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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Poll: How often do you lube it up (choose closest answer)?
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How often do you lube it up (choose closest answer)?

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  #16  
Old 14 Jun 2021
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I think it depends on use. My 160kg, 35HP (more like 25 now) 1973 CL350 is way more fun than my 200 kg, 46 HP CB500X. The comparable 20HP, bunged up with emissions controls, lardy with ABS pump modern 350 wouldn't compare, but an extra 1 HP is going the right way and is cheaper than say a 1% weight reduction by dumping an overkill silencer. I mostly ride them once or twice a week so whipping off a chain to be boiled in blubber once a month would be no great hardship.

I might think differently if I had the chance to go up the desert for a month like I used to.

Totally agree with the race fashion comments. Wait until someone sees the clip link on the CB500X's chain that everyone knows will snap 7000 miles ago and take off my leg aand at least three ********s

Andy
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  #17  
Old 14 Jun 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brclarke View Post
How much power does using an O-ring cost you over a regular unsealed chain..? I Googled this, and although I couldn't find much in the way of cold hard numbers, I did find someone who dynoed a Honda TRX 450R quad both with regular and O-ring. The loss in HP (out of about 40 total) was around 2. A 5% loss in horsepower, but you gain less maintenance and hassle. That seems like a very reasonable tradeoff to me.
Well you can't argue with the dyno. I've read somewhere though that the seat of the pants dyno can't feel much less than an 8% change so if I could tell the difference it was probably more than that. No proof or numbers though; it was just one of those things I noticed to the point where I did something about it. Isn't the rough rule of thumb that engines lose about 20% of their power between the crank and the road. I wonder how much of that vanishes in the chain - rings or no rings.

I agree if you have to have a chain, all other things being equal one that doesn't wear out would be preferable. I still remember from years ago getting back home after a 4000 mile dry trip with the brand new no-ring OE chain virtually dragging on the ground. You'd never be able to sell a bike with a chain like that now.
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  #18  
Old 16 Jun 2021
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I think we all agree the need to oil a chain , it depends how many miles you cover in a year and the conditions .
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  #19  
Old 17 Jun 2021
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I used to be better about cleaning my chain.

Now, I don't bother to clean it anymore, other then it getting pressure washed once in a while at the car wash.

My new philosophy is to replace the chain every 20,000 miles.

I've broken a high mileage chain in the middle of nowhere and that risk is not worth it.
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  #20  
Old 18 Jun 2021
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I've now given up on any notion of preserving the things.

I keep a bike 3 years tops. In that time most OE chains rust because of the action of salt they use on our roads in winter and fact the chains are designed for Thailand. When I go to sell, the dealers don't care so long as the chain is correctly adjusted and oily looking.

So, I wipe it with an oily rag once a week, no special sprays. I adjust it when I change tyres (no laser monkey tools). When I decide to sell I put the OE tyres back (Honda sold me this ****, they can sell them to the next bloke too!) and give the surface rusted chain a really good clean and oil while it's more accessible.

If I was riding hundreds of thousands of miles on one bike it may make sense to invest more. The dealers usually try it on with "that's a lot of miles for a three year old bike" and on e-bay the closest I could find to my three year old CB500f was eight. This suggests to me the majority of riders are wasting their money on oilers, teflon/Barnsley Virgin/unicorn oil sprays etc.

Andy
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  #21  
Old 18 Jun 2021
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Sealed chains don't need a lot of external lube. It's not like ye olde days when you slathered it on the outside hoping some would maybe make its way into the rollers. If I'm giving the bike its annual clean I might wipe the side plates, otherwise I'll give it a squirt of spray lube every 500 miles or so to stop it rusting. Seems to do the trick, my 790 chain is still perfectly adjusted after 12,000 miles on and off road.
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  #22  
Old 18 Jun 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brclarke View Post
... I did find someone who dynoed a Honda TRX 450R quad both with regular and O-ring. The loss in HP (out of about 40 total) was around 2. A 5% loss in horsepower...
The power lost in an O ring chain is going to be relatively constant regardless of engine capacity, so 2bhp in 95 is a great deal less significant. It also ignores the friction losses in a worn-out unsealed chain running without lubricant.

I used to run unsealed chains on my son's MX bike, because you need to give those a good wash every meeting and you'd ruin an o-ring one. They lasted well, and unlike some I'd only need one new chain per year. But I made the mistake of running one on my green lane bike and it destroyed the chain in just one ride, because it lost all the grease and was running dry. So now I run sealed chains.
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  #23  
Old 21 Jun 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie View Post
Curious about chain oilers - know nothing about it. Doesn't it create a mess? Does it lube effectively and evenly? How about cleaning?

