We should all lube our chains more than we do. Except, of course, those of us who are smart enough to fit a chain oiler.
A properly oiled chain will last around 50% longer than one that doesn’t get the attention it needs. A dry chain will prematurely wear and knacker your sprockets, too. If you don’t lube your chain, you could risk it breaking, which can cause untold damage to the bike, not to mention your leg..
You could also manually lube your chain with a quality motorcycle-specific chain lube but if you fit a chain oiler, which takes around 45 minutes, you don’t have to worry about balancing the bike, spinning the wheel and having to get on your hands and knees. Fitting tip: a motorcycle paddock stand will make the task of fitting your automatic oiler that much easier.
I used to worry that I’d bodge the fitting and 30 miles down the road I’d end up with oil pouring over my back tyre. There’s little chance of that. If you can replace a brake light bulb, you’ve got the skills to fit an automatic chain lubing system.
We’ve scoured the market to find every motorcycle chain oiler available to buy in the UK, so it makes it easy for you to pick the best one for your needs.
The Rolls Royce of chain oilers. A plug and play chain oiler than requires little effort on your part. Built with a waterproof digital monitor to display information from the triple axis accelerometer. The display shows temperature, oil flow rate, and oil reservoir level. You can use the display to adjust the rate of flow during riding to better suit the conditions of the road. The oil reservoir holds 60ml of Scottoil, which they claim is 6 hours of riding time better than the vacuum operated Scottoiler. Compatible with other Scottoiler add-ons, this system is pricey but allows for a cleaner, smoother and easier oiled chain.
The Tutoro Auto automatically starts working on the ignition and stops when you cut the engine. The Tutoro has a capacity of 45ml, you’ll get approximately 600 – 1000 miles depending on the rate of flow you select. Tuttoro’s oilers have won a RiDE Best Buy Award. The Kit 3 includes all you need to have a working chain oiler by including the Tutoro Auto, 1.5m delivery hose, stainless steel multi-fit bracket, single feed nozzle, priming magnet, cable ties, wash bag and manual. You also receive 250ml of free chain oil. For offroaders, Tutoro has designed a stone shield made from aluminium which slips over the acrylic reservoir for protection (sold separately).
Don’t let the name fool you. The PDOiler Mini has a huge 100ml oil reservoir which should keep you going for approximately 2300 miles. The Mini name is thanks to its ultra-compact size, allowing installation of this electronically-pumped oiler anywhere on your bike; even if you have limited space. The pump is 75mm long and connects to the transparent reservoir (perfect for checking how much oil is left). PD Oilers have won RiDE Recommended awards too. The Super Pack includes a choice of a PDOiler Prestige, MK3 or Mini together with a 500ml bottle of oil.
We really like this no-nonsense chain oiler. The Loobman AB is a dual-feed-head design chain oiler which lets oil drip onto both sides of the sprocket for more equal distribution onto the chain. This basic system uses carefully positioned cable ties (by the fitter) and requires you to push a button for 10 to 20 seconds to allow 1ml/2ml of oil into the delivery tube. If you’re not a big fan of DIY jobs that have the potential to fail thanks to difficult instructions, it might be worth spending a few extra quid and getting a more developed, easier to install variety.
The SO-1005 is essentially the original Scottoiler and Scottoiler make quality products and have been RiDE Recommended. The universal design allows for installation on the majority of bikes and has a range of approximately 1400 miles. Vacuum operated, this oiler works with the engine vacuum so does not use any additional power. This pack includes, Reservoir metering valve, injector, bottle of 250ml standard blue Scottoiler motorbike chain lube and installation fittings.
Yes you read that correctly. Wind powered. It’s a novel idea. This chain oiler is easier to fit than vacuum or electrical designs as no power or vacuum connectors are required. The oil reservoir is 25ml which will give you approximately 1000 miles between refills. This kit contains all you need for fitting plus 10mm and 16mm chain applicators for a more universal fit. Working by using your speed, the oil will be applied quickly or slowly without the need for dials or manual application. When you stop, the lubing stops too.
The Cobrra Nemo 2 system is based on a CNC-milled aluminium reservoir which looks just like the brake or clutch reservoir and is, we have to say, rather smart. It transports chain oil from any manufacturer via a line system to the chain by means of overpressure. Working without using power, you simply turn the device for 3 minutes and the chain is lubricated up to 217 miles. This easy to install chain oiler has a universal design which require minimum effort plus it can be mounted onto handlebars for easy use.
Fitting an automatic chain oiler
This 2-minute video from Scottoilers runs you through the process of fitting one of their systems. Most brands have a similar fitting procedure and if you’ve never done it before, factor in a good hour to get it up and running.
Motorcycle Chain Oiler FAQs
What should I use to lube my chain?
A dedicated motorcycle chain lube is your best bet. If you want less 'fling' then try a chain wax. If you find yourself without chain lube, then a bit of engine oil will also do the business. You can see our recommended motorcycle chain lube in this guide.
How often should I lube my chain?
Your chain will need lubing approximately once every 500 miles, depending on the whether. If you're using your bike regularly, then a squirt of chain lube every week should do the business. If you're only using it on weekends, then once a month will suffice.
Is WD40 bad for motorcycle chains?
WD40 isn't a lubricant. WD40 won't lubricate your chain, no matter what anybody says. WD40's a dispersant of water. It's aimed at removing water from the parts of which it is applied and it's really good at that.It does seem to have properties that make it useful for hundreds of other purposes but not one of them is chain lube. I used WD40 to clean my chains for years. It seems to be doing quite a good job of that. But, after cleaning the chain, I used an actual motorcycle chain lube.
How do I know if my chain needs lube?
Your chain should always look oily. If you hear it rattling or squeaking, it's far too dry. If you lube your chain every 300 miles, you'll know it's in good order.