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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Lack of proper care & lubrication leads to premature chain and sprocket wear, and loss of drivetrain efficiency. However, an even more important consideration is safety.



It is absolutely essential to keep the chain cleaned and lubricated to prevent catastrophic failure that at best would result in snapped chain, and at worst can lead to binding and locking of drive-train, which could lead to injury, death, and/or engine damage.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a bike (for extended travel) that relied on chain drive - and I certainly haven’t missed it - but with my recent purchase of a new Ducati Scrambler, things are a bit different.

Most modern chains are internally lubricated, but require external cleaning and lubrication as well, to keep seals fresh and reduce friction, heat generation, and prevent failure.

The primary way to keep this kind of failure from occurring is to keep the chain (and thus the seals) free of sand, dirt and other contaminants via regular cleaning, and to keep it lubricated appropriately externally as well (to minimize the friction at the seal/plate interface, and to help keep the seals in good shape).

This process is fairly simple, and I’m not going to bore you in this post by creating a tutorial that already exists (many times over) on the internet.

In fact, here is a LINK to a very good “lesson” on the subject form our friends over at canyonchasers.net.

Go hit that link, then come on back for the real focus of this post, which products I recommend for cleaning and lubrication, and how they integrate into my EXTENDED TRAVEL PACKING SYSTEM.

Cleaning products are fairly straight-forward, I recommend either kerosene or WD40. Both are water displacing and have excellent solvent capabilities - which you need to remove any old, dirt-bearing lubrication products currently in place.

For lubrication, the years have taught me to rely on “dry” type products. These attract the least dirt and grime, and will not make a mess of your rims, while providing superior long-lasting lubrication.

I’ve used many of these wax-based products over the years, but this is my all-time favorite, BOESHIELD T-9...



T-9 was developed by global aerospace leader, The Boeing Company, to fill a need for high-performance, long-term metal protection and lubrication, according to the manufacturer...

“T-9’s unique formulation of solvent carrier and paraffin wax coating was engineered to penetrate crevices deeply, displace moisture, dissolve minor corrosion, and leave a clean, waxy coating with lasting durability—without using Teflon, silicone, fluorocarbons, MEK, or acetone.”

I can certainly vouch for it’s effectiveness, and superior performance, as over the years I have enjoyed dramatic increases in chain and sprocket life, since I started using it.

For extended trips (anything over three days in length) it is an essential addition to my travel kit.



This includes...

  1. 3 ounce can of WD40 (cleaning)
  2. 4 ounce bottle of BOESHIELD T-9 (in non-aerosol form)
  3. Heavy nylon bristle brush
  4. SnapJack (an awesome tool for getting your rear wheel off the ground, here is a LINK to the manufacturers site for more info on this great product.)
All of these fit nicely in the pouch pictured above, along with a bunch of paper shop towels.

My process is simple:

  • Jack the bike using the SnapJack
  • Apply WD40 liberally to all surfaces of the chain
  • Wait a few minutes for it to “sink in”
  • Scrub all surfaces with the nylon brush
  • Wipe the chain repeatedly with towels, until all cleaning agent is removed.
  • Apply T-9 to all surfaces
It helps to let the T-9 dry for an hour or so after application, or you can just wipe off the excess immediately if you are in a hurry. I usually do my chain maintenance in the evening after my days travels are over, so this is not usually an issue for me.

Assembling and taking a kit like this along with you on longer trips will ensure that your “fun” is not interrupted prematurely, and also increases your chances of escaping serious injury along the way.

Originally posted on my personal blog @ www.moto-graphic.com
 

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Thanks Tony,
I wasn't aware of the dry type lubes for motorbikes. Been using them on my mountain bike for some time. Will have a look for something similar in Oz.



...must adjust and clean chain on DR650...
 

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Just read another maintenance article in Cycle World and they pretty much said the same thing. Having had belts and shaft drives over the last few bikes you do get spoiled when you don't have a chain, I recently bought one of these to help my maintenance and it also comes in handy for cleaning both front and rear wheels but kind of big to store in the sidebags.


Amazon.com Ultra-Tow Motorcycle Tire Spinner Automotive
 

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Just read another maintenance article in Cycle World and they pretty much said the same thing. Having had belts and shaft drives over the last few bikes you do get spoiled when you don't have a chain, I recently bought one of these to help my maintenance and it also comes in handy for cleaning both front and rear wheels but kind of big to store in the sidebags.


Amazon.com Ultra-Tow Motorcycle Tire Spinner Automotive
this product looks really nice
Amazon.com Ultra-Tow Motorcycle Tire Spinner Automotive

tonyjuliano thank you really good article about chain maintenance
 

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Hello

The best way I found to have a well-maintained chain is to install an automatic oiler on my bikes.
My Scrambler has been fitted with a Tutoro Oiler and my previous bikes had a Scottoiler.

Yes, it makes the bike a little bit dirty, but you are sure that your chain is always oiled, even in wet conditions, and the dust can't stay on the chain as it goes away with oil.

On my last 3 bikes, having an automatic chain oiler made the chain kit last about 25% longer than usual mileage. I will let you know how long my Scrambler chain kit will last.
 

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That thing is extremely handy, kopper. Nice when it comes time to clean the wheels, too. Make sure to put a small block under your side stand so that your bike sits a bit more upright, this will keep your tire from drifting to the side as you spin it. Those of us in the USA can find this gadget a bit cheaper at Cycle Gear.

Edit: Now that conan mentioned it, maybe it was HF; about $25, I'm thinking.

Sarah
 

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I need to tighten my chain for the first time and I just wanted to confirm something in the manual (Adjusting the chain tension - p70). The manual says you only need to loosen the right hand axle nut, not both side. Can anyone who has done it confirm only one needs to be loosened before I dive in? Thanks
 

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That is right, gcduc. Most axles I've seen are like a big long bolt, a fixed head on one end and a nut on the other. Odd to me the Scrambler has a nut on either end.

Sarah
 

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Did the chain no worries. Just the one side needs loosening. The adjusters are sensitive - small changes make a large difference in tension. Bike rides better for sure, particularly the throttle response. Kinda how I know the chain is getting a little slack.
 

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22000 km and just adjusted my chain .Pretty good considering all my maintenance consists of is the occasional spray with WD40.And I ride lot of dirt with panniers etc.Sprockets look fine so may just try a new chain and change whole lot in 8000 k or so
 
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