Cameron's Blog

Tutoro - Automatic Chain Oiler

My SV 650N in France

Introduction

Ever since I bought my SV 650 in Oktober 2013, I researched a lot about how to properly maintain your motorcycle. Cleaning and lubricating the chain is a big part of that.

Then came the time to apply chain lube on my motorcycle. Guh, that was a big mess. I’ll admit I didn’t have a rear wheel paddock stand at the time to lift it so I could move the chain while applying it, but damn, it just didn’t seem very efficient either.

Because, basically, what you do is apply a large enough amount at once so that you won’t have to redo it too soon, causing most of it to just fling of and make your rim and swing arm all black.

I had to find something better. Then I found chain oilers, and more specifically, I found the Tutoro Automatic Chain Oiler.

Tutoro Automatic Chain Oiler

Tutoro Automatic Chain Oiler installed on SV 650N

The reason I went for the Tutoro and not say a Scottoiler (arguably a lot more popular) is that it’s just so simple.

The automatic part means you don’t have to manually close and open the valve to flow oil when riding. When the bike is not moving, it doesn’t flow oil, when it is moving and hits a bump, it does flow oil. This is regulated by a weight in the reservoir that moves up & down because of bumps in the road (so there is a benefit to Belgian roads after all..) and the valve determines how much oil you flow each time it is released by the weight. Or at least, that’s my understanding. With the manual oiler you would have to open and close the valve after you’re done riding, I think.

Notice that there’s no eletrical wiring involved, or anything else that’s directly connected to your motorcycle.

And it does flow, a lot. I almost have it fully closed most of the time because, I guess, there’s just a whole lot of bumps in the road in Belgium. In the picture, you can see I’ve got the valve open just a few degrees (counter clockwise). Fully closed means having the dot at 12 o’clock.

Valve during normal operation

After cleaning my chain I’ll do 1 ride with the valve open a few more degrees for added lubrication, but when I did this, I ended up with the specks on my rim again, so it may not even be really necessary :).

Rim with oil specks from excess chain oil

Looking at the chain itself, honestly, I couldn’t tell if it’s too much or just enough, only that it looks wet and when you swipe it with your finger, your finger comes of all black :).

Chain with chain oiler

The oil that Tutoro uses is a little different than the lube you spray from a can. It’s a lot more fluid, which from what I gather is better for the chain opposed to more solid lube, but it has the tendency to fling more easily, which is also why you would need something like a chain oiler to make it worthwhile.

Ideally, the chain oiler applies barely enough oil while on the road (with a warmed up chain, which is a plus) to counter the fling (and wash off due to rain) to keep the oil on the chain at a constant level. This is opposed to what you do when you lube it from a cain, i.e. apply a lot at once so that after x amount of km’s you’ll still have a enough on it.

Also, it’s arguably better for the life of the chain if it has a constant level of lubrication which attracts less dirt etc than the a-lot-almost-nothing cycle that you get with chain spraying (and a lazy habit of not cleaning and lubricating after every ride). And god, it’s just so much easier.

Installation

It’s a fully independent system. Installation just means fixing the reservoir (upright), running a tube to your swingarm and pointing the nozzle next to the rear sprocket (preferable at the center as shown in the picture). And in case you were wondering, yes, the zip wires holding the reservoir to the passenger foot peg are strong enough. Holding the reservoir mount I can move my bike…

Tubes running from reservoir to swing arm

I attached the tubes and helix (has more metal wiring to more accurately point the nozzle at the sprocket) using only the provided zip wires, which work great. But in the future I’d like to get a more permanent solution, either welding or glueing something to the swing arm to slide the tube in.

Nozzle alignment to sprocket

The thing you have to think about most is where to put the reservoir. I attached mine on the passenger foot peg and it’s kind of in the same path as where the swing arm would go should the rear shock obserber be fully compressed (does the swing arm really go up that far?). But I haven’t seen any marks of the swing arm touching or moving the reservoir yet, so I’m guessing all’s good. Either way, I try not to worry about it too much :)

Reservoir alignment

Economy

I’ve also found this is a lot more economic on your oil/lube. The reservoir has a 45mm diameter and is 100mm tall which translates to roughly 150ml volume. The tube running from the reservoir to the chain in my case took about as much as well. I’ve had to refill it for the first time now and I gotta say I’m quite impressed.

It takes about 125ml for 3500 kms (2174 miles) over 7 months time period (occasional rain) or 75ml for just 3000 kms (1864 miles) over 3 weeks time period (very little rain). The first is the refill before the tour in France and the latter is what you can see is gone after the 2400 km tour in France (not a lot of bumpy roads there) as in the picture showing the reservoir (half empty). As the pictures will show, I think my chain is lubricated enough, and maybe even a little bit too much.

Tutoro Automatic Chain Oiler installed on SV 650N

The 500ml refill costs just £6.5, but you don’t have to use theirs. The kit itself is also pretty cheap at £65 (€ 82) for the deluxe (full) package.

Experience

After the tour in France, my twin nozzle did lose one leg/arm. I’ll admit I didn’t check whether it was still aligned properly each day, or not at all actually, I only noticed when I got home :). Which brings me to another major plus for a chain oiler system. You don’t have to worry about lubricating your chain while on tour / vacation!

I have fitted the single nozzle now and we’ll see how long that will hold up.

Ow, apparently you also have to specifically mention to your garage that they DON’T have to lube the chain for you after servicing. In that case I still ended up with a black rear wheel rim –_–.

So all in all, great stuff!

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