What exactly does chain lube DO?

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9/7/2020 9:27 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 4:30 PM

The purpose of an O/X/Y/Z ring chain is to keep grease inside the rollers so the pins stay lubricated. Right?

And chains don't really "stretch". They elongate because they don't get lubed inside the rollers where the pins wear stuff out. Right?

When I spray chain lube/wax on the sideplates and rollers, there's no way in the world that enough gets inside the rollers to lube the pins against the rollers. No way. I'd think that soaking in 90 wt gear oil would be the only way to do that. Right?

So... does lubing really slow down chain wear? Friction, sure, I can 100% see reducing friction on the sideplates and letting the wheel/chain system move a little more freely, but wear and elongation?

In other words, can you lube a non-O-ring chain enough to mimic the durability of an O-ring chain?

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

9/7/2020 9:30 AM

This is a pretty interesting video about chain lubes and how effective they actually are.

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Never try to argue with idiots; they will only bring you down to their level.....and being more experienced, they will beat you at their own game!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

9/7/2020 9:30 AM

Friction means wear. Reducing friction means reducing wear. So yes.

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9/7/2020 9:33 AM

bvm111 wrote:

This is a pretty interesting video about chain lubes and how effective they actually are.

This. I use gear oil to lube my chains and it's way better than the spray on stuff.

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9/7/2020 9:36 AM

With a sealed chain all I do is keep it clean and spray a light coat of oil to prevent corrosion after a wash. On a standard chain lubricant is a must before each moto.

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9/7/2020 9:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 9:42 AM

bvm111 wrote:

This is a pretty interesting video about chain lubes and how effective they actually are.

I saw that awhile ago and started using gear oil, but in the end, I like Maxima Clear Chain the best of anything I've used.

Dust is my enemy, we have a lot of it, and oil collects all of it plus its friends and offspring. I think I'm going to try a dry Teflon spray I picked up at O'Reilly's next. It's great on throttle tubes.

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

9/7/2020 9:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 9:51 AM

Atf does work better, I think. I've always use white lithium grease I guess just because my dad preferred it, I don't know why. Now they have penatrating white grease at O'Reilly's. Sometimes I use penatrating oil because I think it gets deeper into the chain

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9/7/2020 9:50 AM

Rusty chain for me is line nails on a chalkboard. Same immediate facial expression.

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GP740
Since 1987

9/7/2020 9:52 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 10:00 AM

Sachmo831 wrote:

With a sealed chain all I do is keep it clean and spray a light coat of oil to prevent corrosion after a wash. On a standard chain lubricant is a must before each moto.

X-ring, O-ring chains...all lube does is collect dust and dirt imo. For a regular roller...Clean and lube is mandatory. Speaking of chain maintenance....anyone else used the old bbq rotisserie motor with a countershaft sprocket attached. Hang the chain on the sprocket and let it circulate in a bucket of gas for a day...then swap the gas for gear oil. Let it run for a day or two. That's how how I used to clean/lube my old DID roller chains. It doesn't work on the new sealed chains.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

9/7/2020 10:15 AM

HighPlainsSquid wrote:

The purpose of an O/X/Y/Z ring chain is to keep grease inside the rollers so the pins stay lubricated. Right?

And chains don't really "stretch". They elongate because they don't get lubed inside the rollers where the pins wear stuff out. Right?

When I spray chain lube/wax on the sideplates and rollers, there's no way in the world that enough gets inside the rollers to lube the pins against the rollers. No way. I'd think that soaking in 90 wt gear oil would be the only way to do that. Right?

So... does lubing really slow down chain wear? Friction, sure, I can 100% see reducing friction on the sideplates and letting the wheel/chain system move a little more freely, but wear and elongation?

In other words, can you lube a non-O-ring chain enough to mimic the durability of an O-ring chain?

I think the points you bring up are totally valid. Sticky chain lube + dirt/dust = lapping paste that destroys sprockets and chain rollers.

Try this stuff if you get a chance. It’s watery thin like penetrating oil, so it gets places gooey lube doesn’t, then it dries to a film that doesn’t collect dirt at all:
https://www.amazon.com/DuPont-Teflon-Chain-Saver-Self-Cleaning-Lubricant/dp/B00KMMFE8Y

Photo

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9/7/2020 11:03 AM

HighPlainsSquid wrote:

The purpose of an O/X/Y/Z ring chain is to keep grease inside the rollers so the pins stay lubricated. Right?

And chains don't really "stretch". They elongate because they don't get lubed inside the rollers where the pins wear stuff out. Right?

When I spray chain lube/wax on the sideplates and rollers, there's no way in the world that enough gets inside the rollers to lube the pins against the rollers. No way. I'd think that soaking in 90 wt gear oil would be the only way to do that. Right?

