SRAM and Mon Dada partner in premium chain wax

Yes, the company that Wout van Aert and his wife Sarah De Bie are part-owners of.

Dave Rome
by Dave Rome 01.04.2024 Photography by
Dave Rome
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Interest in chain waxing has grown a great deal in a short number of years. An article I wrote in early 2018 was the first to use data from Zero Friction Cycling (and FrictionFacts) to highlight how and why hot-melt wax was the benchmark lubricant for both drivetrain longevity and low friction. Back then, Molten Speed Wax was the only easily available commercial chain wax product on the market, yet today, it’s joined by the likes of Silca, Cyclowax, Absolute Black, and heck, even Finishline has teased such a product. More recently, we’ve seen significant efforts to remove barriers to entry, with a prime example being Silca’s StripChip, which lets you wax a factory-greased chain. 

In addition to those commercial products, there are also the household options. Store-bought Gulf wax has long been a popular option, and high-grade paraffin from candle suppliers has since proven to be a decent option for those who do not want any friction or durability-enhancing additives. 

With such popularity it’s only a matter of time before a major chain manufacturer gives in to consumer demand and begins offering factory-waxed chains. And while that day hasn’t yet arrived, today does mark an important transitional moment for SRAM in at least acknowledging the wax world. 

Indeed, SRAM has partnered with Mon Dada, a company best known in cycling circles as the luxury candle company partly-owned by Wout van Aert and wife Sarah De Bie. Together, the two companies have collaborated in their first cycling-specific product, the aptly named Mon Dada SRAM chain wax. 

Premium as it gets 

Unboxing this new chain wax is an experience in itself. The wax arrives in a small wooden box, stamped by both partnering brands. Slide the box open, and you’re met with a scent that’s reminiscent of riding a coastal road before the world awakes, a nod to the company’s scented candles and perhaps playing on the success that the likes of Muc-Off and Maxima have seen in perfuming their chain lubricant products. However, unlike being locked into the caramel aroma of Maxima wax lube or the sickly sweet smell of Muc-Off, Mon Dada is offering its chain wax in a choice of five premium fragrances. Our review sample was the ‘Black Sea’ aroma, the ‘personality’ of which is described on the Mon Dada website thus: “mysterious, intriguing and seducing [sic]”.

SRAM Mon Dada chain wax on a bench with some SRAM chains.
The chain wax shares a lot of packaging and aesthetic flourishes with Mon Dada’s premium candles.

Within the box you’ll find a puck of the chain wax, encased in a cement bowl, a nod to the Belgian company’s signature aesthetic. According to a company representative, this container give a sense of premium design and can be re-purposed for a small plant, a key bowl, or used to host one of the company’s decorative candles. It isn’t, however, intended for heating the wax within. 

I get the marketing allure to such packaging, but found it rather frustrating to get the chain wax out of its container. Thankfully it’s a one-off problem, solved by placing the container in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Once the edges begin to melt, a centrally placed string – a playful nod to a candle wick – is provided to help pull it out of its miniature Alcatraz. 

Mon Dada wax in a microwave.
Using a microwave can produce mixed (and potentially dangerous) results with melting waxes. Best to heat the wax in other ways.
Mon Dada centre string.
A small string is provided in the centre to help lift the wax puck from its container.

Slow cooked aromas

From here, the company provides an unusual lack of technical details about how to use the wax (I’m told it’s coming). Rather, I followed my tried-and-true methods as previously covered at The Old Place. This involves ensuring the chain is free of oil/grease, and using a slow cooker to melt the wax to a temperature between 75-95°C (167-203°F). 

What’s immediately obvious with the Mon Dada SRAM chain wax is just how aromatic it is. Typically waxing chains with Molten Speed Wax or Silca Secret Blend has a subtle chemical smell to it, but rather this one filled the garage with wafts of citrus and sea salt. Mysterious, intriguing, seducing? Tick, tick, tick.

A SRAM chain sits in a slow cooker with wax.
A T-Type XX SL chain awaits the melt.

Once molten, in goes the sterile-clean chain. I like to leave the chain in there for a few minutes to settle, occasionally agitating it to ensure the wax takes the place of any air trapped within the links. Ten minutes of occasional agitation is all that’s required before pulling the chain from the slow cooker. 

Scent versus Speed 

With neither SRAM nor Mon Dada offering much in the way of technical details, it’s tough to know exactly what performance attributes this product offers. Also, while it’s assumed that Mon Dada SRAM chain wax is the melt-on wax we’ve seen Visma–Lease a Bike using across many races, neither company has confirmed as much.

A SRAM RED drivetrain belonging to a Visma-Lease a Bike team bike. The chain is waxed.
As spotted at Tour Down Under, could this be the wax that Visma-Lease a Bike has been using in clear sight?

Fundamentally, I appreciate the concept of making such bicycle maintenance products smell like something you’d want in your house, but equally, it seemingly comes at the cost of function. Like other scented lubricant products on the market, those pleasant aromas do dilute the amount of lubricant on the chain, and so there is an unavoidable trade-off. 

In my early testing it’s clear that the Mon Dada SRAM chain wax runs a bit softer than the likes of Silca’s Secret Chain Blend or Molten Speed Wax. Here, the results were a chain that lacked the rigid-like bond and chocolate-like snap between links I’ve come to expect of a freshly waxed chain. Such softening makes the chain easier to install and get pedalling with, but the downside is sure to be reduced longevity and increased stiction. 

A Shimano chain that is somewhat floppy after wax.
Obviously, the wax is compatible with other chain brands, too. Here you can see the wax doesn’t give a rigid-like hold to a fresh chain.
A close-up of a SRAM XX SL chain and cassette. The chain is waxed.
That XX SL chain, waxed.

Either way, I’ll await independent testing from Zero Friction Cycling before letting my more subjective testing methods cloud such judgment. 

Limited purchase options 

Don’t expect this one to be on the shelves of bike stores anytime soon. Currently, SRAM is soft launching the product by having Mon Dada handle the distribution and promotion. The Belgium-based company is offering its wax in four puck sizes and five fragrances, with prices starting from Є48 (approx US$50) for the smallest quantity. In reality, you’ll want at least the medium size (Є96, or approximately US$100), providing 250 grams of wax, enough to fully submerge a chain within a small slow cooker. 

Obviously, that pricing is a fair bit more than the US$30 for 520 grams of Molten Speed Wax, or US$40 for a 500 g bag of Silca Secret Blend. However, it is competitive to graphene-infused products such as Silca’s Hot Wax X at US$145 for a 300 g tin. 

A handful of wax products on a workbench along with a slow cooker and chains.
Some pre-existing competitor products offer better value for money, but there’s no question that Mon Dada brings a sense of luxury to the space.

On paper this new chain wax product doesn’t make a huge amount of financial sense, and beyond the aromatic experience, there seemingly isn’t much benefit to it over competing products. Still, having a nice-smelling bike and workspace is hardly a bad thing. Add in that it’s linked to Wout, and I suspect there are fans of the Belgian rider eager to show support with their wallets. It’s just a shame the Mon Dada SRAM chain wax didn’t have its dream launch with Wout unfortunately out for the remaining Classics

You can purchase the new chain wax at Further technical information and a tease of where SRAM plans to take this is here

Disclosure: SRAM provided the tested sample of the wax product while attending an event.

Update: Please check the publish date of this article before ordering your scented chain wax.

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