Motorcycle Chain Lubes and Products for 2012:Retail and Specialty Chain Lubes
Here are yet more motorcycle chain lubes, this time suggested by webBikeWorld readers.
Bottom line? No new winner in this batch.
Soon after our recent report on the change of formulation for the DuPont Teflon chain lube (report), the emails started arriving from webBikeWorld readers with suggestions for a replacement for everyone’s once-favorite lube.
This time, many readers asked if one of the commercially available, retail-oriented, readily available hardware store products might work as a substitute.
Most of these lubes are not designed specifically for motorcycle chain lubrication, but would how would they fare as an inexpensive alternative?
Several readers also suggested the Spectro Z Clean and Spectro Dry Wax motorcycle-specific chain lubes and we included the pair in this review also.
So we went down to the local hardware store and came home with a big box full of lubes and gave them a spin.
We did not put thousands of miles on each of these lubes, but for the most part, it was obvious that most of them just aren’t suited for use as a serious motorcycle chain lube.
Perhaps if you’re stuck in the outback, any of these might work, but for regular use, you’d be better off spending the money for a dedicated motorcycle chain lube.
Bottom line? Nothing here comes close to beating our current top choices for motorcycle chain lubes.
Spectro SX Chain Wax is a “paraffin-based formulation designed to coat and protect like cosmoline [sic]. Built with anti-wear additives to provide extended chain and sprocket life — but without the mess you get with tacky tubes of grease, SX Chain leaves a dry, wax film, attracts no dirt, and protects chains and magnetos from rusting. “O”-Ring safe and contains no CFCs.”
Ironically, the Spectro SX Chain Wax goes on clear, while the Spectro Z Clean (below) leaves a thick white coating. Based on the product names, we thought the reverse would be true…
SX Chain Wax dries in a couple of minutes to a waxy coating that stays put, but it never seems to become completely dry.
Thus, it leaves a semi-wet coating on the chain, which we feel is prone to attracting dust and dirt.
This is contrary to Spectro’s claims that the product leaves a “dry, wax film”. It all depends on your definition of the word “dry”.
Not our favorite and it seems to work more or less like many of the other “waxy” motorcycle chain lubes we’ve tried. We prefer a lube that leaves less residue.
Spectro Z Clean Chain Lube “utilizes a special zinc formulation to provide unsurpassed ant-wear protection for longer chain and sproket [sic] life. Yet, it does not attract dirt, sand or grit, and will not fling off when used as directed.”
This is one of those “white” chain lubes we’re not fond of. It coats the chain with a somewhat heavy white residue that perhaps makes it seem like you’ve done something good, but a white coating on the side plates doesn’t do anything for lubrication and looks strange to us.
Note, however, that the directions call for spraying on the chain rollers just before the chain goes under the rear sprocket, so if done correctly, there shouldn’t be much spray residue on the side plates.
The Spectro Z Clean Chain Lube seems to leave a waxy semi-dry residue that we think attracts dust and dirt, contrary to the manufacturer’s claims.
If we had to choose, we’d pick the Spectro SX Chain Wax over the Z Clean. But neither is our favorite and they just don’t seem to offer anything extraordinary that we haven’t seen before in other lubes.
B’laster PB50 Lubricant “Lubricates…”, “Protects…”, “Penetrates…”, “Displaces and repels moisture…”.
Sound familiar? This is apparently a WD-40 style spray lube.
A fairly common retail product that can be found in many hardware and/or chain stores. Suggested by webBikeWorld readers.
This is a general lubricant, something like a “3-in-1 Oil” in a spray can. The can does mention “chains”, but isn’t specific about O-ring type motorcycle chains.
It doesn’t dry, so it leaves an oily residue that collects dust when applied to a motorcycle chain. A good all-around spray lube to have in the garage and probably better than nothing for motorcycle use, but difficult to recommend as a motorcycle chain lube.
“The perfect solution for sticking or squeaking doors, windows, drawers, locks, zippers, musical instruments, moving machinery parts, skates, bikes, sleds, skis, reels and guns. Works best on metal, wood, rubber, glass, paint, leather, fabric and plastic surfaces. Dries quick and won’t stain most items.”
Elmer’s Slide-All is a “dry” spray lubricant, suggested by webBikeWorld readers.
It seems to have potential because it definitely “dries” a few seconds after applying to the motorcycle chain, leaving no tactile residue.
However, the manufacturer makes no claims for this product as suitable for motorcycle chains, so it’s not clear whether it is harmful to O-ring type chains.
It has a wide, “fog” type spray pattern and the nozzle will not accept a spray tube, so it is difficult to get a small amount on a motorcycle chain. It sure does go on “dry” though!
Better suited for its intended purpose as a general-purpose “dry” lube where you don’t want an oily residue. Not recommended for motorcycle chain lubrication.
“Apply to any chain or wire cable. Stays put on moving parts to reduce friction. Prevents corrosion. Use on bicycles, throttle cables and garage door chains. Reduces wear. Prevents oxidization. Anti-sling formula. Safe for O-ring & standard chains.”
