Why is the Road Cycling World Going Waxy?! The Rise of the Dry Lube.
Ah, the clean drivetrain! How we (should) love the look of a freshly cleaned chain, cassette and chainrings! Alas, with wet lubes, they tend to get pretty dingy in a hurry. Enter the dry wax lube. Made for dry, dusty conditions, wax lube doesn’t collect dirt and buildup like wet lubes do. In fact, if regularly tended to, a wax lubed chain won’t be perfectly clean to the touch, but it won’t make a mess of you, either.
The photo above, of my Trek 5200’s setup, was taken after three rides on a newly cleaned and lubed chain. I wiped the excess off after the first spin and that’s how it looks au naturel. As one would imagine, there isn’t much to rub off on the hands.
Life isn’t all fat and happy, though. Sadly. If you live in the UK, or about any other locale where you’ll be riding regularly in the rain, a wax lube isn’t for you. It wears off when it gets wet so you end up accelerating your chain’s life.
I can’t say much bad about the wax lubes (I’m partial to Squirt). They sure are a lot cleaner than my Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube!
To put a bow on this post, what about reapplication and cleaning? This is the best part:
There is no need to remove wax from your chain again after applying Squirt Chain
Lube. Just brush off occasionally with a dry brush and use a toothpick to remove some residue from the cassette and chain rings if necessary. A well waxed chain repels dirt, mud and water, and reduces chances of friction and chain suck.
They recommend every six hours for a road bike, but I find I can go a little longer than that. I apply once a week (about 14 hours). I also go a few steps further… I wipe off the excess in the morning, after it’s had a chance to dry overnight. I also wipe the excess off the outside plates after I apply the lube. Finally, while that sounds nice, brushing the cassette off, that doesn’t do much to keep it shiny. I apply some degreaser to a towel and clean in between the cogs to get the gears shiny again.