Seen few videos on you tube where they are using either kerosene or diesel as chain cleaner.It is safe on O rings?Also they are lubricating chain with gear oil of 90 grade. Will it serve the purpose?

  • See this for oring style chains....youtube.com/watch?v=xSZejHrEHcQ
    – Moab
    Aug 12, 2018 at 19:09
  • That's a good video but does not answer my query
    – DhKo
    Aug 12, 2018 at 19:25
  • Why trust monkeys on youtube for maintenance advice - start with the3 workshop manual and read that...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 12, 2018 at 19:32
  • I read the owners manual. It does not mention about what to use to clean the chain only says about to clean the chain after 600 miles
    – DhKo
    Aug 12, 2018 at 19:42
  • The video says "How To Clean And Lubricate A Motorcycle O-Ring Chain" what more do you want.
    – Moab
    Aug 13, 2018 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


No, you shouldn't lubricate motorcycle (or bicycle, or any) chains with gear oil. The lubricant should have several purposes:

  • It should penetrate to the internals of the chain well (minimum viscosity)
  • It should stay in the chain when stationary (maximum viscosity)
  • It should restrict movement of the chain as little as possible (minimum viscosity)

So, you need low viscosity and high viscosity at the same time. Sounds impossible? Well, it's not.

The keyword you're looking is Thixotropy. It's the property of having low viscosity when stirred, but high viscosity when stationary.

Thixotropic lubricants are usually applied by a spray can. The spray will effectively "stir" the lubricant, so it has low viscosity when it comes out of the spray can. It will penetrate to the internals of the chain really well. Then when you let it settle, the viscosity increases and it will stay in the internals of the chain for a long time, without leaking out. When you start to ride your motorcycle, the lubricant will turn to low-viscosity lubricant so the chain movement is restricted only very little. Then when you end your ride, the lubricant will become high viscosity again.

All non-thixotropic lubricants have either too high viscosity when applied or too low viscosity when let to settle, because they can't have high viscosity and low viscosity at the same time. Specifically, you should not use gear oil, motor oil or anything similar. In theory, you could perhaps mix some of these oils with a volatile solvent, so that the solvent will lower the viscosity of the solution, then evaporate, then you have a high viscosity. This would solve the application problem, but it doesn't solve the problem of not restricting the movement of the chain when it's in motion. Also, the volatile solvent could damage o-rings.

Unfortunately, most lubricants don't mention the keyword "Thixotropic" in the can. However, if you purchase a spray can motorcycle chain lubricant, chances are it's thixotropic. You can spray a little bit to a container, and test by stirring and letting it settle to see if the viscosity changes.

Edit: and you seemed to ask two questions, also the other question about chain cleaning. I wouldn't clean the chain at all. Too much work, too little fun, and if the chain has o-rings, any solvent may damage them.


It depends. Any strong solvent will degrade the o-rings. I've personally used acetone and it gets things real nice and shiny, but doesn't seem to be nice to the x-rings on my chain.

This article will give you a good amount of information about the whole process. They recommend a mild soap (probably something like Dawn or another strong degreasing dish soap) which will definitely do minimum damage to you o-rings.

As for what lube you use, I wouldn't use gear oil because it'll probably all get flung off when you start to hit higher speed. I personally don't like the wax lubricants because they're so hard to clean, but there are many good options for motorcycle chain lube. Just make sure it is for bikes (or something similar like a quad) so that you don't have to be reapplying the lube too often.

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