So... does lubing really slow down chain wear? Friction, sure, I can 100% see reducing friction on the sideplates and letting the wheel/chain system move a little more freely, but wear and elongation?

In other words, can you lube a non-O-ring chain enough to mimic the durability of an O-ring chain?

When I pull my non-oring chain off to wash my bike I see chain lube on the pins of the master link so yeah, it's getting lube. The first thing I do at the track is lube my chain then fiddle with the tire pressure, forks and then get dressed, This give the chain lube time to work it's way back into the links. I use Maxima chain lube.

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The older I get, the faster I was.

9/7/2020 11:06 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 11:06 AM

plowboy wrote:

X-ring, O-ring chains...all lube does is collect dust and dirt imo. For a regular roller...Clean and lube is mandatory. Speaking of chain maintenance....anyone else used the old bbq rotisserie motor with a countershaft sprocket attached. Hang the chain on the sprocket and let it circulate in a bucket of gas for a day...then swap the gas for gear oil. Let it run for a day or two. That's how how I used to clean/lube my old DID roller chains. It doesn't work on the new sealed chains.

So 2 days to lube and clean a chain on a Rube Goldberg type contraption? Yeah, I'll stick to a can of lube. How do you get all that oil off your bike from the chain flinging it off?

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The older I get, the faster I was.

9/7/2020 12:02 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 12:28 PM

HighPlainsSquid wrote:

The purpose of an O/X/Y/Z ring chain is to keep grease inside the rollers so the pins stay lubricated. Right?

And chains don't really "stretch". They elongate because they don't get lubed inside the rollers where the pins wear stuff out. Right?

When I spray chain lube/wax on the sideplates and rollers, there's no way in the world that enough gets inside the rollers to lube the pins against the rollers. No way. I'd think that soaking in 90 wt gear oil would be the only way to do that. Right?

So... does lubing really slow down chain wear? Friction, sure, I can 100% see reducing friction on the sideplates and letting the wheel/chain system move a little more freely, but wear and elongation?

In other words, can you lube a non-O-ring chain enough to mimic the durability of an O-ring chain?

captmoto wrote:

When I pull my non-oring chain off to wash my bike I see chain lube on the pins of the master link so yeah, it's getting lube. The first thing I do at the track is lube my chain then fiddle with the tire pressure, forks and then get dressed, This give the chain lube time to work it's way back into the links. I use Maxima chain lube.

Non-oring chains definitely need something sprayed on them before each ride. But I think the OP was discussing sealed chains specifically.

Edit: I might be wrong. I’ll let The OP clarify which he was referring to.

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9/7/2020 12:02 PM

We lube our chains at the track multiple times throughout the day.... it definitely makes a huge difference on preventing wear etc...the other issue is heat! Without proper lube the chain will generate heat that will cause all kinds of issues.

Alot of bikes pass thru my garage and one in particular comes to mind after reading this post. 07 Yz450 that i rebuilt and sold to a local kid . When i got the bike the chain had so much lube caked on it you couldn’t hardly tell it was a gold chain....after a week or so he brings it back for me to put a new rear tire on... i look at the chain that was very clean and gold now... lol... and VERY kinked...i assumed he bought a new chain and just hadnt lubed it ...i pull the rear wheel off and the spacer just falls out due to compromised seal... he rode that thing long /hard enough without lube it BURNED all the lube off ... now im not gonna say the heat transferred all the way to the seal and cooked it but his lack of maintenance / riding style really showed me how fast things go south when not performing simple maintenance.
So i proceed to ask him if he bought a new chain and of course he says no . I explain to him how important it is to lube the chain and keep it adjusted. Of course i lubed it for him before he loaded it up and headed down the road.

A month or so later i get a text from him asking if i could get a left side case for him.....Yes, he continued to neglect his chain and it finally came off destroying the case... Sorry for the long winded story but figured id share!


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9/7/2020 12:10 PM

walent215 wrote:

We lube our chains at the track multiple times throughout the day.... it definitely makes a huge difference on preventing wear etc...the other issue is heat! Without proper lube the chain will generate heat that will cause all kinds of issues.

Alot of bikes pass thru my garage and one in particular comes to mind after reading this post. 07 Yz450 that i rebuilt and sold to a local kid . When i got the bike the chain had so much lube caked on it you couldn’t hardly tell it was a gold chain....after a week or so he brings it back for me to put a new rear tire on... i look at the chain that was very clean and gold now... lol... and VERY kinked...i assumed he bought a new chain and just hadnt lubed it ...i pull the rear wheel off and the spacer just falls out due to compromised seal... he rode that thing long /hard enough without lube it BURNED all the lube off ... now im not gonna say the heat transferred all the way to the seal and cooked it but his lack of maintenance / riding style really showed me how fast things go south when not performing simple maintenance.
So i proceed to ask him if he bought a new chain and of course he says no . I explain to him how important it is to lube the chain and keep it adjusted. Of course i lubed it for him before he loaded it up and headed down the road.

