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I got the bike new in December and now have over 4000 miles on it, and in that time i've only used spray on chain wax on the chain. It was recommended to me by the guy at the shop. I ran out of the spray and decided to use oil and am I glad I did, the bike rolls so much more freely now and has better acceleration. Was was I doing to my chain, poor thing. Also I learned that my reserve tank goes to 45 miles, I was impressed because I was under the impression that you may get 10-15 miles out of it, a pleasant surprise. I'm still learning every day. This is a great/fun bike.
 

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Whomever recommended chain wax for an open chain is an idiot. Chain wax is an excellent product for preventing rust, but provides next to no lubrication. Therefore, chain wax is a great product for ringed chains that carry their lubrication sealed inside. The wax congeals to form a weatherproof coat to prevent rust and usually dries with too little tackiness for dirt and crud to cling to it.



Open chains need lubrication. Motor oil is good, but tends to sling off, making a huge mess. Oil is also sticky, causing dirt and crud to stick to the chain, making it difficult to keep clean. Soaking in a degreaser is a good way to clean an oiled chain, and requires time after cleaning for the degreaser to dripp off and dry up. Oil is also too viscous to penetrate between the pins and rollers unless heated, meaning the chain must be removed from the bike for proper lubrication.



What you need is something that goes on thin, penetrates well, doesn't sling off, and cures to a non-sticky surface that won't hold dirt. Such a product is available from Walmart for under $5 a can. Champion Chain Lube Multi-Purpose Spray Grease by Federal-Mogul is the exact name of the product. It meets the needs of both open and ringed chains, is cheap, is easily dissolved with SeaFoam Deep Creep and wiped off with a rag for quick cleaning on the bike, is cheap, comes in a big enough can to last quite a while, is cheap, a little goes a long way, and did I mention it's cheap? this stuff is a lithium grease dissolved in a thin carrier that penetrates then quickly evaporates. Best way to use it is to clean he chain with SeaFoam Deep Creep and a rag after riding when the chain is warm. The DeepCreep floats dirt and crud off metal instead of making it stick like other penetrating oils. Let the Deep Creep evaporate, which can be hurried along by a short ride which leaves the chain warm so that the Chain Lube thins from the heat and penetrates well, plus dries faster to a sling-off resistant, waterproof, non-sticky coating.
 

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Shew! qwerty is an expert on materials and lube etc. I began to panic about my chainwax, when Chip got going about it. But then figured that I noticed no difference in performance since I switched from chainsaw oil to chainwax. But then I have an o-ring chain. qwerty can't tell anything but a theoretical difference between the performance of an open and closed chain on a TW but the servicing of the two is hugely different. I am riding on mostly dirt and dust and would sacrifice some performance to save major hassle.



Malcolm
 

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I use graphite to lube the chain. Any comments (good or bad) on that? A friend of mine uses it on the drives on sewage plants. Normally pretty costly but got a quart for next to nothing.
 

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I've tried everything from automatic chain oilers (back in the day) to ATF, Chainwax, gear oils, silcone-based sprays, graphites, Teflon and dangnear anything that's ever been rumored to be "the next big thing" over the years. In order to save my few remaining brain cells I've concluded that the big "secret" to chain life is a quality chain in the first place. Spend the money initially and you can use spit, yak oil or bear grease to maintain it (as long as you do it often enough) and it will outlast a cheap chain 2-to-1.



I run quality chains and use nothing more fancy than synthetic gear oil on them when they're at home and I can allow them to shed the excess overnight. When on road trips I use either ATF or motor oil on them at least every other gas stop, sometimes in between.



Tensile strength is your best shot at chain life as it's your only meaningful indicator of quality materials. This has nothing to do with whether or not a TW NEEDS a high tensile chain due to its awesome, groundpounding torque and horsepower. High tensile means low, to no stretch. Stretch is the enemy of chains and sprockets, so ignore the brand names and the gold anodizing and "W-X-Y-Z-rings" and try to find the true tensile strength and buy the highest you can afford.



