Flow rate's and Ambient Temperatures

I get asked this a lot - typically people ask 

"if its cold first thing in the morning but warm later on, how do I adjust the flow control valve to suit?"

A valid question, but its not as tricky as it sounds.

Take yourself back to the day when manufacturers used to put a label on the side of the swing arm which said "Lubricate every 300 miles" or similar.

Two key things are happening here  -

  1. A chain doesn't lose its oil instantly.
  2. An automatic oiler doesn't apply all its oil at once.

What this means is a well lubricated chain will stay sufficiently oiled for some time before the amount of oil on it deceases to the point that its not doing any good.

Its not a digital "on/off" (oil/no oil) scenario, the chain only needs to stay within a  band of acceptable lubrication to avoid detrimental wear.

 Think of it like a fuel gauge - you don't ride with a full tank and fill up immediately it drops below that, conversely you don't wait for the tank to be empty before you fill it up again (not on purpose anyway🤣).   

The upshot of this is that (in the case above) I would recommend you set the flow rate for the warm part of the day.

The chain will have plenty of oil to carry it through the cold early morning (it will still receive some oil from the oiler during that time).

Once the temperature rises the drip rate will increase and the chain will get replenished.

The Key factor here is the average ambient temperature - set the flow rate to coincide with the temperature that you will doing most of your riding it and all will be well.

Usually this means you only need to change the flow rate on a seasonal basis rather than a daily basis.

One caveat to all this is rain!....rain will dry out a chain very quickly so if you are in unfortunate position of having to ride for an extended period in the wet stuff - turn the flow up, it will pay dividends in chain life!