To me, cleaning is as important as lubing. And, using stuff that doesn't penetrate behind the rings or deteriorate them. It is also not only about the chain, but the sprocket as well.
The one I use has an adjustable flow so you can decide how much lube it needs in any given situation.. Very effective, no mess, and I use SAE 90 gear oil in it so no issues with damaging solvents. It also only dispenses oil once the revs rise above idle speed so no puddles of oil if stationary whilst idling. As for dusty conditions, I turn the flow up and this prevents the grinding problem.
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  #24  
Old 22 Jun 2021
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Seems to me that to the extent that turning the flow rate up helps with "the grinding problem," it would necessarily be because enough oil is being dumped on the chain so that it washes off the dust....onto the ground, mixed with a lot of oil. I'm not sure that's ideal, exactly.

I put my bike(s) up on center stand, idle in gear, and spritz liberally with WD40 to wash off dust, grit, and grime. Then I wipe with a rag while still running, risking serious injury or dismemberment. Then I forget about it for another 300, 500, or 800 miles before doing the same again. Mostly this happens in my garage, where a couple of rags captures the wash; away from home, I try to find someplace less rather than more obnoxious to pollute.

I've given up lubing O or X ring chains--the WD40 is for cleaning, not lubrication. They last a good long time, then I replace them...using clip-links. I don't replace front or rear sprockets at the same time unless visibly worn, and these, too, seem to last a long time. Call me crazy.
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  #25  
Old 23 Jun 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I put my bike(s) up on center stand, idle in gear, and spritz liberally with WD40 to wash off dust, grit, and grime. Then I wipe with a rag while still running, risking serious injury or dismemberment. Then I forget about it for another 300, 500, or 800 miles before doing the same again.
I do much the same - except with the motor _not_ running and the bike in neutral. I've seen pics of a guy who managed to chop off three of his fingers when his hand got in the moving chain.
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  #26  
Old 29 Jun 2021
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Originally Posted by brclarke View Post
I've seen pics of a guy who managed to chop off three of his fingers when his hand got in the moving chain.
Yup, you're right and I'm well aware of the risk. There are dangerous things I won't do, dangerous things I do cautiously, and even dangerous things I do without any awareness at all. Cleaning a chain this way is undeniably risky, although exactly where it falls on the risk continuum is up for debate. A safer approach is to leave the bike shut off in neutral, tie the brakes and/or stand, and rotate the rear wheel manually while using the rag for cleaning. It's possible that my previous career in the building trades has distorted my sense of what's tolerable--or where to add cautionary notes.

Mark
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  #27  
Old 27 Aug 2021
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My original chain on my V-Strom lasted 35,000 miles. I have an old bottle of gear oil that I found at a garage sale for $1 and whenever I remember I squirt a little of the oil on whatever part of the chain is easily accessible without moving the bike.
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  #28  
Old 18 Oct 2021
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Even the manufacturers of chain lube will admit that it does nothing to prevent the life of an O/X-ring chain. But it does prevent corrosion. The grease for a chain is applied when it's manufactured and intended to last for it's entire lifetime. It's held inside the rollers by those sealing rings. Although it could be argued that chain oil keeps those sealing rings lubricated which may prevent them drying out and degrading.

This is why you shouldn't use harsh solvents on a O-ring/Xring chain. And especially not penetrating oils like WD40 which will get behind through seals and clear out the grease.

However, it does prolong the life of your sprockets.

IMO, the absolute most important aspect of chain maintenance to pre-long life is setting the correct tension.

If your chain is sloppy, it's that YANK when the excess tension is taken up is which stretches your chain and wears out your sprockets.

I've worked this out in the last twenty years of working as a Motorcycle Tech. 99/100 bikes I have serviced in main dealers needed their chains tightening.

The biggest mistakes people make by doing it themselves is:

A) Doing it on a centre stand.... WRONG... (Side stand is where a manufacturer sets the tension)

B) Not finding the tight spot first

C) Over lubricating the chain so it acts like glue for grit and other abrasives.

D) Using harsh solvents which penetrate the sealing rings and wash the grease out.

E) Buying cheap chains. It's seldom cost effective.
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Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 29 Oct 2021 at 08:36.
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  #29  
Old 18 Oct 2021
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
IMO, the absolute most important aspect of chain maintenance to pre-long life is setting the correct tension.

If your chain is sloppy, that YANK when the excess tension is taken up is what stretches your chain and wears out your sprockets.

I've worked this out in the last twenty years of working as a Motorcycle Tech. 99/100 bikes I have serviced in main dealers needed their chains tightening.
So are most people running their chains too loose then Ted? When you get the bikes in have they been set too loose or is it just normal between services wear that slackens them off? I'd imagine that most main dealer servicing is on new / relatively new pampered bikes with relatively good condition chains. The starship mileage + penny pinching budget bikes running trash bin secondhand Chinese chains won't see a dealer workshop between birth and death.
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  #30  
Old 18 Oct 2021
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I don't know the answer to the HP loss question, but I find it impossible to believe that a manufacturer would fit any consumerable that would make their bike slower. Especially in the cut throat race for power stats. They spend millions eeking another 5hp out of their bikes. And they give zero shots how long your chain lasts.
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