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XCP Professional Chain Lube Review


Review Date - 24 October 2016

By Ren Withnell

Well it's not like me to get freebies but by the power of Faceache - I mean Facebook - I got me a free can of XCP Professional Chain Lubricant. The idea is they give away a load of samples, we try them, we like them and we tell all our friends on social media just how good it is and XCP's sales skyrocket!

the XCP professional chain lube can seen from the front
Me freebie! Squirty tin.

It's going to be hard for me to draw a direct comparison to other similar products. That's because I've tried aerosol chain lubes in the past and while they do their job they're expensive. What? £5 - £10 for a tin of lube ain't expensive! Well maybe if like most motorcyclists you cover around 2 to 4 thousand miles per year in dry weather and use 1 to 2 cans per annum then you're quite right, it's as cheap as chips! If however you cover 18 - 24 thousand miles per year in all weather then 10 to 12 cans per year costs £50 to £120 and that's a set of tyres. a chain and sprocket kit and an MOT for the 125. I use the cheapest 80w or 90w gear oil I can find.

Let me make one thing clear from the start. XCP Professional chain lube works, it is a good product that does it's job and if you asked me to recommend it? Yes I would. I have been squirting it onto the chains of my CB500X and CBF125 this past 6 weeks and my chains are suitably lubricated, showing no signs of seizing up and there's been no excess wear. I use the lube every time each bike is taken out of the shed such is my maintenance routine. I am surprised that the can has lasted 6 weeks, I expected far less. 

the lube can seen from the rearThe warning suggests it might not be edible.

There are some provisos of course. 

According to the can the correct method of application is thus - 

  • For optimal results, clean chain before use. Yeah - like I have time to do this every morning.
  • Apply XCP Chain lubricant sparingly to a clean and warm chain, ensuring excess liquid is wiped off. What? You want me to clean it AND warm it? Hairdryer? Blow torch? Then another clean after it's been sprayed? COME ON! I'll be late for work.
  • Rotate wheel to assist flow and penetration into links and sprockets. I can do that, I have centre stands.
  • For best results, leave overnight before use. Oh I see, you want me to do all this before I put the bike away, OK. It's dark, it's wet, I'm cold, I'm tired and I'm hungry. Snot gonna happen mate.

Ideally you are a weekend warrior riding on your CBRGSXRZXRYZFR 1000 RRrrr. You've been out for a Sunday afternoon blast with your chums and upon returning home you carefully wash the bike with your branded wash and wax, dry it thoroughly with your motorcycle drying leaf blower, polish it with your branded wax and before you put it to bed for the month you clean the chain, lube the chain, wipe the chain and carefully tuck it into the corner of the garage. 

Not me. The bike's wheeled out, squirted, lights checked and we're off. On my return it's lobbed into the shed so I can slob out for the night. Considering my improper usage of the product in question - it's not perfect. 

Despite the can's claim that it resists high speed fling off (high speed, on a 125?) it does fling off. Of course this could be because I haven't let it breathe overnight or wiped off the excess. It certainly is not as bad as my 80w gear oil but don't go thinking this is a magic cure that will leave you with spotlessly clean rear wheels. It's an improvement, but not perfect.

The 125 has oily residue on the centre stand due to lube flingNothing stops "fling" on my 1,500bhp CBF 125 monster.

When spraying the lube onto the chain the long straw is effective but I must point out that the XCP is very thin when coming out of the can and as such will splatter a little onto the rear wheel. If you're a clean freak this will need wiping up. 

At £9 or so for a can it is a little more expensive than other lubes. 

I'm splitting hairs here. The XCP lube works. Some chain lubes are basically spray grease that thickens a short while after application when the solvents evaporate. The XCP remains thin and light rather than sticky and tacky which helps reduce the amount of grit sticking to it. Grit is the WORST thing for your chain, mix it with grease and you have grinding paste. Will I be buying a can? Naaaaaah, I'm happy with my 80w gear oil slapped on every morning.

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Reader's Comments

Bob said :-
Scottoiler!
Scottoiler!
Scottoiler!
No cleaning, no lubing, more than double the chain life (in my experience). I did 600 miles in Wales two weeks ago, including a lot of off-road, on a 650 single and didn't have to lube or adjust the chain.
The can seem like a faff to fit, but I've got them on all my bikes now, even my little KE100. Once I tried one it's bonkers to me to consider owning a bike without.
25/10/2016 10:41:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Yes yes yes yes Bob. I hear black and white opinions of Scottoilers. Some folk such as yourself absolutely swear by them and can see no possible reason why they're not fitted as standard on all motorcycles (even shaft drive ones). The other camp swears AT them because they're fiddly or unsightly or cover the back wheel in oil (poor adjustment).

