More miles from your chain and sprocket kit
Of all your bike's components, the drive chain and sprockets probably get the roughest treatment, which is why they are subject to the most wear and tear.
Little wonder – because the constant accelerating, decelerating and braking take their toll.
Proper lubrication with the least possible abrasive dirt will considerably reduce wear and tear. But it goes without saying that regular cleaning and lubrication isn't one of the most exciting or pleasant jobs, so bikers are often happy to "forget" it. Even more so if your bike doesn't have a centre stand, so looking after your chain also means hauling the jack out of the workshop – not even an option if you're out on a long tour. But the fact remains that if you want a long-lasting, smooth-running chain that doesn't waste any engine power, you need to bite the bullet and regularly and thoroughly clean your chain with a special cleaner to get rid of abrasive dirt and sand. Premature wear also means premature investment in a new chain and sprocket kit, not to mention the hassle of installing it, which is a mucky job that no one looks forward to. So should you have bought a shaft drive bike after all? Not at all – believe it or not, a chain drive does have its advantages. For example, friction losses are considerably lower than with the technically far more complicated, and thus more expensive, driveshaft. Power transmission is more direct and your bike retains not only its full performance, but also its sporty look. Not to mention that with a chain drive you simply have a far wider choice of bike models. The solution to this dilemma is an automatic chain lubrication system, such as the Scottoiler. This is permanently installed on the motorcycle and automatically and continuously cleans and lubricates the chain, thus reducing your manual work to virtually zero. Too good to be true? Try it for yourself. Depending on vehicle type and riding style, your chain will reward you by lasting for well over 30,000 miles. So it's not only kind to your pocket, but also lets you concentrate on what you really enjoy – namely riding your bike.
The following section explains the set-up of a classic vacuum-controlled Scottoiler system. An electrical system (also from Scottoiler) is installed in a very similar way with the exception of steps 1 and 2 below, which can be omitted. Instead of a tube connected to the vacuum system, the Scottoiler E-system is cable-connected to the positive and negative terminals of the battery.
Prior to installing the system, put your bike on the centre stand or on a rear paddock stand so that it is stable. Using a chain cleaner, a plastic brush and a cloth, first give the chain and any other components that are greasy a good clean (the chain grease usually deposits itself around the transmission output sprocket). If you omit this step, the oil from the Scottoiler will loosen any old deposits and the dirty chain grease will be flung off the chain onto the bike.
For model-specific instructions on how to install the Scottoiler system, please go to www.louis.de. With most models, the first step is to remove the tank or parts of the fairing, if you have one. The example illustrated (Suzuki GSF 1250) shows a vacuum tube coming from the brass spigot of the intake port (see Fig. 2) – this is where you will draw the vacuum required to operate the Scottoiler. Cut this supply line and insert the T-piece contained in your Scottoiler kit.
Now push the black vacuum damper elbow (included in the kit) onto the free end of the T-piece, and press the black vacuum tube of the Scottoiler firmly into the other end of the vacuum damper elbow. Once you have installed the oil reservoir (step 3), the free end of the black vacuum tube is inserted into the rotary knob of the reservoir.
The Reservoir Metering Valve (RMV) can be installed under the seat, on the frame, or wherever it suits you best. You will find precise installation suggestions in the relevant model-specific instructions at www.louis.de. However, avoid mounting it right next to the exhaust or any hot engine parts! The filler opening for the oil and the adjuster knob for the oil quantity must be easily accessible, so if you opt for horizontal installation, make sure that they point upwards. Likewise, in the case of vertical installation, the reservoir must be installed with the adjuster knob uppermost. Once you have installed the reservoir, push the free end of the black vacuum tube (see step 2) firmly into the head section of the RMV. If the tube is too long, simply trim to the right length using a sharp knife. The vacuum connection is now complete.
The injector must be securely attached to ensure that the oil is applied in the right place on the sprocket. On our sample vehicle, you can use a small or shortened dispenser plate to attach the injector to the bobbin support (Scottoiler includes a range of useful fittings). You will find precise installation suggestions for the injector nib in the relevant model-specific installation instructions at www.louis.de. The nib that supplies the oil should be lightly touching the sprocket, with the angled side facing outwards. The optimal feed point for the oil is between 5 and 7 o'clock on the outer face of the rear sprocket. Do not place the nib too close to the chain or the bolts or cut-outs of the sprocket to avoid the risk of the injector nib catching and being pulled out of the tube! When you have finished installation, turn the wheel backwards to check that the nib does not catch on the chain or sprocket when you push your bike backwards!
Once you have attached the injector, run the delivery tube along the swing arm. Choose a safe routing to the RMV. Make sure the tube is not too close to any moving parts, such as the chain, and that the tube has enough slack to allow for the movement of the swing arm. Also avoid routing it too close to the hot exhaust and engine components, which may damage the tube. Self-adhesive fixing pads and cable ties for the tube are included in the Scottoiler kit.
Before attaching the fixing pads, make sure you remove all traces of dirt and grease first, using the enclosed degreasing cloth.
Use the fixing pads on flat surfaces, e.g. on the swing arm. It is best to use the cable ties to secure the delivery tube on round tubes. The final step is to connect the delivery tube to the brass spigot on the bottom of the RMV. If the delivery tube is too long, simply trim to the right length using a sharp knife.
The filling spout ensures that you can top up the system in under a minute with no mess.
Bleeding the system is child's play. Press the rubber ventilation plug into the filler opening of the Scottoiler and turn the adjuster knob to maximum. Place the filling spout onto the ventilation plug and squeeze the bottle together. The air pressure forces the oil through the delivery tube until all air bubbles are eliminated. It will also force a little oil out of the nib, which you can simply wipe away with a cloth.
Finally, adjust the oil flow rate. To do this, start the engine and wait until it has warmed up. Set the adjuster knob so that no more than 1-2 drops of oil a minute flow from the injector – a good initial setting is 1 drop every 60 seconds. Check the flow rate again after a short trip and adjust if necessary. A flow rate of more than 2 drops a minute will result in excess oil being flung off the chain. Please note: Experience shows that the flow rate is set far too high on very many automatic chain lube systems, resulting in excessive "fling", which will end up with your bike covered in lube. This is not a malfunction of the oiler, but rather it is down to incorrect use. While many bikers who use chain sprays believe that "a black chain is a well maintained chain", the black colour actually comes from all the dirt particles that stick to the sprayed chain.
With a Scottoiler, however, you can lubricate your chain with a very thin film of oil, which is often virtually invisible. To check that you have the right setting, simply touch the chain rollers with your finger. If this leaves a little oil on your finger, and you can feel the oil on the rollers, then the rate is correctly set. So when initially setting the flow rate, you should use a stopwatch or a clock/watch with a second hand (see step 9). After a while, you will develop a feeling for which setting is ideal for your bike.
Download this tip
For the garage: Simply download, print out and take it with you.
The Louis Technical Centre
Problems getting spare parts? Or maybe you've got a technical question about your motorcycle or an accessory The Louis Technical Centre can help! Remember to quote all the necessary details of your vehicle – better still, send us a copy of your registration document.
We will get back to you as quickly as possible!
So: send us your technical problem!
- by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- or by letter to Louis Technical Centre, 21027 Hamburg
These tips for DIY mechanics contain general recommendations that may not apply to all vehicles or all individual components. As local conditions may vary considerably, we are unable to guarantee the correctness of information in these tips for DIY mechanics.
Thank you for your understanding.
Louis DIY Mechanic Manual
The printed version
The big Louis DIY mechanic manual available in a printed version: in color and practical A4 format at cost price.