Gear

Technical FAQ: Quick release recall, chain wax, and more

This week, Lennard Zinn addresses questions about the quick release recall, bottom brackets, and using chain wax before a rainy ride.

More on the quick release recall

Dear Lennard,
I am really frustrated with this massive quick release recall. I have found no bulletins from manufacturers telling shops to install the front QR on the right to prevent any possible contact with the rotor. What am I missing? Are they really adhering to the “quick release only on the left” rule to satisfy some sense of decorum or aesthetic despite the fact that a child could solve this “problem?”
— Nate

Dear Nate,
I agree that the lever ought to be on the right, and I always run mine that way and do indeed get some hassle from sticklers bound to the convention of having it on the left side. If it’s on the left, the likelihood of touching the rotor and getting grease from your fingers on it or of grasping it with opposing pressure when tightening the skewer and bending it are good reasons to put it on the right. But now with thru-axles, the ability to move the lever to the drive side is being taken away from us. For those same reasons, I think that the lever on a front thru-axle should also be on the right, but the manufacturers clearly are not listening to me on that.

With regard to flipping the skewer around being a solution to the problem that negates the need for a recall, I suppose that manufacturers have to protect against the liability possible if somebody were to reverse the skewer.
— Lennard

More on chain lube

Dear Lennard,
Ever since VeloNews ran the article about waxing the chains with paraffin, I have been doing so. I rewax after 500 miles. However, if the chain gets wet before that I find that the chain rusts. On a long tour one day it rained, and the next day the chain had rust spots. How does a rusted chain give good performance? Is only the outside of the chain getting rusted or is there the possibility that the rollers in the chain are rusting and not performing also? Should I be changing the wax every time I ride in the rain?

VeloNews seemed to say that riding for 300 miles in the wet was fine, but did they encounter chains rusting? Were all 300 miles at once instead over many rides so the chain did not have a chance to rust?

Also the sprockets had rust spots. How do you prevent them from getting rust spots since you can’t wax them?
— Michel

Dear Michel,
Here is an answer from my friend John Thompson, the owner of MoltenSpeed Wax; he and his son have a lot of experience riding and racing with waxed chains:

I know a little bit about wax but Jason (Smith, of Friction Facts) will always be the lead wax guy, he taught me volumes and helped us get started a couple of years ago!

The key to keeping a waxed chain from rusting after riding in the rain is to dry it with a rag (or blow with compressed air). We’ll also dab the cassette with a rag or use compressed air to eliminate standing water droplets. If we ride in a significant amount of rain we’ll dry and re-wax the chain as soon as possible (when in doubt concerning rain, always re-wax). To make the waxing process efficient it’s important to have at least two chains in rotation so a freshly waxed chain can be installed after the rainy ride chain is removed.

We’ve purposely abused a high-end chain to see where rust tends to form. We found that the pin/inner link contact point remains relatively rust free (pins no rust; inner link contact point, minute rust). I believe this part of the chain escapes rust due to limited exposure to air and the fact that wax clings well to this area. I’m sure the chromium hardened surface of the pin is also a factor. Please keep in mind this was a single test but that the chain did have abundant rust, especially the exterior of the rollers (the interior surface of the rollers, coincidentally, was relatively rust free similar to the pin/inner link contact point which is also somewhat removed from open air).

Concerning the cassette, it’s definitely possible (albeit labor intensive) to wax the entire cassette and we do it with some frequency for a perceived performance advantage (no tests on this yet), but simply drying the drivetrain is quick and effective.
— John

From Ceramic Speed:

The problem described above with rust on the chain after riding in the rain is expected. When we do the UFO chains they are completely stripped off of all oil/grease from the manufacturer before the wax is added. And since the wax is a wax and not an oil, that leaves a closed film, keeping oxygen away from the steel — rust is likely to happen after a rainy ride. We are currently working on a new UFO formula with better anti-rust properties for adverse conditions but it is not a simple task. It is important for us to stress that rust can happen after a rainy ride but not from a clean ride or from a waxed chain sitting on the shelf in humid conditions. Riding in rain doesn’t only make the chain wet but often brings more road grit, etc. up from the road and contaminates the chain. Even with oiled chains there is a risk of rust to happen after a wet ride. This is why it is always recommended to re-lubricate the chain after riding in wet conditions. If you use a waxed chain and can’t re-treat that we recommend cleaning the chain with a dry cloth and afterwards adding a wax-based lubricant (for example Squirt Lube). This will help prevent rust to happen.

