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Type of lubricant

Drive chain lubricants

Motorcycle chains need a fair bit of attention. Keeping a chain in good working condition requires regular cleaning and lubrication.

Some motorcycle brands recommend using a thick oil (such as SAE90), but this is an outdated advice, surpassed by a number of more effective solutions on the market today.

Chain sprays come in two variations: a standard 'wet' version and dry lube chain spray.

And then there is the brushed on chain paste as an alternative.

Standard chain sprays are generally grease based, whereas the waxy dry chain sprays are 100% grease free. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose depends on your preferences and circumstances. Are you a daily commuter, riding in all kinds of weather? Then a standard spray might be the best option for you. If you primarily ride in nice, dry weather, you can opt for a dry spray.

The table below shows the advantages and disadvantages of each variant. We'd like to point out that chain paste matches a standard chain spray in many areas, but is much more economic and precise in its application. The little brush on the tube lets you put the paste exactly where you want it, without greasing the rest of your work place, something which harder with a standard spray. In addition, the chain paste packs a lot smaller, making it much more convenient to keep it on the bike during longer journeys. It also eliminates the propellant, which could be a selling point for you too.

Info Basic chain spray Standard chain spray Dry chain spray High end chain spray Chain paste
colour white white transparent white white
Lubrication under normal load ✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔
Lubrication under extreme load ✔✔✔
Lubrication interval 400 à 600 km 800 à 1000 km 400 à 600 km 700 à 900 km 400 à 600 km
Dirt repelling ✔✔ ✔✔
Fling resistance ✔✔ ✔✔
Creep factor ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔
Corrosion protection ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔
✔ satisfactory ✔✔ good excellent

Lubricating a motorcycle chain is best done after a ride, when the chain is warm because this improves the adhesion.

Always lubricate your chain on the inside of the links. Applying chain spray to the outside of your chain has little use. Excess lube will be flung from the chain, so keep it to a minimum and primarily lube the inside of the chain links.

We know that most bikers regard chain maintenance a tedious job at best, and we're not surprised. With lube ending up just as much behind the chain rather than on it, greasing the rear tyre, rims and swingarm along with the chain, the chore only becomes more inclusive. It also adds danger to the equation with the risk of chain spray on the tires and brakes. The S100 Chain Spray Spray Protection (Sauber Sepp) is a handy tool that prevents chain spray from getting onto your rim, swingarm and frame when applying the chain spray.

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