That's not to discount Qwerty's tech info. Being aware of the theory behind what will save the o-rings will definitely pay dividends, and your chain will probably live even longer than mine. But buy a good'n. The stocker starts draining your wallet and eating sprockets from Mile 1.
 

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I've tried everything from automatic chain oilers (back in the day) to ATF, Chainwax, gear oils, silcone-based sprays, graphites, Teflon and dangnear anything that's ever been rumored to be "the next big thing" over the years. In order to save my few remaining brain cells I've concluded that the big "secret" to chain life is a quality chain in the first place. Spend the money initially and you can use spit, yak oil or bear grease to maintain it (as long as you do it often enough) and it will outlast a cheap chain 2-to-1.



I run quality chains and use nothing more fancy than synthetic gear oil on them when they're at home and I can allow them to shed the excess overnight. When on road trips I use either ATF or motor oil on them at least every other gas stop, sometimes in between.



Tensile strength is your best shot at chain life as it's your only meaningful indicator of quality materials. This has nothing to do with whether or not a TW NEEDS a high tensile chain due to its awesome, groundpounding torque and horsepower. High tensile means low, to no stretch. Stretch is the enemy of chains and sprockets, so ignore the brand names and the gold anodizing and "W-X-Y-Z-rings" and try to find the true tensile strength and buy the highest you can afford.



That's not to discount Qwerty's tech info. Being aware of the theory behind what will save the o-rings will definitely pay dividends, and your chain will probably live even longer than mine. But buy a good'n. The stocker starts draining your wallet and eating sprockets from Mile 1.




Bear fat!



Ronnydog
 

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lizrdbrth is right about buying a good quality chain being the key to long life. Yamaha recommends chain maintenance every 300 miles. I'm sorry, I simply don't have time to stop, remove the chain, clean it in solvent, let it dry, then soak it in heated oil and reinstall it two or even three times a day. I'd rather ride than do chain maintenance. Your choice may be different.



Give me low maintenance. Low maintenance means a ringed chain. The higher the tensile strength the better.
 

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Can there be a big quality difference between various non o-ring chains as well? I have always used PJ1 chain lube. I've got 8500 miles and I'm on the 4th notch on the adjusting cams.



Before everyone starts calling me a liar, I bought this bike 3 years ago with 900 miles on it. Based on what people have said about the stock chain, I am wondering if the P.O. put a better non o-ring chain on it.



Are there any markings on the stock chain that would tell me if it has been replaced?



Mark
 

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There are definite quality differences. Most chain outfits aim their research and make their money based on the needs of the industrial sector, and that filters down to motorcycles, bicycles, etc. A pizza oven manufacturer might use 2 feet of 428 chain to send 3 pizzas a distancve of 6 feet in 5 minutes, while UPS might want the same size chain but 100 feet long to drive 20,000 pounds of freight down a conveyor in a minute. The toaster oven dood doesn't really need the tensile strength that UPS does, so chains are offered in various configurations and strengths within each size designation to meet the needs of industry. Motorcycle chain companies either have theirs manufactured by larger companies to their spec, or are subdivisions of the actual manufacturers. Sometimes their spec is low, sometimes not, and sometimes they offer a variety.



Like any other metal-to-metal component, an open chain can live seemingly forever if you keep it flooded with oil. O-ring chains just take a lot the hassle and mess away.
 

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Short article on chain tensile strength.

http://sidewindersprockets.com/tensile.html

It isn't rocket science.



428 chain tensile strength and common prices

0-ring

5300 $69

5340 $79

7000 $100

open

3970 $16

4000 $16

4200 $30

5060 $51

5280 $34

5500 $34

5840 $45



There are only two reasons to run an open chain. The first is to prevent a tiny bit of parasitic power loss. The second is some people simply enjoy mucking around in solvents and hot oils.