Liquid Wrench Chain Lube was suggested by webBikeWorld readers.
It is one of the few readily-available, retail sprays that actually does state that it’s O-ring safe. However, it sprays on as an oily liquid and doesn’t dry, so it leaves the chain “wet”, prone to collecting dust and dirt.
We think the Liquid Wrench Chain Lube spray is better suited for use as a general shop lubricant rather than for a motorcycle chain.
Same as above, but in a liquid form. We thought it would be easier to apply more precisely to a motorcycle chain with the narrow tip applicator.
While this is indeed the case, and the lube can be dripped in between the chain’s side plates, it still leaves an oily residue and it takes a long time to lube the chain drip-by-drip. Probably better as a bicycle chain lube?
Liquid Wrench Dry Lubricant “Lubricates with no oily residue. Dries fast to prevent the collection of dirt and dust. Lubricates and quiets. Use on interior door hinges, windows and locks. Leaves a white lubricant powder. Zero residual odor. Does not pick up dirt.”
This product seems much like the original DuPont Teflon Dry Wax Lubricant, in that it quickly “dries” and leaves very little visible residue.
It even includes PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene or “Teflon”, just like the DuPont product!).
But is this Liquid Wrench product good for motorcycle chains?
Unfortunately, the DuPont product formula was changed in 2012 and it no longer has the “Dry Wax” formulation (see the webBikeWorld article “DuPont Motorcycle Chain Lube 2012“).
Could the Liquid Wrench product have the same formula used in the DuPont Dry Wax lube? Perhaps Liquid Wrench didn’t renew a license for DuPont to use it? Only the Shadow knows…
Good stuff actually, with some potential. It seems to work just like the old version of DuPont Dry Wax lube. We have contacted the manufacturer to see if the product is O-ring safe and we’re giving this a longer-term evaluation as a motorcycle chain lube.
“Multi-Purpose Molybdenum/PTFE Lubricant and Penetrant Penetrating formula with rust inhibitors. Stops binding, sticking and squeaking. Cleans and protects.”
Also: “MPT Twelve leaves a protective film on applied surfaces to provide the longest lasting protection available from a lubricant or penetrant.”
This one was also suggested by webBikeWorld readers. It has been advertised in some of the print magazines recently. It is also very expensive, at $0.57 per gram when purchased in the 0.5 oz. tube.
It can be dripped precisely in between the chain plates, but it takes a long time to lube an entire chain, one drop per link times two (outer and inner plates of the chain).
It leaves an oily film that can attract dust and dirt. Despite the manufacturer’s claims, it’s difficult to tell whether this performs any better than basic lightweight lubricating oil when used for other tasks around the motorcycle or the garage.
Kind of a “boutique” lubricant and we doubt if the average user will notice any difference between this and less expensive types of light oil lubricants.
Not really recommended as a motorcycle chain lube because others are less expensive, easier to apply and designed specifically to lubricate motorcycle chains.
NuTek Green Lubfix Soy Lubricant (8 oz./226 g). List Price: $7.99
NuTek Green Shield-It Dry Film Lubricant (7 oz./198 g). List Price: $9.99
NuTek Green Bolt-Off (8 oz./226 g). List Price: $7.99
NuTek Green Simply Soy (8 oz./226 g). List Price: $11.29
“Our truly safe, non-toxic (no adverse dermal, inhalation or ingestion effects) non- corrosive, chemistry outperforms competitive brands and works on a wide range of grease, grime, and surfaces with no adverse effects.
Quite frankly, these are benefits most of our competition cannot claim.”
Also: “Our cleaning formulas contain tiny strands of bursting Nano Bubbles that penetrate in and around grease and grime to lift them from the surface. Our pH neutral chemistry with these gentle, yet aggressive, bubbles agitate the surface as they burst, allowing Nutek Green formulas to clean without causing damage. Simply put, these chemistries exhibit solvent based properties without the adverse effects seen with solvent usage.”
We found these products in the hardware store and they seemed interesting because they have a soy base, rather than petroleum.
In fact, one of the products shown here — Simply Soy — is so safe, you can eat it! It’s designed as a lubricant for food manufacturing environments.
The company states “It is 100% safe for food areas, children and work environments.” They suggest that it can be used to clean things like a barbeque grill surface.
There’s much more to it than that, and these products are more than one of those too-common “green” substitutes that underperforms.
Each of the products shown here works well — it’s just that none of them are designed for motorcycle chain lubrication.
The Lubfix is a good general-purpose spray lube and we also had the opportunity to use the Bolt-Off penetrant on some very rusted nuts and bolts and it works very well.
The products seem to be more “slippery” than other lubes and they have less surface tension, according to the company. In fact, the manufacturer’s charts show that Bolt-Off has better penetration than well-known products like PB Blaster, Aero Kroil, LPS 2, LPS 1 and others.
Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. We thought perhaps we’d find a gemstone among the rocks — a commercially available, retail product that had remained undiscovered and would perform as a motorcycle chain lube.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen…but it won’t keep us from continuing the search.
