Waxing a chain and using a wax-based chain lubricant are two different approaches to lubricating a bicycle chain. Here are the main differences between the two:
Chain Wax: Waxing a chain involves applying a thin layer of melted wax directly onto the chain. This process typically involves removing the chain from the bike, degreasing it to remove any existing lubricant, and then immersing it in a pot of melted wax. After the wax has cooled and hardened, the excess wax is removed, and the chain is reinstalled on the bike.
Pros of chain wax:
- Clean and dry: Waxing leaves the chain dry to the touch, which prevents dirt and debris from sticking to it.
- Low friction: Waxing can reduce friction and drivetrain resistance, leading to a potentially smoother and more efficient ride.
- Long-lasting: A properly waxed chain can maintain its lubrication for an extended period, requiring less frequent reapplication.
Cons of chain wax:
- Time-consuming: Waxing a chain is a more involved process compared to simply applying a lubricant.
- Requires chain removal: Waxing necessitates removing the chain from the bike, which can be inconvenient.
- Limited wet weather performance: Waxing is less effective in wet conditions as the wax can wash off, potentially leaving the chain unlubricated.
Our favourite waxes (for slow cooker)
Wax-Based Chain Lube: Wax-based chain lubricants, on the other hand, are commercially available products specifically designed to lubricate bicycle chains. These lubricants contain a mixture of wax and other additives suspended in a carrier fluid, which evaporates after application, leaving behind a wax film on the chain.
Pros of wax-based chain lube:
- Convenient application: Wax-based chain lubes can be applied directly to the chain without the need for chain removal or extensive preparation.
- Good performance in dry conditions: The wax film left by the lubricant can provide a clean and dry surface that resists dirt accumulation.
- Better wet weather performance: Some wax-based chain lubes are formulated to be water-resistant, offering improved performance in wet conditions compared to traditional waxing.
Cons of wax-based chain lube:
- More frequent application: Wax-based chain lubes generally require more frequent reapplication compared to waxing.
- Potential mess: While not as messy as oil-based lubes, wax-based lubes can still leave residue on the chainrings, derailleur pulleys, and other drivetrain components.
Our favourite wax-based chain lubesCeramicSpeed UFO Drip All Conditions (100ml)
Silca Super Secret Chain Lube (118mL)
Overall, both waxing a chain and using wax-based chain lubes have their advantages and disadvantages. Waxing provides a clean and low-friction experience but requires more effort, while wax-based lubes offer convenience and improved wet weather performance at the expense of more frequent applications. The choice between the two depends on personal preference, riding conditions, and maintenance preferences.