Veloviews for January 6, 2023 – To Wax or Not Wax Your Chain?

Picture of a Dirty Chain by Alfin Auzikri from

One bike maintenance task I don’t enjoy but that is essential for a smooth running drive train is cleaning my chain and cogs. During the season, the most I’ll do is give it a glance and relube my chain before heading out for a ride. I usually do that every other ride. At the end of the season, I will do full-on maintenance on my bike. I’ll wash it and wipe it down, clean the wheels, etc.

If the chain is worn, which I assess by using a Park Chain Checker, I’ll just change it. If not, I’ll pull the chain off the bike and clean it. My chain will usually look like the chain pictured above, even if you use the best chain lube out there that boasts it will help keep your chain gunk free.

But what if you could use a chain that would mostly stay clean and perform more efficiently. That’s where waxing your chain comes in.

Why Should I Change or Clean My Chain?

Your chain and cogs, especially the rear cogs, are two of the most vital components on your bike. They take the most abuse over the course of the season. During a ride, you may shift your chain through your gears 30 or 40 times. That creates a lot of wear and tear.

A bike chain sustains a lot of force and pressure as you spin your cranks. That causes the chain to stretch. Additionally, since the chain is so close to the road, it picks up a lot of debris that can adhere to the chain.

If the chain is not clean, well-lubricated, or worn, it will skip as you shift through the gears. A worn chain will also wear down your rear cogs, and once those are gone, there’s nothing to do but buy a new cassette, which can be quite expensive.

That’s why it’s essential to either run a new chain or regularly clean your current chain. The choice to do either activity depends on you. It also depends on the type of rider you are, where you ride, and how often you ride.

Benefits of Using a Waxed Chain

Although I’ve been an avid road cyclist for a long time and I try to keep up with the latest tech and updates, I had never heard about waxing one’s chain. I first discovered this process about a year ago on the Silca website, a high-end seller of bike componentry, t-shirts, bike pumps, and other cycling paraphernalia.

When I stumbled on the waxed chain, my jaw dropped. I was shocked at how much Silca was asking for this type of chain, $170.00. Then I thought, is there really a benefit to installing a waxed chain on a bike? It turns out that, yes, there just might be.

A waxed chain can offer a cyclist an environment where the chain will resist road debris. The wax coating will also supposedly “reduce drive train friction,” which means your chain and cassette will last three times as long. Head over to the Bike Radar website and see what this cyclist has to say about using a waxed chain.

Wax Your Chain Yourself

After I saw the price for the waxed chain on the Silca website, I pretty much elected to pass and continue running my chain with traditional lubricants. But yesterday, Silca released a YouTube video on how to wax a chain yourself, and now it’s something I might try. Here’s the link to the video if you want to watch it:

But just to give you a quick overview on how to wax a chain yourself, it basically is a three-step process. And all you need to successfully wax the chain are the following:

  • A new chain
    • Two mason jars
  • Mineral spirits
  • Acetone
  • A crock pot
  • Wax.

After the process is complete, the chain will be stiff. But the video poster states that is fine and expected. Just install the chain and go for a short ride. That will break off the residual wax and loosen the chain

What you will have after the waxing is complete is a clean chain and cassette, much like the picture below. The video poster states that in order to maintain the integrity of the waxed chain, all a cyclist needs to do is wipe it down after each ride.

Clean Chain and Cassette by Harvey Tan Villarino from

Last Thoughts

To wax your chain or not? That’s a good question. To buy a pre-waxed chain is expensive or to do it yourself seems very involved. But when a new chain can run $35.00 and up and a new cassette for a whole lot more, waxing doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

I think we all would like to get as much life as possible out of our cycling componentry. But a waxed chain may not be everyone. And since I’ve never ridden with one, I can’t comment. As I mentioned earlier, it truly depends on the type of rider you are.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

4 thoughts on “Veloviews for January 6, 2023 – To Wax or Not Wax Your Chain?”

  1. I’ve been mulling over the idea of chain waxing for a year or so now, but have yet to take the plunge and buy the necessary equipment. It still seems like a lot of work for not much gain, but some people seem to swear by it!


  2. Wow, sounds great. I’m glad you had a good experience with chain waxing. I’m definitely curious about it. I’m curious how much your LBS charged you for the procedure. And thanks for liking/ commenting on my post.


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