One of the things that I have really enjoyed in the 20-plus years that I have been scribbling this column is stumbling upon little, off-the-wall products that I never knew existed. I’m not talking about essential, big-ticket items that define the overall riding experience; but rather little sundry products created by fertile minds to address an unmet need or to resolve a minor irritant. These are the products that elicit the response: “Why didn’t I think of that?” Thanks to MOA member (and satisfied customer) Dick Daniels, I was introduced to the GreaseNinja® chain oiler.
But first, let me give you a bit of background. Drive chains have turned wheels for centuries. With the advent of the shaft drive, campfire discourse has been waged in favor of one technology over the other. While in my lifetime the drive chain has been substantially improved in both quality and service life, Nevertheless, it still requires lubrication.
This is a service task that any rider can do. But depending upon the access to the chain of any particular bike, it still can be a challenge to provide the correct amount of lubricant to the correct area of the chain without spewing the excess all over the rear wheel, swingarm and the garage floor. That is, unless you have the GreaseNinja.
The Grease Ninja is a chuck of plastic with a hole in it. Rather inelegant, but efficient. Okay, picture this: you take a small rectangular block of white plastic and cut two parallel channels into the underside. Inside each of these channels you drill a small hole that join one another in a third small hole that exits through the top of the plastic block (kind of like an upside down “Y”). You with me so far?
Now take the plastic block and place it on top of the bottom run of the drive chain on your bike so that the side plates of the chain fit inside the two channels in the block. Now take a small plastic tube and fit one end into the hole on top of the plastic block and the other end into your can of chain lube. Can you see where I’m going with this?
When you spray the lube, it travels down the plastic tube, into the hole on top of the plastic block and finally exits the block through the two holes that are situated directly over the ends of the chain rollers and side plates.
“But how do you move the chain through the block in order to lube the entire chain?” you ask. Take a length of heavy gauge copper wire anchoring one end to the plastic block and wrap the other end around the can of chain lube. Since the plastic block is now rigidly attached to the can of lube, as you rotate the rear wheel the block remains stationary. Depress the spray nozzle on the can, and as the chain passes through the block, it’s being lubricated. Brilliant, huh?
The good news is you don’t have to go out and get all of the materials and try to make one. For $15 you can order the Grease Ninja.
To try out the Ninja, I lined up five bikes in the garage, raised the rear wheels and started lubing chains. This was the first time I didn’t have to clean the swingarm and rear wheel of overspray nor lay down the equivalent of the Sunday edition of the New York Times to protect the garage floor. Other than a bit of drippage directly under the Ninja, the chain was properly lubed with no mess or wasted lube.
One suggestion, however, was mentioned briefly in the supplied instructions. After wrapping the end of the copper wire around the can of lube, secure it with either a hose clamp or (my preference) duct tape. Otherwise, the plastic block can be difficult to hold rigidly in place while the chain is passing through it.
The Grease Ninja is available for popular chain sizes (#520, #525 and #530). Other sizes are also available for small displacement bikes (like my beloved Hodaka Wombat) and even bicycles. The Ninja is designed for O-ring, X-ring, as well as “no-ring” chains.
The Grease Ninja sells for $15 and has a three-year warranty. To order, or for additional information, contact Grease Ninja, P.O. Box 153, St. Peters, PA 19470, 610-469-0547, www.greaseninja.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again, Dick Daniels, for the tip.