FAQ  r1.6.1



1. What's the problem with spray-on lubricants?

A spray-on lubricant has to satisfy two conflicting requirements:

·           it needs to be sticky to adhere to the chain for the 500km (or more) between applications

·          it  needs to get to the contact areas of the bushings and rollers - and stay there, doing a lubricating job, whilst being contaminated with road grit.

Being sticky means that road dirt and grit adheres to it - and this gets crunched into a grinding paste - which just kills your chain.

You've probably heard the expression "clean and lubricate the chain".

The cleaning part is actually almost as important as lubricating - this means cleaning out the caked-on abrasive gunge from the contact areas - before applying a new layer of lubricant.

Only the most fanatical owners actually clean the chain with paraffin or a specialized chain cleaner before applying the next dose of chain lube. It's a really dirty and time-consuming job.

Some spray-on chain lubricants are dry and waxy - which helps somewhat to prevent grit adhering to the chain and getting turned into a grinding paste. But they still don't solve the issue of keeping lubricant where it's needed in the contact areas.

Next, the lubricant suspended in solvent needs to penetrate into the bushing/roller contact area, and then evaporate fully. So you need to lube the chain a quite some time before riding off - in practice this means doing it when you get back in from a ride.

If you manually clean and lubricate the chain every few kilometers, then you could begin to approach the performance of a continuous lubrication system - but this is just impractical.

The PRO-OILER gives your chain a regular shot of oil every few kms, which

·          keeps the contact areas of the chain permanently lubricated

·          keeps the chain clean by flushing out and shedding the grit.

So the fundamental problem with spray-on lubricants is that they simply do not lubricate the chain as effectively as an automatic continuous oiler.

·          The chain has a much shorter life.

·          You need to adjust the chain much more frequently.

2. Why are classic gravity-feed chain oilers so difficult to adjust?

For two reasons:

·          the oil viscosity changes dramatically with temperature

·          they take no account of distance travelled

Oil viscosity

As you know, oil viscosity changes with temperature.

The higher the temperature, the thinner and more fluid the oil becomes.

But what you may find surprising is just how much viscosity changes.

Broadly speaking in typical ambient temperatures, oil viscosity changes by over 30% per 5C step temperature change!

Let's say the temperature is 10C, and before you set out, you have set your gravity-feed system to give 1 drop per minute.

The day gets warmer...

at 15C - your oiler will now be giving 1 drop per 44 secs. (+37% = 1.37 x more oil)

at 20C - that becomes 1 drop per 32 secs (+85% = 1.85x)

at 25C - 1 drop per 24 secs (+146% = 2.46x)

at 30C - 1 drop per 18 secs (+224% = 3.24x)

Yes, that's right:

At 30C that same setting gives over 3x as much oil!

That's a serious mess.

To see the scale of the problem, have a look at this table and graph.

What does this mean in practice?


Unless the temperature stays constant (and it seldom does!), you will have massive variations in oil delivery even from the smallest changes in temperature.

The PRO-OILER is completely unaffected by temperature.

It pumps exactly the same dose of oil at -10C as it does at +40C.

And unlike with a classic gravity-feed system, there's no need to change to a thinner oil for winter to stop the oiler from blocking up.

Distance travelled

The PRO-OILER's oil delivery is not just temperature-independent, it's also linked strictly to the distance you have travelled.

A typical big bike with a 530 chain may be running a setting of 1 pump pulse per 6km.

·          If you're riding in heavy city traffic, this 6km could take you 15 minutes.

·          On the open road at around 150km/h you will cover the same 6km in just 2:30 minutes

It's not the time that counts - it's the distance.

With a classic gravity-feed system (even forgetting temperature and viscosity issues for a moment), you also need to work out what average speeds you are doing.

A setting which gives 1 drop per minute may be ok at a constant 80km/h, but it's 2x too rich at 40km/h - and yet it only delivers 50% of what you need at 160km/h!

