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Linklyfe chain cleaner/lube

Way back when, there was a chain cleaner/lube product called Linklyfe (lLinklife?). It was solid, waxy in appearance, came in a flat round tin (blue & yellow?). You hooked a piece of wire on one end of your rear chain (off the bike) and laid it in the tin. Popped the tin on the stove (with the missus away- it stunkl!), and gently heated the tin. As the wax melted, the chain would sink down into it, and the softened lube would penetrate deep into the plates and rollers. After 10-15 minutes, turn off the heat, and lift the tin off the stove very carefully, so it didnt tip and spill the hot, liquid wax. dont forget the gloves (you'll only do that once...)....Place tin on the floor, carefully lift chain by the wire and suspend over the tin, to allow excess lube to run back into the tin for use again later.

Allow chain to cool off and dry; refit on bike.

I've looked on Amazon, but this product no longer seems available, only the aerosol stuff.

Obviously no good for o-ring chains- but who has these on a Norton?

Any ideas?

PS just found Putoline chain wax , similar stuff, £25. Anybody tried this product?


In my youth, we always brushed the chains of our speedway bikes very thorough with kerosene (paraffin) and let them dry, before laying them in the tin. One guy mixed his own from sheep fat and graphite. Smelled horrible.


As I never throw anything away ,and am a bit ancient ,I still have mine !.  Its a very good product ,and I have not found anything better for a non sealed chain.  I expect the act of washing the chain in parafin and the removal of all the grit is part of the secret to long chain life. A tin of Putolene would be good as a top up. A spare length of old chain is vital to pull over the sprockets to ease the job. A word of warning, do not lift the hot tin by the handle, it is not balanced and will spill.I put my tin on a bed of bricks by the garden wall,,heat the tin with a blow lamp from under and the nail is there above the tin,ready to drain. Inbetween its luxury baths my chain gets a light oiling from a Scottoiler.


I have used Putoline Chain Wax  for the last 9 years. Before that I had an old tin of Linklyfe. I used to give the rear chain on my 650 a clean and dunk every 1000 miles and a bonus dip before each Begonia or NOC International. My non-expert opinion is that the Linklyfe was superior and did what it said on the tin. The Putoline does not smell as bad when heated but is very pale and appears to be a mix of just candle wax and a spoonful of Graphite goo. Whereas the Linklyfe was quite dark and seemed to contain jugfulls of Graphite and some other (probably highly toxic) ingredients. 

Despite all the chain swimming lessons, I still ended up junking two chains after pitiful mileages. I thought this was due to the tin of Putoline failing to do its job. Then I discovered that Renolds Chains are now a back street enterprize and the quality of their 3/8 x 5/8 offerings nothing like those in the 60s and 70s. In fact most well-travelled Norton riders use 4 letter words to describe these chains and strongly recommend any other brand as better value for money.

A couple of points relating to application.  I do exactly the same as Michael but after the chain has dropped below the surface of the goo and been cooked for about 5 minutes I give it a good stir to encourage further penetration of the roller bearings. I then simmer for another 5 minutes before also hanging up the chain to drip until cold.  Some people disagree with this last move and recommend the chain is left to cool off inside the tin. This definitely leaves the chain coated both internally and externally but makes refitting to the bike a horribly messy job.

Photo shows Renolds chain after less than a few hundred miles of use.


The last time I bought a tin must have been in the late 80s, and the dealer who sold it to me could hardly stop himself ribbing me for being so out of date, even then. I think sealed chains and endless chains killed the market although a lack of willingness of bike owners to get their hands dirty must have contributed too.

It was certainly good stuff. I used a Coleman camping stove to heat it up, and the important thing was to heat the wax into a liquid without then letting it overheat and boil over. This usually meant nudging the stove out of the way and then carefully applying more heat when needed. I would not have dreamed of moving the tin while the wax was still molten, as there would be a very high chance of spillage. A blow-torch would have been a much better idea than a camping stove! I also hung up the chain to cool - it would have been a mess otherwise.



Just read the comments about Linklyfe.  I still have tin somewhere, must find it and dunk the Jubilee chain in it. Thanks.


Phillip, thats a very good point you raise about the quality of Renold chains.It sounds like a lot of once-respected names that trade on the name, but otherwise bear no resemblance to what us oldies used to use. Think I saw elsewhere that the Renold brand tubing now available is nothing like the 531 our Manx frames were made of, and is widely shunned in the frame world by those in the know.

Its the same I think with Lucas, we have all seen the "Genuine Lucas" lamps etc in the ads and at jumbles. Speaking of jumbles (oh how ****ed I was last weekend with no Kempton Park!!), there's a guy I see there called simply the Chain Guy. I might have a chat with him- if I ever get back to K-P.

What chains are NOCCERs buying these days?


