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Automatic chain oiler on an adventure bike? is it a good idea?


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Hello everyone, 

I'm thinking about some of the accessories I'd like to install on my bike over the winter. 

One, however is givinig me a bit of pause. 
The automatic chain oiler,

I have the simple x-scottoiler ready and waiting for the install, and I've had their e-system on my previous bikes (with reasoably good success). 
However, is an auto chain oiler a good idea on an adventure bike?   A bike that has seen, and will see dirt, gravel roads etc? 

Are there any issues/problems I should be aware of? 

Will the oil mix with dirt and form a grinding paste? 
Or will it just fling off and keep the chain lubed and happy? 



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Modern (x-ring, o-ring, z-ring, ...) chains don't really require actual lubing. Oiling still prolongs the life of a chain by protecting against rust and cleaning the chain. The latter is the main reason I've been using chainsaw oil in my oiling system for the last few years. It does a pretty good job at helping dirt fling off the chain.

For the oiling system itself I just grab a small plastic bottle, a 3mm tube and a chainsaw/strimmer fuel priming bulb. Pushing the bulb once in a while sucks the oil from the bottle and pushes it onto the chain. It is simple and cheap, but effective. Haven't had a chance to install it on my T7 yet. But I have been running it for years on an XT660Z, a Husqy TR650 Terra and a Versys 650.

Did a write-up of one of my earlier versions at :


I have since moved on from the brake fluid reservoir to a plastic bottle with a top feeding tube and some simple metal wire spiralled around the tube at the chain end to keep the nozzle pointed at the right spot.

Destinationworld.be - Journeys... not just travels | Discoveroverland.eu - Inspiring overland travel meetings

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Had a Pro-Oiler in my 950Adv and a Scottoiler in my 990Adv.

Liked the Pro-Oiler more. It is electrical and the lubing is based on the distance traveled and doesn't drop any dips when the bike is stationary.

The Scottoiler was problematic, much harder to get the adjustment right. Either it didn't drop any oil to the chain or it dropped all at once. Ended keeping it closed and lubed the chain at the end of the day.


With both of these, I added some copper hose to the end of the oilers hose, and installed this hose near the front sprocket instead of the rear sprocket (sadly no picture). By doing this, the oiler's hose is in a much more secure place.


I'm going to install the OSCO in the winter. I like the idea that is controlled by the driver and doesn't require any modifications to the bike.


"Eternally, unavoidably, eventually, all paths will lead to the cemetery." Sentenced

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1 hour ago, Hogan said:

Sealed chains don't require constant lubing, it's just an idea that's persisted since the days of unsealed chains.

Of course you can still buy unsealed chains. Bicycles still use them, and some dirt bikes use them (because they are lighter) - those chains you must regularly clean lube if you want them to last.


I've done the tests in the past on commuting bikes because I could smell the bullshit on the forums.

Regular maintenance or none at all (other then keeping the tension right) the chain lasts the same amount of time.

That test was on a DR650, and the chain would last 25,000kms regardless of maintenance.

On a VFR750 I could get 50,000kms out of a chain with no cleaning/oiling.

I expect about 25-30000kms out of the T7 based on the engine characteristics.


People will disagree of course, but to them I say unless you have actually run a chain it's entire life without maintenance as a comparison, then you are talking out your arse 😉


All that aside, there is a theory that regular oiling of a chain on a dirt bike is detrimental to life since it effectively becomes a dirt magnet. High pressures where the chain contacts the teeth, with dirt could accelerate wear.


Personally I wouldn't know, because I've not lubed a chain in a long time!



How often have you had to replace sprockets? 

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My chain maintenance is reasonable  simple. When I  wash the bike with CT18 truck wash (2 cap fulls per bucket of water) I wash the chain last with a chain brush and remaining detergent. This is to get rid of most dirt. When dry, I use chainsaw oil and a tooth brush dipped once only. I use a little  oil often,  rather than a lot less frequent, which sprays off. My understanding of modern chain requires the seals to be lubed to prevent damage and premature failure which allows undesirable dirt and water ingress. Also  oil prevents rusting. Interesting Myth Busting Theory "do no maintenance except tension adjustment" and the chain lasts the same time. Side by side experiment is the the only proof of theory! Thank "your" God, proof is better than belief! 😇👿👻

Edited by Louis
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I wash my bike whenever it gets dirty, as in when I get home from a ride and its filthy or its been wet, the chain gets cleaned too. Once the chain is dry, I use a quick spray of  SDOC100 Dry Lube Chain Spray On the rollers, once its dried (it dries transparent), I then use a rag covered in ACF 50 and wipe the side plates so the chain wont rust. The small amount of chain lube I apply is for lubricating the contact between the rollers and the sprocket. 


The way I see it, if you just plaster your chain with chain lube without cleaning it regularly, you are doing more harm than good and wasting your money on chain lube, as the oil you’ve applied is just adding to the grinding paste already on the chain and sprockets. I did that when I first started riding bikes in 1982, I hated all the grease flicking everywhere so learnt a better way (after upgrading to an O ring chain). 

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I should add in my experience, I have soaked and washed out chains in kerosene. I usually find that a chain once thoroughly cleaned often feels flogged out. All the crud that was held in the links gives a false indications of actual wear. Also tight damaged links become more evident. Only set and forget (adjustment) I think is potentially a problem waiting to happen. Cleaning a motorcycle is a form of inspection, which  is maintenance. 

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I think its more to do with what you use rather than how you apply it.


I have a low opinion of most 'chain lubes', particular those who market themselves as 'non-flinging'. I don't see how 'non-flinging' is a good thing for a chain that is exposed to the elements. If a lube can stick tenaciously to the chain, then surely dirt and grit will stick just as tenaciously to the lube?!!  Non-flinging is marketing BS aimed at the keepers of garage queenies.


I use a Cobrra Nemo 2 manual oiler with Motul 80w-90 gearbox oil as a corrosion inhibitor/water repellent rather than a lubricant per-se. I've run the line to dispense the oil onto the inside of the chain at the rear sprocket at the chain guide.  I've found it keeps the chain clean, doesn't attract or hold dirt, and keeps corrosion at bay. In fact, I find chain is the cleanest part of the bike after a day out in the dirt!


I also run 2 other bikes with no chain oilers and manually apply gear oil with a toothbrush. 


The only minor downside is that it does tend to fling so the back wheel rim gets a light coating of oil too, but my theory goes that if the oil is flinging, then so is all the crap.

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have had many different chain oiler, automatic and manual. After several experiments, I will go back OSCO chain oiler which is good, the best of all that I have used. I use GL4 transmission oil.


The O / X-ring chain needs lubrication between the roller and the sleeve. When driving offroad, I don't lubricate the chain because dust and dirt sticks to the chain. I lubricate the chain only onroad. I drive 25% off and 75% on.




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