Anyone who has used a classic gravity-feed system will recognize these problems. In practice the only solution is to run a conservative, rich setting all the time to avoid running dry.

Then add to this the fact that you can't even adjust the setting while riding...

Now you see why the PRO-OILER's pumped, temperature-independent and distance-related delivery is such an advantage:

·          you can ensure constant lubrication of the chain with the minumum of fling-off

·          you set your oil delivery rate so there is just enough to lubricate the chain - without soaking it and having unnecessary fling-off

3. Does continuous lubrication increase chain life?

Yes. Always.

From the chain's point of view, the ideal environment is an oil bath - like so many industrial drive-chain systems, or the cam-chain and primary chains inside an engine.

But an oil-bath is unworkable for a motorcycle final drive-chain, even though a couple of manufacturers have tried it in the past.

So we are left with exposed chains.

With the introduction of O-ring chains in the late 1970's, there was a gigantic leap forward in chain-life. The sealed-in lubricant between the pins and bushings solved a major problem.

But there are still the contact areas between the bushings and rollers which need lubrication, as well as the rollers and sprocket teeth - and the O-rings themselves need some lubrication too.

Even if you are absolutely fanatical about cleaning and lubricating your chain, you won't be able to match the performance of a continuous lubrication system.

How much increase in chain life depends on what you are comparing it to.

·          Compared to a chain which is seldom or never lubricated, the increase can be 5x.

·          For a normally well-maintained chain, the increase is typically 2-3x.

The clearest evidence comes from people who have a partly-worn chain, and then fit an oiler - this really is comparing like-with-like.

Suddenly, the chain's wear-rate is almost stopped in its tracks.

This comment comes back again and again:

"Since fitting my chain-oiler, I hardly ever have to adjust the chain any more"

The crucial question: how long will my chain last?

It's difficult to say "your chain will last xx,000 km":

·          chains vary greatly in quality - as do sprockets

·          some bikes are harder on chains than others (rule of thumb, 4-cylinder bikes are easiest on the chain)

·          riding style also plays a part

However, what we can say is that a chain will last typically 2-5x longer with continuous lubrication.

4. What about fling-off?

There will always be some fling-off.

It's a "total-loss" lubrication system - so what goes onto the chain also comes off it.

The objective is to reduce the oil delivery until any less oil would mean a dry chain - this is the juggling act that the PRO-OILER does so well:


Continuous lubrication - but with the minimum amount of oil.

To visualize consumption - it's a small sugar lump of oil per 100km.

5. If I have a lean setting, what happens when it rains or the roads are dusty?

The PRO-OILER is designed to run as lean and precisely as possible in dry and clean conditions.

Of course, in the real world, some of the time it rains, and the roads are sometimes dirtier or dustier than we would like.

So the controller unit up front - with its [+/-] buttons and LED display - allows you to adjust the oil flow for the conditions while you are riding.

·          If the road is wet you can increase the flow - all the way up to 650% more, which keeps the chain lubricated even in monsoon conditions. In "typical" rain conditons increasing the supply 50-100% will do the job.

·          In dusty conditions, the dirt absorbs the oil. So increasing delivery will keep the chain lubricated - and clean it too as the dust is flung off. 10-20% extra oil delivery usually takes care of this.

When conditions get back to "normal", then you just reduce the delivery with the [-] button back to your normal dry/clean road setting.

6. I don't ride much, so what benefit can I get from a PRO-OILER?

The higher your annual mileage, the more obvious the benefit of running a PRO-OILER.

But it's not just a financial issue - it's the sheer convenience factor.

There are an increasing number of riders who now have the option of buying a chain-drive bike because the PRO-OILER can virtually eliminate chain-care problems.

"I want a chain-drive bike, but I don't want to bother with chain maintenance between dealer services".

The PRO-OILER allows riders to basically fit-and-forget - where they might otherwise have no option but to buy a shaft of belt-drive bike.