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Anyone using or have tried a 'dry' or wax chain lube?

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  • 73Eldo
    replied
    I did a quick ride about a month ago on a salty slushy day that was around freezing when I started planning to go for a ride. I thought I was going to ride the previous week so prepping for that I did apply some of the squirt winter blend to the chain. Ride was short and it got darn cold. Bike and I was covered with icy salty slush. I didn't feel like really trying hard to clean it so I just blew the big chunks off with an air gun.

    About a month passes and we got a day above freezing so time for some checks. I was kinda expecting things to be pretty bad and at a glance I saw rust on the chain. The rust was visible especially on the rollers. To my surprise that rust just seemed to be on the surface and the chain still seemed to flex just fine. I applied some more low temp and went for a ride. I didn't carefully check after the ride but there were no signs at all of chain issues so it seems like it was doing its job.

    So so far I'm sold on this stuff. Back before when I was using Park lube if I got caught in the rain and it sat a few days I would have at least squeaks and sometimes stiff links. The salt was nasty on that ride and I was kinda expecting to have significant issues.

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  • Retrorockit
    replied
    I finally had 2 different E bike chains side by side. The features and intended use seem quite different. I though I would compare them here.
    I've been using the Wippermann 8SE 8 speed e bike chain. It's expensive but highly regarded for it's strength and durability.
    I bought a KMC 8 speed EPT chain also since the 8SE was getting hard to find.
    Examining them side by side everything on the Wippermann was physically a little smaller. Thinner plates, cut out more, and just a little smaller inner dimensions where the cogs go.
    Wippermanns always win chain strength tests, but usually against Shimano, and SRAM products. Brands like KMC, and YBN don't seem to be on the radar for bike racers. I will assume they are both strong enough.
    Chain stretch- The Wippermanns I've used always came in @ 0mm stretch new, break in at .25mm, and I replace them at .05mm ( rotate them onto pedal bikes).
    The KMC came in at .05mm new. Some people say this is OK. Definitely not the same thing.
    My thinking is that stretch at 0 load on a bike stand does not represent what you get on a BBSHD at full power. Wippermann all the way for me.
    I don't recall anyone measuring this on new chain tests. I guess they assume new=new.
    Lubrication. The KMC comes coated with a heavy sticky lube. Very hard to remove. Will probably pick up dirt. You could stick this on a bike as is and be in good shape, for a while.
    The Wippermann comes lightly oiled. It washes off fairly easily. I think they expect the mechanic to choose the lube that suits their purpose. That would make sense in a high end racing environment.
    If you want to go with wax the 8SE is almost wax ready. I washed mine in a sonic cleaner with dish soap , and blew it dry and it was wax ready. That treatment didn't touch the grease on the KMC.

    Chain length- Wippermann comes in 112,124, and 136 link sizes. I usually avoid the smallest just to be sure.
    The KMC didn't say, I just bought an EPT on line and figured it would be good.
    I took my old chain and cut the new Wippermann to match, I thought I would cut the KMC so it would be ready as a spare. It was 1/2 link too short for my bike. It will only work if I use the Missing Link. So the KMC for me is a ready to go spare if I spit the chain somewhere. I might find room for it in my tool kit on the bike. I will use it with the Wippermann Connex link.

    I personally don't use the tool less links. I've broken a couple of them. I think the side loads of shifting, and cross chaining get focused there. But going away from them requires a Rohloff Revolver pro level bike shop tool. Not something you would take along for the ride. And yes it has a very German price tag.

    The KMC looks strong, easy to use, and affordable. Not wax friendly. For me it's a handy spare part. But for a lot of people it could be the best choice. Especially if you don't own a Park CC2 chain checker.
    I've made the commitment to riveted, waxed chains, and preventive maintenance based on actual measured chain stretch. Squirt seems to get the job done. Wippermann is actually easier the way I use them. You could buy several KMC chains for the cost of a Rohloff Revolver tool. You probably won't save any money doing this. But maybe avoid a couple long walks home. if you ride in the dirt you will be buying those chains anyway.

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  • TNC
    commented on 's reply
    Dshue, that issue of fibers packing up in the jockey wheels can be a real deal. We had such a wet spring here in my part of Texas, and our favorite local trail became a jungle...very odd for west central TX. Even after trail clearing with the club's industrial level Billy Goat trail mower, the fine trimmings on the ground seem to find their way into all types of crevices on the bike. It clearly shows how rope can be made out of plant fibers for sure...LOL! When my shifting becomes a bit funky, and I can't see any obvious sticks or larger plant parts stuck in anything, I can usually trace it to the jockey wheel(s) becoming bound up with small fibers. I have to carry a fine pointed pick to occasionally clean out the fibers. Back home in the shop after every ride I have to clean out these fibers around the jockey wheels and cassette. It's not this bad every year, but it usually occurs over time any year.

  • AZguy
    replied
    I got to try out my updated chain ring - went from 42t to 44t and it's perfect for my new cassette and riding style

    Click image for larger version

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  • Retrorockit
    replied
    I ended up sonic cleaning the old Wippermann chain, and giving it a melted wax treatment. I haven't done that in over a year ( Like AZ says it's a PITA). New $22 Sunrace casette.
    I put my home made roller chain guide back on because the factory one I wanted to try wouldn't go wide enough for the BBSHD. I suppose most 1x bikes aren't real wide there.
    Wippermann chains cost a bunch. But they come clean enough to Squirt and go. My Park CC2 chain checker says they're dimensionaly precise and durable. They can still be found <$60 at Nelo's Ccyles shopping app. If you are running a > $100 N/W offset Aluminum chain ring it might be worth doing. If you're riding in the dirt it might not matter.
    I'm still using Squirt. I'm just taking time to wipe the excess off of the jockey wheels when I lube from now on.
    On the way are a new front chainring (Surly 50t Stainless), A Wippermann 8SE, and the Squirt e bike lube. By then I should have the THE chain guide modded to fit also.

