1. Is there a "best" placement for a nozzle?
Delivering the oil to
the chain is not just a question of pointing a tube somewhere near the chain,
and firing the pump!
Correct placement and
alignment makes a real difference to performance.
Pointing onto the sprocket at around the 8 o'clock position
on the sprocket (or 4 o'clock on bikes with the chain on the right hand side).
The nozzle tips must be lightly touching the
sprocket, so that the oil is smeared onto the sprocket when the pump fires.
The oil gets into the chain as the centrifugal force
flings it into the chain rollers
The current short-arm nozzles are easy to align and
At, or a bit before the point at which the lower chain
run meets the rear sprocket - so from 6 o'clock to 7 o'clock (or for bikes with
the chain on the right hand, side from 6 o'clock to 5 o'clock)
Not touching the chain, but 2-3mm above
Pointing onto the sprocket so that the oil slides down
onto the chain's inner plates. The nozzle tips should touch the sprocket lightly
Why is this the
The objective is not to lose oil to air turbulence
before it gets onto the sprocket, and from there onto the chain. This is why
the nozzle tips need to touch the sprocket - oil comes out from the ends of the
tubes with a smearing action.
Trying to "drop" oil onto the top of the chain
will only work at a standstill - as soon as there is turbulence, some of the
oil will be blown away without touching the chain.
Lubing the chain on the top of the lower run before it
goes round the sprocket forces the oil onto the chain due to centrifugal force
For the long-arm versions, the advantage of placing the
tips as close to 6 o'clock as possible is that the chain does not move
vertically once it has engaged on the sprocket - and so cannot damage the
This is not an issue with the short-arm versions, which
never get anywhere near the chain - indeed the short-arm types have the
additional advantage that they have a broader area to target, especially useful
for sprockets with the bolts widely spaced and close to the chain (eg.
single-sided swingarm types, some Aprilias)
If the nozzle is located ahead of the
sprocket in free air, then
It has to be placed with enough clearance
to the chain so that it does not get damaged by the chain
This makes the whole system less efficient
and results in more fling-off.
In short - it's really not advisable, and
there should never be any need as there is always a nozzle type available that
deposits oil on the sprocket face.
2. Can I place the nozzle on the front sprocket?
In principle yes, but
there are some practical disadvantages:
It's inconvenient to get access to the nozzle
or even just to check it
or see the oil coming out when you prime the lines
To check the nozzle's condition you may have to take the
cover off, and on some bikes that can mean removing the fairing...
Bear in mind the nozzle must be placed either
above the lower run of the chain - the top run is not
viable because the oil will fling off straight away as it goes round the
or depositing oil on the rear face of the front
sprocket, and from there it gets centrifuged into the chain.
However, for bikes used off-road,
there can be very good reasons to fit the nozzle(s) at the front sprocket. The
setup may be a bit less efficient, but:
A nozzle setup on the rear sprocket in off-road use is vulnerable
to damage from all sorts of sources, whilst up front the nozzle is better
If you ride in deep mud, or through brush, then in fact the
front sprocket may be the only option
3. Why is a twin nozzle better than a single nozzle?
This is a BIG issue!
To explain this you need
to bear in mind that there are basically 3 aspects to lubing a chain:
The most important point is to get the oil into the bushing
and roller. This is the area where the wear occurs, resulting in chain
"stretch" - the play between the inside of the rollers and the bushing
increases. Lack of lubrication here is damaging to the chain - and is the main
reason why spray-on lubricants can't match the performance of continuous
lubrication from a chain-oiler.
The o-rings also need lubricating to
reduce heat build-up through friction, and also to prevent degradation from UV
radiation and chemical in road grit which are aggressive to NBR rubber. To test
the amount of resistance o-rings can generate on their own, here's an easy and
Spin the wheel by hand when the chain is dry and gauge
the resistance. This can often be so strong that it needs a lot of effort to
Then take a can of WD40 and quickly spray the chain
o-rings on each side (not the rollers - we're isolating the effect of friction
in the orings here). The wheel will instantly turn more freely - due almost
entirely to the reduced friction between the o-rings and the plates. (Don't
worry, WD40 does no damage to o-ring seals!)
for the side-plates. In reality more of a cosmetic issue, but still a point - a
rusty chain is not a pretty sight!
chain-oilers have been using a single nozzle for years, so what's the
A single nozzle setup only lubes one side
of the chain. The really important job of getting oil into the bushing/roller
area is achieved just as effectively by single as by twin nozzles - the oil is
sucked in by capillary action.
The pair of outer plates and o-rings (the ones furthest
from the wheel) will also be lubed because you are depositing the oil onto the
plate next to the sprocket. However, the plates on the chain run next to the wheel
may not be receiving enough oil to provide any corrosion protection, and much
more serious - not even lubricate the o-ring.
The only way a single nozzle setup can get
oil to the plates and o-rings next to the wheel is by being set rich
- then the oil gets to this area by means of aerodynamic turbulence
- the swirling air literally does the job of coating the chain with oil. Fling-off is being left to do the job!
On a gravity feed system the oil deposition is varying
all the time with temperature and speed changes - at high temperatures more oil
is flowing, and at low speeds one and the same setting will be too rich
This rich running is all part of life with a gravity
feed system, but it does mean that on average the inside links and o-ring
should be well lubed - but the price of this is a lot of
The PRO-OILER's delivery does not vary in this way, so a
single nozzle on a PRO-OILER needs to be set rich enough so that
turbulence gets the oil to the inner links and o-rings. This somewhat defeats
the advantages of the PRO-OILER's efficient delivery!
The double disadvantage here is that if
you run a PRO-OILER with a single nozzle at low speeds, there won't be enough
turbulence to distribute oil to the other side of the chain - this
"distribution" will only occur at higher speeds.
A very simple experiment can demonstrate this:
Run the chain fairly dry at low speeds for 50+ kms (so
that you can see a clear difference between the condition of the outer and
inner plates and o-rings)
Then go out on the open road at 120km/h or more for
50kms. You will see the chain is more evenly lubed after running at higher
The answer to the whole
problem is to use a twin nozzle setup
Then a lean setting can be used
The entire chain gets just enough oil to
lube and protect it, but with a minimum of fling-off. Turbulence plays a much
smaller rôle in getting the oil to where it needs to be - it's only really a
factor in coating the outside of the outer links.
Advantages all round,
and the reason that PRO-OILER strongly encourages wherever
possible the fitting of a twin nozzle setup - and why the twin nozzle is
included as part of the system.
4. Does the nozzle material matter? Can I use a brass or
Yes, the material does
Metal nozzles may look
attractive initially, but they have serious disadvantages in
Thin-gauge brass and aluminium tubing is extremely
fragile. The slightest contact can bend, deform, or clamp the nozzle tube shut.
And once deformed, because of the poor elasticity, they may be permanently
damaged and need replacement. Potential
disaster when away on a trip.
The polyamide tubing used by PRO-OILER has proven
ability as nozzle material
Firm enough to hold its shape and position.
Flexible enough to survive becoming snagged in the chain
(for example, when reversing - long-arm versions)
Significant wear resistance - the nozzle opening seldom