Sunday, December 04, 2011

Lube Tube

When I got the DL one of the great farkles already on it was a Scott Oiler for keeping the chain in good condition.  On a bike like the DL I reckon an oiler is a necessity - it doesn't take much riding on a gravel road or in wet conditions for the poor old chain to get a bit dry and therefore be more prone to wear.

On purchase the reservoir had obviously been filled up and the oiler was doing it's job quite nicely.  But when I looked at the reservoir placement (see picture) I wondered how the heck I was going to fill it.
Reservoir tucked well out of the way
After trolling the web I happened upon what I thought looked like quite a neat Scott oiler accessory - a "Lube Tube".  Not only does this give you more oil capacity for the oiler but I thought that it would mean an easier way to top up the reservoir.  $80 later and I had one.

Lube Tube tucked in under the seat
When I first fitted it I made the mistake of filling it up quite full prior to installation and shortly after hooking it up noticed oil leaking down the side of the reservoir and running down over the exhaust - damn!  I checked everything and it looked like everything was all setup right so I started wondering what was wrong - was the reservoir itself cracked or damaged in some way?

Anyway I gave up on it for a while and removed it so I didn't have oil continually leaking everywhere.  But earlier this weak I decided to give it a go but with very little oil in the lube tube.  On hooking things up I squeezed some oil from the tube into the now empty reservoir and watched to see what happened.  After a couple of days riding around there was no leaks but also no lube on the chain - I figured things were a bit blocked up or something - time for some closer inspection.

Yesterday I played around with the oiler, setting it to the flow rate to the prime position and running the bike on the stand.  By the time I was due to leave for the CDMTC Toy Run I had got nowhere so turned the flow rate back down and gave the chain a squirt with some chain lube in a can.

But on arrival at Feilding I was pleasantly surprised!  There was oil on the chain and even on the wheel - it was going but maybe with a bit too high a flow rate.  I adjusted the flow rate again and then rode the roughly 85km of the Toy Tun and this is what the chain looks like now (the white stuff is the spray on chain wax).
It works!
Where the oil meets the chain
So now I enter the trial in error phase of setting the optimum flow rate.  Apparently this can be a bit finicky so I guess I'll be doing a bit of experimenting.  I think I'll leave it as is for any riding this week and the Coast to Coast charity ride ( I'm intending on investigating some gravel while on the Coast to Coast) and see what it looks like then.

And now to an important question: does the bike need a bath?


  1. Andrew
    One of my riding partners has a lube tube on his Blackbird road bike. He had to fiddle around a bit to get it set up properly but has been no problem since. When we did our south island tour, he topped it up before leaving Auckland and that was that!

  2. Yeah, I like the idea of filling it up and forgetting about it for a while...

  3. Andrew:

    wished I had an Oiler, but spraying by hand on the centre stand isn't much of a chore.

    and NO, DL's don't want to be washed !

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. @Bob Yeah I bought a center stand to make working on the bike easier but the problem with riding on gravel is that you probably don't get to oil the chain as often as you need to. A shame Suzuki didn't think to fit one as standard. My old KT250 ('78 I think) had one - you filled the LHS swingarm with oil and turned the little tap on & of manually.

    Glad you've confirmed correct cleaning requirements - thanks!

  5. My 2009 DL has a center stand fitted as standard (it's the only thing I didn't need to request as an optional extra, really).

    A lot of people debate over whether it's a good idea to wash the VStrom or not... I have my own benchmark: take the housing covering the front sprocket and clutch screw assembly off. If there is a large buildup of oil and/or grit in there, it's time for a wash!

    Here's the trick, though...

    Temptation is to get as much pressure on a hose or pressure washer as possible, and blast the hell out of it! VERY BAD IDEA! This will push the grit into the paint/plastic/annodized surfaces as it forces it off the bike... ultimately your bike will rust faster (as I, unfortunately discovered).

    What you want to do is apply a low pressure stream of COLD WATER (Warm/Hot water greatly accelerates rusting), and was the bike top to bottom. Spray on a suitable bike soap (MuckOff or similar... don't use dish soap as this can damage plastics), and wrince again.

    If any areas of grit remain, soap them up and let them soak for 10-15 minutes, then wrince with the hose and (if necessary) rub the areas gently with a VERY SOFT brush to gently lift the dirt/grit off.

    Now... don't let the bike drip-dry, as I've discovered this also leads to corrosion (bikes are water soluable, it seems). Get a soft towel and dry the bike thouroughly as much as you can. Once it's dry with no water drops/streams dripping down it, run the engine for a good 10-15 minutes (to warm it up and evaporate any remaining water in those "hard to reach" places).

    Now... let the bike cool for 5-10 minutes.

    Make sure you've got yourself a bottle of Scottoiler FS-365 (it's a light mineral oil... basically a thinner version of the chain lube you're using in your vSystem). Get a "hand-pump pressure bottle" which you can set to a spray a fine mist.
    Fill this pressure bottle with a litre or so of FS-365, and spray a fine mist literally over your entire bike (including the engine and in all those "hard to reach" places). Don't spray the mirrors, headlights or windscreen with FS-365! It won't damage them at all... it'll just make them harder to see through (as there will be a fine layer of oil sitting on the surface, distorting the light).

    Leave it for an hour (not in direct sunlight) to evaporate the majority, then run your engine for another 10-15 minutes to "cook off" the remaining oil smell.

    That's it... your bike is now clean, amazingly shiny, and very thouroughly protected from the elements!

    Apply another layer of FS-365 as regularly (without washing) as the weather dictates (the more rain, the more regular).

    The key here is that the dirt won't actually stick to the bike any more! It'll just sit on the fine layer of FS-365. So now when the bike is caked in sand, grit and other dirt... you can just wrince it all away with a slow stream of cold water, and all that muck will come away with the FS-365, leaving the bike immaculate with absolutely no wear.

    This is what I do, and aside from the unfortunate corrosion my bike endured before I discovered this trick, the bike is in mint condition 3 years later.

    I do a full wash every 3 to 6 months (dependant on weather and the level of muck on the bike). It takes a few hours if you're doing it properly, but it's well worth the effort.

    Also, don't spray oil or wax on your chain... it just builds clumps which attract grit (which in turn wears down the sprockets faster). Instead, spray your chain lube or wax into a soft (lindt-free) cloth liberally, and rub that over the entire surface of your chain (making sure you get every facet of the chain as well as the rollers). This will apply an even coating on the entire chain, which your vSystem will maintain beautifully.

    Enjoy :)