2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Joe Neric

Wrist: Dave Sonsky
MSRP (2012): $14,699
Miles: 6100
MPG: 36
Mods: Scottoiler chain lubrication system

Last month’s trip to the dragstrip resulted in a call to action that I’d likely have further neglected—chain maintenance. Early on, my care of the ZX-14R was more meticulous. I was always quick to polish her up at the first sign of dust, check tire pressures regularly, and generally tend to her every need and desire, including a few chain adjustments. But I’ve been slacking lately. And while the dragstrip also highlighted a need for better braking performance, attention to the final drive was more critical and time sensitive.

The stock chain held a satisfactory amount of lube—or so it seemed—for enough miles to cause my attention to wane. It was only after a severe stretching (the telltale slapping drew my attention) that the chain made it back to the top of the maintenance agenda. Regular cleanings followed by proper lubrication are the keys to long life, and while it sounds easy enough it’s also dirty, tedious work that I despise. Solution? Installing a Scottoiler VSystem (www.scottoiler.com; $129.95).

In simplest terms, the Scottoiler does what I can’t seem to remember (or want) to do—regularly lube the chain. Scottoiler claims—and it makes sense to me—that road dirt clings to regular chain lube, thus forming a grinding paste that increases friction and speeds chain wear. If you’ve cleaned your chain with a rag then you’ve likely felt this grainy sludge, and the only way to really expel it is to pull the chain off and soak it. That just ain’t in the cards for most of us, which is where this device comes in handy. If the chain is already a filthy mess then the VSystem won’t magically clean it, which is why it’s best to install the Scottoiler with a new chain and sprockets. I simply gave my existing chain a good wipe down with some WD-40 before installing the oiler.

The VSystem utilizes Scottoiler’s proprietary lube that has a low-tack additive to keep from attracting dirt while it lubes the chain. Oil feeds from the reservoir onto the chain, prompted by engine vacuum; this assures that oil is only feeding the chain while the bike is being ridden.

A valve adjusts flow. The maximum setting doesn’t really apply for daily commuting duty, and would probably be more ideal for dual sport or dusty weather riding as the “drip rate” is too fast. I’ve adjusted to the minimum flow setting and found it wasn’t enough, but somewhere roughly in the middle has kept the chain suitably lubed—wet to the touch but not sloppy or slinging. Periodically, I’ll need to top up the reservoir (housed under the seat). While there will never be a replacement for diligent, manual chain cleaning and lubing, the Scottoiler is the next best thing.

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