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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got a warranty replacement on my eagle gx cassette and it’s skipping on the old gx chain .

everyone looks to have sold out of gx chains here in the Uk.
anyone recommend an alternative?

I’ve used a lot of kmc chains on 10 speed and below, 12 speed is proving to be a bit fiddly so am mindful of compatibility.

tia
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice

thanks all

I’ve been Googling all morning and came across various posts about not bothering to change chain until the cassette went but nothing on alternative12 speed chains.

annoyingly my local decathlon had gx 12 speeds till recently.

mill look out for an x0
 

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Most people don't like it when I say this, but I really think that if MTB is your main, frequent hobby, get at least 2 chains and stock up on those powerlinks, by a set of 12 and keep all but one extra with you on the trails. This way, you can ride on 1 chain and have the other already serviced ready to be installed.

The XX1/X01 chains are some of the best chains I've seen, both from personal use and in our business. It's pricey, but like any other product, if you're looking to get something and be lazy about maintaining it, you'll find a way to make anything fail. XX1 chains have titanium nitride treatment on them to help with corrosion and reducing friction.

Most riders don't like the fuss of doing things that take time, however in our shop we offer mild solvent and ultrasonic cleaning with Molten Speedwax treatments and so far every customer that came in with XX1/X01 chains, we still can't fit the chain checker to take a reading even after 1000 miles of trail riding with 1-2 re-treatments in between. This is one of the best methods to keep a chain lasting a very long time. We don't get as good as results on Shimano or KMC chains, but it still outlasts chains treated with almost all bottle lubes dry or wet.

However if you cannot find someone with such a rig, the best alternative is to use a semi-dry lube (Smoove, Squirt Lube). These lubes don't dry to a complete solid, but are miles better than any other kind of lube. The problem with these types are it's not easy to get the lube all the way inside the rollers where the pins are. Even if you're careful, the lube will only penetrate and lube just the shoulders and the ends of the pins, but not all the way through. The solution is, you need to take the chain off the bike, put it in a pan (a simple aluminum baking pan will do). Boil a cup of water, put the lube in the cup to warm it up. Now use a hair dryer or heat gun and warm the chain (not till it's hot), just warm enough to reach the temp of the lube. Take the lube and work it into the chain. It's a lot of work to do it this way.

Keep in mind that when you get a semi-dry lube that's warm and put it on a cold chain, it hardens and doesn't flow well. With the above process, what you're trying to do is keep the lube warm to allow it to be as runny as you can get it, and ensure the chain doesn't provide a cooler surface when the lube makes contact and tries to work itself into the pin area. You'll tend to use more lube than simply dripping it once per link but you will need to work each link with your fingers to make sure the lube penetrates, then simply let it dry overnight and install on your bike.

The dry lube for dry conditions and wet lubes for wet conditions is mostly false than it is true. Wet lubes are mostly worst for any application wet or dry and the best they can provide is slowing rust. However the grit they allow inside the chain where it actually wears is what makes them very bad to use. Not all dry lubes are the same and they're often not going to dry completely.

If none of the above suits your needs and you're willing to trade off effectiveness of the lubes for being easier to use, I recommend the following.

Dry lube: UFO Drip Lube. This is the only true dry lube I've tested that actually solidifies and works really well. May be pricey for a bottle for some.

Link: UFO Drip Chain Coating, UFO Products

Wet lube: Silca Synergestic. This lube is surprisingly good for a wet lube.

Link: Synergetic Wet Lube

Low Budget Lube: BananaSlip Tungsten All Weather. For those where the above products don't fit their price range but they want to use something better than what's in most LBS. This is the lowest performing of the bunch, but much better than anything you'll find from Mucoff, Boeshield T-9, etc.

Link: https://www.tru-tension.com/product/bananaslip-tungsten-all-weather-lube/

The one lube everyone should avoid is White Lightning Dry Paraffin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Most people don't like it when I say this, but I really think that if MTB is your main, frequent hobby, get at least 2 chains and stock up on those powerlinks, by a set of 12 and keep all but one extra with you on the trails.