The parasitic loss of rings is so tiny most riders wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If you're competing or hyper-miling, by all means, a well-maintained open chain is the way to go. Of course, this assumes the open chain is perfectly maintained at all times. It doesn't take much neglect for the pins and rollers to dry out, water to intrude into the chain and causing corrosion, and/or metal-to-metal contact between the plates to create significant parasitic drag exceeding that of rings by quite a bit.



Of course, there are those who go zen-like when maintaining their motorcycles. By all means, those folks should have open chains. Back in the olden days when all chains were open I'd always buy 2 chains--one to be used while the other was being maintained. Super easy to swap chains simply by hooking one to each pin of the master link--pulling the chain off the bike pulled the other chain on the bike at the same time. Hook up the master link and go. That eliminated the most anti-zen chore of feeding the replacement chain over the countershaft sprocket. Swapping chains often kept both and the sprockets wearing evenly. With two chains the bike was never down for chain maintenance and I never had to rush the solvent bath/drip dry/heated oil soak/drain maintenance process, an attribute of the maintenance program that prevents the need to get the bike bike on the road quickly from mucking up the mental state pursued in doing the maintenance in the first place.



Maybe these zensters should by a Harley and a variety of soaps, buckets, cleaners, polishes, waxes, rags, towels, dusters, applicators. It should be an old Harley, with a chain. An open chain. Then they'll never have to ride at all! They can forever wash, clean, wax, dust, polish, and dabble in solvents and hot oil and drink beer to their hearts' content.



Cheap chains are a false economy because when they wear they ruin the sprockets. By the time you factor in 4 times the sprockets and gaskets and oil, you've spent ~3 times has much as if you would have spent the extra $20 for a good chain in the first place. Worse, folks often sell the bike rather than deal with the hassles of replacing the chain and sprockets. This is especially true if one takes the bike to a dealer for replacement. I couldn't afford to ride at all if I had to pay a dealer for repairs and maintence. One rarely finds a used TW with more than a few thousand miles on it with decent chains and srpockets. Hmmmm?



A well-maintained open chain will last just as long as an o-ring chain of equal tensile strength. A squirt of lube every ride isn't "well-maintained", but it certainly helps an open chain. A squirt of lube may be all the maintenance a chain gets while on a trip, though, but as soon as possible after a trip an open chain should be treated to the full maintenance procedure. All this maintenance costs money. Even if your time is worth nothing because you're a total bum, the money is still a factor, especially if you're a total bum who doesn't have any.



O-ring chains thrive on neglect. All that is necessary is enough lube to keep them from rusting. An occasional squirt of lube is all the maintenance an o-ring chain needs. Subject a cheap open chain and sprockets to the necessary maintenance an o-ring chain requires, which is pretty much what most riders do, and the o-ring set will easily last 6-8 times as long as the cheap open set. If you ride a lot, the o-ring set will save $250-300 of the life of the chain simply in replacement costs.
 

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Qwerty. Don't you know one of the true test of manhood is to mind a pot of boiling,stinking grease with your chain in it? I proved my manhood many years ago thats why I can now use Dupont Multi-Lube along with an O-ring chain.
 

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Qwerty. Don't you know one of the true test of manhood is to mind a pot of boiling,stinking grease with your chain in it? I proved my manhood many years ago thats why I can now use Dupont Multi-Lube along with an O-ring chain.
I'm to old to worry about proving my manhood.
 

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And I don't want a tickle, I just wanna paint my bike green like a pickle.



Sorry, Arlo.




And I don't want my chain to diiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee, I just want to ride my motorcccccccyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.................cle.





My Tdub is @ 1200 miles. Just ordered up a JT/52 and an O ring. Stock gear shows zero wear, which is amazing given all the time I spend just polishing my Harleys, you wouldn't think I had any time for Tdub maintenance! Looking forward to the exchange, should free up chain maintenance time . . . humm, 'nother coat o' wax on the Road Glide, or another Tat . . . choices, choices . . . .



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