Applying Race Powder To Your Chain
It's simply amazing that a mixture of dry powder brushed onto a waxed chain can reduce friction so dramatically. Perhaps even more impressive is the longevity of the powder. In the lab there was no increase in friction after 70 minutes at 250 watts and we theorize the powder's effect could last significantly longer. The reason is simple: the powder works its way into the wax and stays put. Importantly, it doesn't attract dirt after bonding.
Similar to every other performance gain we strive for in cycling there is a small price to pay. Race Powder needs to be applied correctly or it can be a safety hazard and create a mess. The Molybdenum disulfide (
MoS₂) powder in the mix loves to turn any surface it touches to gray, including hands, clothes, carpet or your sandwich, so please read our directions carefully before enjoying the decrease in friction that can total 1/2 watt.
Once worked into the chain by riding, residue is nominal and only a small amount of Moly will rub off when touched. Please note that we describe two application techniques below (chain on bike; chain off bike). If you're applying Race Powder to multiple chains at once, use the off bike technique to save time.
Items Needed For Applying Race Powder On Bike
- Small, clean brush for applying powder to chain (yep, we sell them)
- Piece of cardboard 10" x 20"
- Plastic sheet for under bike to protect floor
- Mechanic's gloves (or nail brush and Dawn soap without gloves)
- 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper
- Stapler (a stapler, what the heck?)
- Newspaper if not using plastic to cover floor
- Dawn soap and damp rag for clean up if necessary (carpet cleaner will remove powder from carpet, but avoid carpet if possible)
- Dust mask (don't inhale the powder)
- Safety glasses, side protection recommended
- Keep powder away from children and pets!
Steps To Powder Chain On Bike (entire process below takes less than 10 minutes)
- For maximum performance start with freshly waxed chain that has been ridden on trainer 10 minutes. Break-in time creates space between links, rollers and pins so powder can infiltrate.
- Apply powder indoors (garage) or away from wind if outside. If must apply when wind is present, should only be light breeze, position self upwind of powder.
- Shift drivetrain to highest gear (largest front chainring; smallest rear cassette cog).
- Place newspaper or plastic on floor under bike.
- Wrap 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper lengthwise around chainstay and staple together snugly beneath chainstay with one staple.
- Cut piece of cardboard to 10" x 20" and fold bottom edge into 3" flap (Postal Service medium flat rate box works perfectly if in USA).
- With bike standing upright on floor, position cardboard behind chain and chainstay against spokes with flap lying flat on floor. Tape top of cardboard to spoke if necessary to hold cardboard in place. Excess powder not captured by Race Powder container will fall onto flap on floor where it can later be collected.
- Pedal backwards to verify that cardboard and 8 1/2" x 11" paper does not interfere with movement of cassette, chainrings or chain.
- Shake container of Race Powder before applying, let contents settle a minute before opening.
- Brush powder (liberally but don't make a dust storm) onto section of chain closest to floor with Race Powder container underneath chain, smoothen any clumps. Do six inch sections at a time. Pedal backwards to begin a new section. Start and end at master link so it's easy to discern when complete revolution has been completed.
- Now powder top section of chain (above chainstay, so both top and bottom of chain receive powder). Again hold Race Powder container underneath chain while brushing powder onto chain. Start and finish at master link. Note that powder will collect on paper wrapped around chainstay, this is expected.
- Powdering both top and bottom of chain as in steps 10 and 11 will result in complete lubrication of chain with dry powder. At this point chain should be pedaled backwards for a half minute to begin working powder into chain. Excess powder will drop from chain. Note: some powder will be spun off from derailleur pulleys and chainrings, make sure paper or plastic covers floor beyond these areas before spinning chain backwards.
- If you want to pull out all the stops, ride bike 10 minutes outside then repeat the above procedure. A second option is to spin the chain backwards for a minute after the first powdering then repeat the process. The key is working the powder into the chain.
- Now dump the powder off the 8 1/2 x 11 paper and recapture the powder on the cardboard below.
- Make "V" shape with cardboard flap and tap excess powder back into Race Powder container.
- Thoroughly clean work area so no powder can be tracked on shoes.
- Ride chain outside for 10 minutes before transporting bike inside car to remove any remaining loose powder. Note that some excess powder can fall off chain so if you powdered inside be careful when transporting the bike outside.
