The easiest and cheapest way to make your bike faster
What if I told you that you can spend less than $50 to make your bike faster, keep your drivetrain cleaner, and actually save money in the long run? It’s effortless, and the method has been around for many years. All you have to do is replace your current chain lube with a paraffin-waxed chain!
There are many legitimate reasons for doing this:
- Watt savings. While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of this, but there have also been two legitimate studies that I am aware of. The most convincing one is from Velonews / Friction Facts on chain lube efficiency. In all of their tests paraffin wax vastly outperforms every other chain lube. It’s not even close. Depending on the study, claimed watt savings vary from 2-6 watts. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it equates to around 15 seconds over a 40k TT course. That can be the difference between winning and losing.
- Cleaner drivetrain. Oil-based lubricants attract grit and grime. A waxed chain repels dirt. After 1000km, my chain, chainrings, and cassette are still dirt-free. And a dirty drivetrain leads right into our next topic…
- Less drivetrain wear. Yes, the dirtier your drivetrain is, the shorter its lifespan will be. Zero Friction Cycling did a lubricant testing study that was able to quantify exactly this. In their study, they used Molten Speed Wax, which is essentially a more expensive bike-specific paraffin product.
- Money savings. Less drivetrain wear will result in a longer-lasting drivetrain, which will obviously save you money. Paraffin wax is also extremely inexpensive.
- Application process. This is what keeps most people from using waxed chains. They think that application is complicated and messy. It’s really not, and you’ll see why below. And if you treat multiple chains at once, you won’t have to go through the entire process again for a long time.
Still not convinced? Well, application of paraffin wax to a chain is a simple process, and you only need 3 ingredients: a crock pot (or rice cooker), paraffin wax, and paraffin oil. Amazon.com is the easiest place to source all 3 of these things, and I compiled links to all of them:
Treating the chain is a very simple, straightforward process. The key is to treat 3 or 4 chains all at once, which should cover you for many weeks to many months, depending on the amount of time that you ride and the conditions you ride in. Now that we all have chains with a quick link, it takes less than a minute to break the quick link and swap out a worn chain for a fresh one!
There are many instructional videos on Youtube, but this one is my favorite:
It’s not a high quality video production, but this guy knows what he’s talking about and his method works. I’ve been riding the same wax-treated chain for over 1000km and haven’t swapped it out yet.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below!