I’ve been a Finish Line lube user for some time now. On my bikes, I’ve alternated between the Wet Lube and the Dry Lube, depending on the bike and season. I’ve particularly liked the dry lube, which I use most of the time (except in very wet weather, such as when snow biking).
I wanted to try Finish Line’s Ceramic Wax Lube, which they market as an “all conditions” wax for maximum cleanliness. It is supposed to work in wet and dry conditions, and is supposed to leave your chain dry, rather than wet or sticky. I’ve used it on the Vaytanium for all of 2012, and have used it on the Ridley since I got the ENVE wheels and KMC diamond like coating chain.
I have not used it on my other bikes–and here’s why:
1. Big Dummy: Lives a charmed life, rarely sees inclement weather, and with ~1,500 miles on it, shows no chain wear on the big chain. Finish Line Dry Lube is used here, and is seemingly working perfectly.
2. Rumblefish: I like to clean and lube the chain more frequently than the Ceramic Wax makes sense for. The Ceramic Wax has longer service intervals, and since I tend to clean and lube the chain every couple rides, I don’t think the extra expense makes sense.
3. Mukluk: Lives a hard life, and the chain is frequently blasting through snow or water, packed with mud, or otherwise exposed to conditions that require frequent cleaning and lubing. I am thinking about upgrading to a KMC DLC chain on the Muk, as I’ve been fighting chain corrosion since day 1 with the stock chain.
That, and Finish Line recommends the Ceramic Wax lube only for “optimal road riding performance.”
So what has my experience with the Ceramic Wax lube been? Relatively good.
The Vaya is a perfect place to use it. I follow the label instructions, which means clean the chain, lube it once and let it dry, ride it 1-2 times, and lube it again (and let it dry). Then, you can run for a longer interval without any cleaning or lubing (assuming you don’t get into muddy conditions or something else that requires cleaning). As advertised, the lube dries to a non-stick coating. Even extensively dusty conditions (dry gravel roads) don’t seem to impact it too much. I’ve lubed the chain on the Vaya three times this year (all with the Ceramic Wax): the first time was the conversion to Ceramic Wax lube; the second time was after the Gravel Metric Scouting Ride (where the chain got both dunked in water and crudded up with mud); and the third time was after the Gravel Metric. Here are some very terrible quality, cellphone pics of the current chain condition:
Sorry–those are the best pics I have right now.
Those pics are after ~150 miles post-cleaning/lubing. That is still the original chain on the Vaya, which shows wear that is still within acceptable ranges. I attribute that to my A/R cleaning/lubing habits. I’ve been very pleased with how the lube has performed–the chain is silent, has no problems shifting, and the lube holds up well to long miles and many rides.
As far as cleaning goes, I’ve found the best technique to be cleaning the chain as follows: 1) use air gun to blast debris off chain; 2) clean with WD-40 and a rag and brush; 3) use air gun to blast chain again; 4) let it fully dry; and, 5) then lube chain.
On the Ridley, I’ve had similarly good luck with the chain, although it’s much newer and fancier.
If you look closely at that pic, it looks like there’s some dirty crud on the chain. That is residue from the wax. The appearance bugs me a bit, but the lube seems to be functioning well…and here’s why I say that: With a ‘regular’ lube, if the chain looks dirty like that, it will likely also be noisy–and the noise indicates a problem to me. With the Ceramic Wax lube, the chain remains silent much longer. I believe the wear points of the chain are still well-lubed. That experience has been consistent on both the Ridley and the Vaya.
Any lessons I’ve learned? Sure:
1. The lube doesn’t work well with factory lube. The KMC came with a thick layer of the factory lube on it, and the KMC did not work well with it. I’d suggest that with a new chain, you either use regular lube, or clean the chain and use the Ceramic Wax. After my first cleaning of the KMC, the Ceramic Wax lube worked much better.
2. Follow the label directions. They say to lube, ride, then lube again. If you over-lube with the wax lube, you get a sticky, ineffective mess that flakes off the chain. Resist the temptation to over-lube.