Flings, Drips and Chain Management

The Subject of “oil fling” came up again recently and having replied I thought it might be as well to share why its not just an inevitable consequence of lubricating your chain but an important and useful function.

Oil fling is a sign of an effectively lubricated chain, it’s important to remember the point of applying oil is to reduce the wear and tear of the chain and sprocket set – applying extremely small amounts of oil so that there is little or no fling will not do a great job of lubricating the chain or extending its life.

How much “fling” is acceptable?

Its important to remember any oil applied will inevitably end up coming off again.

The individual bikes design will determine where this ends up but on the chain guard, front sprocket housing and the wheel hub/rim/spokes is the usual spot with a few streaks on the tyre sidewall.

In short,

  • Oil on the wheel rims and hub is to be expected and is perfectly fine
  • A few tiny streaks on the sidewall of the tyre is fine and will not have any adverse effect on the tyres ability to grip the road
  • Oil creeping onto the road facing “grip” of the tyre is not good, for obvious reasons it should be avoided.

When considering how to avoid the excess oil on the tyre consider not just turning the oiler down but also the Nozzle (twin or single), it may be displaced, out of alignment or simply installed in the wrong place – see the Nozzle Alignment section.

This fling effect is not just depositing oil on your back wheel hub it is also doing a very important job of removing the dirt, dust, grit and grime from your chain and sprockets – this is an important a job as providing lubrication. Left in place these particles will build up like a grinding paste and accelerate wear.

A clean chain means you may have to clean the rear wheel a little more frequently – this is not a difficult task as chain oil wipes off easily unlike sticky “glue like” spray-on chain lube, the massive upside is your drive train will repay this labour in a greatly extended service life.

But what about drips?

After a long ride, an excess of oil can build up on the chain, sprockets and front sprocket housing. When you stop inevitably gravity will have its way – this residue will make its way to the lowest point and drip off onto the floor under the bike when the bike is left stationary overnight. This sort of “leak” is characterised by the drips being dirty oil – it looks black almost tar like.

From your chain’s point of view this is fine, its getting well lubricated so you can

Either place a bit of old carpet or cardboard under the bike and be happy in the knowledge that all is well with your final drive lubrication.

Or you can clean the front sprocket housing out to get rid of all the old gunk that has built up there and turn the flow control valve down a little to cut down on the excess oil being applied.

TUTORO Chain Oiler Singapore