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alan katkich

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Best Motorcycle Chain Lube: Its Not Rocket Science

The best motorcycle chain lube. This topic is filled with expert opinions. By expert of course we are talking about the guy in the coffee shop parking lot at bike night and online forum regulars. You also have the marketing departments of various manufacturers telling you about the latest and greatest particles and Teflons and adhesion technology and God knows what other mumbo jumbo. 

Then there’s the question of do you even need to lube your modern chain as a another debated topic. X, O and Z ring chains are sealed with their own lube so why lube more? Isn’t it all a marketing ploy designed by the powers that be to convince us to spend more?

Addressing all of this is for another article, another day. For now let’s stick to a couple basic truths. We will assume X, O and Z ring chains require some lubricant if for nothing else than to avoid rust and whatever little friction there may be. 

With that being said, we will need lube that is safe for the seals, whether they be X, O or Z. Under these parameters we can recommend some effective lubricants that will certainly do the job and protect your chain seals.Also, If we can find a product that can make life easier we will certainly include it in our list.

Onto our Best Motorcycle chain lubes

The Best

Bel Ray Super Clean Chain Lube 

This is the go to chain lube for many bikers out there. This stuff almost has a cult following. Bel Ray claims that this stuff “absolutely will not fling off” if used as directed. So, I checked the directions. Warm chain, coat it, wait 15 minutes bla bla bla. 

It went on white and a bit mucky. I took the bike out for a spin. Sure enough the stuff did stay on without making a total mess of things. Lets face it, chain lube isn’t rocket science. There are a lot that will be effective in providing lubrication.  Having one that makes  life easier by not making a total mess is a bonus. This is why it’s our top pick. If you don’t mind your chain having a whitish film then this is your best bet. For an effective lubricant without the grime on your rear rim Bel Ray is the best

Related: How To Wash Your Motorcycle

The Rest

Motul Chain Paste

We like things that make life a bit easier. Motul Chain paste is a product you brush on as opposed to a spray. Spraying causes a mess. Even if your lube is good at not flinging off, spraying it on can cause overspray. That’s where Motul Chain paste comes in. Simply squeeze the tube and brush the lube onto your chain using the applicator brush. The tube is relatively small but how much is wasted coming out of a typical aerosol can? This product, because of its compact size, is great to throw in a tail pack or tank bag and keep with you on a tour or at all times. Super convenient. Make sure you use it on a clean chain  though. Because you brush it on, If your chain is filthy, you will spread that grime all over the chain.  

Maxima Chain Wax Chain Lube

Another popular choice. Maxima Chain Wax goes on as a regular looking lube would. After a bit of time it sets into a waxy type film. It tends to not attract too much in the way of road grime. Some will stick but it’s not excessive . It does a good job at preventing rust. It’s safe for sealed chains and it keeps flinging to a minimum. What more could you ask for? There isn’t much more to it than that. It does its job very well. 

PJ1 Blue Label Chain Lube

A Good choice at a good price. This is your basic run of the mill stuff. We included it here because it works and comes highly recommended by those that have used it. Customers are happy with its protection and that it has minimal fling off. It protects against corrosion and is recommended for O,X and Z ring chains. It does tend to pick up a bit of road debris but this is due to how tacky it is which keeps the lube on the chain. Just make sure you are diligent with your cleaning if using this product. Which you should be anyways. 

Basic Chain Maintenance Tips 

  1. Refer to your owner’s manual for chain cleaning intervals. Some use every other tank of fuel as a rule of thumb
  2. Clean your chain before every other application of lube. Use a soft bristle brush and a chain cleaner for quick, effective results. 
  3. Lube after every time you wash your bike to prevent rust
  4. Check your chain tension twice a season. Once in the spring and once in mid summer depending on how much you ride. Adjust as necessary 
  5. If you are going on a multi day trip, remember to pack cleaner and lube. 

There you have it, chain maintenance is simple to do but it is a pain in the butt. I have to admit, I get a bit lazy and procrastinate sometimes. It’s not the end of the world if you forget to lube here and there but try and make a good habit of it. Motorcycling can get expensive so we don’t need the added expense of a new chain and sprocket unnecessarily.   

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