In development for more than a year, Silca’s Josh Poertner has just released his Super Secret Chain Lube. For years, Josh has recommended a hot-melt wax application to chains as the fastest, lowest drag option. But that’s impractical for most (all?) of us, so how to get those same marginal gains in an easy-to-apply, bottled lube?

Turns out, once again, he found the answer from the Indy Racing industry in their hometown of Indianapolis. Here’s how he explains it…

What’s in the Silca Super Secret Chain Lube?

The lube uses dissolvable wax particles mixed with nano-scale Tungsten DiSulfide (“Nano WS2” in the chart below), which he says has the lowest coefficient of drag of any other lubricious particle available. The result is a product that you can drip onto your chain like normal and delivers a fast, smooth, virtually self-cleaning ride.

Silca super secret chain lube friction reduction chart

But, you’ve gotta clean that chain first. Like, really well. They recommend thorough degreasing and rinsing, followed by a second cleaning with dish soap and water, followed by a good long drying out period to ensure all of the moisture is gone. They actually recommend blasting it with hot air, but an air compressor followed by a stint in the sun or warm oven should work, too. Then, drip it on like normal, rub it in, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes before riding.

It’s still a bit more involved than typical drip-and-ride lubes, and it’s a commitment as you don’t want to mix this with other types of lubes.

Josh told us that they were developing this in secret, with plans to use it on Victor Campenaerts’ next hour record attempt (he set one in 2019, at altitude, and wanted to do it again at sea level). But when that was canceled, they decided to let key dealers and partners in on the secret. Why? Because he says, so many partners helped develop it that he wanted to go ahead and start giving them credit by releasing it. The first batch sold out in an hour.

More is being made, though. Retail is $42 for an 8oz bottle or $44 for a larger bottle with 9oz of lube plus room to drop your chain into it if you want to completely saturate it. Smaller sizes will be available in the future.


  1. carbonfodder on

    How is this any more practical than a paraffin wax bath? Both require deep cleaning prior to application.
    Paraffin wax lasts longer and the chain stays cleaner than a drip type lube (at least in a dry climate). The time between wax applications also mitigates much of the initial cleaning effort by eliminating the interim ‘surface’ cleaning required with liquid lubes.
    Once prepared properly, waxing a chain with paraffin takes 5 minutes of effort every 200 miles.
    I am not a materials engineer, but I am lazy as he!! when it comes to chain maintenance, and have found wax is way more practical and cheaper to run than any other lube, once you prep the chain.
    $42 for an 8 ounce bottle would be enough to buy a pound of paraffin ($6), a small slow cooker ($20), and fill 3 mason jars with varying cleaner concentrations at which point you are set up for a year.
    Spend an afternoon cleaning all your chains properly, drop them in the wax bath for 5 minutes. Reattach to your bikes and ride.

    • bmx on

      modern chains aren’t really suitable to be taken off the bike unless you want to renew the speed link every time. You cant brake a modern chain as in remove the pins and pop them back together. Anyhow this lubricant is probably great but needs independent testing by that friction facts guy.

  2. curmudgeon on

    Sorry, but I’ll bet Smoove is within 1% of the same performance, at 30% cost. And, what Josh based his lube on…. Love you Silca, just so over overpriced pretentious, artisanal products that work no better in real life.

  3. Tom on

    Hi, I’m Tom, and I have a chain lube problem…….

    Despite the borderline crazy cost, I’d give this a whirl if it turns out to be long-lasting and clean.

    Eagerly awaiting independent testing.

  4. mudmudmud on

    With more people riding off pavement, this isn’t very practical, unless you live in dry climate. My bike gets muddy almost every ride, so I have to spray it off with a hose. Then I have to oil again. I use chainsaw lube, $6 for a pint (way cheaper than bike shops).

  5. Randal Bladel on

    Been using hot wax paraffin for 45 years now, since I wrenched in a shop. We used to add molybdenum to it way back when. Now I just buy the Molten Speed wax. Nothing like wax to keep the bike clean, and the tests commissioned by Velo News a few years ago confirm the low friction. Gotta rewax every 400 or so miles, and dry your chain after a wet ride or general bike cleaning. Sometimes I will use a little Squirt wax lube to touch it up a bit on the external surfaces, but that tends to collect more dirt. Squirt looks a lot like this Silca stuff, by the way.

  6. Jim on

    This graph of friction coefficient is highly misrepresenting the facts.

    WS2 (Tungsten Disulfide) indeed can exhibit such a low friction coefficient like 0.03-0.06 but only in DRY NITROGEN atmosphere. Same goes for Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). They are excellent dry lubricants for space, vaccum engines, lab equippment where dry nitrogen is used as protective atmosphere.

    But if you use it in the normal air (which is always humid at min 20%) these materials have 0.15-0.25 friction and growing very fast. Google it …

  7. Mark H Hendricks on

    Totally absurd. ALL chain mfg.’s warn against degreasing a chain. Much of the line is applied at the factory before the chain is assembled and it is not possible to replace it. If you swap chains after most races, wax dipping at least makes a little sense.

    The third part of a high end car wax has no rubbing compound. It is nano ceramic and paraphin. It is $26 for a quart! Wipe down your current chain and apply away. It dries, so it attracts no grit. Wax remains a lubricant until worn off. It resists water, seals gaps and is smooth as a baby’s bottom. You will even feel the difference.

  8. Paniagua on

    You call Josh the “Founder” of Silca at the opening of the article. I’m glad Josh picked up the torch and is carrying on with the Silca brand but he is not the Founder.

  9. bart on

    I’ll stick to my Squirt lube…after the initial cleaning you can just reapply it as often as needed. No need to degrease again, just add more lube as necessary..just brush off the black crud when it builds up and apply more lube. I’d love to slow cook my chain for the real way method but living in an apartment in Munich makes the whole deal almost impossible.

  10. briannystrom on

    I looked up the friction characteristics of both WS2 and MoS2 online and at the temperatures and surface pressures that are generated in a bike chain, they’re virtually identical. I really get tired of this kind of hype. For what Silca wants for 8 ounces, I can blend about four gallons of the home brew I’ve been using for the past three years. It lasts 500-700 miles between drip applications and I never have to screw with melting wax. My road chains typically last around 6000 miles. That’s good enough for me.

  11. Douglas Schmidt on

    To wax a chain every 200 to 400 miles is crazy. At that rate I would pulling off the chain every 2 to 3 weeks. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the hassle for marginal gains, I would rather ride.

    • Brian on

      I’m starting to do it more for the cleanliness. I hate a filthy cassette and worse, getting lube on the interior of my car. Of course my new cassette is matte black :-/. I will wax three at a time and use as necessary. I hope to get only wax once a month. Paraffin was cheap ($16.99 for 3/lbs), slow cooker was cheap ($13.99), SRAM Force AXS chain ($32.99 x3).

  12. Phil on

    For me, besides the marginal gains, there are some big ones too; quiet drivetrain, less wear and tear on rings and cogs, better shifting, and no more ‘leg tats’. I almost miss getting the leg tats 😉

  13. John Siviour on

    I am currently running two waxed chains: one clean waxed chain in storage, the other on the bike….swap when needed. Ten minutes maintenance per swap. I use Connex quick links…..resusable.


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