I’m waxing now. It’s a sacrifice I need to make for Iceland. Yeah, we’re still going to Iceland. Just haven’t been posting…
I am rough on chains. Really rough. Mostly it’s because I’m lazy and I don’t clean them adequately. The chain line on our tandem is similar to what you’d have on a single speed due to the Rohloff hub, but the chain length is crazy. The front half of the bike uses 2 full chains to link my cranks to Natalie’s and the rear half uses 2 chains plus another foot to link the chainring to the Rohloff sprocket. About ¾ of the chain line is protected by chain tubes. I’ve been using oil-based lube on the chain for a year and wiping it down after each ride with a rag but that thing is super dirty. Just brushing up against it with your arm leaves you with a black mark that looks like your tattoo artist has a drinking problem. Plus, I think our dirty chains are making us slow. (Fun fact: you can lose single digit watts to dirty chains.) Either that or we are out of shape.
After reviewing the 2013 VeloNews article on chain lubrication where they tested high-end products, I decided to go all in for their top pick: paraffin wax. Besides being the most efficient on the chain, wax allegedly has a side benefit in that it keeps the chain clean. We’ll see. So Wednesday I went to DI (a second-hand store) and bought a used crock pot. Natalie thinks this is funny because I recently donated one to the same place. (Pro tip: use a crock pot instead of something capable of more heat – wax can explode and convert your lovely two-car garage into a carport.) I bought paraffin wax and oil from Walmart and cooked up a batch following the directions from this YouTube video. How did we ever get anything done without YouTube? Watch the video just to hear the guy’s cool accent. Last night I cooked up a pot of the paraffin wax/oix mixture and soaked 5 new chains in it.
Hopefully we’ll be able to keep the chains clean and properly lubricated through the weather we anticipate in Iceland. We’ll let you know how it works out.