With the current UFO wax, if rainy conditions are anticipated for a ride and you still want optimal performance, we believe the best solution is to apply grease on top of the wax and Teflon treated chains. The grease will help block the water and oxygen away from the Teflon and wax, which means the ultrafast treatment stays intact. If you apply oil instead of grease it will run into the rollers, between the link plates etc. and this will affect the performance of the wax. The downside of applying grease is that it gets sticky and you will most likely need to clean and treat the chain again afterwards. However, during the ride, the grease application will keep the chain very efficient. We do not have lab tests of this procedure yet but that is to come during autumn.

Adding oil will reduce the effect of the optimized wax and Teflon treatment but at the same time, it will keep rust away. And if your chain is a UFO chain that has also been broken-in and cleaned completely, it will still be a more efficient chain than if you used a standard chain. But not 100 percent UFO efficient.

— Martin Secher Banke
Ceramic Speed

SRAM eTAP

Dear Lennard,
I eagerly read your report today on the eTAP system after seeing Caley’s recently. My Kent Erickson was about to go to Steamboat to be set up for Di2. Expensive effort with holes formed into the frame, etc. But now I think this new system looks really great for traveling with a coupled bike. Less dealing with the cables
getting squished or bent while in the box, the handlebar needs to come off and is trailing four cables, getting cables screwed together just right, etc. It all adds up when I need to pack or unpack the bike.

But you did not mention that SRAM’s new baby, on their website, functions to a largest rear cog of only 28 teeth. Yikes, even Campy offers bigger than that. Some pros use lower gears than that on the worst climbs. Deal breaker for me, even with a compact. You confirmed for us months ago that the Di2 can handle 34×34, maybe higher with the Ultegra 6870GS rear derailleur. Younger riders than myself can muscle up long 12+ % climbs but I know I cannot [in] watts or gears [and] maintain a comfortable cadence.

I am amazed that SRAM didn’t start out offering the new eTAP rear derailleur with a choice of two different cage lengths. Can I assume that any manufacturer’s 11speed cogset will shift properly? Does it have a B-screw?
— Eric

From SRAM:

A WiFLi rear derailleur is not part of the initial offering for SRAM Red eTap. While we would always discourage any sort of homebrew solutions, it would be especially fruitless in this case, as the cage pin is a different design and attachment method inside the p-knuckle than our mechanical derailleurs. A 50-34 chainring combo and 11-28 cassette will offer the best climbing gearing with eTap for now.
— Nate Newton
SRAM Road Marketing Technical Rep

Bottom brackets

Dear Lennard,
I am planning to change my FSA Gossamer Crankset (30mm axle) to a Shimano 105 (5800, with 24mm axle). So I want to change my BB too.

The BB shell in my frame is 86.5mm width and its diameter is 46mm, so if I am correct, I got a BB368EVO compatible frame (Press Fit). There is not so much BB for this version, which is compatible with Shimano cranks. I do not want to use any adapter, so I have found this TriPeak BB.

It costs around $20 with ceramic bearings. Did you ever meet with this brand? Would you recommend it? I do not find any review about them.

Or do you have a better solution for the problem? I do not want to spend more than $45 on this BB.
— Tamas

Dear Tamas,
I haven’t tried that. I know this one is good, and it’s exactly the price you were looking for.
— Lennard

Sunglasses

Dear Lennard,
Regarding your “old eyes” mentioned in the pressure gauge entry. Have you tried DualEyewear?

Not to push a product, but these things work for me. Much cheaper than Oakley, etc., they come with a low-mounted magnifier bifocal. You select the frame style, color, and diopters.

Without them my aging presbyopic eyes, I can’t clearly see the speedo/odo on the bars, or a menu, or the hole in a tube. With them I no longer have to bring my usual glasses when I ride. I use them with my chainsaw too.
— Eric