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Old 05-26-2022, 08:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 46

2015 WRX - '15 Subaru WRX
90 day: 30.63 mpg (US)

2008 Suzuki SV650SA - '08 Suzuki SV650SA
90 day: 60.81 mpg (US)
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Whenever I clean and lube my chain, I do a "spin test" before and after, where I give the wheel a good spin by hand to see how many rotations it will do.

With a dirty chain that hasn't been cleaned in 1000 km, the wheel will do 1 to 1.5 rotations. A chain cleaned with WD-40 will do 2 to 2.5 rotations. There seems to be little increase in resistance for the first 300 km or so of dry weather riding, but it starts to increase a lot more after 500 km.

Applying 80W90 gear oil to the chain after it has been cleaned with WD40 shows no immediate improvement in how easily the wheel spins. Much of the WD-40 will evaporate or sling off the chain, whereas more of the gear oil will remain and maybe provide better lubrication for a while, but the gear oil will also pick up more dirt and grit.

My suspicion is that a chain cleaned with a bit of light lube like WD40 after every ride will have much less friction on average than one cleaned and lubed less often with a thicker lube. It would also keep your sprocket, swingarm, and wheel a lot cleaner.

Here is a good video comparing different chain lubes:

According to the video, gear oil may be the best as a compromise between roller resistance and grit pickup, and does well in the other tests as well. I apply 80W90 gear oil to the chain with a small paintbrush, which avoids most of the mess you'll get with the sprays.

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