The XX1/X01 chains are some of the best chains I've seen, both from personal use and in our business. It's pricey, but like any other product, if you're looking to get something and be lazy about maintaining it, you'll find a way to make anything fail. XX1 chains have titanium nitride treatment on them to help with corrosion and reducing friction.

Most riders don't like the fuss of doing things that take time, however in our shop we offer mild solvent and ultrasonic cleaning with Molten Speedwax treatments and so far every customer that came in with XX1/X01 chains, we still can't fit the chain checker to take a reading even after 1000 miles of trail riding with 1-2 re-treatments in between. This is one of the best methods to keep a chain lasting a very long time. We don't get as good as results on Shimano or KMC chains, but it still outlasts chains treated with almost all bottle lubes dry or wet.

However if you cannot find someone with such a rig, the best alternative is to use a semi-dry lube (Smoove, Squirt Lube). These lubes don't dry to a complete solid, but are miles better than any other kind of lube. The problem with these types are it's not easy to get the lube all the way inside the rollers where the pins are. Even if you're careful, the lube will only penetrate and lube just the shoulders and the ends of the pins, but not all the way through. The solution is, you need to take the chain off the bike, put it in a pan (a simple aluminum baking pan will do). Boil a cup of water, put the lube in the cup to warm it up. Now use a hair dryer or heat gun and warm the chain (not till it's hot), just warm enough to reach the temp of the lube. Take the lube and work it into the chain. It's a lot of work to do it this way.

Keep in mind that when you get a semi-dry lube that's warm and put it on a cold chain, it hardens and doesn't flow well. With the above process, what you're trying to do is keep the lube warm to allow it to be as runny as you can get it, and ensure the chain doesn't provide a cooler surface when the lube makes contact and tries to work itself into the pin area. You'll tend to use more lube than simply dripping it once per link but you will need to work each link with your fingers to make sure the lube penetrates, then simply let it dry overnight and install on your bike.

The dry lube for dry conditions and wet lubes for wet conditions is mostly false than it is true. Wet lubes are mostly worst for any application wet or dry and the best they can provide is slowing rust. However the grit they allow inside the chain where it actually wears is what makes them very bad to use. Not all dry lubes are the same and they're often not going to dry completely.

If none of the above suits your needs and you're willing to trade off effectiveness of the lubes for being easier to use, I recommend the following.

Dry lube: UFO Drip Lube. This is the only true dry lube I've tested that actually solidifies and works really well. May be pricey for a bottle for some.

Link: UFO Drip Chain Coating, UFO Products

Wet lube: Silca Synergestic. This lube is surprisingly good for a wet lube.

Link: Synergetic Wet Lube

Low Budget Lube: BananaSlip Tungsten All Weather. For those where the above products don't fit their price range but they want to use something better than what's in most LBS. This is the lowest performing of the bunch, but much better than anything you'll find from Mucoff, Boeshield T-9, etc.

Link: https://www.tru-tension.com/product/bananaslip-tungsten-all-weather-lube/
thats pretty intensive.

how much is the chain treatment you offer?

im struggling to understand how chain lube prevents chain growth.

where I ride it's ever changing, it's gritty and sandy fireroads with soft soil trails covered in the largely pine needles and other foliage growing there. Best riding is the day after it's rained so the terrain has drained some so it's grippy up top and firm beneath. Wetter months it's like riding through grinding paste. I wash and lube after every ride.

I do ride with chain links, but I only recently discovered the 11 speed links are no good for 12 speed chains, I do now have 12 speed links.
given I can usually get a spare most things by tomorrow I've not seen the point in carrying expensive spares. Although on 11 speed I have 2 x everything so I was contemplating a switch back to 11 before crc shipped my warrantied eagle gx back.

at £30 I'm quite inclined to just destroy the Gx chain, I'd like to protect the expensive cassette though. At £70 for an x01 chain I'll need to understand a bit more if it's worth putting it through the local muc.
 

