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Old 05-20-2022, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Chain maintenance questions

So several years ago I used to have a boring warehouse job, so to liven things up, I intentionally rode motorcycles to work in the rain. My bikes were older even then which means more steel than aluminum to be rusting, as after a long day at work and riding home in cold rain did not Inspire 1 to clean the bike everyday. So I became more of a fair-weather Rider, and went the route of having shaft drive bikes it just eliminate the mess and hassle of a GREASY nasty-looking rear rim. Now we are in hyperinflation I'm getting a couple smaller bikes for better MPGs that yes are going to have chains. And as the gas prices will inevitably start getting worse and worse probably, I probably will eventually be riding somewhat in the rain once again. So now getting to the point of all this. I have read articles saying that heavy Automotive Grease will do a wonderful job of lengthening the life of your chain, but of course at the cost of its slopping all over the rear rim, and my being anal and thinking that a heavier grease will be adding friction thusly lessening the miles per gallon hoped to achieve. I know that newer better products are being refined all the time. So I'm asking for a variety of different opinions not just one person. What product do you use to clean your chain. Do you have a favorite type of brush? What chain lube product is your favorite and why? What do you think is the best middle-of-the-road way to go for lubrication that minimizes friction, minimizes ugly slop on rear rim, but still optimizes miles per gallon, and longest chain life possible in that order, miles per gallon being predominant at least slightly. I will end this by asking how often do you clean your chain, and of course that varies with weather if One Rides in the rain much or not and what kind of distance, but just a ballpark idea of what you do? Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-22-2022, 11:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Back in the last century when I rode, there were "O" ring chains that need substantially less lube, like maybe a spray once a month. Then there are belt drives that never need lube, but sometimes do throw rubber dust. Look to see if what you're buying has a chain oiler. If not you ought to be OK.
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Old 05-25-2022, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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O ring or X ring chain. Lube is sealed inside. I occasionally clean and then spray with WD40 to keep rust at bay. Many opinions out there.

Some will say WD kills the orings or dillutes the intenal lube. Orings should be NBR or Viton and impervious to the napthas in WD.

Some will say oring or xring chains have more friction. and therfore power and efficiency loss. Would love to see real data on those claims, never have. Handlebar width, pavement smoothness, and how baggy your riding cloths are likely have much more effect on speed and mpg than oring vs non-oring.

Grease is more for eliminating friction between chain roller and sprocket in VERY slow moving systems, such as conveyors or farm equipment. You want a heavy oil inside the rollers/bushings of the chain. Oring and don't worry about it.


My personal chain maintenance is very minimal. They are wear items, and not that costly. A spray of chain lube here and there on non-oring chains, and clean and lube when the bike really needs a wash. I swear some people will spend $200 in chemicals (plus time) to get 2 seasons out of $100 chain and sprocket set vs the 1 year it would go with an $8 can of care.
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When I was fresh out of college I had a FJ1200 that I rode 365 days a year. I would adjust and clean the chain when I did an oil change at 3000 miles. The actual lube is internal so the chain lube I lightly applied was to keep the chain from rusting - not to lubricate the links.

Then 20 years ago I bought a shaft drive bike and have never owned a chain driven daily rider since.

Commuting by motorcycle lost its appeal when I moved to metros greater than 1 million people and "riding" to work was more like sitting in traffic. My motorcycles have always been the most expensive vehicles to operate on a per mile basis so there was not reason to spend more money to sit in grid lock traffic in the rain or summer heat and humidity. Now motorcycle riding is a recreational activity.
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you all three for responding. I was beginning to wonder. I know most of the population on ecomodder that are probably cage drivers. But I think most of the motorcycles out in the world about 90% are probably still chain driven. It sounds like the 0 or X chain would be the nicest to have. I tried to look up the specs on the 2019 Suzuki dr200, and it says did 520 V5. So I don't know if that's a lower-cost so-called standard chain or not. I've been waiting over a month for delivery, and found out just a few minutes ago, that it's supposed to be delivered to me this weekend. Yes, I have shared my preference for non messy shaft driven bikes, but in our present and future gas price situation, I want to be ready to enjoy nice days while watching my wallet. I used to commute from a little north of Vancouver Washington into Northeast Portland Kawasaki 250 Enduro and my other bikes, so I can appreciate why in larger population areas especially with weird drivers now, bike commuting would not be very much fun. I do like being a fair-weather rider, but future economics might dictate wet ridng again. I made a big decision to move out into the country about five years ago, and don't regret it one iota. I can easily ride around on Scenic Country Roads for a hundred miles around in almost every direction without even one stop light. Everybody has to make a life decision on where to live and what values you have in that regard. So I guess I'll know exactly what chain I have when I lay eyes on it. I'm kind of excited. It only has 56 miles on it.
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Everybody has to make a life decision on where to live and what values you have in that regard.
It's just a good thing that not everyone wants the same thing.
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Old 05-26-2022, 09:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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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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Old 05-27-2022, 10:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I try to lube and adjust mine every Friday during riding season. If I don't do it on a regular basis I forget. Ruined my first chain like that.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twj347 View Post
I apply 80W90 gear oil to the chain with a small paintbrush, which avoids most of the mess you'll get with the sprays.
I guess this way you apply the oil would address most of my concerns about an eventual contamination of the rear brake disc and pads with oil.

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