If I ever needed to classify myself as a type of biker, I think endurance tourer would be it. I love to ride long distances, sometimes covering more than a 1000 kms in a single day. From the standpoint of an endurance tourer, the thing that I like least about my Duke 390 is the chain. There’s nothing especially bad about it, except all chains need to be lubricated after around 500 kms, and adjusted for tension after 1000. I don’t like that.
I would prefer I had a shaft driven bike, which would mean the only time I need to get off the bike and fix something, would be when I go for the routine service operation, every 5000 kms or so. The only problem is that shaft drives are strictly reserved for adventure tourers, or bigass cruisers. So I am stuck with a chain for the time being, at least until someone rectifies this flaw.
Chain lubrication is extremely important, yet most people completely ignore it, until their chain starts making weird-kinky-monkey-sex noises, or completely snaps off. Even when people do find the time to lube it up, they pour some used engine oil in there, which helps in the short-term, but doesn’t do much good for long. Let’s talk about the alternative then, and how chain sprays save the day.
Chain spray is nothing but a suitable lubricant stored in an aerosol container. Since the lubricant is atomized on being discharged from the nozzle, it sticks better to the chain than just normal oil would, which means that much lesser lube will fly away into your pants when you ride the bike.
This also means the chain will remain wet for a longer duration, which will reduce wear and assist in its smother operation.
Why is it better than the black shit roadside mechanics pour on your chain?
I owned a Pulsar 150 before moving on to the Duke 390. I never really cared much for it, apart from regular servicing, and rode its ass all over the country, including Ladakh. As reliable Pulsars are, such abuse did take its toll over 5 years. I had to change the entire chain set, twice, because the teeth on the sprockets would simply run away. I was a bit confused.
Granted I left the outside in rain, heat or cold, not that I had much options. Granted I pushed it harder than a 150 cc bike should be. But I lubed up the chain and got it tightened quite frequently. It was in one of these chain lubing sessions that I noticed what was really being vomited on my bike.
A guy had brought his Unicorn for service, and the mechanic had just flushed out its engine out. Then he proceeded to lube my chain up, only to find the dispenser empty. He leisurely went over to the pan containing the Unicorn’s constipated shit, put it into the dispenser and poured it onto my chain. That day I found out the reason for 2 of my biggest annoyances, why my rear wheel was always covered with grease, and why my chain created problems so often.
Guys, used engine oil is still what it was originally meant to be, engine oil. Pushing it through the bowels of a burning engine doesn’t magically convert it into chain lubricant. No matter what type of bike you have, always go for a proper chain spray.
Do I need to use chain cleaner before chain lube?
I don’t, and haven’t found any reason to. It is relatively easy to clean a chain, just pick a hard brush, dip it in some diesel and let it slide there. I also feel that the chain gets cleaned quite thoroughly every time you go for a wash, so there isn’t much point using a chain cleaner before the chain lube.
I have tested 3 different chain sprays till date, and here is my rating of them:
1. Motul Chain Spray:
Very nice product, value for money, and does the job. Initial cost of about 550 bucks might deter some people, but trust me, it lasts a long time, about 15 sprays. It sticks nicely to the chain too, although the rear wheel will get some grease stains. Recommended product.
2. Rolon Chain Spray:
Recently tested this one out, not a bad product, but packaging needs upgrade. As soon as I shook the bottle, huge amount of foam escaped from the top and fucked up my hands. One bottle is good for about 4 sprays, which isn’t bad for 140 bucks it costs.
3. Bajaj Chain Spray:
Shitty shitty product, and completely overpriced. For 165 bucks, it lasts only 1 spray. Lubrication isn’t bad, but it ruins my rear wheel completely. Next time you go to offical Bajaj/KTM service, give them your own chain spray rather than letting them use the Bajaj one. Not recommended at all.
Chain sprays provide a mobile solution to all of your chain-related problems. If you know how to adjust your chain, and have a spray handy, your time wasted at service centers will reduce drastically. I am yet to try the spray by Muc Off, which I’ve heard doesn’t affect the rear wheel at all. If you know something better, do let me know! In the meantime, always keep a chain spray handy, never ride with a dry chain, and ride hard!