Motorcycle Owners Club

Honda CG125 but also some universal motorcycle information

Motorcycle Chain Grease Review

The only manufacturer that I have managed to find that make Motorcycle Chain Grease is.
Putoline Chain Wax 1kg

Despite its name, it is the traditional motorcycle chain grease (not the wax chain lube in a spray can).
Big metal tin (24cm by 7.5cm), that has solid grease (wax); heat up the tin,
the grease melts and penetrates deep in to the chain.

It's still by far the best way to lubricate a chain (according to everyone I speak to including mechanics),
saving you not only a fortune in new chains and sprockets
(chain and sprockets will last much, much, much, much longer),
but also keeps the chain in a near new condition,
so resistance does not build up anywhere near as much (more power at back wheel).

Chain grease was used by the majority of motorcyclists in the past, but as you will see in this article,
not only is it still far superior to the modern ways, reducing the amount of power loss from the engine,
but also saves you a fortune in chains and sprockets.

The true stories I keep hearing from people and mechanics,
of it making the chain and sprockets last 3 or 4 times longer than not using grease is endless.
This is due to the grease keeping the chain resistance low, so wear is substantially reduced and stays reduced,
since chains wear out sprockets they also last much longer.
I even hear true stories of severely neglected chains that have done high mileages, seized up and stretched a lot,
put it in the grease and it comes out nearly like new
and near the length it was when new (you will see why later on in this article).

Most Putoline motorcycle dealers do not stock this item, they can order it from Putoline if they wish,
or you can buy it on the internet, search for Putoline Chain Wax 1kg,
the 1kg bit is important since you do not want wax chain lube in a spray can (which is totally different, more like chain oil!).
For some strange reason, it's in the Putoline off road motorcycle section,
even though it's for road bikes as well as off road bikes.

Chain grease cannot be used on O, X or Z ring chains, since it would melt the rubber of the rings.
But as you will find out, later on in this page, O, X and Z rings are very expensive and are not as good as a chain with grease!

The chain grease can be used over and over again (since it uses very little grease per chain),
so one tin will last a very long time, it will also not really age so will be good for many, many years.

Chain types, lubrication methods, downsides and History

The chances are if you are under 50 years old, you have never heard of Motorcycle Chain Grease.
If you are over 50 years old and were motorcycling in your youth, you have probably used it and know everything about it.

To bring everyone up to date, in the modern world of Motorcycle Chains.
Motorcycle Chain Grease started to die off when O ring chains started to become common.

All chains are basically the same, when manufactured they have grease inside.
With a traditional chain (non O, X or Z ring), the grease inside is not protected,
so over time it is pushed / washed out and dirt and grit gets inside it.
That's why you have to use Motorcycle Chain Grease to clean and put grease back inside the chain
(or buy a new chain regularly = expensive!).

Someone came up with the idea to seal the chain with rubber seals (O rings);
this means every link in the chain has to have a seal.
The biggest problem with having to seal every link in the chain is it's very expensive, seals also have a failure rate,
O ring failures are far too high for my and many others liking and chain warrantees
are often useless (even the best brand names), even on a chain that's only a few days old,
they often blame the user for the failed chain (it's hard to prove if the chains to blame or the user).

O rings also have another big problem, they create a lot of resistance, reducing engine power, X rings are better.
You will never find a race bike or off road race bike with an O, X, Z or any other form of sealed chain they invent in the future.

I believe O rings were invented for off road endurance use.
This is when the off road motorcycle has to travel very large distances in terrible conditions.
With sand, dirt, grit and water constantly being fired in to the chain, in incredible quantities for very long distances and time.

Due to the down sides of O rings, they never took off on normal motorcycles.
But as road motorcycles became more and more powerful, they hit a problem.
Motorcycle chains use a single clip link, this means you can just unclip it and the chain will split in two,
so you can easily remove the chain.
Put it in chain grease then put it back on etc.

But over the years, high end road motorcycle engines became more and more powerful;
eventually the clip link could not stand the power and would break.
The only answer was not to use a clip link,
but to use a rivet link, a rivet link is very hard to install, impossible to re-use and hard to remove.
Not being able to put a rivet linked chain in to chain grease was a major problem,
since chain lube (chain oil, chain wax spray can etc.)
does not lubricate the chain properly on its own (without chain grease as well).
They had to use O ring chains, to keep the original grease inside the chain.

Originally O ring chains where only on road bikes that had too much power for a clip link (excluding racing bikes).
But over the years they have been filtering down to less powerful engines, even the slowest 125cc engines.

