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Hi there, 

A friend handed me a can of WD-40 Motorcycle Chain Wax recently that he had picked up in Aldi dirt cheap because "it is so much better than bike chain lube".

It was free, so tempting to give it a try, but I am wary as I have never owned/used a motorcycle so have no idea whether chain lubricant/wax designed for use on one is a good idea for a road bike, or something to avoid like the plague. It is also a brand new cassette and chain, so not interested in doing anything that might shorten their life. 

Anyone got any experience/ideas?

David

12 comments

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Drinfinity [85 posts] 2 months ago
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The motorcycle chain wax I used in the past on motorbikes was thick and sticky. Designed to not get flung off at high speeds. I wouldn’t put it on my (pedal) bike.

Never tried this particular product, but it’s a very different application- I’d leave it.

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Jetmans Dad [46 posts] 2 months ago
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Drinfinity wrote:

The motorcycle chain wax I used in the past on motorbikes was thick and sticky. Designed to not get flung off at high speeds. I wouldn’t put it on my (pedal) bike.

Never tried this particular product, but it’s a very different application- I’d leave it.

That's exactly the kind of clear, simple answer I was after. Thank you. 

D

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hawkinspeter [2006 posts] 2 months ago
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Haven't tried that product but have a little experience with wax on bicycle chains. If you're going to use wax, it works best if you completely degrease the chain first and then only use wax and not grease on the chain. This allows the wax to better stick to the metal and thus stay put longer.

I don't think it would cause any problems with a new chain (providing you degrease it) and cassette unless you let it wear off (wax doesn't last as long between applications as traditional lubes) and then do lots of riding on a dry chain. That shouldn't be a problem as the chain would get noisy as the wax wears off, so it should be obvious.

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StraelGuy [1444 posts] 2 months ago
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I'm a fellow 'waxer' and one bit of advice I'd like to give is to fit the chain while it's still reasonably warm. If you let it cool right down it's like trying to thread a stick back onto your drivetrain yes.

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Mungecrundle [977 posts] 2 months ago
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My 2p

Do not degrease a chain! Never use WD40, white spirit, petrol, engine degreaser etc as these will remove the lubricant from inside the chain links which is where you want it.

Remove cosmetic surface gunge by wiping with a rag, scrubbing with an old toothbrush and using oil (paraffin, motor oil or even cooking oil) to lift the dirt. Always best done with chain removed from the bike. Invest in some quick links and tool.

Once the chain is nice and shiney on the outside then a chain wax can be used. My current product of choice is Wurth motorcycle chain wax. It is completely mess free and does not form a grinding paste with dirt like wet lubes.

Although my goal is a clean, quiet and low friction chain. I'm not so worried about maximising longevity as replacing a chain is neither difficult or expensive.

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nniff [247 posts] 2 months ago
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What characteristics of a motorcycle chain wax are you seeking to carry over that you don't get with bike lube?  The main characteristics of motorbike wax are to operate at pressures and speeds of rotation that are off the bicycle scale completely, with no real issue about power to drive the chain around, but a key requirement to keep an enduring layer of lubricant between gear and chain.   Bicycles have a different set of problems, including (speaking personally of course) a marked lack of power to squander.

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hawkinspeter [2006 posts] 2 months ago
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StraelGuy wrote:

I'm a fellow 'waxer' and one bit of advice I'd like to give is to fit the chain while it's still reasonably warm. If you let it cool right down it's like trying to thread a stick back onto your drivetrain yes.

He's just spraying it on, not doing a warm wax bath.

I've always allowed the chain to cool down and then loosened each link by hand to remove excess wax and to make it more supple.

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Yorkshire wallet [2060 posts] 2 months ago
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Wouldn't worry to much about the fear of wear, it's not like sprockets and chains are made of wood and sandpaper. My chain is lucky if it gets cleaned 4 times a year and I just buy a new one every year anyway. If you buy a new chain in spring and don't ride in the wet it should be good for ages on that initial greasing. My mate used to run his BMX and MTBs with no lube at all and wear still wasn't really a problem.

I'd love to see an experiment in which you took unlubed drivetrains, lubed but clean and lubed and dirty as hell and saw what the differences were. Probably not much.

As for any sort of motorbike chain lube, I'd stay away from it as I remember it being immensely tacky and hard to clean off.

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watlina [94 posts] 2 months ago
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I've been using Squit (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/squirt-chain-lube-120ml/) which is wax based for the last year or so and have have found it very good. I normally wipe the chain down with a rag first to get any excess off before re-applying the evening before a ride.

It's perhaps not as quite as quiet as the Fenwicks Stealth (now called Professional) I used to use but it seems to be a bit less messy to put on and stays a bit cleaner.

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n_g [19 posts] 2 months ago
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These days most motorcycles use O-ring chains, where there is a rubber O-ring between the inner and outer parts of the chain. It seals in the lubricant. This is quite different from how bicycle chains are constructed. Therefore, the lubrication requirements of motorcycle chains are different from bicycle chains. I would not use motorcycle lubricant on a bicycle, since it's designed to do a different job.

One thing I'm not so sure about: if O-ring chains seal in the lubricant inside the moving parts, why is there still a need for spray lube ?

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matthewn5 [1204 posts] 1 month ago
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Yorkshire wallet wrote:

I'd love to see an experiment in which you took unlubed drivetrains, lubed but clean and lubed and dirty as hell and saw what the differences were. Probably not much.

It's been done, quite a lot.

This site has a graph, and the losses aren't much, 1-2%:

//ridefar.info/wp-content/uploads/drivetrain3.jpg)

https://ridefar.info/bike/cycling-speed/mechanical-resistance/

Take with a grain of salt, it appears to come from an outfit ('Friction Facts') pushing ceramic bearings.

This site suggests a larger difference, of 4-5% of the total output:

https://djconnel.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/drivetrain-losses-introduction.html

I can certainly feel a difference when I've cleaned the chain (wiping down method only) and lubed it (MuckOff dry).

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fukawitribe [2448 posts] 1 month ago
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matthewn5 wrote:

Take with a grain of salt, it appears to come from an outfit ('Friction Facts') pushing ceramic bearings.

 4 You might want to look-up the history of Friction Facts....