chain wax is becoming more and more popular among cyclists and chain wax is also spreading more and more among sporty drivers. So far, however, waxing a bicycle chain has been very time-consuming.
- The chain had to be removed
- Wax had to be melted on the stove
- The chain can be bathed in wax
The chain wax manufacturer Optimize claims to have made this time-consuming procedure superfluous without having to forego the advantages of chain wax. I am allowed to test the product and would like to share my honest experiences with you here.
Why chain wax
I admit when it comes to mine Racer or Gravel I'm not really willing to experiment. Before I try anything, I research extensively on the net. But chain wax can solve a big problem for me.
What problem does chain wax solve
As you know, I love to ride Gravel and get up Bikepacking tours. But I love to do both in combination. The big problem with oiled chains and gravel: The chain already looks dirty after 20 km and has to be cleaned immediately. The earth, the sand and even small ones pebbles and wood stick to the chain and cause high wear.
Optimize 15% discount code: Rennrad-Hamburg15
Normally I can clean my bike at home with a garden hose and then the dirt isn't a problem, but that's not possible on a bikepacking tour! I then wipe the chains clean and put some oil on them again, driving to a car wash would be too much work for me. Optimize's chain wax is designed to offer a solution to precisely this problem.
In my test, I am concentrating on the product Optimize Graphen.Graphene is Optimize's premium product.
chain wax test
If this chain wax really is one of mine problems when traveling solves, it is worthwhile to start testing quickly. My next trip starts in two weeks 😉
The promises are big:
- Less wear than with chain oil
- The chain does not need to be cleaned (self-cleaning)
- Environmentally friendly
The manufacturer promises that the wax binds the dirt and then simply falls off. After approx. 150 km the chain must be waxed again. This is exactly where Optimize offers with its products graphs and graphite an advantage over most other chain waxes on the market:
Optimize chain wax can be applied like chain oil!
Apply chain wax
My chain (Dura Ace/XTR 11-speed) on my Gravel is still quite new, only about 1.400 km down. I had changed them when I got them new cassette (XT, 11-42) ran. I cleaned them twice, with chain cleaner and garden hose to get the chain oil off completely and to be able to do a test that is as realistic as possible. I wiped the chain down with an old tea towel and it almost looked new again!
Apply chain wax
The manufacturer expressly points out in its instructions that the chain wax not only has to be on the chain, but above all in the chain. However, this is not a problem with Optimize's chain wax. The chain wax can be applied like chain oil, so simply sprinkle the chain from above and let it flow in. Before the chain wax dries the liquid is white which made it easier for me to see where I was on the chain.
So the procedure is the same as with chain oil, the wax just needs a little longer to dry. I have not yet tested how long the drying time is in practice. I promise I'll keep a close eye on the dry season when I'm on vacation!
My expectations of the test
Honestly? In the meantime, I am already very deep in the topic, but I am still a long way from it expert 😉 That's why I probably won't be able to tell much about the wear and tear during the test phase, unless something really negative happens - but I don't expect that.
I'm much more concerned with the practical benefits of chain wax on my bikepacking tours.
- A chain that is as clean as possible
- easy regrowth without much cleaning
Field report and results
I've only had the chain wax on for a few days and of course I can't say anything yet, except: I see so far (approx. 130 km) no difference. But that's a positive result. I would like to keep you up to date at this point in the coming weeks and months and will tell you how well the chain wax worked on my two-week trip.
Did you like it? environmentally friendly chain wax to test yourself? Then I have a discount code for you here. A full 15% discount is something.
Discount code: Rennrad-Hamburg15
The discount code is to be redeemed Optimize.bike
Chain wax on my bikepacking tour
I just got back from my bikepacking tour this summer. I Bikepacking in France, Switzerland and Germany. To make a long story short: I absolutely love chain wax when travelling!
I am totally excited about the chain wax when traveling!
I always freshly waxed the chain every 100 - 150 km. Mostly in the evening so that the wax can comfortably creep between the limbs. My experience: After 150 km at the latest, the chain must also be waxed! Granted, oil lasts longer on the chain, but the advantages of wax cannot be ignored.
What did the chain look like?
I was very excited that the promise of the manufacturer - Optimize - actually became a reality, the chain cleaned itself as if by magic. My colleague I was traveling with used oil as usual and his chain looked terrible very quickly. Mud, earth, dust, sticks and pebbles quickly stuck. When the limbs were hardly recognizable after a week, he looked for a steam jet.