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Lubing and riding conditions definitely have the most effect on expected chain life if one does not consider the chain design itself. If ridden in the same conditions and the same lube, an X01/XX1 chain will outlast a GX chain by 2,5-3,5x making the higher cost justifiable.

As antimatter pointed out above, chains have metal-on-metal contact and require lubrication. However that lube must be either able to repel dirt or imbed it in the lube keeping dirt off the metal surfaces. This is almost impossible so mostly lubes that repel dirt are available.

Even if you swear by your preferred lubricant it ALWAYS works best when applied to a clean chain and well before a ride, preferably several hours. Lubricants contain carrier fluids like alcohol or even water, which takes time go evaporate and leave the lubricant where you need it: between the rollers and the pins. Any lubricant on the outside of the chain will only gather dirt and act as an abrasive, which is why hot waxing the chain is the best option and all other follow behind in different order. My professional opinion is also that lubricant which remain fluid or “wet” should be avoided as they gather the most dirt.
 

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thats pretty intensive.

how much is the chain treatment you offer?

im struggling to understand how chain lube prevents chain growth.

where I ride it's ever changing, it's gritty and sandy fireroads with soft soil trails covered in the largely pine needles and other foliage growing there. Best riding is the day after it's rained so the terrain has drained some so it's grippy up top and firm beneath. Wetter months it's like riding through grinding paste. I wash and lube after every ride.

I do ride with chain links, but I only recently discovered the 11 speed links are no good for 12 speed chains, I do now have 12 speed links.
given I can usually get a spare most things by tomorrow I've not seen the point in carrying expensive spares. Although on 11 speed I have 2 x everything so I was contemplating a switch back to 11 before crc shipped my warrantied eagle gx back.

at £30 I'm quite inclined to just destroy the Gx chain, I'd like to protect the expensive cassette though. At £70 for an x01 chain I'll need to understand a bit more if it's worth putting it through the local muc.
$30USD for first time treatment. $15 for re-treatment. The reason for the difference is the first time chains need much more cleaning in order to prep them for immersive waxing. We only service chains that are in very new condition (not chains where we can fit a chain checker) as it has worn too much already. Re-treatment only requires a surface cleaning (unless it's really bad, then it'll move back to the $30 cost), and dunking the chain in MSW, so the process is much easier. The prices we have are for a maximum of 6 chains, meaning we will do up to 6 chains at once for that price.

Understanding chain growth requires learning what's actually happening. The chain "grows" because of the wearing of the pins and inside the rollers. When grit gets inside the rollers (the round rollers) where the pins are, it scores the inside to include the pin and the insides of the roller surface. This makes the roller (orifice) area larger, creating more slack between it and the pins, and the sum of all the roller/pins that become worn contributes to the growth in the chain. Immersive waxing puts a solid paraffin lube around the pins and fills almost all of the air gap inside. This solid cannot easily be bypassed by grit keeping the inside area very clean. Wet lubes do nothing to stop a solid particle from making its way in which contributes to wear.

XX1/X01 cassettes will last a very long time if you keep them clean and free of contamination. A solid scrubbing/cleaning (not jet water blasting) will help keep them useable for a very long time. However what tends to wear down cassettes the most is a chain that's wearing/growing. Some people think that lubing the cassette with a wet lube will make them slippery to slow the wearing on the teeth, but this is false. A wet lube attracts grit and will form a cutting compound that will abrade the cassette faster. It's best to keep that area dry and free of anything wet or damp.

The GX chain is mediocre at best, not very good but far from the worst. Hope this helps.
 

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Another thing a lot of riders tend to neglect is the derailleur pulleys. Keep those pulleys clean as well, and if they're plastic or some polymer material, inspect to make sure they haven't deformed from a rock or stick that got caught up in there. You want to keep any part of the chain and everything that touches it as clean as you can get it. Also, take note of the pulley itself, it does wear over time. If the teeth become too rounded, you may experience shifting problems. The good news is a brand new set of OEM pulleys aren't expensive and with basic hex tools, are easy to replace.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Lubing and riding conditions definitely have the most effect on expected chain life if one does not consider the chain design itself. If ridden in the same conditions and the same lube, an X01/XX1 chain will outlast a GX chain by 2,5-3,5x making the higher cost justifiable.

