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The Takeaway: Long lasting, clean running chain wax for a variety of conditions.
Wax lube that repels moisture and dirt.
Works best if re-applied after a deep cleaning.
Keeps the drivetrain quiet for a long time.
Ideally requires a 1 hour wait time after treating.
It’s very clear that gravel specific gear is hot right now. Gravel specific shoes, gravel helmets, gravel shorts, gravel saddles, gravel bars are all flying around the market. But gravel chain wax? Well, it’s here and it’s called GRAX, produced by Allied Cycle Works. GRAX is marketed first as a gravel specific chain wax but Allied isn’t trying to say it’s ONLY for gravel. This is good, because I put it straight on my road bike, which funny enough rides over gravel quite often. I figured this was a good compromise.
Allied also makes a degreaser they called GRAX-off which is an important first step in the process of applying GRAX lubricant. It works as advertised and my chain ended up being nice and shiny clean. I let it totally dry and continued to the next step of applying the GRAX.
It’s easy to follow these steps described on Allied’s website. In short step one is clean your chain, step two is let it dry, step three is apply GRAX and let it dry again. Follow these steps and, next thing you know your chain is waxed. GRAX is not for a quick top off between rides, as Allied advises that you wait at least one hour to ride after treating the chain but in a pinch you can shorten that to 10-15 mins by wiping off excess wax. I found using GRAX to be best as part my cleaning routine after a ride or during a tune up. I tended not to use the quicker, 15-minute method, which saw me reapplying quicker than when I waited the whole hour.
On the road GRAX kept my chain quiet and smooth. It certainly lasts longer than regular dry lube and stays clean longer than wet lube. My chain stayed respectably clean between rides and simple post ride wipe down
s brushed off any debris that had collected during a ride. I used GRAX in a variety of conditions including wet roads, dry summer days, and dusty gravel. I even got caught in a downpour while riding on some already damp dirt roads. Never once did I hear a squeak or grind in my drivetrain.
Another positive was that I was able to wash and wipe down my bike repeatedly between applications of GRAX without worrying about having to reapply. The waxy coating seems to avoid the dreaded rusty chain after a wet ride, and is quite resistant to grime buildup. I found my mileage to last somewhere between the 100-350 miles claimed by Allied. This wide range is not surprising considering the variety of conditions I rode in.
Allied also recommends that you re-apply GRAX between deep cleanings if you have ridden in really grimy conditions. However, I leaned toward a full degrease and re-wax when it came time to re-apply as I found this to produce the smoothest running and more importantly cleanest chain.
While the wax lasts quite a long time, the re-application process might not be everyone’s cup of tea. There is still something I can appreciate about the ease of just wiping down and re-lubing before a ride. I have used Rock and Roll Gold for a long time, as I have found it great for keeping my chain clean and lubed. However, Rock and Roll Gold required much more frequent re-application and it could get a little messy because it drips all over the place. It's still a solid option for anyone who wants a less involved lubrication process.
For someone who likes to go on multi-day trips such as bikepacking. GRAX could be a handy product. GRAX allows riders to treat their chains with a high-quality lubricant before setting off and not have to worry about it again until the adventure is over. Apparently GRAX is watt saving fast too, but that’s science for a later time.
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