Bikeworkx is a Czech company that uses the label ‘Bike Clean & Treatment Lab’. In their range you will find degreasers, wet & dry lubes, oils, greases, polishes and cleaning kits specially developed for, as the brand name suggests, bike riders. Their website is refreshingly simple with brief but useful descriptions of each product, refreshingly devoid of ‘marketing 101’ claims.
I was supplied with their Max Wax chain lube and Grip Star assembly paste to review for Bicycles Network Australia. I tested the Max Wax on my road bike as well as Gravel bike, and gave the Grip Star the torture test on my Gravel bike seatpost. Are you curious how they fared?
Max Wax Chain Lubricant
The English instructions on the bottle are pretty simple, and mimic the process for similar lubes like Smoove and Squirt to name just two. Like those chain lubes, the application process is straight forward. There is a tendency to splash some excess about (or at least that’s what I managed) as you work to get good penetration throughout the chain links and rollers. But don’t just start lubing away… you need to start with a very clean chain. And it isn’t enough to tackle the chain with a splash of degreaser and an old rag… the chain has to be really really clean… or new.
Bikeworkx claim that the Max Wax is “…a revolutionary wax/water-based performance lubricant for every type of chain on any type of bike. After application it forms a clean, long-lasting protection film that prevents the chain from catching dirt and dust”. Exactly what makes it ‘revolutionary’ is not listed anywhere on the website or bottle, apart from it being “biologically degradable”. There are no other details of how long between applications, wear rates or even friction savings, apart from being touted as ‘long lasting’. However on asking they said the predecessor was limited to ‘only’ 50km while the Max Wax lasts ‘much longer’.
The Max Wax is part of Chain Star series of chain lubricants from Bike Workx and in this series, the other lubes are; ‘Normal’, a universal grease based lube, ‘Extreme’ a greased based lube that displaces moisture and suited for gritty, sandy muddy conditions and; ‘Biodegradable’ which is an oil based lubricant.
Armed with two new chains, one for each bike, I applied the initial treatment of the Max Wax to each chain, the Gravel bike sporting a SRAM XX1 chain, whilst the road bike was outfitted with a KMC X11EL DLC. The initial treatment was completed using the same methodology as similar wax based emulsion lubricants, and allowed to dry overnight prior to use. As part of the application process, I cycled the chain through all sprockets to assist in full penetration of the chain structure. Typically, wax based lubes can last anywhere between 150-200km per application. One interesting annotation on the Max Wax bottle were the symbols for Sunny & Overcast conditions. The presumption is that this lube is not ideal or suited for wet weather. More on this shortly.
My Initial rides with the gravel bike were met with warm and dry conditions but also plenty of dust, lots of steep hard climbs and even some muddy conditions. After ~ 150km, Max Wax was reapplied to the chain with only a gentle wipe down of the trace of surface dust. The reapplication method was a repeat of the initial process, and no issues encountered. I managed to put my Gravel bike out of action (a bike fork issue) so the road bike then took over for the remainder of the testing.
I mimicked application process for the road bike, the initial lube application lasted a bit longer, about 180km. Like the gravel bike, I wiped the chain down and reapplied Bikeworkx Max Wax. The suggestion regarding wet-weather ‘unsuitability’ was reinforced after a drenching hour long ride. With only 80km on the clock since the previous application but a heavy dose of wet, my visual inspection showed that the Max Wax was all but washed out.
We asked Bikeworkx directly whether there are options to switch between Max Wax for dry weather and other lubes for wet weather.
Zdeněk Nacházel from Bikeworkx said, “Max Wax performs better in dry than wet conditions. It is true, that the base of this lube (wax / water) is different than Normal and Extreme (grease diluted in solvant) lubrication and those two products performs better in wet conditions (especially the Extreme).
“When changing between the two types of lubrication, it is important to degrease the chain. Degreasing is essential when changing to Max Wax, and is recommended when changing from Max Wax to Normal or Extreme lubrication.”
