Scottoiler bicycle chain lubrication system
I have always hated cleaning the oily drive-train on bicycles so the Scottoiler has a great appeal for me. It does have some other advantages, but the massive reduction in time spent cleaning the drive-train and the overall cleanliness of it is the main one for me.
Crucially the lubricant for the Scottoiler can be washed off with water, so the whole drive train can be simply cleaned with water.
I write about my experiences below, but someone else with a Scottoiler on his Moulton is George Coulouris. He's fitted one to his Moulton NS. You can look at it here (scroll down to middle), and he has more detailed pictures here. George has told me that the results are impressive.
Essentially there are three bits, a pump, a reservoir and special jockey wheel where the fluid is applied to the chain. It's pretty easy to fit. It took me about an hour in total.
On a "diamond framed" bicycle the reservoir will most likely go on the seat-tube. It is held in place by a couple of big "O" rings which wrap around the seat-tube.
On my Moulton I attached the reservoir to the steerer tube because I think that on the Moulton it makes more sense to have it there. With the Moulton the steerer tube is very much longer than on a diamond framed bicycle so there is plenty of space to fit it.
The jockey wheel
The Scottoiler comes with four special jockey wheels, two sets of very large side-plates and some bushings. There is a table of combinations for each different type of derailleur. There should be one to fit most common derailleurs today. I had no problem whatsoever with the Tiagra mech on my Moulton R18.
The 'squid' is a pump which can go anywhere you like as long as you can easily reach it. I attached it to the handlebars. It doesn't use up any bar space because it is a long rubber thing which will simply go over any light brackets or what-have-you on the underside of the bar. It is held in place by a couple of zip ties.
What is it like to use?
The water based lubricant is not as durable as oil which is why there is a delivery system. Whilst riding along you pump new lubricant onto the chain approximately once every five miles depending on conditions. Very quickly you just get to know if the chain needs lube automatically and so you know when to pump without even thinking about it.
When it is raining the rain does wash the lubricant off but the rain itself acts as an excellent lubricant so there is no need to squeeze the pump while it is raining. When it stops raining then you give the pump three good squeezes to re-apply the Scottoiler lube to the chain.
So, why is it so easy to maintain compared with oil?
The great joy of the Scottoiler equipped bicycle is that you can clean the chain with just water. It's amazing how simple it is compared with removing and replacing oil. In fact I still do more than is required each time now because I take the chain off and rinse it in the sink, but it can be cleaned with just a toothbrush and water very effectively. The chain is beautifully clean and you can ride the bike straight away. Simply re-apply Scottoiler to the wet chain.
I think that I can go for much longer between cleaning the chain as well. When I used regular oil I would generally clean the chain about once every 400 to 500 miles but even after 500 miles with the Scottoiler I feel that I could probably go much further without cleaning it at all. However cleaning the chain and drive-train has become so easy that I do anyway.
How long have I been using it for?
I've been using it since the beginning of 2006 and it is on my general touring Moulton which in fact I've been using for commuting as well as general touring (in fact everything) because my commuting bike is being rebuilt by me, but I've been procrastinating about it. I started using the Scottoiler in lashing rain in the winter and it was brilliant. The rain will wash it off, but as soon as it stops raining I apply more lube and it is absolutely fine. There doesn't seem to be anything like the accumulation of dirt and grime using the Scottoiler as there is with regular oil.
Would a hub gear system be easier?
I think that people who want to use hub gears to decrease the hassle with cleaning derailleur drive-trains should consider the Scottoiler. The Scottoiler equipped derailleur bicycle requires far less maintenance than a hub gear bicycle with exposed chain. I know this because I have used hub gear/exposed chain bicycles for years and I will not use another one now I've discovered the Scottoiler. With the hub gear/exposed chain you still have to apply oil to the chain and clean it off etc.
What other advantages are there?
If you accidentally brush your clothing against any part of the drive-train the black gunk looks just as bad as if you had a regular oil lubed chain but it will wash off because the "binding agent" for the black gunk is the water based Scottoiler lube of course.
When you go to wash your bike with water your chain-stays will clean very easily indeed just with the water.
The Scottoiler doesn't seem to drip. Usually after I have applied oil to a chain there is a risk of a few drips from the chain. This means that with the bicycle I use for commuting which I keep in the hallway I have to put a piece of card to prevent the carpet from being damaged. With the Scottoiler I don't ever have a need to do this.
What disadvantages are there?
For me it is very hard to think of disadvantages. People that worry very much about how their bicycle looks might not like the look of the Scottoiler system. Extreme weight weenies might be concerned about the very small increase in weight. I don't really do "mountain biking" but it could be that a mountain biker would fear that the little tubes could be pulled off by branches etc. The closest I get to "mountain biking" is riding along rough paths and bridle-ways etc. but I haven't had any problems.