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The Art of WHEN and Chain Maintenance

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by GavinB, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. Let me preface this with;

    Yes I am being serious, so don't be a tool and instantly jump head first into some verse that sees you on par with one of "those" that we all like to complain about for their comments of not having the time available to them to reply properly... but then proceed to belittle / flame the OP for the next 3 minutes of reading as to why they are a useless newbie!

    After reading;
    Why Chain Lube? and,
    I'm Getting Sick of Hearing about WD40 as a Chain Lube
    (and the "linked" articles)

    I can't say that I am any more enlightened at the end of it all.

    So, for all the true-newbies, and others like me that have come back to riding post the introduction of O/X ringed chains
    I just have to ask - because I do not know;

    Is there a definitive answer on how to maintain your chain/sprockets?

    How often - if at all?
    What to use?
    and How?

    How often - is every 2nd tank, soon enough?
    What oil type - spray on, brush on?
    What Brand is good?
    Is a cheap oil applied frequently (every Tank or more so ) up to the same level of protection as a $25 can of Motul @ every 2nd tank?

    Or is more like some kind of religion where various camps swear by "their way" being the best - but no one group holds any "real" knowledge - it's just the way they've always done it - and it's worked for them?

    I am wiling to accept that there may well not be "a" answer that the majority can agree with - though this would be a disappointing outcome from the purposes of sincerely wanting to learn something.

  2. even if you mishandle a chain and never lube it ever, it will still usually last 15,000km or more and who keeps a bike longer than that... just sell it when u notice it needs adjusting! :LOL:
  3. No.

    i personally use Motul chain clean, every now and again. i try and lube it after avery big ride, as this is usually 500km-ish. i basically lube and clean as required.

    i got lazy recently, and didnt clean for a while, as well as some wet weather/dirt road riding. the chain was feral. cleaned with kero and a toothbrush, then motul chain clean for the finishing touch.

    will try and keep on it, but if i dont, :WStupid:

    its jsut a chain, it doesnt require it's own manual. try some things out, see if u like the results, if u dont, do something else.
  4. thats 10-15 weeks Es. i prefer to keep mine for longer than 15 weeks :p
  5. I dont clean, nor lube.
    I buy a new one when the old one is cactus.
    No time for this cleany-lubey crap, it interferes with riding.
  6. Gavin, two references is hardly definitive, and those threads were more about the need for lube not the how and why.

    Decide whether you want to do chain maintenance... if yes, then you lube and/or clean as often as you need it. It's that simple.

    A small spray on a warm chain is one of the best ways to keep the lube up to the chain. On a warm chain, a little goes a long way. You need to spin the rear wheel to spread the lube... how you achieve that is up to you.
  7. f&ck that.
  8. :LOL:
  9. okies - on my GPX i lubed my chain once in almost 2 years. i rode to sydney, adelaide, grampians x 10021029109120 and all over the place... clocked up well over 50,000km. a few weeks before it was stolen i replaced the chain and sprockets.

    fcuk chain maintenance!
  10. Me too

    I know the feeling.

    Depends on budget - I wanna get the most out of my chain. I'm hoping for more than 80k with the scottoiler. Others are happy to get 10k to 15k.

    When I posted the WD-40 thread I did not realise that some people were genuinely happy to replace their chain every 10k or 15k or what ever...

    On the previously mentioned Yamaha forum the so called WD-40 Guru gets 25k mile (or that was his expectation on the 1st page of the thread). 25 k miles is ~40k kms. That surprised me a little.

    I have a friend that uses a auto lube sys, he rides quite hard and his chain is on 80k and no sign that a replacement is due. That's what I'm going for.

    There is no single answer. You need to decide what you want to achieve (seems like Rob, Jeol, Loz, Nibor and I all have different requirements from a chain...) Well Jeol and Loz seem on par with each other... :LOL:

    I'm thinking if you want to preserve your chain:

    keep the rollers clean and lubed (they aint sealed)
    keep the sealed areas clean (grit will kill the seals eventually)
    don't use harsh solvents (seals will die)
    don't use pressure or scrubbing (seals will be penetrated)
    choose a lube that suits where & how you ride... (this is where religion kicks in - tacky holds grit so don't let it build up)

    oils ain't oils, it's as simple as that

    For max mileage and a relatively clean appearance and not too much crap on the rear rim I'm going for auto oiler, and will be looking at an alternative lube to run through it as I cant buy the recommended (supplier) product easily. I think (but need to check more) that gear oil will meet my requirements.

    But as Rob said:

    Decide whether you want to do chain maintenance...


  11. Manufacurers often recomend gear oil as a lubricant, which is very differnent to the sticky gunk marketed as chain lube.