I suppose...I might...perhaps...one day...bite the bullet and actually try one for myself.
26/10/2016 09:35:06 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I don't think X and O ring chains actually need anything but minimal lubrication. Think about it - the potential wear is actually between the pins, rollers and bushings. That is where the factory-fitted lubricant is kept by the X ring which also by definition keeps any externally applied oil etc from penetrating. There should be virtually no relative movement between the rollers and the sprocket to that doesn't need lubricating.

I did 18,000 miles on my Tiger 955i with an occasional squirt of Wurth chain wax. The chain needed to be adjusted precisely once in that period.

Of course the above does not apply to the sort of chains I have on my Sunbeam which do need lubrication but I prefer something like Silkolene on that.
26/10/2016 10:01:11 UTC
Bob said :-
I was in the same boat as you, I even ripped Scottoilers of bikes I'd bought because I couldn't be arsed with setting it up. Then one day I bought a bike which had a properly fitted Scottoiler and the clouds lifted from eyes!
You only need the single side quill feed, a metal bracket goes under the rear axle nut and this holds the delivery tube and quill, just set the quill up to rub lightly on the sprocket about 10mm in from the edge. The oil hits the sprocket and travels out to the chain as the sprocket spins, the oil then makes its way into the whole chain via capillary action.
My understanding of O ring chains is that while it is true that the lubricant for the rollers is held inside the chain by the O rings, it's also true that there are a lot of O rings held under tension between a lot of plates. The oil you apply is to lubricate the O rings as the plates pivot around them. I'm sure I read somewhere that a few HP can be lost in a non-lubricated chain. The other action of the oil is to stop the O rings wearing out, drying out or cracking, thus releasing the lubricant inside the rollers and allowing corrosive water and salt in.
I should mention that I didn't buy any of them new, I've picked up all mine from Autojumbles, breakers or Ebay - the best bargain was two complete sets for £10 at Newark Autojumble.
26/10/2016 14:19:41 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Hi Bob.

I suspect your bike use is more extreme than mine is these days and can understand the point about the O rings. However I do think that a good quality chain shouldn't need extra lubrication.

Anyway scottoilers have got to be better than boiling the chain in linklyfe......

I have heard people suggest that the oilers that are electronically controlled rather than off the manifold depression are better but I know you don't like electricity.
26/10/2016 14:31:01 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I shall keep my eyes open for a "previously cherished" Scottoiler Bob and see if I can be converted too.

Regarding O or X ring chains I certainly understand what you're saying Ian, the lube ought to be contained within the seals. However I'm sure the sprockets and outer rollers would welcome some additional help and I imagine oils will help keep rust at bay on those parts that are not within the sealed area.

Defo on the electronically operated Scottoiler. My CBF125 being a single has nowhere to attach a vacuum pipe. I'm sure a whizz could create a suitable insert for the rubber manifold but I think it would be considerably easier to tap a wire. I believe the draw to open the Scottoiler valve is minuscule so it won't kill the charging system.
27/10/2016 09:38:46 UTC
Bob said :-
On the Vigors there is a T joint on the vacuum pipe running between the inlet stub and the air cut off valve. When I remove the secondary air injection system and block off the barrel ports, that leaves a spare connection and the Scottoiler plugs straight on there.
On the XCountry I used to have I drilled and tapped a hole in the throttle body and made a spigot which screwed in.
On the KE100 it was a bit more involved, but again was basically just a spigot screwed into the inlet stub.

Ian, I'm not against electricity, I'm actually an electronics engineer - maybe that's the point? Maybe working with the stuff all day means that I've seen what problems can arise and how systems can go bad? Or maybe working with the stuff all day means I'm not inclined to work with it at the weekends?
These days I much prefer my Lathe and Milling Machine to my oscilloscope, which I don't think I've had out of the cupboard for a couple of years....
27/10/2016 10:14:20 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"Or maybe working with the stuff all day means I'm not inclined to work with it at the weekends?"

That's probably it. When I earned my crust in systems development the last thing I wanted was to do that at home. Now I'm retired I quite enjoy it - especially putting the young whippersnappers right!
27/10/2016 13:23:47 UTC
Bob said :-
Hah hah, young 'uns!
I've just bought the youth (aged 8) one of those BBC Microbit thingies to introduce her to programming - great fun, perhaps I can rediscover my enjoyment of electronics yet...
27/10/2016 15:28:56 UTC
Bob said :-
I know I'm banging the drum again, but I've just got back from a 70 mile run and the chain is clean, lightly oiled and the O rings look shiny and moist. The sprocket looks clean and there's just a little wetness on the tip of the chain guard from fling-off.
These Scottoilers really are fantastic.
28/10/2016 17:42:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Bob - are you sure you're not sponsored by Scottoiler?
29/10/2016 09:56:38 UTC
 

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