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Original Article:
All About Chains

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article All About Chains in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
 

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Although I know this article was old, it was a great read.

I recommend it to everyone.
 

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The more I know about chains, the better I like belts and shafts. My HD has a cool setup that constantly dribbles engine oil on the chain where it enters the primary case. It's really fun when your date arrives on the back of your bike with a black streak of oil up the middle of her nice (formerly) white shirt.
 

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I think everyone is thinking in the box. I believe if you lube your (ORING) chain all you do is invite dirt to stick between the roller and the sprocket and cause premature wear. While I respect the gentlemans opinion on chains, he does deal with racers who regularly trade out their chains. In the real world (mine happens to be in the dry desert) there is no rust to worry about, and your chain on a high power street bike will streach out of shape and dye long before the orings crack and fall off. I believe keeping the chain clean and dry (no lube between the roller and sprocket) will give longer sprocket chain life and keep the bike cleaner.
Skeet Wyman
 

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...I guess boiling chains in used crankcase drippings is old hat now. It's so tough being a dinosaur...
 

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Ken, when I built my chopper I used that rear chain oiler to drip oil on the primary chain. I had tin primarys and a three finger clutch, one time me and the missus on my shovel and her sister and her ol' man on his pan were going up to Seattle for a party and the screw that controled the flow on the oil pump vibrated out and dumped a quart or two into the primary case then out the drain hole and all over the back wheel, I thought I had a flat because the backwheel started squirming all over I-5 at 80 or so, my bro pulls up next to me with oil all over him yelling and pointing at the back wheel and somthing about my mother......

It was pretty comical, my ol ladies left leg and butt, the back of my bike and the front of his bike were covered in hot 60 wt. Valvoline, I stayed nice and clean more or less and after peaning the screw so it wouldn't come out again and figuring out how to ride a handbanger with almost no clutch we were on our way to find some oil.. Once we got to the party I had to pull the outer primary and take the clutch apart and soak the plates with gas to get the oil off, it pretty well worked after that but my ol' lady was pissed about having oil all over her....

No sense of humor, that one!
 

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Proper chain maintence was....

Ken, when I built my chopper I used that rear chain oiler to drip oil on the primary chain. I had tin primarys and a three finger clutch, one time me and the missus on my shovel and her sister and her ol' man on his pan were going up to Seattle for a party and the screw that controled the flow on the oil pump vibrated out and dumped a quart or two into the primary case then out the drain hole and all over the back wheel, I thought I had a flat because the backwheel started squirming all over I-5 at 80 or so, my bro pulls up next to me with oil all over him yelling and pointing at the back wheel and somthing about my mother......

It was pretty comical, my ol ladies left leg and butt, the back of my bike and the front of his bike were covered in hot 60 wt. Valvoline, I stayed nice and clean more or less and after peaning the screw so it wouldn't come out again and figuring out how to ride a handbanger with almost no clutch we were on our way to find some oil.. Once we got to the party I had to pull the outer primary and take the clutch apart and soak the plates with gas to get the oil off, it pretty well worked after that but my ol' lady was pissed about having oil all over her....

No sense of humor, that one!
.... drip some oil on it when it gets so loud that you can hear it on the freeway. Toss it when it's stretched so far that the slack changes from one inch to 3 inches when spinning the wheel. Replace sprockets when the teeth look like crescents. Repeat as necessary.
 

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The more I know about chains, the better I like belts and shafts. My HD has a cool setup that constantly dribbles engine oil on the chain where it enters the primary case. It's really fun when your date arrives on the back of your bike with a black streak of oil up the middle of her nice (formerly) white shirt.
Could the dribble of oil on the chain be a way that the manufactor has to make sure your chain has enough oil and never gets rusty.

Maybe soon people will be wanting clothes like yours with a black oil streak on them. After all they now have faded jeans and jeans with holes in them.;)
 

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I live in San Diego, which is semi-desert, and my chain gets rusty if I don't lube it. It gets clickety if I don't lube it. It wears out the sprocket if I don't lube it. It simply is not true, in my experience, that simply because chains have o-rings that you don't need to lube the chain. There's far more to a chain-sprocket interface than just in those inner chain bearing surfaces.
 

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It was pretty comical, my ol ladies left leg and butt, the back of my bike and the front of his bike were covered in hot 60 wt. Valvoline, I stayed nice and clean more or less
Priceless. And yes, PooBoy, they did install the dribble device back in those days to lube the chain. It was crude, dirty, and environmentally unfriendly, but effective.
 

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Priceless. And yes, PooBoy, they did install the dribble device back in those days to lube the chain. It was crude, dirty, and environmentally unfriendly, but effective.
Yup, I used it on the chain on my bagger like you're supposed to and it worked pretty good.

With the stock H.D. aluminum primaries you had a supply line that dripped oil on the primary chain and a return line at the bottom that used engine vacuum to return the oil to the oil tank. On a rigid frame bike or one with a hand shift then you used '40's era "tin" primarys that used a constant loss oiler for the primary chain, that's why Harleys were said to mark their spot, they were supposed to leak. When you built a bike you just ran a belt primary or ran the rear chain oiler into the primary and aimed it at the chain. made them last a little longer that way.
 

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LD riders with chain drive bikes like products like the Loobman or Scott Oiler, which dribble small amounts of oil on the chain as the bike runs. The Scott Oiler is more expensive but more precise and less messy. For long runs (anything over 750 miles) it can be a nice time-saver.
 

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LD riders with chain drive bikes like products like the Loobman or Scott Oiler, which dribble small amounts of oil on the chain as the bike runs. The Scott Oiler is more expensive but more precise and less messy. For long runs (anything over 750 miles) it can be a nice time-saver.
Did you get your oiler on yet?
 

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No -- it will be one of the last things I add. I have talked to a lot of other LD riders who swear by the Scott Oiler though, so that will be what I get later in the spring.
 
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