SER­VICE

Cycle World - - Front Page - BILL HUSTED BARR, MA

Q:I called up the Tri­umph T120 owner’s man­ual on­line and here’s what they say about chain main­te­nance: “Lubri­ca­tion is nec­es­sary [note the word ‘nec­es­sary’] ev­ery 200 miles (300km) and also af­ter rid­ing in wet weather, on wet roads, or any­time that the chain ap­pears dry… Ap­ply lu­bri­cant to the sides of the rollers then al­low the mo­tor­cy­cle to stand un­used for at least eight hours (overnight is ideal). This will al­low the oil to pen­e­trate to the chain, O-rings, etc.” Eight hours of down­time ev­ery 200 miles? I’d never be able to get any­where I wanted to go, let alone home again; clearly, this is ab­surd. So here is my ques­tion: What are the prac­ti­cal, real-world re­quire­ments, lim­i­ta­tions, and con­cerns of mod­ern drive chains on pow­er­ful, heavy mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cles?

A:No­body, ex­cept per­haps a lawyer from Tri­umph cor­po­rate HQ, is lub­ing their chain ev­ery 200 miles and let­ting it soak in for eight hours. Mod­ern “O-ring” chains are so good that it isn’t a big is­sue any­more. What lit­tle lube they re­quire is mostly to lube the sprock­ets and keep things from get­ting rusty. The lube doesn’t pen­e­trate down past the seals be­tween the plates on th­ese chains. What­ever grease inside the seals is there from the fac­tory. As soon as the seals get hard and let wa­ter in or grease out, the chain is done. Lube ev­ery day when on a trip, when­ever it looks dry. It only has to sit a minute or two un­til the spray lube sol­vent evap­o­rates. With typ­i­cal around-town use, it may only re­quire a squirt once a month. Some­thing is bet­ter than noth­ing. WD-40 or such will do in a pinch, but the mo­tor­cy­cle-spe­cific spray lubes

are bet­ter. Typ­i­cal life span on th­ese chains is 20K miles. If you're easy on it, it may go far­ther; if you ne­glect to lube or clean at all, it could be much less.

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