There’s been a huge amount of chatter on social media and some of the various motorcycle forums, regarding the need (or not) to lubricate modern O ring type chains. Many FB group members commented on my recent post regarding Scottoilers, and a large percentage of comments centred around lubrication of any kind being somewhat redundant.

So my ears pricked up when Neil Wyenn, a friend and reviewer in the US, sent an email to Vortex Racing, the main US distributor of EK Chains, one of the largest producers of quality sealed O ring type motorcycle chains. Here was their reply:

“While o-ring chains require LESS maintenance, it is still paramount that you keep the chain clean, lubricated, and under proper tension. You should be cleaning and lubing your chain after every 300 miles minimum – probably more off-road.”

Now let’s look at what D.I.D Chains say about maintaining their O ring chains:

“For cleaning and lubricating, D.I.D recommends use of exclusive oils that state to be seal-ring safe to properly maintain any drive chain. Clean the chain by wiping with a soft cloth dampened with an O-Ring/X-Ring® safe cleaner and dry completely every 300miles (500kms) to prevent surface rust and ensures maximum performance. To protect X-Ring®, never use steam, thinner or such volatile solvents as gasoline or benzene, and a wire bush as well. Lube the chain every other use with an O-Ring/X-Ring safe lubricant.”

So two or the largest producers of quality, modern and sealed O ring motorcycle chains both maintain that it is imperative you clean and lubricate your chain every 300 miles or 500 kilometres. Social media or the chain producers themselves? You decide who’s advice to take..


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  1. A fool and his unattended O ring chain are parted sooner than expected. Six motorcycle rides around the world have taught me chain maintenance is more of a priority than social media and Internet connections. Minimum on a long ride is a WD-40 bath at the end of the day, 300-500 miles, and always after dirt, sand and dust.

  2. Allan Buchanan

    Well after 50 years of riding and dozens of motorcycles later and this debate continues to have traction. So funny really. Every used motorcycle I’ve ever bought needed chain and sprockets and every one I sold did not. How do you keep your chain looking so new I’ve been asked hundreds of times.
    Well there’s a simple answer “Clean, lube, repeat…”….I’ve driven 100’s of thousands of miles in every type of conditions known to mankind and never once had a chain mishap, but when I’m on the trail and come across a stranded biker with a chain failure it’s always the same….looks like a rusted piece of barbed wire…..”clean,lube, repeat”.

    • Spot on, mate, but we’re old timers. What do we know? 🙂

      • Shaun J

        I am an old fella. And i have seen a lot in life. I travelled the world. So, i learned a lot. Today, I clean and lube my chain every week, regardless if I ride or not. I just love the smell of a freshly lubed chain and it gives me the good feeling that I maintain the value and performance of my bike. I use old engine oil as lubrication. That’s the easiest way to get rid of it.
        Strength and honour, guys

  3. Tim N.

    Shaun J
    I haven’t used the used oil for my motorcycle but may start now. A gas station attendant once showed me how to lube my bicycle chain using the small amount of oil remaining in an empty quart bottle of motor oil.

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