Race bikes, off road race bikes and high end road sports bikes
as mentioned before will not use any type of sealed chain (O, X, Z etc.).
Since the resistance in the seals reduces the engine power far too much for their highly competitive sport.
Due to their engines high power output,
they either use a rivet link or the chain is actually manufactured with no split in the chain (so it's endless).
With rivet linked chains, they normally throw the chain away after each race (with the tyres as well).
The non-split chain means they have to part disassemble the bike to get it off and then they put a new on.
Race people have very experienced mechanics and spend a fortune in parts and labour for every race!

All chains are made in standard sizes.
Nearly all motorcycle are size 428, 520, 525 or 530.
The 428 and 520 size chains can be bought in O ring, X (may be Z) ring and non-sealed form.
Any type of 428 size chain can be used on a bike that uses a 428 size;
the same applies to 520, 525, 530 or any other sizes that exist.
For example a bike that's supplied with a 428 O ring, can have a non sealed chain or X ring etc. fitted in its place.
Non sealed chains normally have a clip link, O and X ring often insist on rivet link.

You can often tell if a chain is O, X or Z ring by looking at the chain rollers
(that's the part of the chain that touches the back wheel sprocket).
With a torch or a decent amount of daylight, look at where the rollers touch the sides of the chain,
if you can see anything between like little black things,
that's probably rubber seals (may need a magnifying glass to be sure),
keeping the grease inside the rollers, if a roller moves up and down excessively or to easily, the seal is broken for sure.
You can always look at a high powered motorcycle (not a race bike or high end sports bike) for reference,
since its chain will be O, X or Z ring for sure and since chain is really big will be easier to see what I mean.

For more information about chains see http://www.quality-cycle.com/truth_about_motorcycle_chains.htm

How to use Chain Grease (Putoline Chain WAX)

The method has not changed since the invention of Chain Grease.

Remove chain from the bike.
The easiest way to do this is:
Rotate back wheel until the chains clip link is at the bottom and in the middle (so you can easily get to it).
Unclip it (so chain splits in to two).
Attach an old chain to it (or a new one).
Rotate back wheel until your chain comes off completely.

You may wish to clean your chain before putting it in the grease,
but the grease is designed to also clean the chain (but grease will get dirty).
To clean the chain, you can use Paraffin or Kerosene (from good Hardware stores),
Diesel (use thick rubber gloves) or Petrol (petrol is very flammable!).

Remove Chain Grease lid and put chain on top of grease.

You will need to be able to remove a very hot chain from very hot grease,
so put something like a metal coat hanger through one end of the chain, so you can pull chain out easily.

Put the grease's metal tin on top of a heat source like a cookers hob to melt the grease (chain will fall in to melting grease).
Warning, many people will not like the smell of melting grease (melting wax) in the house,
so often a small camping burner (hob) is used outside (little cheap thing from a camping shop),
make sure grease tin does not fall off when wax is melted (creates a mess).
I suppose you could even use a barbeque if you wanted.
If you do melt the grease in the house, try to have all the windows open, an extractor fan at full power,
the doors closed and do it at a time that will not affect others and give the room several hours for the smell to disappear.
That's all probably a bit over the top, but in the old days, many wives went nuts at their husbands for stinking out the house!

When the grease is as liquid as possible,
leave the chain in the grease for around 10 to 15 minutes,
to allow the chain to get up to maximum heat, which will allow the grease to seep deep inside the chain.

Then lift the chain out of the grease with the metal coat hanger (or whatever you used),
allow excess grease to drip off and fall back in to the grease tin.
Then put chain on top of the inside of the grease tin lid to cool down.

Some enthusiasts may want more grease on their chain than the method above, especially in winter.
This requires turning the heat off and waiting for some time and then removing the chain from grease.
The longer you leave the heat turned off before removing the chain,
the more grease will be on the chain (you can get too much grease on it!).

After a chain has been in grease and cooled down, it may be shorter than when it went in.
That's because it stretched while being used on the bike, the grease puts it back to a near new state.
So you may need to slacken the chain adjusters on the bike before you can put the chain back on
(slacken the back wheel of course and push wheel forwards,
which is part of basic chain adjustment which you should already know).

A newly greased chain,
will not need any chain lube (chain oil, spray can etc.) put on it until the grease has worn off the outside of the chain.
Since the grease is really a wax, it is not sticky, so will not attract the dirt, grit and it's thick,
it could take a long time before chain lube is required.
Do not put chain lube on a chain that is well greased,
it may remove the grease (which is superior to chain lube) on the outside of the chain.
Some traditionalists will say, do not use chain lube, simply put the chain back in to the grease,
to make it even easier, have 2 chains, one on the bike,
the other greased and ready to put on when the other one needs to be re greased.

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