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by "Mad Dog" Earle for webBikeWorld.com
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Motorcycle Chain Lube
The "Improved Formula" Liquid Wrench chain lube is a pretty close approximation of the original and sorely missed DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry Wax Lubricant (review).
It sprays on as a clear liquid with a petroleum aroma and dries nearly completely, leaving a slightly oily film.
The only problem is that it's so clear that much of it disappears as it dries.
This means that it can be difficult to know how well it really works to lube the chain...although that's pretty much the situation with any of the clear liquid motorcycle chain lubes.
Liquid Wrench Chain Lube was first reviewed on webBikeWorld during the 2012 Chain Lube Comparison Review and at that time, we gave it a mildly good review.
Since the original DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry Wax formula was discontinued (for rather mysterious reasons) in 2012, nothing has really come along to replace it.
But, there are a few close equivalents from that 2012 comparison that still remain as our current favorites.
These include Liquid Performance Chain Lube (review), which is the all-around current favorite; the Original Bike Spirits (review, winner of our 2010 Chain Lube Comparison and the Klotz KLR (review), winner of the 2008 Chain Lube Comparison.
This past Spring, a couple of webBikeWorld readers suggested we take another look at Liquid Wrench L711 Chain Lube. They said it had been improved since we first reviewed it in 2012.
Other than the can shape, which now has a set of rounded shoulders, I can't tell if there's a difference between the "old" 2012 formula and the "new" 2014 version. Both labels look identical, right down to the "Improved Formula" text. How long can something still be called "Improved" is my question. Or could it be coincidental that we just happened to have an improved version in 2012 and then it was improved again in 2014?
One will never know, but my guess is that it's those sneaky devils in marketing who are up to their old tricks again...
In any case, the emails from webBikeWorld readers convinced the Editor to give it another try and -- as you-know-what rolls downhill -- I got the call to check it out.
It's interesting that the Liquid Wrench website has a search box right on the home page where you enter the name of the item you're trying to lubricate, oil, loosen, etc. I selected "lubricate" and then entered "chain" and...nothing about motorcycle chains. Bicycle chains, yes. So I tried entering "motorcycle". Again, nothing.
Hmmm...the can says "USE ON: Motorcycles..." and "Safe for O-ring and standard chains" so I guess the Liquid Wrench webmaster gets a zero bonus this year.
The active ingredients that make this a motorcycle chain lube are first listed as "synthetic moly" (assumed to be molybdenum) and "anti-wear additives". The actual contents list includes the following: mineral spirits, lubricating oil, proprietary polymer blend, corrosion inhibitor, organic molybdenum, a proprietary anti-wear additive. So we can only hope that there's enough of the good stuff in there to keep our chains singing like sweet angels instead of singing the blues.
The Liquid Wrench Chain Lube (as it also states on the can) is available in the L711 aerosol 11 ounce size shown here; an L706 5.5 ounce aerosol can and the L704 liquid 4 ounce dropper size, also reviewed in the 2012 Chain Lube Comparison Review.
The Chain Lube is different, by the way, from the Liquid Wrench Dry Lube we also reviewed in the 2012 comparo and, curiously enough, at the time we thought the Dry Lube was more like the original DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry, Wax formula than the Liquid Wrench Chain Lube in the same comparison. Rick said he never did get a reply from Liquid Wrench on whether or not the Dry Lube was safe for O-rings, so that was the end of that.
OK, so if this all sounds confusing, the bottom line is that the "new" (if that's what it is) Liquid Wrench Chain Lube does seem to look, act and work like everyone's original and much-missed DuPont chain lube.
But since it's now been a few years, it's difficult to remember what the DuPont stuff really was like and maybe -- just maybe -- our fond memories are giving us those veritable rose-colored-glasses as we look back to the good ol' days.
The Liquid Wrench Chain Lube sprays on as a clear liquid, looking much like a WD-40 spray. It has a petroleum smell. The directions say to "let it soak in and dry for several minutes" and much of it does seem to evaporate, just like the old DuPont formula.
After several minutes, it leaves a very slightly oily surface but it's hard to tell if anything is really left that actually lubricates the chain. But, that's the problem with any clear chain lube; it's always the question "Compared to what?" That is, who knows if one chain lube is really any better than another at making a chain last longer, reducing heat or reducing wear?
Problem is, the motorcycle owner who takes the time to clean and lube a chain is probably the same person who keeps the chain adjusted and they're the ones who get 15k miles out of a chain. The rest of us rubes let the chain hang down until it flops like an oscilloscope reading and maybe remember once every 6 months or so to do a quick rub-down with a dirty rag sprayed with WD-40.
The Liquid Wrench Chain Lube seems like a clone of the original DuPont Dry Wax formula. It's cheap enough, easily found, comes in a big 11 oz. can and it's easy to use. I'm still not sure I trust it though -- too much of it evaporates and too little of it stays on the chain, although if it really does work, then that's ideal because if it's dry, it won't collect any grit.
There's just no reliable objective information available on how one chain lube performs over another in the real world. Unfortunately, about the only thing we can do is keep the chain adjusted, keep it clean, spray on some lube once and a while and hope for the best. But one thing's for sure: the clear "dry" lubes are surely better than the sticky lubes that instantly attract dirt and grit and the Liquid Wrench Chain Lube is about as "dry" of a lube as you'll find.
All wBW Motorcycle Chain Lube Reviews