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Chriswright03

Do you really need to lube your chain?

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Chriswright03

OK I know chains will have been done to death but saw this on Youtube the other day and thought it worth sharing.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnPYdcbcAe0

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neojynx

Interesting.  I use a dry spray during the week and then at weekend after washing the bike, I clean the chain quickly with a brush and paraffin, then I brush the chain with a mix of engine oil and ACF50.  Seems to work for longevity and anti rust.  

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DaveM59

Logically if you think about it the chain has rubber o-rings between the outer links and inner rollers to keep the grease fitted on assembly contained. If these actually work they will also keep exterior additional lube out so all you are really doing is making the chain a dirt trap by coating the exterior surface with oil. If and when the seals lose effectiveness you might be getting a bit of fresh lube inside but I reckon centrifugal force will throw out the factory lube and any additional as well and then wear takes place.

Oiling chains is like putting a tender on your battery, if it makes you feel more safe/secure/reliable then do it.

I have to say in the two and a half years I owned the Integra I oiled it twice simply to make it look decent. Never had any bother or visible wear and never needed to adjust it and looking at the bike the other day (parked outside a shop nearby) the guy who owns it now is a rider not a cleaner, never seen it so dirty but still the same chain and sprockets, doesn't look like he has replaced or cleaned anything since buying it.

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elbee
23 minutes ago, DaveM59 said:

Logically if you think about it the chain has rubber o-rings between the outer links and inner rollers to keep the grease fitted on assembly contained. If these actually work they will also keep exterior additional lube out so all you are really doing is making the chain a dirt trap by coating the exterior surface with oil.

 

Logically, as a constant stream of road dust/particles/dirt is going to reach that area anyway, so I'd have thought a coating of lubricant would reduce wearing away at the outer o-rings and their housing. Any trapped particles are going to get rounded off and present less of a problem than a supply of fresh angular stuff.

 

While I'm here, I've never noticed a stiff link in any of my chains (including my ER-6N, sold after 17K with original chain & sprockets) so what bit of the chain seizes up, or does it vary?

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Wedgepilot

The people who designed and built the bike advise you to oil the chain - good enough for me. 😁

 

Also why does the front sprocket wear out over time? The only thing touching it is the chain, so there must be friction/wear between the chain and sprocket. If there's wear, we should be lubing.

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embee

Of course you don't. It's yours, you can do what you like.

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Chriswright03
1 hour ago, Wedgepilot said:

The people who designed and built the bike advise you to oil the chain - good enough for me. 😁

 

Also why does the front sprocket wear out over time? The only thing touching it is the chain, so there must be friction/wear between the chain and sprocket. If there's wear, we should be lubing.

From the video and I don't know one way or the other the manufacturers of the chain say use gear oil. 

 

The thing in between the chain and the sprocket could be all the abrasive gunk stuck to it of course.

 

 

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SteveThackery
34 minutes ago, Chriswright03 said:

 

The thing in between the chain and the sprocket could be all the abrasive gunk stuck to it of course.

 

 

Yes, exactly.  In fact the rollers should roll, so there shouldn't be any rubbing friction between rollers and sprocket teeth anyway.  Hmmm...... there's stuff here I don't understand.

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DaveM59

I never noticed a great deal of dirt on my chain but it did go rusty looking so I oiled it just to stop that, only a surface smear applied with a sponge, no great amount applied continuously.

The rollers should roll in the sprocket teeth as they engage but if you make them more slippery than the internal grease do they slip and grind any dirt into the sprockets? Under load maybe not but on overrun, possibly. As the sprockets do wear something grinds away at them, they don't seem to just distort but do lose metal.

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Chriswright03
1 hour ago, SteveThackery said:

 

Yes, exactly.  In fact the rollers should roll, so there shouldn't be any rubbing friction between rollers and sprocket teeth anyway.  Hmmm...... there's stuff here I don't understand.

Exactly which is why I thought it worthy of a link in here.  I just thought the explanation although a little on the wacky side was good in that it showed what is supposed to move and the fact that it should be sealed so no matter what you oil it with it should make no difference.

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Spindizzy

As someone that used a chain oiler and also tried spray cans of chain lube:

 

When I used an oiler it kept things clean as dirt particles get flung off as rinsed with oil. Also kept the O rings and rollers nicely lubricated. No adjustments needed, but some very slight corrosion over time to the side plates where it didn't quite reach. Worth it? I think so albeit I ditched the oiler and just squirt a bit on each tankful and spin the rear wheel is plenty. I NEVER had to clean it.  Just trickle it on the rear sprocket over the O rings and inner rollers. Very small amount needed

 

I had a brief foray in to going back to chain sprays. It just acted as an adhesive to create grinding paste. Some damage to my X rings at least the outer X so cleaned it and switched back to oil....no problems.

 

So my two cents, either don't bother, or use some heavy weight  gear oil . I was kindly given some blue Scotoil which does work very well. Should last me a few years, one bottle. Life is too short to do anymore.

 

Or buy a scooter with a belt, got one of those too, its great :ahappy:

 

 

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alhendo1

Gear oil or clean engine oil.. I think I'm on gear oil just now... Applied with a toothbrush every couple of hundred miles to the inner run of the chain... .. Or after a wet run I very lightly brush it over.... When I was away for 1000miles over 3 days a couple of weeks ago I use chain lube as it's less faff but back to oil now... 8500 miles and only adjusted it 2 or 3 times... come to think of it I think I might have some scottoil hiding in the garage somewhere... Might try and dig that out.... 

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SteveThackery

Tell you what, though - the chain in my Enfield has no 'O'-rings and definitely needs lubrication.  I got home from a long ride one day and as I turned into my drive I wondered what all the noise was - the chain was bone dry and making a continuous chattery squeaking noise.  Sounded like it was totally knackered, but a squirt of some anonymous chain lube cured it instantly and there was no apparent wear or damage.