    An older rider that I know ran a workshop oil can attached to his frame over the chain, it was a simple matter of pressing the handle with his foot to lube the chain while travelling.
  12. :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: Looks like I spent too much money!
  13. This is what I do, and I got 35k out of my chain on the SV and its still going (but will need to be replaced soonish as its reaching the 'adjust every week' stage.).

    Cleaning, do it whenever the chain gets junked up. I do a quick clean every 1000kms, consisting of putting kero on rag and running it over the chain - does a very good job of quickly getting alot of it off and the chean quite clean, but not perfect.

    So every now and again I'll do a full clean, kero + toothbrush, then rag off.

    For lubing, every 500km or so is advised. I use motul road generally, but it doesn't really matter that much - can't go wrong with any lube designed for road bikes. I don't use wd40 on my chain, as I want to put oil onto the chain, not take it off.

    Not brain surgery.
  14. Tribos: I don't think you'll think you've done your dough, as you get the kays up with an auto oiler. The 6000 km or so I've put on a second hand O-ring chain, have required no adjustment, apart from fiddling with it a bit just to get it exactly right, when I first put on the oiler. I've no idea of the history of the chain, but there no longer seems to be a "chain adjustment interval" a fair indication that wear has been seriously reduced. Normally, I would have expected to adjust it once, maybe twice in that distance.

    I wouldn't bother with alternative oils, and certainly not higher in viscosity. It's mostly only gravity that gets it out. Thicker oil might not "pump" properly. Result? very poor lubrication.
  15. Nah - me neither. I think the Scottoiler will mean I don't have to fluff around with spray cans and the like. Regarding chain adjustment, that might depend on rate of wear - see diagram here.

    So you're sticking with the Scottoiler Oil? I just don't see it in the shops and so will consider using gear oil or something else that appears to be suitable. Hell, for what its worth the scottoiler could be set up to drip WD-40 on my chain (but then I'd have to eat my hat... Which I'm prepared to do if WD-40 turns out to be one of the better chain lubes).

    My main requirement for a lubricating oil is that it is thin and does not provide opportunity for grit etc. to adhere to chain/sprocket.

    Can ya post a pic in the "I'm Getting sick of WD40 thread"

    Cheers, Steve
  16. Alright, bona fide hooligans get decent mileage out of unkept chains.
    Chain-cleaning-types get decent mileage out of meticulously cleaned chains.

    To me, the benefits just don't weigh up, for pro-cleaning.

    Call me "electricity," but I'm going to keep following the path of least resistance, while you guys spend your precious riding time cleaning. ;)
  17. My interest in chain cleaning is only academic, but I have to say I kinda liked the Nibor approach of waiting till the gunk was good and thick and scraping it off with a stick.
  18. I've just experienced first hand just how critical it is NOT to go overthetop cleaning your chain, and most importantly, what NOT to use :roll:
    I'd lube my chain at least every fortnight ( 500-600k ) & give it a thorough clean ( Degreaser :shock: ) every month.
    My New Chain lasted aprox 13,000k.
    My Findings were:
    - O-Rings perished
    - Lubricant normally sealed by the O-rings had leaked out ( Red Dusty finish over the chain & Cogs were the tell-tale sign )
    - Inner pins worn to the extent that had a shoulder on em
    - Inner pins RUSTY
    - Aprox 2mm wear between links ( I could get the link plates to touch each other)

    My Conclusion:
    - Use Kero or a dedicated Chain Cleaner ( ORing safe ) sparingly.
    - Use a rag or very soft brush if you must.
    - Use Chain Lube sparingly . Dont drown the fcuker.

    As I understand it, the most critical components that MUST be sufficiently lubricated, reside INSIDE the Rollers. It's the O-Rings job to keep the lubricant there. A slight lube on the exterior should be enough to keep the externals happy.
    Hense I now have shifted my priority on keeping the O-Rings in Good Condition rather than having the chain gleaming and drowned with lube.

    On the upside ... I have been concentrating on my 'smoothness' when upshifting/downshifting etc .. ( With a Chopped out Chain
    :roll: ). After fitting a new DID Gold X-Ring Premium ( DID520VM ), I swear I've now got an auto trans :LOL: The difference is astonishing.
    As an added bonus,, those Gold links look cool

  19. I just wanted to follow-up everyone's comments with a thanks for the different replies and perspectives.

    it was, honestly - what I expected to get.... things from "why bother" through to I meticulously clean/lube...
    I was kinda hopeful (perhaps a little too hopeful)...
    that through the life of the thread that there might be a recurring a theme appear, despite individual differences/preferences.

    Turns out - it is about as personal as, Honda Vs Kwaka Vs Yammy .... debate.

    None the less, thanks again - I really like a good technical discussion (moving on from the previous couple of chain threads that Tribos (Steve) has been vocal in and this one... regardless of final outcome... I have learnt a bit.