Long Bikepacking and Immersive Waxing

A gigantic catch-all for Randonneuring (Audax), Bike-packing (Touring), and Commuting with or without E-bikes!
ultimatist
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2023 7:45 pm
Location: San Francisco

by ultimatist

Appreciate it Reno, very insightful! I'm of the same mind re mixing; keep it in the family (e.g. Silca Wax + Super Secret) and it's often the same base so no need to boil/strip the chain after. I'm just begging to discover a step jump in durability that eliminates the need for prep and maintenance during events of reasonable distance. That would be the holy grail, and graphene seems to be the key, but the few options are prohibitively expensive: Silca is $150 for a small tin.

I've been playing with home recipies with mixed results. For example - and I assume you're in Reno and familiar with early season Sierra conditions - I did the Downieville All Mtn ride this weekend to scout for the race in July. Even with concerted efforts not to ride the Eagle 10 or 52 tooth cogs (reduce cross-chaining) on a new Silca waxed chain with PTFE and a few other friction modifiers added, I was hearing groans before I got the the top of the saddle/top. Riding thru snow drifts didn't seem to clean the chain, rather to strip more wax off. And it was crusty and ready for a new wax job at the end of the descent, with obvious sounds of drivetrain wear - that's only 30mi, albeit lots of slow and some mud.

I have a hypothesis that the hot conditions (80-92F on Wahoo) climbing up the exposed fire roads may have contributed to the wax softening and flowing out of the pins. Josh even mentioned this on Marginal Gains podcast. Next experiment is to try a paraffin base with a much higher melt point (180+) for summer conditions.

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renoracing
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:48 am

by renoracing

Correct on the location, actually closer to Downieville than Reno these days... There are definitely conditions and days where it seems to be the perfect storm of things that wreak havoc on gear, and I've had those days where the chain is a mess way sooner than you'd expect, but also as mentioned, some days where its just humming along way longer than you'd imagine.
I totally agree that there is some work to be done on the different formulas for wax. I also heard that conversation with Josh, and I'd imagine its coming from Silca and others soon. Honestly it wouldn't be that big of a hassle. An additional $15 crock pot with a higher/lower temp wax for your chains in early season versus late season. I'm sure tire compound technology for specific conditions(temps) won't be too far behind, as these little marginal gains are all that is left.

tiberiade
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon May 08, 2023 6:02 pm

by tiberiade

basilic wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 9:54 am
It won't last 800 km, even in dry conditions.
- bring a wax-based lube
- bring a waxed chain and switch (but the weight!)
I did an 800km gravel race with this wax: https://www.effettomariposa.eu/pages/flowerpower-wax-lp. Even went through mud. Was still super smooth towards the end.

ultimatist
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2023 7:45 pm
Location: San Francisco

by ultimatist

tiberiade wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2023 8:35 pm
basilic wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 9:54 am
It won't last 800 km, even in dry conditions.
- bring a wax-based lube
- bring a waxed chain and switch (but the weight!)
I did an 800km gravel race with this wax: https://www.effettomariposa.eu/pages/flowerpower-wax-lp. Even went through mud. Was still super smooth towards the end.
Interesting, Sunflower wax 🤷🏻‍♂️. Seems like a very eco-friendly option as well.

usr
Posts: 1021
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:58 pm

by usr

ultimatist wrote:
Tue Mar 28, 2023 4:58 pm
Seems like the best alternative is to relube immediately after the ride, when the chain is hot from use and sunshine, rather than next morning when it's cold and wet with dew.
After the ride is a given, unless perhaps if you are an oil traditionalist. But sleep breaks can be short, that's where fast setting carrier liquids come in, like Trutension instead of Squirt. And when the day's ride ends in the wet, you'll not only find yourself wishing for a re-lube the hardest, you also discover that applying lube (any lube) to a wet chain does not work quite as well as you might hope. Lube does not enter the chain even remotely as well as dry, and in sufficiently humid conditions, even after a very much not race-like leasurely break of 15 hours you can still find the chain soaking wet in the morning unless you have a dedicated drying room for your bike with something like Squirt (been there). It's probably still much less bad to have that kind of re-lube than no re-lube, but yeah, not all is well on a wet multi-day thing.

usr
Posts: 1021
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:58 pm

by usr

ultimatist wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2023 1:59 am
tiberiade wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2023 8:35 pm
basilic wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 9:54 am
It won't last 800 km, even in dry conditions.
- bring a wax-based lube
- bring a waxed chain and switch (but the weight!)
I did an 800km gravel race with this wax: https://www.effettomariposa.eu/pages/flowerpower-wax-lp. Even went through mud. Was still super smooth towards the end.
Interesting, Sunflower wax 🤷🏻‍♂️. Seems like a very eco-friendly option as well.
Awesome in terms of not needing reapplication as often as other drip waxes, awesome in terms of muffling chain noise and (according to ZFC) awesome in terms of reducing wear.