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  • AZguy
    commented on 's reply
    And of course I've got the shimano chain LOL

    I'm running an 11sp but it costs about what they report and definitely comes stock with sticky lube although I find that doesn't last long, at least not on the outside... then I just start lubing with whatever I have on hand... I just don't worry about it much

    I've got the shimano derailleur so there's some sense to stick with shimano chains and I've always had excellent shifting as long as things are lubed

    When I get done from a ride there's absolutely no chance of me doing maintenance... bike gets parked and often doesn't even get unloaded until the next day... For me chain lubing is preflight and I don't see that changing... not because of stubbornness but because that's what leads me to do the lubing most frequently and as I've said I think that's the most important part of chain maintenance... not the product, etc., just that it's done very frequently... everything else is much more secondary... This is the time of year where I'll also start leaving the bike at my workshop instead of home so it's even more likely to be ignored until it's time to ride...

  • Dshue
    commented on 's reply
    I occasionally remove my jockey wheels for cleaning and rarely remove the chain to do it. Just do one wheel at a time.
    I've been having a problem with fibers (strings)wrapping up in my jockey wheels, I don't know if it's some sort of plant fibers or textile fibers but it's annoying and has the potential to cause the exact problem you have experienced.

  • Retrorockit
    commented on 's reply
    As usual my setup is a lot different than yours. Wippermann chains don't come with a bunch of grease all over them. I just Squirt them and go.
    This chain comparo article felt the same way.
    https://www.competitivecyclist.com/l...-vs-wippermann
    Speedwax says the Shimano stuff won't come off at all.Wax is not an option with them.
    Cleanup is easier because you don't need solvent. Wipe with a rag, and brush with a stiff nylon bristle brush, and lube. Since I rivet my chain it all happens on the bike. If you do this after the ride instead of before it will be dry next time out. But I just wait a few minutes and ride.Of course I'm not in the desert where sand is all over the place.
    FWIW my brand new KMC EPT E bike chain measures .5mm stretch out of the box.
    My 6 month old Wippermann 8SE treated as above=.25mm. I replace them at .5mm.

  • Retrorockit
    commented on 's reply
    It didn't get into the bearings, it just got wide enough to interfere with rotation that way. The XTR derailer cogs are pretty well sealed. It forms a pretty solid chunk when it gets mashed in there by the chain over time. I'm in South Florida so the low temp formula doesn't apply to me.

  • 73Eldo
    replied
    Was the build up in the usual external places or did it make it deep into the bushing under the shields? I will have to check mine closer next time. If its building internally and they are starting to drag I may not notice that under normal use and lube conditions.

    I am now also wondering when I should switch back to the low temp stuff? Thinking I should do that now? Give it time to work itself in before its cold enough to be required? My bikes are stored in the cold too so its not like they will normally be somewhere warm, on,y the batteries get that treatment.

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  • Retrorockit
    commented on 's reply
    I went away from Aluminum N/W chain rings and using a chain guide run Surly Stainless Steel flat rings.With a 50t ring on my 26" street bike I can't run an inset ring anyway. $65 and lasts quite a while.
    For a casette I use cheap Sunrace 8 speed 11-40T which are $22, and I just toss them with each chain swap.
    I do run the godawful expensive Wippermann 8SE e bike chain. I consider it a safety item, and lube it often with Squirt wax.They start at.0mm stretch, and replacing at .5mm stretch I think I'm maybe saving some money on chain ring wear.

  • Retrorockit
    replied
    I blew up my driveline and while tearing it down I did find a lot of hard build up on the derailer jockey wheels. So this CAN happen when lubing often with Squirt. This may have been the source of my chain skips that led to my chain guide roller leaving the bike. Riveting my chain has resulted in me not looking at that area as often as I used to.

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  • AZguy
    commented on 's reply
    I'm not holding that "against it", what I am holding "against it" is cost and that they're specifications require only using it (any other lube is contamination by their standards) and letting it dry before use which are both not my style and frankly even if (big if) it gives me any more longevity doing all that it's not worth it for a $30 chain

  • Retrorockit
    commented on 's reply
    I haven't tried a lot of different lubes so there may be something better out there. The Squirt does sit on top of the chain when applied, but I think a few trips through the derailer cogs while wet works it into the chain pretty well. No scientific way to prove this.I used to soak my chain in melted wax, but getting rid of the fragile Quick Links and riveting my chain put a stop to that.

  • TNC
    replied
    The problem with Squirt is its viscosity. It's thick as heck. Chain lubes for non-o-ring chains are only effective if they can get into the rollers and pins. Even where I live in TX, Squirt at 100 degrees ambient temps allows very little of the lube to enter into the rollers/pins. I came up with a solution to use the one bottle of Squirt I purchased that helped. I emptied half the bottle into another bottle and sprayed brake cleaner into the factory bottle. Shaken vigorously after that, and the lube was capable of entering the rollers/pins. The brake cleaner evaporates very quickly leaving just the lube. I won't be buying or using anymore Squirt as it's just too thick. I'm still a White Lightning Clean Ride user until I find something better. The only discussion worse than a bicycle chain lube debate is a "what motor oil to use" argument...LOL!

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