A month or so later i get a text from him asking if i could get a left side case for him.....Yes, he continued to neglect his chain and it finally came off destroying the case... Sorry for the long winded story but figured id share!


Do you run o-ring or non o-ring chains?

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9/7/2020 12:24 PM

walent215 wrote:

We lube our chains at the track multiple times throughout the day.... it definitely makes a huge difference on preventing wear etc...the other issue is heat! Without proper lube the chain will generate heat that will cause all kinds of issues.

Alot of bikes pass thru my garage and one in particular comes to mind after reading this post. 07 Yz450 that i rebuilt and sold to a local kid . When i got the bike the chain had so much lube caked on it you couldn’t hardly tell it was a gold chain....after a week or so he brings it back for me to put a new rear tire on... i look at the chain that was very clean and gold now... lol... and VERY kinked...i assumed he bought a new chain and just hadnt lubed it ...i pull the rear wheel off and the spacer just falls out due to compromised seal... he rode that thing long /hard enough without lube it BURNED all the lube off ... now im not gonna say the heat transferred all the way to the seal and cooked it but his lack of maintenance / riding style really showed me how fast things go south when not performing simple maintenance.
So i proceed to ask him if he bought a new chain and of course he says no . I explain to him how important it is to lube the chain and keep it adjusted. Of course i lubed it for him before he loaded it up and headed down the road.

A month or so later i get a text from him asking if i could get a left side case for him.....Yes, he continued to neglect his chain and it finally came off destroying the case... Sorry for the long winded story but figured id share!


Broseph wrote:

Do you run o-ring or non o-ring chains?

Non

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9/7/2020 1:06 PM

Well, the really thick lube seems to just attract dirt, and that seems worse than a dry chain?

I like the Maxima stuff. I also make sure to clean the chain really well with Maxima chain cleaner when I wash my bike. I use the penetrating lube after I wash it too, then chain lube.

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9/7/2020 1:28 PM

I often wonder if you are doing more harm than good if you don’t clean a chain before lubing it at the track.

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9/7/2020 1:30 PM

Sachmo831 wrote:

With a sealed chain all I do is keep it clean and spray a light coat of oil to prevent corrosion after a wash. On a standard chain lubricant is a must before each moto.

plowboy wrote:

X-ring, O-ring chains...all lube does is collect dust and dirt imo. For a regular roller...Clean and lube is mandatory. Speaking of chain maintenance....anyone else used the old bbq rotisserie motor with a countershaft sprocket attached. Hang the chain on the sprocket and let it circulate in a bucket of gas for a day...then swap the gas for gear oil. Let it run for a day or two. That's how how I used to clean/lube my old DID roller chains. It doesn't work on the new sealed chains.

You have way too much free time.

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9/7/2020 2:32 PM

I've used wd-40 for 25 years. My chains last longer than buddies who only use "chain lube".. granted now it's because I barely ride but I used to ride alot.. lol

Local shop owner told me I couldn't tell people that because I would reduce sales lol

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9/7/2020 2:47 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 2:49 PM

HighPlainsSquid wrote:

The purpose of an O/X/Y/Z ring chain is to keep grease inside the rollers so the pins stay lubricated. Right?

And chains don't really "stretch". They elongate because they don't get lubed inside the rollers where the pins wear stuff out. Right?

When I spray chain lube/wax on the sideplates and rollers, there's no way in the world that enough gets inside the rollers to lube the pins against the rollers. No way. I'd think that soaking in 90 wt gear oil would be the only way to do that. Right?

So... does lubing really slow down chain wear? Friction, sure, I can 100% see reducing friction on the sideplates and letting the wheel/chain system move a little more freely, but wear and elongation?

In other words, can you lube a non-O-ring chain enough to mimic the durability of an O-ring chain?

Really?! Are you a beginner trolling for other beginners? Is that a serious question? If so....yes, it does do something!!!

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9/7/2020 2:49 PM

When I was racing I would soak my chain in heavy weight motor oil, then the day before the race I would hang it from the rafters to let all of the excess drip off. Seemed to work well.