- It is not necessary to create a dust storm brushing powder into chain. Dab and brush to distribute powder liberally but evenly.
- If powder is spilled, vacuum with hose only, do not use rotor brush part of vacuum (or handheld brush) which will cause powder to smear. Then clean with carpet cleaner (it will take more passes to clean than a normal stain but Race Powder stain will come out).
- It is OK to reapply powder without re-waxing if chain is clean; if chain is dirty recommend using separate brush and container so powder in original container remains clean.
- Cassettes, chainrings and derailleur pulleys can be powdered. Powder cassette outside with wheel off bike; hold wheel parallel to ground with cassette facing downward. Technique eliminates powder falling onto rim and tire. Stay upwind.
- Final note, Race Powder is a lubricant and makes everything slippery so keep it off rims, disk brakes, floor surfaces, etc.
Items Needed For Applying Race Powder Off Bike
Small brush 1" wide (we have them in our online store)
- 10 ft. section of vinyl gutter from hardware store, 4" wide, sides 3" tall, cost around $7.00. Note: take hacksaw to store and cut 44" off gutter length to fit in car. Save both pieces, sand sharp edges of cut when home.
- Plastic sheet or newspaper to protect floor
- Mechanic's gloves (if you get powder on your hands, clean with nail brush and Dawn dish washing soap)
- Damp rag for clean up if necessary using, you guessed it, Dawn soap!
- Dust mask (don't inhale the powder)
- Safety glasses, side protection recommended
- Keep the powder away from children and pets!
Steps To Powder Chain Off Bike (best method for powdering multiple chains at once)
- Clean 44" section of gutter thoroughly and dry completely.
- For best performance start with clean, waxed chains that have been ridden on trainer for 10 minutes. Break-in period creates space between links, rollers and pins in chain so powder can infiltrate. Chain is also easier to handle when supple.
- Apply powder indoors (garage) or away from wind if outdoors (if must apply in breeze, be upwind of powder). Avoid powdering on carpet if possible. If spill occurs on carpet, suck up as much powder as possible with shopvac hose without smearing into carpet, then clean with carpet cleaner, takes many passes but Race Powder will come clean from the carpet.
- Place plastic or newspaper under gutter on floor, wider and longer than gutter to guard against potential spills.
- Shake container of Race Powder before applying, let contents settle for minute before opening.
- Fold chain in half and place roller side up in gutter (so two halves of chains are roller side up).
- Brush powder liberally onto chain, smoothen out clumps as powder is worked into chain. A lot of powder will end up in gutter, this is expected. Powder can be left in gutter for future powdering. Place aluminum foil over gutter to keep dust out when storing for next use.
- Flip chains and repeat procedure on opposite side. Also powder sides of chain. Powder should infiltrate every part of chain.
- When finished powdering fold chain in half again above gutter and firmly tap with hand to remove excess powder. Flip chain around and tap the powder off the other end.
- Place powdered chains in plastic bags until installation on bike. Anticipate some additional powder falling off chains during first pedal strokes on stand or road.
- To pull out all the stops, ride chain for 10 minutes outside then repeat powder application procedure. This assures powder infiltration and bonding.
- Brush powder from gutter back into Race Powder container or leave in gutter and cover with alumininum foil.
- Store gutter in remote area away from windows, doors or vents, children and pets.
- Thoroughly clean work area so no powder can be tracked on shoes
- Ride chain outside for 10 minutes to remove any remaining loose powder before transporting in car or taking in house. Shift front and rear derailleurs during break-in. Remember that chain will leave a mark when touched until powder is worked into chain, then residue is minimal.
- It is not necessary to create a dust storm brushing powder onto chain. Dab and brush to distribute powder liberally but evenly.
- If powder is spilled, vacuum with hose only; do not use rotor brush or handheld brush which will smear powder.
- It is OK to reapply powder without re-waxing if chain is clean; if chain is dirty recommend using separate brush and container so powder in original container remains clean
- Cassettes (and chainrings) can be powdered but it can be messy. Powder cassette outside with wheel off bike; hold wheel parallel to ground with cassette facing downward. Technique eliminates powder falling onto rim and tire. Stay upwind.
Remember that MoS₂ is a lubricant and will make everything it touches slippery!