sometimes ya just know that it time to clean the chain.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Like Flatsix ,I would like to plug Squirt lube also. It is the best product I have found so far. Also if you have an 11 speed I heartily suggest you try the Sram XX1- 11 speed chain, which lasted 4600 km on my heavy Ebike. This is about 50 % longer than the other name brands I have used.
 

Hectors Ghost

Active Member
Like Flatsix ,I would like to plug Squirt lube also...
Rohloff Speed-hub. I thought my 1st chain was lasting a long time and it did... thousands and thousands of miles until I realized it had stretched a long time ago and wore the gear down with it. When I did finally change the chain the new one wouldn't mesh with it anymore. Now I check it often. I use an 8-speed chain. They are the most-beefy you can get without going to a mo-ped chain. <Kidding> I used SL but found the T-9 dries almost completely and doesn't collect grime as much. When it IS necessary to do a deep clean with the Park tool and solvent and then rinse with water (or after riding in the rain) the ACF-50 displaces all the water then I apply the T-9. I really think wiping the chain down after each ride helps more than anything. That and cleaning the tensioner.
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
I decided to try the muc off dry lube that flat six suggested. It says to wipe off excess but unclear whether I should do this before or after the lube dries? It says to wait 4 hours before riding.

Edit: looking at more generic instructions it seems like you're supposed to wipe excess initially. Also unclear whether the goop on the front chain ring should be wiped down as well?
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I decided to try the muc off dry lube that flat six suggested. It says to wipe off excess but unclear whether I should do this before or after the lube dries? It says to wait 4 hours before riding.

Edit: looking at more generic instructions it seems like you're supposed to wipe excess initially. Also unclear whether the goop on the front chain ring should be wiped down as well?
I always clean the 'goop' off the chain ring and the derailleur jockey wheels when I clean my chains. Otherwise, they'll just contaminate the clean chain....😎

Take a look at your cassette as well. It can usually use a scrub.
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
I cleaned it off initially, then saw one article that said to run thru all the cogs on the cassette to lube them so I applied a little more lube and did that. Most of the goop was gone after wiping the chain excess with a rag. I can still see lube on the chain ring (but not goopy) so I left it. Also not that easy to wipe the cassette or jockey wheels with a rag. If I did it wrong worst case I'll just need to clean the cassette and chain sooner before re-lubing. I used this tool to apply the lube and it worked great, but I did notice some color transfer from the chain on the pad so I guess I didn't clean the chain of grease as well as I thought!

I
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I cleaned it off initially, then saw one article that said to run thru all the cogs on the cassette to lube them so I applied a little more lube and did that. Most of the goop was gone after wiping the chain excess with a rag. I can still see lube on the chain ring (but not goopy) so I left it. Also not that easy to wipe the cassette or jockey wheels with a rag. If I did it wrong worst case I'll just need to clean the cassette and chain sooner before re-lubing. I used this tool to apply the lube and it worked great, but I did notice some color transfer from the chain on the pad so I guess I didn't clean the chain of grease as well as I thought!

I
I assume you cleaned the chain on the bike? It's really tough to get every bit of grime off the chain when you clean it on the bike. I shoot for 90% cleaner.

To get to 100% you'll need to take the chain off and use solvent baths pretty much like the video shows in your post #20 in this thread. The video shows shaking the chain in the solvent. I usually add a scrub brush, maybe our of habit more than anything though I avoid this whole process these days by just replacing my chains sooner...🤣
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
I used muc off drive train cleaner to clean the chain ring, cassette, jockey wheels, and chain first (all were caked with grease) and scrubbed with brushes until the grease was mostly gone, ran the chain thru a chain cleaner, rinsed and wiped all down, then let it dry overnight before applying lube. Probably could have found a cheaper degreaser but went with muc off as amazon had it for next day delivery along with lube.

Edit: I just took my wheels into the mechanic to check to make sure they were true as I noticed a bit of wobble while cleaning. He said everything was fine, tires just have a little bit of a bulge. I asked him about the lube on the cassette and he said definitely wipe it off. Oh well, good thing is the wheel is off so easy to clean before putting the wheel back on.
 