I did motocross as a teenager and tipped a whole tin of this molten goodness all over Dad’s garage floor. Had to let it set before scraping it up he wasn’t too impressed


Renold as I understand it only market chains for industrial use and pulled out of the cycle and motorcycle market years ago.  Putting 50 to 150+ horse power through a chain exposed to the elements is so fundamentally bad engineering that they stick to industrial uses where chains are used within their design parameters, including constant lubrication. Ironically because the bicycle gave rise to the chain in the first place.


O ring sealed chains definitely last longer. I managed to squeeze 30,000 miles out of my first one compared to just a fraction of that with a genuine Renold chain. I am guessing that a sealed chain contains a dollop of grease in each roller. I often wonder whether these expensive tins of spray goo specifically for O ring chains actually get any oil past the seals and into the bearings.

Are there any manufacturing names from the 60s that still produce quality gear?

Lucas Electricals - can be dodgy

Hepolite Pistons - ok if you keep the revs low

Renolds Chains - out of favour

Norton 961 Motorcycles - interesting stationary investments

Avon Tyres - seem to be ok for now.


Think all the lube does is keep the o rings wet and stops rusting


For O-ring chains, the oil is only really needed to go between the roller (the bit that engages the sprocket teeth) and the outer of the bush (the bush is in the inner link  - the bit the pins on each outer link go through)- the o-ring only seals grease between the pins and the bush. Of course, not all chains have seperate rollers nowadays, but the good ones still do.


O ring chains and somewhat less X ring chains have one drawback. They are not as efficient transmitting power as an open chain. Doesn't matter much if you have four times the power that our Nortons have. Though some dirt bike racers for that reason prefer open chains and use the old fashion method of cleaning and cooking their chains. Also note the modern practice to always replace chain and sprockets. Plus using a rivet link instead of a spring link.


Untill recently none of my bikes have had  sealed chains. My lads bikes have and I have helped spray cleaner on them,brush and spray the varius wax products that they bought. They moan about mess  if I oil anything.  Their chains go rusty and develop tight spots .Not impressed,but its their bike. I recently aquired my Nephews big Honda which was loved and pampered and serviced  to death. I checked the chain slack and all seemed fine and snug waxy but a bit stiff. The Honda manual said oil with EP 90 ,so thats what I did . After a 50 mile run the chain is drooping and banging but no longer stiff, a lot of adjustment is needed . There is now some mess.Spray  wax clearly is not a lubricant and won't stop rust. A big Company like Honda knows whats needed. ---- OIL. (and mess!!), get a Scottoiler  , or a Sunbeam!!.  They had it sorted  90 years ago.


Yes it’s funny that with all these wonder chain products,bike manufacturers still advise good old EP90. I believe oil is best quite lik the look of theTutoro auto oiler. Also been reading if about chainsaw chain oil, oily but sticky, 5 litres for £15


My son used the Scottoiler on the MT10  and it just eliminated chain maintenance, Centrifugal action of sprocket spins the oil into the chain and grit gets washed off. A bit messy but simple .The chain always looked clean and oily. I am trying the thing on the 99. Fit ,fill and forget for  many months /years ,then top up with oil when it tells you.Fully automatic  ,switches itself on and off. Only runs when the bike does.  Can be completely invisible if you were sensible enough to keep that Deluxe paneling. The rear enclosed  chain case  finally comes good as it collects the oil/grit and dumps it out of a carefully placed drain hole at the lowest point.


Well, looking at Peter Banks' great photo I was half right- got the yellow bit! Note the tin says wash chain in petrol or white spirit AND NOT parafin, as was used by an earlier poster.


Not so good translating Swedish to English. What I used 50 years ago was what you call White spirit.

Not only Sunbeam. On a Vincent you can adjust amount diverted to rear chain from return to tank. On BSA unit singles, a tiny hole supply oil to rear chain from primary case. On some Nortons breather pipe give some oil to rear chain.


There is a very simple solution to  prolonging chain life, and that's an enclosed chain. My Norton rotary had one that held about half a cupful of any old oil and NEVER leaked , when I sold it with around 113000 miles on the clock it was still running original chain and sprockets, I sometimes needed to adjust it but only once a year. It was a simple Reynolds chain with no O rings so the oil got everywhere.

I once rang Norton out of curiosity and asked had they got any gearbox sprockets for the Rotary, the reply came "We've got a bl**dy pallet full how many do you want"?.    :~)


I bout a few cheap Chinese chains from Neil Hudson to use in my MX bikes, they lasted as long as the more expensive DID, JT or RK chains I normally buy.  I don’t use o ring chains on the MX bikes, they don’t run as smoothly through rollers etc and sap a bit of HP - I change them after about 10 meetings. Spray lube seems to work well provided you can spin the wheel. But I hate the white stuff! 

On my Bandit I fitted a Scott oiler, did thousands of Miles over Europe without needing to adjust it, in fact I think I sold the bike with the same chain on it.  

Might put one one the Metisse and see how it works.


Dont know if any pro riders use one, I would think that providing there is loads of oil the muck would be unable to stick and get flung off , The tyre would self clean on the rough and we are not prissy about a bit of oil.


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