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9/7/2020 2:52 PM

Sachmo831 wrote:

With a sealed chain all I do is keep it clean and spray a light coat of oil to prevent corrosion after a wash. On a standard chain lubricant is a must before each moto.

plowboy wrote:

X-ring, O-ring chains...all lube does is collect dust and dirt imo. For a regular roller...Clean and lube is mandatory. Speaking of chain maintenance....anyone else used the old bbq rotisserie motor with a countershaft sprocket attached. Hang the chain on the sprocket and let it circulate in a bucket of gas for a day...then swap the gas for gear oil. Let it run for a day or two. That's how how I used to clean/lube my old DID roller chains. It doesn't work on the new sealed chains.

captmoto wrote:

So 2 days to lube and clean a chain on a Rube Goldberg type contraption? Yeah, I'll stick to a can of lube. How do you get all that oil off your bike from the chain flinging it off?

Lol...I never said that I slap that oily chain straight on the bike. And I never said I had only one chain. I don't use roller chains any more but I can tell you that a couple of days of slow clean and lube beats any clean/lube from a can. P..S. I got that tip from an old Dirt Bike mag.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

9/7/2020 2:52 PM

I hate the sound of a dry chain. Gear oil makes the chain spin really well. Freeing up static hp so there's that.

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9/7/2020 2:54 PM

Stops the rust and squeaks

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9/7/2020 3:02 PM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Rusty chain for me is line nails on a chalkboard. Same immediate facial expression.

Fortunately, I'm nearly deaf and I SURE can't hear that w/ my hearing aids out!!! So... WIN!!!!

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

9/7/2020 3:07 PM

just James wrote:

When I was racing I would soak my chain in heavy weight motor oil, then the day before the race I would hang it from the rafters to let all of the excess drip off. Seemed to work well.

I used to do that, too. Only thing is, we ride 3-4x a week so not much time for the chain to hang and drip. I suppose extra chains would solve that, though. Treat 'em like air filters...

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

9/7/2020 3:11 PM

walent215 wrote:

We lube our chains at the track multiple times throughout the day.... it definitely makes a huge difference on preventing wear etc...the other issue is heat! Without proper lube the chain will generate heat that will cause all kinds of issues.

Alot of bikes pass thru my garage and one in particular comes to mind after reading this post. 07 Yz450 that i rebuilt and sold to a local kid . When i got the bike the chain had so much lube caked on it you couldn’t hardly tell it was a gold chain....after a week or so he brings it back for me to put a new rear tire on... i look at the chain that was very clean and gold now... lol... and VERY kinked...i assumed he bought a new chain and just hadnt lubed it ...i pull the rear wheel off and the spacer just falls out due to compromised seal... he rode that thing long /hard enough without lube it BURNED all the lube off ... now im not gonna say the heat transferred all the way to the seal and cooked it but his lack of maintenance / riding style really showed me how fast things go south when not performing simple maintenance.
So i proceed to ask him if he bought a new chain and of course he says no . I explain to him how important it is to lube the chain and keep it adjusted. Of course i lubed it for him before he loaded it up and headed down the road.

A month or so later i get a text from him asking if i could get a left side case for him.....Yes, he continued to neglect his chain and it finally came off destroying the case... Sorry for the long winded story but figured id share!


Oh. Wow.

So... which would you rather see? The caked over chain? Anything actually WRONG with that, apart from the looks? I mean, that does bug me....but I don't know if there's anything actually WRONG with it of if it's just aesthetics.

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

9/7/2020 3:26 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2020 3:36 PM

Broseph wrote:

Non-oring chains definitely need something sprayed on them before each ride. But I think the OP was discussing sealed chains specifically.

Edit: I might be wrong. I’ll let The OP clarify which he was referring to.

I was referring to NON-sealed chains, using the sealed chains as an EXAMPLE. We all know that sealed chains tend to last a LOT longer, esp in off-road use, and I've always wondered WHY. The tensile strength of a good non-O is _plenty_ for a dirt bike. So, the reason that a sealed chain lasts longer is because the seal seals grease in. When you lube a non-O, I can't see that lube getting inside the rollers, thereby creating the whole advantage of the O-ring chain. It SEEMS to me that if you lubed a non O-ring chain enough, you'd negate any advantage of an O-ring. But that just never seems to be the case. Or does it? Maybe you CAN lube a non-O ring enough?

I totally see the need to lube the side plates and we saw lots of examples of why. So, that's fine. I lube my chains,always have, probably always will. Lubing the side plates is good enough reason for that.

Bottom line, I like to think about stuff and how it works. I just go to thinking about how chain lube actually works, what it actually does, why, and etc. Evidently, some people think it's stupid and beginner-like to actually think about what you're doing and why.

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2015 Kawasaki KX 250F
2015 GasGas TXT Racing 125
2015 Husqvarna TC 125
2018 KTM 150 XC-W

9/7/2020 3:45 PM

It lubes the chain ?

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