Wax Instructions

WAXING AT HOME INSTRUCTIONS - BRIEF

Chain off, thread onto swisher tool, into wax, swish around when molten, hang to dry..

HOME WAXING

So what do I need to get started on waxing my training chains?

  • A clean chain. It is MUCH easier to clean a new chain with factory grease vs an existing used chain. new chains just need a few rounds of solvent cleaning (mineral turps) followed by a couple of rounds of methylated spirits to ensure no film left behind from cleaning – the wax must have clean clear chain metal to be able to properly bond. Existing chains can easily take over 3 litres of solvent to properly clean, and surface treatments like low friction coatings will already be compromised. How to clean new chain? -200ml per chain – Bath 1 – 10 to 15 min soak in closed container then shake, Baths 2 & 3 – 2 min shake bath, then 2 x 200ml metho shake baths in metho, dry, wax. 
  • Clean drive train – any way is fine, you don’t have to worry about wax bond you just dont want any oily dirty drive train contaminating your beautiful new waxed chain. Dont forget troughs of chain ring and cog teeth not just sides. Pipe cleaner brushes are great here. Remove jockey wheels one at a time paying close attention to what side faces out to ensure put back same way.  
  • Small slow cooker – anything between 1.5 to 3L or even 3.5L is a perfect size for a bag of wax allowing chain to be fully submerged and easy to agitate. You can use bigger ones, you just might need two bags of wax in there at a time. Most times woolworths stock an Adesso 1.5litre for $20 which is perfect, they must be wondering why they have sold 3000 of them in the last few years hahaha! 
  • A swisher tool fashioned from coat hanger is great – Just bend wire into a u-shape to thread chain onto and bend a little handle at top. Have a look at basic swisher product in zfc online store and copy that – very easy. 
  • A place to hang your chain after removing from wax
  • An easy method for taking chains off and putting back on. You must use a type of master link as breaking and installing link pins is a recipe for disaster. We recommend either YBN master links as they are re-useable 5 times and are a great price, and are super strong and reliable, or wipperman connex links – they do not required tools to remove or install and  lasts the lifetime of the chain (but they have their quirks such as no protective coatings or hardening so the link wears at a much faster rate vs a top level chain like ybn – the ybn links are chromium carbide hardened same as chain). 

Once you have the above – you are ready. Chain off, thread onto swisher tool, into wax, swish around when molten, hang to dry, break wax bond on each link after dry, re-install chain. For detailed step by step instructions with pics, refer to wax zen master guide

HOW LONG WILL WAXING LAST

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. 

WAXING AT HOME - OTHER OPTIONS

Multiple training chains. 

This is the absolute number one tip for anyone who is concerned about keeping up with re-waxing frequency. You are always going to need another chain, so pre-buying a chain costs no more. ZFC has many (and i mean MANY) avid races who train 400 to 600km a week – and they simply run two training chains -one for mon to fri, one for weekend, re-wax both at once on rest day. It is even more time efficient to re-wax multiple chains at once vs one chain at a time. For those doing more sane training km’s, running one chain one week and another chain for next week etc also takes pressure of staying on top of re-waxing. 

2 top quality chains like YBN on mspeedwax from new, and being re-waxed by every 300km (normal road conditions) will deliver around 30,000km of riding before need to worry about new chains. Depending on cassette (ie steel cassette), then its also 30,000km before needing to worry about that either. Within same period on drip lubes, many riders will have gone through around 6 chains and 3 to 6 cassettes for that many km’s of running, as well as much more significant wear into chain rings which may need replacing by around 20,000 to 30,000km on drip lubes depending on lube, maintenance and how well stay on top of chain wear mark, vs circa 60,000km for those on mspeedwax as above. 

Over not too long a time frame, the drive train running cost savings on mspeedwax vs the vast majority of drip lubes becomes substantial – especially if running higher tier level groupsets. Most cyclists have a limited budget to spend. Do you want to save for those cool new wheels or new bike, or have your eye on a groovy new set of glasses, helmet, kit, shoes, cycling holiday – or would you like those $ being spent just burning through chains, cassettes and chain rings? 

Remember – if immersive waxing is not for you, ZFC conducts the most exhaustive testing to find and stock the genuine best drip lubes as well. They will not match msw for day in day out low friction and wear, but the best latest generation drip lubes will deliver a vastly better performance vs what many LBS will push on you. Remember a lot of LBS do not feel a great incentive to reduce your drive train wear. But the top LBS you will find actively stocking the same products at ZFC as they run by the same customer service vision ZFC does – Look after the customer to the best of ones ability, and the customer will look after you. If your LBS actively stocks and pushes sales of lubes proven to have the fastest drive train wear rates, i would look for new LBS. The friction savings and drive train running cost savings (and maintenance time) between the best lubricant options vs average to poor options is simply enormous. 

There are two area’s of your bike you should invest a little bit of time and focus on getting right, and that is a top lube choice that is the right fit for how you want to maintain your drive train, and excellent tires. Don’t skimp on those two area’s and your bike will feel and ride like silk lightning, and in the case of the right lubricant, save you a very tidy sum of money over time to be spent on many fun things indeed.