It mostly depends on conditions – In normal dry road conditions ZFC recommends to re-wax by approx 300km. In wet conditions the chain should be wiped dry and put back into wax asap before any oxidisation occurs. This may seem like a hassle, until you get to see how easy a re-wax is. Sure a lot of drip lubes you can ride in rain and just park your bike or wipe and drip more lube on, but trust me what you mostly have now is an abrasive paste masquerading as your chain lubricant. A re-wax will flush clean, re-set and re-coat chain in new coating of super slippery wax. Alas you simply cant park bike for a day post wet ride or rollers will start to oxidise as they are made of high carbon steel for hardness, and high carbon steels oxidise quickly.
Why is my re-wax frequency different to msw? Msw / cermamic speed UFO claim circa 600km per treatment, which is what the lab testing shows is fine before friction starts to increase. Real world riding is not the same as in the lab. Over many years and many hundreds of avid riders and racers on msw, including over 100,000km of msw experience personally, i have the data that shows re-waxing frequently is what delivers simply unmatched day in day out low friction and wear.
Re-waxing by recommended 300km mark, the average for a top quality chain like ybn to get to recommended wear replacement mark of 0.5% is 15,000km. I have even had some of australia’s most powerful national level athletes with FTP’s over 400w achieve this mark, lower power riders can go even further.
Erring on the earlier side, ie re-waxing in the 200 to 250km mark brings a big jump in chain and drive train lifespan yet again. For the first 100km post re-wax there is literally zero wear, all parts of chain are sliding on a solid coating of super slippery wax. From 100 to 200km, the friction and wear increase is minute. From 200 to 300km, the curve is starting to go up a little from the 250km mark. I have converted a strong % of avid racers around aus to msw, and those training hard at 400 to 500km a week simply run two training chains, one for mon to fri, one for weekend, re-wax both at once on rest day. This keeps both chains being re-waxed in optimal zone, and literally these racers are buying a new bike after 30,000 to 40,000km and starting over before they have worn their training chains to 0.5%. That is a darn long stretch not needing to worry about drive train. It is happy times (**Note soft alloy cassettes like dura ace will wear well before chains even if chains remain no where near recommended replacement mark, however they will last A LOT longer vs average drip lubes, and your chain rings will easily last 40,000 to 60,000km).
Those who frequently push treatment lifespans to 400 to 500km we see lifespan of chain reduced down to 8000 to 10,000km mark – still impressive by drip lube standards, but not what can be achieved when simply re-wax a bit more frequently. Again, if in doubt re keeping up with a more frequent re-wax interval, simply buy a second training chain. Sooner or later you always need another chain so it costs no more to simply pre-buy one and run two on rotation, and re-waxing multiple chains at once is very efficient.
Re-waxing more frequently does not mean you chew up recommended re-waxes per bag faster as you are bringing less contamination into pot per re-wax. More airborne dust is able to penetrate chain when wax layer is very thin, so re-waxing more frequently ensures each re-wax brings very little airborne dust into wax pot. Go by km’s still vs number of re-waxes – aim for 8,000 to 10,000km per bag per chain depending on pot size & therefore fill level to cover chain.
For off road – the definition of “Normal”is a fair bit broader – trails can be dry but not that dusty or dry but really dusty etc. As a general rule of thumb, i recommend to re-wax in the 6hr to 8hr mark max, again as above always err on the side of re-waxing early vs pushing treatments, re-waxing frequently is just the key to simply astounding chain and drive train lifespan, and as you will find out, re-waxing is very easy and overall far less labour intensive vs trying to maintain a low friction drive train with drip lube which would require a full solvent flush clean post every ride and still get no where near day in day low friction and wear of immersive waxing.
Lastly – beware of the countless home formula wax formulas and wax methods on internet forums and you tube. Many think bah, im not paying that for a bag of wax and buy some cheap paraffin which will have a high mineral oil content = dirty and gunky wax quickly, and also many of these waxes (especially candles) can contain soy or palm oil, and many also get duped into adding paraffin oil which whilst it extends treatment lifespan, it destroys the unassailable advantages of running solid chain coating lubricant. Whilst a lot of home blend waxes may beat many drip lubes sold at LBS (this is a very low bar mind…), vs the highest grade paraffin in the world that is the base in msw, they fall well well short. You get what you pay for, and really, is $44.90 for 8000 to 10,000km of running that expensive? Especially considering the huge drivetrain parts lifepsan extension? As per testing no lube tested yet when factoring cost to run drivetrain including lube cost AND parts wear rate, mspeedwax still has the lowest overall cost to run. If the information on waxing has come from myself, John Thomson of MSW, Jason Smith of Ceramic Speed, or Josh Poertner of Silca – be very careful with that information. Oz cycles info / testing on waxing is particularly worrisome as it looks diligent on the surface but is (in my humble opinion… what would i know :)) deeply flawed. I have an entire document in instructions section explaining the flaws, there were that many. Channels make money by number of views, more views = more advertising money, so making controversial content = more money. ZFC business model is completely open – i conduct the worlds most exhaustive controlled testing to find and stock the genuine best lubricants and chains, both immersive wax and drip lube for those whom waxing is not for them – ZFC is fiercely independent and product performance determines what is stocked and recommended, and hence i have as best as I can tell, a 100% super happy customer base and return customer loyalty.