It will be when you travel chain wax definitely become my companion. I'm thrilled that my chain lasted two weeks without being cleaned. So the wax keeps what the manufacturer promises, completely ignoring the environmental aspect.
Chain wax is my absolute tip, at least for bikepacking tours and cycle tours!
First of all, thank you for your report.
Regarding this wax trend: How is this supposed to work in the long run? Oil has the ability to flow, ie if it is pushed away by movement in the chain link, it flows back again. Wax doesn't have that. Once pushed away, it stays away. The mechanic in me says: The chain may wear less, but the chainring or sprockets wear significantly more. And those parts are expensive.
And to be honest: I ride my bike so much off-road that I have never seen sticks or stones stuck to my chain. How much oil do you have to smack it on? Like on an excavator?
Hi Tim, thank you for your honest feedback.
I also don't think wax the Jack of all trades is. When I ride my tours at home, I clean the bike afterwards. On my last trip (14 days) I found the wax very good because the chain didn't really get dirty, so I had to relubricate it every 150 km.
For me it is definitely a great alternative for travelling, I can also clean at home if necessary.
Oh yes: And there are no more calf tattoos with wax 😀
Here is my short “scientific answer”:
the wear on the sprockets and chainrings is not directly caused by the friction with the chain. Inside the chain, the chain wears off a bit, which is why the chain lengthens with increasing mileage. Due to increasing elongation, the individual distances between the rollers are too long to fit properly between the teeth of the sprockets/chainrings, only then does significant wear/friction occur between the chain and chainrings.
And what makes wax different?
=> Problem with oil, due to the great creeping properties, the dirt also gets directly into the inside of the chain and acts like an abrasive there => chain lengthens faster => wear increases.
Wax stays clean and doesn't flow.
Growth chains / components usually last more than twice as long as oiled components.
I would recommend trying it out for yourself.
I've been following the discussion about the use of wax for a long time, but haven't had any personal experience with it yet.
Personally, however, I have completely gotten away from oil and could only use a chain other than the usual cn 6701 when trying it out, if it came along dry when new.
Chain care works for me by spraying WD 40 into a cloth, holding the chain and running it backwards.
Then I use another cloth, which I first place over the chainstay to protect it, and spray a few links of the chain with a technical spray for drive chains.
Then I let the chain run backwards in the rag again.
The entire process takes less than two minutes and needs to be repeated every few hundred kilometers.
The chain is always visually clean and performs its service more or less smoothly over 10 kilometers.
Since I then exchange all of my drive components, which I buy used except for the chain, the tiresome discussion of changing the chain due to lengthening etc. is unnecessary for me, as long as the drive works perfectly in the manner described, lG Fleder.
Moin Fleder, thank you for your shared knowledge. I think the approach with WD 40 is really crazy! In fact, the procedure seems to serve the same purpose as the wax for me: a clean chain.
When my wax is empty, I'll take a look at your approach and test it if necessary.
Thank you again Raimund.
Hi everyone, after oil and liquid wax I'm now at hard wax (cyclowax). For me it's the best as it doesn't pick up dirt at all anymore, walks quietly like a cat. With the Fastclip, I can remove the chain in seconds without tools, bathe it in wax for 10 minutes and reassemble it. I used to ride with Squirt Liquid Wax, but that picked up a lot of dirt and stuck to sprockets, fingers or clothes. With the hard wax I can touch the chain and have no residue. Regards
Hello everyone, I also switched to a waxed chain a long time ago, albeit solid and liquid wax from Velvet Bike Care. I have to say that there is no noticeable difference with the waxed chain compared to oil - except for the cleanliness of the chain! It's really amazing how clean the chain stays with the same smooth running while driving. Regrow a few drops every 200 km and it goes on - I don't find it difficult at all. So I would switch back to wax!
Hello everyone, thank you for the nice article and the great posts. It is not uncommon for bikepacking to cover more than 150 km/day. Can you apply the liquid wax during the day and continue driving, or is it problematic because of the lack of drying time?
Hey Rolf. The liquid wax adheres very quickly, a break of 5 minutes is sufficient. I always used a coffee break to freshen up the chain!
You can also easily manage 300km 😀 Since some are not so resourceful when applying, my recommendation is always 150-200km. So long tours are no problem 😀
GCN recently released a very informative video on youtube about chain changes
With sporty regards, Fleder.