As antimatter pointed out above, chains have metal-on-metal contact and require lubrication. However that lube must be either able to repel dirt or imbed it in the lube keeping dirt off the metal surfaces. This is almost impossible so mostly lubes that repel dirt are available.

Even if you swear by your preferred lubricant it ALWAYS works best when applied to a clean chain and well before a ride, preferably several hours. Lubricants contain carrier fluids like alcohol or even water, which takes time go evaporate and leave the lubricant where you need it: between the rollers and the pins. Any lubricant on the outside of the chain will only gather dirt and act as an abrasive, which is why hot waxing the chain is the best option and all other follow behind in different order. My professional opinion is also that lubricant which remain fluid or "wet" should be avoided as they gather the most dirt.
I tried dry lubes a long time ago and swore never again. it was summer and actually dry / sandy / hot on the fire roads, the dry lube attracted more dust and sand than I'd experienced before. a few hundred meters into the ride I could hear the noise of sand grinding around the cassette & chainrings, changing front derailleur (it was a while ago) you could hear the squeal as the chain slid along the derailleur guide.

I understand the concept of keeping the grinding particles off the moving metal (chemistry degree), having something suspending the particles in place seems silly, having something help move the particles away easier (less grinding) seems more practical.

There's likely just a month or 2 (not this year) I get to ride when my drive train won't get wet. I'm guessing most responses are not with this in mind.

different people swear by different things though its important we are all happy with our choices :).

I'm sure I saw some x01 12 speeds ~ £45 the other day so will see if I can source one and give it a go.
 

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I tried dry lubes a long time ago and swore never again. it was summer and actually dry / sandy / hot on the fire roads, the dry lube attracted more dust and sand than I'd experienced before. a few hundred meters into the ride I could hear the noise of sand grinding around the cassette & chainrings, changing front derailleur (it was a while ago) you could hear the squeal as the chain slid along the derailleur guide.

I understand the concept of keeping the grinding particles off the moving metal (chemistry degree), having something suspending the particles in place seems silly, having something help move the particles away easier (less grinding) seems more practical.

There's likely just a month or 2 (not this year) I get to ride when my drive train won't get wet. I'm guessing most responses are not with this in mind.

different people swear by different things though its important we are all happy with our choices :).

I'm sure I saw some x01 12 speeds ~ £45 the other day so will see if I can source one and give it a go.
While I cannot be certain what was happening then, even a chain treated with immersive waxing is not silent as some have advertised, in fact it's actually louder based on my experiences.

A silent or quieter drivetrain isn't necessarily an indicator that something's better. I could use axle grease on everything on the bike's drivetrain and it'll be quieter than anything you can drip onto it. Doesn't mean it's doing a good job at preventing wear.

Dry lubes aren't the same, some are just garbage like the White Lighting Dry stuff. As MTBEngineer stated, this is one of those where it's mostly carrier (xylene, toluene, alcohol, water, etc.) and not much in terms of actual lubricant. Another garbage lube is the Mucoff Team Sky Hydrodynamic lube. Absolutely none of the teflon or eco-friendly wet lube stuff is remotely good either.

The reason why immersive waxing is so effective is because it goes in as a thin, but hot liquid, you can shake the chain while submerged for as long as you want to ensure no bubbles come up, bring it up and let dry for a few minutes and it'll harden to a solid. Nearly all of the spaces where grit can get in are filled with paraffin that's solid, it's not going to get in there easily.

Immersive chain waxing is more common with the road bike community than it is for MTB's and I'm not sure why. Perhaps road bikers are willing to spend more time on improving inefficiencies among other things than MTB'ers? I don't know for certain. MTB's subject themselves to the worst of conditions, and IMHO they stand to benefit the most not from an efficiency point, but to help with the longevity of their bike components.

