Lube isn’t all that sexy, at least not this kind.
But it is unquestionably the cheapest way to make your bike measurably quicker.
The most efficient lubes in perfect conditions are likely not the fastest when the going gets rough, with the exception of paraffin.
The only real argument against paraffin wax is its more intensive application process.
It’s the fastest in ideal conditions, and even in nasty conditions it is still an exceptional single-day lube.
On our test bikes, it has sloshed through hours of snow-covered roads without a squeak or squeal, remaining clean enough to touch the whole time;
it will live through just about anything you can throw at it in a single day.
In real-world testing, we’ve been getting up-wards of 650 miles out of an application (shortened by about half if riding in wet weather) before the chain begins to dry out.
When the wax hits the end of its life, it does so quickly and dramatically: your drivetrain will go from quiet to raucous in the space of a few minutes.
So, it is best to re-apply relatively frequently.
Whether it’s simply too much effort to bust out the crock-pot every half dozen rides or so is, of course, up to you.
The fastest heavy oil, and therefore perhaps the best choice for consistently bad conditions, is White Lightning’s Wet Ride.
The drip waxes don’t last long, and are only effective if the quantity of wax is very high
The lubes that contain large amounts of slick additive, like PTFE or wax, relative to their concentration of carrier, are almost always faster.
The fantastic Rock-n-Roll Gold has huge amounts of PTFE, a bit of oil, and some carrier, all distinctly visible through the side of its clear bottle.
Rock-n-Roll Absolute Dry drops the oil and ups the carrier, but also ups the PTFE even further, keeping it near the top of the list.
Going for a lube with as much PTFE as possible is the best bet for pure efficiency.
For consistently wet weather, go with heavy oil.
And for the meticulous mechanic, happy to pull a chain off and re-wax it every few weeks, cheap hardware store paraffin is unbeatable.
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Many years ago I used a product called Linklyfe to lubricate motorcycle chains. It was a wax-based that came in a round flat tin. The cleaned chain was placed on top of the wax and the pan gently heated on the stove.
It worked well.
Recently I got hold of some paraffin wax and tried it on my bicycle chain.
After hanging it up to let the hot wax drain off it was as stiff as a board and difficult to bend. After fitting it to the bike it was very stiff and seemed to jump teeth for the first km or so.
I did not notice any improvement and the hassle involved did not seem worth it.
Perhaps I will try the Rock-n-Roll Gold and see if I get a better experience.