Mind you, that is the chain that came unriveted a few thousand miles later!  (We discussed it at the time - it's a well-known manufacturing fault and not lube-related.)

 

When we were taught about 'O'-ring and 'X'-ring chains at uni it was obvious to me that lubing the chain wasn't going to help much as it wouldn't get past the 'O'-rings.  I asked the lecturer about that and I don't think he'd considered it before.  Certainly his answer was no more convincing than the theories we've discussed.

In general I'm very wary of lubricants in situations where there is dirt around.  It definitely attracts gritty dirt, which can then turn into a grinding paste.  This phenomenon is well known in the world of clock restoration.

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Andy m

I am certainly coming round to this way of thinking. 

 

The worst thing I used to do was adjust too much.

 

Andy

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Dave H

I'm not typical as I never go out if rain is forecast but I used to, a lot, and a chain oiler with 2T oil kept it clean and I didn't adjust the chain at all in over 30K miles. Chain and sprockets were as new when I got rid.

Having watched the video and my proclivity for rain avoidance I may stop topping up the tuturo and see how I get on.

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Chriswright03

Pleased to see that a few are coming round to agreeing with the video as to me it made sense.  I know there has been talk before of chains and sprockets being worn prematurely but is that due to over oiling and the associated risk of damage from crud?  Out here there will be little rain and although in the few trips I have done I have been caught out once it is very unlikely to happen too often.  We do have a fresh delivery of dust everyday so riding will no doubt cover the bike and it's workings with it. I guess if the chain isn't too wet the damage will be limited.  Also rust protections shouldn't be a major issue either. 

 

I will watch the thread with interest but certainly don't intend to be oiling my chain very often and hopefully it won't need adjusting often if it isn't getting hammered.

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Spindizzy

We maintain some old planes with chain drives for the landing gear. Mostly enclosed but still attract dust and crud. Manufacturer demands gear oil. Any dust that is attracted gets flung off with the oil. Non O ring. 

 

Bit of oil in small amounts or nothing. No canned chain spray will ever touch my bike again. 

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Wedgepilot
8 hours ago, SteveThackery said:

 

Yes, exactly.  In fact the rollers should roll, so there shouldn't be any rubbing friction between rollers and sprocket teeth anyway.  Hmmm...... there's stuff here I don't understand.

 

He tested this in a fairly simple way in the video. It didn't take much pressure on the roller to stop it turning, even with lube. And the unlubed rollers took a lot less pressure to stop them. 

 

If the roller isn't turning, it's grinding on the sprocket. And I imagine a motorbike engine would exert a fair bit more pressure than an electric drill.

 

Interesting video though.

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wendeg

I would rather not oil than use canned spray. It only protects from rust and does not lube imo. Oil, gear oil or engine, keeps chain clean and the fling is so much easier to clean with a dry rag than the gummy stuff of the canned sprays. Am a convert to automatic oilers but have used the brush/sponge/rag method in the past.

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Ciaran1602

I've had varying advice on this from all walks of life. Lube ever 500 miles and clean every 1000 was the last advice I had, using spray lube and a WD40 chain cleaner material. Grandpa never really bothered on old brit bikes he used to have but didnt know if it was different. I've never had a chain bike that's done the mileage to really worry about, the only bike I did real miles on was Shaft.


In the interests of clarity what would people recommend being the best...regime I guess to keep the chain in decent nick?

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shiggsy

Can't imagine an un-lubed chain running as cool as a lubed chain.

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Chriswright03

I used a Scott Oiler on my VFR 800 when I was instructing.  It spewed oil all over the rear tyre on the track at Cadwell when I was instructing for the courses Roger Burnett held with Ride magazine.  Soon got rid of it.  Had another one on the VFR vtec but it never worked anyway.  Pleased to have a shaft drive but now back on a chain I find all the stuff both interesting and confusing.  I will oil mine infrequently but keep and eye on it and see if it needs oiling or cleaning rather than just do it whether it does or not.

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Grumpy old man
Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Ciaran1602 said:

I've had varying advice on this from all walks of life. Lube ever 500 miles and clean every 1000 was the last advice I had, using spray lube and a WD40 chain cleaner material. Grandpa never really bothered on old brit bikes he used to have but didnt know if it was different. I've never had a chain bike that's done the mileage to really worry about, the only bike I did real miles on was Shaft.


In the interests of clarity what would people recommend being the best...regime I guess to keep the chain in decent nick?

Well, A lubeman costs £20, Gear oil, can't remember it's that long since I bought any, Half an egg cup full every 700 miles, if that,. You get a nice clean looking oily chain. I'm quite happy with that.

Edited by Grumpy old man

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suffolk58

Just checked online....Scott Oil: £7.49 for half a litre seems the going rate.

Yesterday in Sainsbury's I paid £3.60 for a whole litre of extra virgin olive oil.

I'm thinking I might give it a go. :)

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SteveThackery
1 hour ago, Ciaran1602 said:

I've had varying advice on this from all walks of life.

 

That's the fundamental problem.  Most people know f**k all about tribology, but are happy to give advice with the authority of a career expert.  It's the same with almost all other disciplines.  For example, did you notice how the day after Grenfell we suddenly had 60 million fire safety experts in the UK?  

 

Advice is given so readily because it makes the adviser feel cool and knowledgeable as he/she basks in your admiration and gratitude.  Verbalising their own beliefs to a "novice" reaffirms those beliefs, which also feels gratifying.

 

If you're going to listen to advice, make sure to satisfy yourself that the adviser really is worth listening to.  Be very selective.  (Which probably discounts this advice.:))

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