None of the products described here outperformed our current favorites, and some of them are more or less curiosities when it comes to motorcycle chain lubrication. It doesn’t matter that they’re cheap if they don’t work correctly.
From “H.S.” (October 2015): “Did some quick research on the Liquid Wrench lubricants: I just tried the Liquid Wrench “Chain Lube” on my KTM 450 (dirtbike) and the stuff flings off way too quick (about 1 hour of hard ride-time).
Only thing good was that it’s cheap and readily available at local auto parts store, but seemed like more of a “bicycle chain” lube.
I saw your Chain Lube review that reflected the same experience with the Liquid Wrench “Chain Lube” and saw it also mentioned the Liquid Wrench Dry Lubricant with Cerflon (ceramic modified PTFE), manufacturer part #L512.
BUT the question still remains if this product is “O-RING SAFE”, but after a little looking, I’m willing to risk the gamble.
(Also), I saw a comment made by “B.W.” (September 2012) (below) regarding the previous branding of the product. Exact name: Solder Seal/Gunk Dry Lube with PTFE Aerosol (Solder Seal/Gunk mfr part #L512C).
The part # is exactly the same (except for the “C”). I’m making an educated guess that the “C” stands for “Cerflon”, but can’t confirm.
And also I ran across a link to the old Gunk L512C product information sheet (.pdf) from 2003. In the very first paragraph, it does say that it’s rubber safe. The “Dry Lubricant” is available as easily as the “Chain Lube”, so I will be picking this stuff up to try it next ride!”
From “G.W.” (June 2014): “Your site is wonderful and I reference it at least once a week. I’ve purchased pants, helmets, glove and a variety of other products based upon your research.
Based upon the information in the above review of Liquid Wrench Dry Lubricant I called the manufacture and spoke to their lab person about the information in their product (here’s theLiquid Wrench Dry Lubricant MSDS in .pdf format).
He stated that the product was indeed safe for O-rings. This is good because I cleaned my chain yesterday and applied it the lol.
This product reminds me of the Dupont Dry Wax that has been discontinued.
I spoke with the lab guy about stating that the product was safe for o-rings but he said they only have so much room on the label so that wasn’t an option. Oh well, nevertheless…I’ve found my new chain lube!!!”
From “B.T.” (October 2012): “Harbor Freight has a rechargeable aerosol spray can.
Instructions say fill, pump it up (50 to 90 psi) and chose one of three spry patters. Sprays paint, cleaner, lubricant, insecticides, etc.
So you could have kerosene in a spray can to clean the chain. I have had a KLR for 13 years. Handbook says use 90 WT transmission oil. Hot chain after riding covered with 90 weight cleans and drips off. Does not fling off excessively.”
From “S.S.” (September 2012): “I thought I would mention Boeshield T-9. I have used it on my guns for years, and the website describes it as safe for rubber. They also mention using it on motorcycles specifically, so I think it may be a safe application.
I am still using my (DuPont) Teflon spray, but am down to two cans left, so once they are finished I’ll give the Boeshield a try.
As you have mentioned, I think the main purpose of chain lubes are to prevent corrosion, as the chains themselves are sealed. I also have Amsoil heavy duty metal protector spray, which has a label on it saying great for motorcycle chains. This doesn’t dry as well as the Boeshield, but it is a great rust preventative. Finally, Royal Purple makes a spray lube as well, but I haven’t experimented with it.
I really wish someone could set up an electric motor with sprockets on a shaft using short lengths of chain, and then test a bunch of lubes simultaneously. If they all did well in the dry test, they could be watered down, or some dirt added, etc., just to see how many revolutions they did before losing their ability to protect the chains. Probably pretty easy to set up, but there would be some cost of course.”
From “B.W.” (September 2012): “Based on your review, I went to Liquid Wrench’s website to get more info on the Liquid Wrench Dry Lube. (My stock of the original DuPont Dry Wax lube is running low!) It linked to the attached 2008 data sheet (.pdf) for Solder Seal/Gunk Dry Lube with Cerflon aerosol, which I’m assuming is the original name for the product.
The data sheet is helpful for two reasons: 1) the formula contains Teflon and sure sounds like the DuPont lube; and 2) it specifically states it’s safe for rubber – which should mean it’s o-ring safe. Looking forward to your long-term test report!”
From “T” (September 2012): “First and foremost, Thank you for for turning me on to the Klotz chain lube. Best I’ve used in many years of riding.
In your Motorcycle Chain Lubes and Products for 2012 test you had some paraffin based chain lubes. I too had tried the “clean” approach when these were first introduced on a ’97 Bandit 1200S. I found the paraffin lubes to cause premature wear and the links became so stiff they kinked. Cleaning and spraying a petroleum based chain lube straightened out the chain. Ultimately the high tensile strength (read expensive) DID chain needed replacement far too soon.
Moral of the story? Lubricant is for Chains…Wax is for Candles ! Keep up the great work.