One positive trait of the Max Wax is the lack of greasy and dirty build-up on the rear derailleur jockey wheels that I’ve seen with some other wax based drip lubes. But at the same time, those other brands of waxes were wet weather tolerant whilst the Max Wax doesn’t seem to share the same capability.
The Max Wax is performance chain lubricant and by this I mean that it works very well and is nice a light and doesn’t easily pick up debris. However compared to a ‘standard’ lube you should be cleaning and reapplying more frequently. The pay-off is great riding performance and a much longer lasting chain, cassette and chainrings.
Short of laboratory testing, I feel confident describing Max Wax is best described as a low-residue, but effective fair weather wax based chain lube. It is as easy to apply and maintain as other comparable products, and is supplied in an easy to handle 100ml bottle. The fact that it seems not to be wet weather tolerant may make you think twice and could also edge this towards a lube for racing. The biodegradeability is a plus and may swing you into giving it a go.. especially if you are the type of rider who turns to Zwift indoor training at the first sign of a fluffy cloud.
Following further detailed discussion with Bikeworkx, the company confirm that riders can switch between the Max Wax and oil based lubricants after degreasing the chain. A ‘deep clean’ is not required.
Grip Star assembly paste
Moving away from lube and onto another bike care product. On bike frames, when the seat tube is inserted a few things can go wrong. Sometimes the frame and seat tube can corrode and bond, sometimes the seat tube can slip and it can’t be tightened enough and sometimes it can creak.
For carbon fiber frames, corrosion is usually not an issue but creaking is a big one and because carbon parts have a torque-limit, and you shouldn’t tightened any further, carbon-paste is important as it provides grip allowing the seatpost to stay in place. It is also considered safe and won’t damage the parts and can also be useful for stem/handlebars as well.
The Grip Star assembly paste, unlike other carbon/friction pastes doesn’t come in a sachet or tube, rather a small screw top bottle with an inbuilt brush applicator. Now that makes it much easier and less messy to use. Bikeworkx mention that whilst it’s ideal for carbon to carbon assembly tasks, it is also “suitable for steel, dural or titan parts and their combination with carbon”. I had to look up what Dural was, many reader may know Dural as lovely suburb of Sydney near Galston Gorge with some fantastic riding. It turns out that Dural is also an alloy of Aluminium, Copper and Magnesium.
The Grip Star came at the right time as I had just built my gravel bike and had an issue where the seatpost had slipped during the first ride. The on-trail solution was applying more torque than ideal. Returning to home base, I removed the seat post and thoroughly cleaned the carbon post and titanium frame. A thin coating of the Grip Star was added using the handy brush (keeping the hands clean) and the post re-inserted. The seat post bolt was then torqued to spec and waited for the next ride. FIXED! This meant I could take my mind off the techy bits of the bike and again enjoy the challenges of the Adelaide Hills trails and dirt road network.
The Grip Star paste is can be described as a small particles suspended in a translucent jelly like carrier. The particles within the substance appears to be a mixture of various sizes. Whether that’s the ‘unique grainy structure’ as described by Bikeworkx, I’m not sure, as there isn’t much detail of what the grains are made from, nor what the matrix material except that it is an noted to be an especially gentle formula that doesn’t damage parts and lets you use less clamping force.
Suffice to say, the Bikeworx Grip Star works well and the brush applicator is a neat touch. Since the single application to the seat post in my Gravel Frame, it hasn’t showed any hint of slipping. The Grip Star is a 30g ‘tub’ with application brush. Carbon paste is something that you buy once and it lasts years… perhaps even decades because you don’t need much and once the paste is on, it lasts.
In Australia, BikeWorkx products are available from De Grandi Cycle and Sports.
Be aware that De Grandi currently shows the old versions of the products and it should be noted that Chain Star Wax is not the same as the Max Wax as reviewed here. Australian retail pricing is not yet available. A a guide using the old range, the chain lubricating wax is $9.95 for the 100ml and the carbon paste is $14.95 for 30ml.
More details on the Bikeworkx products: bikeworkx.eu