This is from Zerofrictioncycling in Australia. He and Jason Smith of Frictionfacts (now Ceramicspeed) has done a lot of controlled testing using many different kinds of lubes subjecting chains to a wide variety of contaminants. ZFC has gone even further with the longevity testing and often subjects chains to worst conditions than some of you may encounter riding outdoors.

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The one product I'd like to try is the AbsoluteBlack Graphene stuff. It's very expensive and the bottle version, according to AB is superior to the wax melt. The bottle version is not a drip lube, but is immersive when placed in the supplied bag. The process is similar to waxing in that solvent (mineral spirits) are needed to remove any trace of grease, but it can still benefit from an ultrasonic cleaning followed by an alcohol bath to make sure the chain is as clean as it can be prior to the Graphene treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
While I cannot be certain what was happening then, even a chain treated with immersive waxing is not silent as some have advertised, in fact it's actually louder based on my experiences.

A silent or quieter drivetrain isn't necessarily an indicator that something's better. I could use axle grease on everything on the bike's drivetrain and it'll be quieter than anything you can drip onto it. Doesn't mean it's doing a good job at preventing wear.

Dry lubes aren't the same, some are just garbage like the White Lighting Dry stuff. As MTBEngineer stated, this is one of those where it's mostly carrier (xylene, toluene, alcohol, water, etc.) and not much in terms of actual lubricant. Another garbage lube is the Mucoff Team Sky Hydrodynamic lube. Absolutely none of the teflon or eco-friendly wet lube stuff is remotely good either.

The reason why immersive waxing is so effective is because it goes in as a thin, but hot liquid, you can shake the chain while submerged for as long as you want to ensure no bubbles come up, bring it up and let dry for a few minutes and it'll harden to a solid. Nearly all of the spaces where grit can get in are filled with paraffin that's solid, it's not going to get in there easily.

Immersive chain waxing is more common with the road bike community than it is for MTB's and I'm not sure why. Perhaps road bikers are willing to spend more time on improving inefficiencies among other things than MTB'ers? I don't know for certain. MTB's subject themselves to the worst of conditions, and IMHO they stand to benefit the most not from an efficiency point, but to help with the longevity of their bike components.

This is from Zerofrictioncycling in Australia. He and Jason Smith of Frictionfacts (now Ceramicspeed) has done a lot of controlled testing using many different kinds of lubes subjecting chains to a wide variety of contaminants. ZFC has gone even further with the longevity testing and often subjects chains to worst conditions than some of you may encounter riding outdoors.

View attachment 1943658
its always nice seeing a graph, those X01's & XX1's do stand out!! As do the KMC 12 speed for it's low life!!

I'd be interested to understand what the melting point of the chain lubes you've mentioned are and to understand how hot the links get in motion especially on a hot day climbing a fire road.

I'm quite sure though that for road bikes dry lubes are great at keeping out fine particles that'll likely work their way into a chain, grinding away for many hundreds of miles of constant peddling, MTB is often a very different challenge, lots of short bursts of intense power followed by time not moving and having lots of sand, mud, soil, leaves etc coming its way. I'm sure road riders would be mortified at what an MTB chain must go through which then drags it through the expensive cassettes and chain rings.

I'm of the mind to buy cheap, don't worry about it & replace often or pay more, spend more time (= money) on maintenance & probably ride somewhere else.

I'd rather swap out the chain than the cassette due to the cost.
 

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KMC X12 chains are indeed horrible, lasting only maybe 1/4 of the mileage I get from X01 Eagle.

The AB Graphene stuff is interesting but IMO prohibitively expensive!

The thing with all lubes is that if applied just before a ride and not letting the carrier fluid evaporate / dissolve means the lube is not reaching the places it needs to, which is the interface between the roller and pin. If a lube must be applied just before a ride a wet lube is generally better as they more often use oils for carrying fluid, so it will need to penetrate into the chain’s crevices but not dissolve or evaporate.
 
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