But all that awesome comes at a cost, the trade-off is that it's not even remotely as good at looking clean as other waxes. In terms of "omg, black! All the bikes in the magazines have silver chains!" I'd say it's about half way between some of the cleaner oils and squirt.

basilic
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

by basilic

tiberiade wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2023 8:35 pm
basilic wrote:
Fri Mar 24, 2023 9:54 am
It won't last 800 km, even in dry conditions.
- bring a wax-based lube
- bring a waxed chain and switch (but the weight!)
I did an 800km gravel race with this wax: https://www.effettomariposa.eu/pages/flowerpower-wax-lp. Even went through mud. Was still super smooth towards the end.
I stand corrected. I was only commenting on immersive wax lubrication, these more elaborate products may stick better.

wooger
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2021 11:32 am

by wooger

AJS914 wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2023 4:44 pm
Smoove/Squirt -isn't it just wax in a bottle? I've been using Smoove for 2 years now and with a good cleaning I've been getting great performance.
It is, but there are different kinds of wax, and neither of those products is the same kind of wax that immersion wax gives you.

Smoove especially is pretty good, lasts well, but isn't remotely as clean as immersion wax, which sets hard. It also has issues penetrating the chain rollers propertly according to ZFC.

While there are other drip products that do give you the ultra clean hard wax result, with no penetration issues, there would seem no reason to use these products.

I am planning the test out the tru-tension tungsten product though, as 5 minute drying time could be ultra useful in a long audax event in rainy UK weather.

ultimatist
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2023 7:45 pm
Location: San Francisco

by ultimatist

usr wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2023 10:04 am
ultimatist wrote:
Tue Mar 28, 2023 4:58 pm
Seems like the best alternative is to relube immediately after the ride, when the chain is hot from use and sunshine, rather than next morning when it's cold and wet with dew.
After the ride is a given, unless perhaps if you are an oil traditionalist. But sleep breaks can be short, that's where fast setting carrier liquids come in, like Trutension instead of Squirt. And when the day's ride ends in the wet, you'll not only find yourself wishing for a re-lube the hardest, you also discover that applying lube (any lube) to a wet chain does not work quite as well as you might hope. Lube does not enter the chain even remotely as well as dry, and in sufficiently humid conditions, even after a very much not race-like leasurely break of 15 hours you can still find the chain soaking wet in the morning unless you have a dedicated drying room for your bike with something like Squirt (been there). It's probably still much less bad to have that kind of re-lube than no re-lube, but yeah, not all is well on a wet multi-day thing.
I can't think of a single benefit to bikes or biking from wet or drizzle. I wonder if any waxes on the market contain ceramic/hydrophobic elements... when the wax is gone but the residue remains, you can quick spin the chain dry and relube with better penetration. It's early days in this market and there is so much room for improvement.

Greeners
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2024 10:13 am

by Greeners

I would not use hot waxing on a long distance touring event/holiday. Traditional wet lube oils are so much more stable & longer lasting at high mileage or wet conditions. I cringe when my chain starts to sound a bit dry circa 80-100 miles, having to carry on riding for days would have me throwing in the towel & getting a bus home (to my waxing pot).

ultimatist
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2023 7:45 pm
Location: San Francisco

by ultimatist

Greeners wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:40 pm
I would not use hot waxing on a long distance touring event/holiday. Traditional wet lube oils are so much more stable & longer lasting at high mileage or wet conditions. I cringe when my chain starts to sound a bit dry circa 80-100 miles, having to carry on riding for days would have me throwing in the towel & getting a bus home (to my waxing pot).
What are your go-tos?

Wet lubes stick around longer, but then they stick dust and grime to the metal, possibly making the situation worse than a wax chain that needs a refresh...

froze
Posts: 451
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:47 am

by froze

Now there is controversy brewing. Apparently, it's coming out that hot waxing a chain is only good if you're using the chain for a racing event, for everyday use it shortens the life of the chain and gears.

https://bmcr.com.au/articles/should-i-w ... ike-chain/

More time needs to go by before we find out if waxing a chain is just a fad that non-racers should not be doing.

Maddie
Posts: 1570
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:44 am

by Maddie


froze wrote:More time needs to go by before we find out if waxing a chain is just a fad that non-racers should not be doing.
A fad? I haven't read the article but waxing chains has been around for decades and countless independent tests have been made since. There's no need for more time, the quality of wax even for non-racers is well known.

froze
Posts: 451
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:47 am

by froze

Maddie wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 6:37 am
froze wrote:More time needs to go by before we find out if waxing a chain is just a fad that non-racers should not be doing.
A fad? I haven't read the article but waxing chains has been around for decades and countless independent tests have been made since. There's no need for more time, the quality of wax even for non-racers is well known.
Wax was around for a long time back before they had high-tech drip lube, but even then it was only the racers that waxed, the regular people that didn't race just used motor oil or 3 in 1, etc. Now it's a fad because non-racers want to do it.

by Weenie


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Upcountry
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2023 10:59 pm

by Upcountry

froze wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:29 am
Now there is controversy brewing. Apparently, it's coming out that hot waxing a chain is only good if you're using the chain for a racing event, for everyday use it shortens the life of the chain and gears.

https://bmcr.com.au/articles/should-i-w ... ike-chain/

More time needs to go by before we find out if waxing a chain is just a fad that non-racers should not be doing.
:shock:
If that was your takeaway from one small bikeshop's unscientific op-ed then I don't know what to tell you... A chain doesn't know if its being "raced" or simply being ridden in an "everyday" type way...

If you're interested in the actual science, read this;
https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/lubetesting/

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