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Silicone Spray for Chain Lube?

rear chain and sprocket of motorcycle wheel

IS HEAVY DUTY silicone spray a good idea for O-ring chains? What chain lubes do you currently recommend?

– Randy Williams

Silicone would be a good lubricant for O-ring chains from a chemically reactive standpoint. O-rings, typically made of Nitrile (Buna), have low reactivity to silicone oil and silicone greases. Depending on the tackifiers and thickeners used in the blend, it can range from slippery/ waxy to a sticky substance.

For instance, silicone utensils are used for their slippery and high temp applications for cooking. On the other hand, tacky liquid silicone sealants are used as adhesives on engine parts. In fact, silicones can be made to be stickier and more resistant to flinging than mineral oil bases.

It’s a very dynamic material when mixed with the right additives and solvents. Silicones are derivatives of crude and located in Group V, which have the highest level of refinement through distilling, and chemically reacting, resulting in excellent stability and consistency.

They can operate in higher temperatures than most mineral oils, while simultaneously retaining fluidity at very low temperatures. These oils tend to provide a very wide range of temperature operability.

Silicones exhibit low volatility (not evaporative) and are highly resistant to electrical current. Silicone greases are the base component of dielectric grease used to protect electrical connectors.They also excel at resisting water wash ing and are ideal for marine environments, mud, snow, etc.

As such, it is good for chains, but it’s not a cheap oil. Higher quality gel lubes use a lot of silicone and are much more costly than mineral oil bases. The ones that are less expensive contain a small amount as an additive, rather than the majority base oil, and would be less effective.

I expect many dirt applications use silicone to some extent as an additive. The perfect lube has enough tackiness to prevent flinging on a chain application, but not so much that it attracts dirt.Dirt accumulation creates a sanding compound. The balance is more important than the medium used. The best I’ve used is AMSOIL chain lube for both street and dirt applications.

I’ve continued to try several other chain lubricants. Unfortunately, there is either too much fling or too much dirt attraction, and none of them worked as well on a non-O-ring chain. The price of the AMSOIL chain lube is the best bang for your buck, and is the best choice for adventure bikes, trail and enduros. I also use it on my street bikes, because it keeps the fenders and tail sections clean, with minimal cleaning necessary.

Wipe and add more lube in most cases, rather than damage the O-rings with cleaners and solvents. With any heavy-duty silicone spray, check to make sure it is O-ring and plastic safe before using it. Many lubes aren’t designed for O-rings and several have caused premature cracking. Not because of the silicone, but because of the propellant or solvents that are mixed with it.

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