Chain Maintenance - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 45 Old 08-01-2012, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Chain Maintenance

It's been over 20 years since I've owned a chain driven motorcycle. What do you all recommend for chain maintenance for the new wee? Any recommended type / brand of lube? And how often do you use it? What is the lifespan of a chain if the motorcycle is driven moderately?

Thanks for any advice or information.
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post #2 of 45 Old 08-01-2012, 03:06 PM
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post #3 of 45 Old 08-01-2012, 09:48 PM
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You missed, "which oil should I use?"

Seriously: this is a popular topic with lots of threads with lots of posts. A quick search will turn up lots of info, which I can summarize:

Someone will refer you to the owner's manual; then everyone will start telling you "xyz lube is the best," because that's what they use. A hardcore dude with an Scott oiler will tell you it's the only way to go. Someone will throw out a link or quote some "chain lube shootout" article in which abc brand won hands down. Someone else will question the validity of the test results.

IMO, it just doesn't matter. The more frequently you clean and lube, the longer your chain/ sprockets will last. There's some cut off where an extra 1000 miles of chain life isn't worth the hours and hours of regular, fastidious maintenance required to get them. That point is different for each rider.
The manual says clean and lube every 600mi, FWIW.
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post #4 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 03:52 AM
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i always use ep80 or ep90 gearbox oil and just brush it on after a long run , the oil must be new as old oil contains acids & other nasty stuff ..being a thick oil it hardly flings any off ...done this for many years & never had a problem ...tried the new spray-on anti fling lubs but found my chain still got rusty ?...
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post #5 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 08:46 AM
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Chain oiler.
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post #6 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 09:33 AM
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I was in the same boat with not having a chain driven bike for 20+ years. Being lazy I decided to go with the Scottoiler system. It hasn't been without it's problems but the company has been very good about replacing first the pump (didn't work out of the box) and then the electronics got moisture in it (imagine that in the Pacific Northwest) and the company replaced them free of charge. Overall I really like it but not real happy about having two failures with the first 1000 miles of use. Long term we will see.
I will also say that I ride the bike as a commuter bike 50 miles round trip to work 4 days a week minimum. If I was only riding occasionally I would not have bought the oiler system.

2012 V strom adventure: Touratech 30mm bar risers, Touratech Hex oil filler security cap, SW-Motech centerstand, SW-Motech skid plate, SW-Motech kick stand foot, Adventure Tech forkbrace FB65, Adventure Tech mirror extensions ME65, KISAN tail light modulator plug-in 20W-D, GIVI airflow AF3101, Scottoiler eSystem, Eastern Beaver PC-8, Russell Day Long saddle, MondoMotos MM 12 AUX lights
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post #7 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 09:40 AM
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If only the Vstrom had a maintenance free shaft drive like the BMW's.
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post #8 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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THE chains i have replaced were in the 30k mile range. they could have gone longer but the front sproket needed replacement. i rarely clean my chain since i rarely ride on dirt. every few thouosand miles, i'll take a rag with kerosene and wipe off all the old wax build up if you want to call the cleaning. i normally oil the chain immediately after a ride while the chain is hot...500-600 miles. i use chain wax. also, spend the money to get a good chain as they rarely need adjustment (very little stretch)
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post #9 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pjmarkham View Post
It's been over 20 years since I've owned a chain driven motorcycle. What do you all recommend for chain maintenance for the new wee? Any recommended type / brand of lube? And how often do you use it? What is the lifespan of a chain if the motorcycle is driven moderately?

Thanks for any advice or information.
There have been several threads about chain maintenance and i think here is what you wil likely come across:

Facotry recommends cleaning with Kerosense and lubing every 600 miles/1000 KM

Many people recommend Using a Teflon based spray as it doesn't attract dirt.

Some people will not do anything to their chains

Some will use WD40.

When people give you the above (or any) recommendations ask them how long their chains last. You will probably find that most chains doing any of the above last in the 20,000 to 30,000 mile range. My first two chains on my 2006 DL650 lasted 21,000 and 23,500 miles following what the manufacturer recommends.

My third chain was replaced at 46,500 miles and had some useful life left in it. I never cleaned that chain as cleanigng the chain does nothing usefull, but lubed it with Wurth HHS2000 every time I filled up the tank and after every ride in the rain. The HHS200 makes a mess, but it works. (The forth chain is still on the 2006 with 35,000 miles and lots of life but the bike is essentially retired so may not see any more mileage.)


2006 DL650: 202,000 km 125,500 miles, Sold
2012 DL650 139,500+ km, 86,700+ miles. Sold
2015 DL1000 New July 2015 195,000+ km, 121,000 miles.

This can help preventing from cars pulling out in front of you (SMIDSY)
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post #10 of 45 Old 08-02-2012, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by racer View Post
If only the Vstrom had a maintenance free shaft drive like the BMW's.
Shaft drive is more expensive to build and heavier. If it fails, it is expensive to replace. Chain is lighter, more power efficient, and cheap to replace.

Recommended chain maintenance is easy. Adjust according to your owner's manual. After the new chain's initial stretch, it rarely needs adjustment until it is dying. A bit loose is better than a bit tight. 20,000 to 30,000 miles is possible if the chain is regularly lubed. A rule of thumb is to lube every other tank of gas, but every tank in the wet or when riding in grit. PJ1 Blue label is one very good chain lube. DuPont's yellow label Chain Saver is another. The blue label DuPont Multi-Lube used to be a favorite, but they just changed the formula...if it doesn't say wax, pass it by. Tri-Flow is a good lube. Chain saw bar oil is good for it's tackiness. Gear oil is good but messy. I rarely clean my chain, and only use a dry rag to clean it.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

Marcus Tullius Cicero
44 B.C.
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