You should be interested in cleaning and lubricating your motorcycle chain if you have a chain final drive on your bike and you’re interested in helping your motorcycle chain last for a really long time.
For those of you who use modern chains like O-Ring or X-ring chains, there is no reason to lube your motorcycle chain except to stop rust. The best lubricant you can use is a wax-based lubricant, we have tested the top three chain wax lubricants and here are our results.
Most of you should be able to attack this job very very easily, you should not only know how to do this but you should be doing it frequently. Because of the frequent service interval for most motorcycles, typically around 300 to 500 miles it’s really important that you know how to do this so you don’t get stuck with the cost of taking it to a shop.
It can be quite expensive to have to go into a shop for such a minor thing. If you’ve got some basic common sense and a few specialty tools you can get the job done all by yourself.
What Type Of Chain Do You Have?
Before we go into the whole motorcycle chain lube vs wax thing let’s look at what type of chain is on your motorcycle, different style chains have different maintenance techniques.
There are two major types of chains, there are plain chains and then there are sealed chains. You will hear sealed chains talked about as oring chains or x-raying chains or perhaps even a Z-ring chain but if you have any letter + ring on your chain it’s sealed and that was get treated a little bit differently.
Let’s look at the difference.
In the old days, all they had were plain chains, and plain chains like all motorcycle chains are made up of two types of Link’s, inners and outers. On my chain, there is a grey link which is an inner link and a brass-colored link which is an outer link.
They made chains for a long time simply connecting the two with a rivet or a stake in between them. Somebody got the bright idea to help keep the grease inside of the pin and bushing cavity to keep moisture and dirt out.
They did that by using an o-ring or an X-ring, the only real difference between them is the seals are applied to the pin and they sit between the grey and brass colored links sealing up the cavity.
The seals keep factory applied grease inside the chain and keep all sorts of mud and muck from the roadway outside your chain. It helps those especially who are bad about maintaining their chain and get a little bit more life out of your chain.
Once you’ve identified what type of chain you have on your bike you can figure out how to clean it, the reason that matters is that these seals are probably the most delicate part of the motorcycle chain.
I am not going to go into how to clean your chain as I have a detailed article and video here but before adding any type of lubricant you should clean your chain thoroughly.
Before we get you cracking on lubricant I’m going to again go back to that chain section where I talked about figuring out whether you’ve got a sealed chain or a plain chain, and the reason I’m bringing that up again is because the lubrication techniques for both are a little bit different.
Back in the days when everybody had plain chains, everybody knew that the best way to keep a plain chain living a long and happy life was to keep a constant stream of lubricant on it, the more lubricant you had on the chain the better off you were.
Plain chains really love a lot of greases, however, for those of you with modern bikes who are using a sealed chain the lubricant serves a much different purpose because the only reason you are lubricating the chain is to stop it from rusting.
Those techniques are also going to apply to what type of lubricant you may actually wind up using, there are all sorts of chain lubes on the market and everybody’s got their own opinion on which is the best.
I used to get confused between lube and wax but after testing them both in different conditions I found as a rule of thumb you can think of chain lube like WD40 as one of your dry whether lubricant for all conditions and wax for wet weather conditions.
One of the more popular lubricants for motorcycle chains is WD40. While WD40 is good for rust protection on machinery like a drill you would use at home, in my opinion, it’s not as good as wax and this is why.
Chain wax has a strong adhesive property which makes it perfect for high-speed high-stress applications typically associated with motorbike chains. Chain wax penetrates directly into the links of the chain before rapidly thickening, this adhesive action helps to prevent throwing resulting in longer-lasting lubrication and reduced wear and tear.
Chain wax also provides a highly water-resistant coating and actively prevents rust and corrosion on metal parts ensuring the chain runs smoother. Chain wax is ideal for wet conditions and will help prevent friction on chain links ensuring optimum chain performance.
What Is The Best Motorcycle Chain Wax?
I have tested three of the leading wax-based lubricants, I have heard a lot of reviews on all three of these products but I have personal experience with all three so I will talk about them one by one.
Castrol chain wax available from Amazon was the first I tried and what I liked about this brand is of the three it lasts the longest. When you apply this it’s going to last longer giving you a longer period of protection for your chain before you have to reapply. It resists dirt and foreign material from sticking to the chain, it has a very little fling and it does provide excellent protection for your chain, unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives.
The reason I stopped using the Castrol chain wax was that the Castrol can have a history of being defective. You will go to spray your chain and nothing will come out and this has happened to me repeatedly, so over time I became so frustrated I switched over the Maxima chain wax.
Maxima chain wax available from Amazon provides the same protection as the Castrol but it doesn’t last as long on my bike chain.
It tends not to be as good as the Castrol when it comes to resisting dirt and other foreign materials but it does do a good job when you consider it costs about half as much as the Castrol chain wax it’s a much better buy.
If you want to spend more and if you can put up with the possibility of the faulty can out of the two I think the Castrol chain wax is the better product but for value, the Maima is the better of the two so It depends on what you want from your chain wax.
I have used lots of cans of Maxima and only had one can that was faulty so a much better result over time.
The third chain wax I tried was the Dupont chain saver with Teflon. This product gets a really bad rap when you look at the reviews but out of the three chain waxes I have tried I think it provides the best performance and it is the cheapest.
I also use this chain lube as a lubricant for my motorcycle boots, it’s great when you apply it to the straps and it really does stop my motorcycle boots from squeaking.
Of all three of the chain wax products I have tried Du-Pont resists the dirt and grime the best. Dirt and other foreign materials just don’t want to stick to the chain and that’s really important if you are using a sealed o-ring or x-ring chain.
With the Du-Pont chain saver, there is relatively no fling. It’s about the same as the Castrol and the Maxima when it comes to fling but it’s less noticeable and much easier to clean off. When it comes to performance it’s much better, when you’re spinning the tire you can feel there is a lot less resistance.
The only downside is it doesn’t last very long so if you want to clean your chain every 500 miles that’s probably fine depending on what environment you are riding in. With Du-Pont chain Saver I would recommend checking your chain every 100 or 200 miles just to make sure you have a good coating on your chain, especially if you are riding in inclement weather but it does provide the best performance of all three products in my experience.
I think it gets such a bad rap from people is because the application is a little different than other chain wax products. With the Castrol and Maxima chain wax you put it on and ten minutes later it is cured and you are good to go, with Du-Pont you need to let it cure for at least thirty minutes and maybe more depending on the humidity levels in your area. Personally, I leave it overnight because in the morning you are good to go.
Of the three I have tried Du-Pont chain saver is the cheapest so it’s going to be a matter of preference for you.
Looking at all three I wouldn’t recommend the Castrol chain wax just because of the faulty cans. It’s a great product and the only reason I won’t buy it is because of the faulty cans but out of the three, this is the best.
I would recommend the Maxima chain wax available from Amazon for any chain on any bike. It’s durable and it’s easy to apply. The cleaning isn’t easy but you are going to spend some time cleaning your chain anyway.
Out of the three, I would highly recommend the Du-Pont chain saver available from Amazon, especially people who don’t have a problem maintaining their chains. If you are the type of person who cleans their chain regularly, who checks it every time you go out for a ride then Du-Pont saver is my top pick.
I’m the kind of person who checks their chain on a regular basis, I check it before I go out and a good check every 200 miles.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t check their chain for say, 1000 miles then Du-Pont is not the chain lube for you, in fact, the Maxima would be better if you are not as diligent when it comes to checking your chain.
I’m not here trying to sell you stuff because there are other things you can use, some of them are cheap but in my opinion, they don’t give you the protection you need for your bike.