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Oscar56

Member
I think that wax is only for on-road riders who care about every last watt and are willing to do whatever it takes to gain that last tenth of watt advantage.

For us mid-drive e-bikers, what matters more is chain longevity and ease of maintenance. While the tests run in a garage show wax results in less friction, in the real world that may or may not be the case. We don't ride with a continuous even force for many many miles - we start and stop, we mash and we coast. Motors kick in big time. That kind of sudden pull on the chain might squeeze out some wax and thus the end real-world results for wax may not be as good as lubricants that seep in and stay in under that kind of sudden pressure.

So, wax may not even be the best for longevity and it's certainly the worst for amount of effort required.
Thanks for starting this thread. The creator of the videos in post #20 also has a video on creating small bottles of liquid wax based on his original recipe. It looks and smells very similar to the small squirt bottle of White Lightening I currently use. What I would like to try is the wax/Teflon bath once or twice a year and the wax squirt bottle after each ride.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
ok I got about 1200 miles on my fist chain on my Bosch speed. I used a wet lube fish line but I wiped the chain every week and cleaned it once with the chain cleaner. lots of rain rides. plus I needed higher assist level I think I was on turbo the whole time. the second chain a Shimano e chain I got 2600 miles not too many rain rides and I used rock and roll and I was slowly going down on assist with the last several hundred miles on tour.
 

Oscar56

Member
ok I got about 1200 miles on my fist chain on my Bosch speed. I used a wet lube fish line but I wiped the chain every week and cleaned it once with the chain cleaner. lots of rain rides. plus I needed higher assist level I think I was on turbo the whole time. the second chain a Shimano e chain I got 2600 miles not too many rain rides and I used rock and roll and I was slowly going down on assist with the last several hundred miles on tour.
You got only 1,200 miles on your first chain until it failed the stretch test? Did you replace the Shimano after 2,600 miles or is that your mileage so far?
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
You got only 1,200 miles on your first chain until it failed the stretch test? Did you replace the Shimano after 2,600 miles or is that your mileage so far?
yes it was the usual chain a bike comes with the kmc at 1300 miles it was past the .75 I just replaced the shimano at 2600 on it I used rock and roll only blue when it was raining and yellow now. the chain never gets build up on it.
 

Brooks

Member
Here is the best tip. Wipe the chain off and relube it on the bike, and wipe the excess off. You are gonna change it in 1,000 miles anyway. Why go thru all the trouble of cleaning for showroom clean?... it's gonna get dirty anyway.... it's a chain. Put bike in large chainring in front and smallest cog in the rear. Do not shift gears during the process. Do not lube the cassette.
 

Oscar56

Member
I have always been confused by the array of lubricants on the market. Wet, dry, oil, grease, spray-on drip-on etc. etc. Too many choices and many, many opinions. After doing some reading I decided to try one of the commercially made wax lubricants on my ebike. Hmm, seems pretty good and a bit cleaner than the oils I had used before. I used the commercial stuff for the first 1,000km.

The videos posted in this thread, regarding full on wax lubrication were enlightening. The process looked a bit more involved but I decided it was time to give it a go. Paraffin wax is easy to find but the teflon powder is very difficult to track down so I decided to order 2lbs from Mspeedwax.

Like many projects, more time is spent on preparation than on the project itself. The initial cleaning of my existing chain was a bit messy, i could not believe how much black mess came off in the first stage, but I ended up with a very clean, raw chain. Finding a small crock pot and preparing a clothes hanger to hold my chain in the pot was pretty easy. It took my small crock pot 1 3/4 hours to heat the wax to the recommended temperature and perhaps 20 minutes for the chain to cool after waxing. Flexing the chain after cooling was not difficult.

Then I also spent some time to clean the rest of the drive train to ensure none of the old grease and dirt would be transfered onto the newly cleaned chain.

In addition, I mixed a squirt bottle of 10% wax and 90% isopropyl alcohol. I will use this for interim waxing of the chain.
Now that the prep, including the securing of supplies, is all done and I am fully invested in waxing making the next waxing very simple.

Does the chain feel any different? No. But now, after more than 30 years, I feel like I have a system I understand and have confidence in.