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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have ~725 miles on my 12 speed chain and it needs to be replaced. Used in mostly dry conditions, kept clean and lubed religiously. I know several factors can affect this but I'm a bit surprised. This seems a bit short on lifespan, but I'm new to 12 speed. Could you share your experience?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the quick replies everyone. I'm at ~1,500 miles and over 150k' of climbing this year so I guess that's a decent amount of climbing?

I used the Park CC-4 tool and it's showing .5 wear...

I made the mistake of running an 11 speed chain for ~1500 miles and replacing the cassette and small chain ring of another bike before...
 

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Can you guys explain this wax thing, how often you apply it and the process to apply?
There’s some good YouTube vids out there, too detailed to reply in this forum.

Pathlesspedaled just did a vid about it last week but they don’t get into the technical details.


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1) Buy cheap crock pot

2) Buy canning paraffin from grocery store

3) Melt paraffin in crock pot

4) Clean chain in mineral spirits (if used). Swish around in a cup of mineral spirits for a minute or two.

5) Thread the two ends of the chain on a bent spoke for easy retrieval, and dunk in the crock pot at least until no bubbles emerge when agitated. Remove/hang chain to cool.

6) Install on bike, pedal backwards to break off stiff wax.

You do not need to strip a new chain, since liquified (hot) paraffin is a top-tier degreaser for petroleum based lubricants. The lighter lubricants in the chain will simply flash off in the hot pot of wax. Most people will use 2-3 chains rotating so they can just swap on a new one when it starts making noise/balky shifting.

You may use additives like powdered graphite, molybdenum disulfide, or PTFE in the wax, but unless you are a world-cup level cyclist, you probably won't notice a difference versus straight paraffin.

You can clean your chains in mineral spirits before returning them to the bath, but it makes minimal difference unless there is solid particulate (dirt) on the chain. Anything small enough to get out swishing a jar will be carried out by the hot paraffin. Every so often (yearly?) switch the crock pot on long enough to melt the bottom of the wax, remove the puck, and scrape the bottom/clean out the crock.
 

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I get absolutely staggering lifespan out XT and XTR 12 speed chains. I replace them after 2000km, I could probably go way longer but cassettes are too expensive to push it.
 

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Can you guys explain this wax thing, how often you apply it and the process to apply?
Molten Speed Wax has some good instructions under the "Instructions" drop down menu.

On my road bike I run ~250 miles so for the mtn bike I went ~125 miles since it seems somewhere around a 2:1 would be about right. I rotate through 4 chains which I wax all at the same time for convenience.
 

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Can you guys explain this wax thing, how often you apply it and the process to apply?
I have a small crockpot that was a freebee with a normal one purchased at Costco, which is convenient because I can melt one or two slabs of "canning" wax (paraffin). With a new chain, I strip off all of the oil it is packaged with (you should be doing this for any lube, but for this application, my goal is to keep the wax clean for re-use), and then put it in the crockpot for about 20 minutes with melted paraffin. Swirl it around with an old screwdriver, pull it out, and let it drip/cool for say 15 min and then put it on the bike (a quick link is ideal). Then after about 300 miles, I take the chain off, wipe it with a paper towel, and re-apply the wax. (I do 2 or 3 chains at once, so that saves a bit of time and probably extends life of the rest of the drivetrain.) $5 gets you a multi-year supply.

I don't normally ride under very wet conditions (thanks to our ongoing drought in CA), but wax doesn't last as long when it is really wet.

The chain lube called Squirt is essentially the same idea -- water and slack wax mixed with paraffin, so you don't have to heat it up. The downside is it balls up like snot, whereas pure wax just flakes off harmlessly.
 

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The chain lube called Squirt is essentially the same idea -- water and slack wax mixed with paraffin, so you don't have to heat it up. The downside is it balls up like snot, whereas pure wax just flakes off harmlessly.

Maybe not as clean as hot waxing but it's still really easy to keep the drivetrain clean with nothing other than a dry rag. For me the slight extra messiness is a fair tradeoff for the convenience of just being able to pour it on and ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have to say that I rode with the XTR chain today and it was noticeably quieter and smoother shifting. I was initially disappointed that the chain was only 1.2 ounces lighter than my old chain but this change is nice!
 
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