Tutoro Auto Chain Oiler Review
Chain oilers are useful things, especially if you’re covering lots of miles, or commuting on a daily basis in all weathers. You might think that you will be bothered to oil your chain every day, but when you get home after a wet ride, all you want to do is get inside your warm house, get your gear off and put the kettle on. If your bike doesn’t have a centre stand, forget it.
I’ve recently started commuting again by bike, and my current bike happens to be a GSX-R1000.
It might not be the ideal bike for commuting 120 miles a day into central London, but aside from the forward cant, it’s actually a pretty capable commuter; it has enough grunt to make the motorway sections feel effortless, and enough balance and compact dimensions to make filtering through rush hour London traffic bearable.
In the past I’d had experience of Scottoiler on my CBR600, but didn’t want to cut into the throttle body vacuum pipes on my Suzuki, so I was looking for an alternative solution.
Also, as a short term contractor, I am not anticipating long term commuting, so I’d like to be able to remove the oiler without a trace when I sell the bike.
My search for automatic oilers led me to Tutoro. Tutoro make two main chain oilers, a manual total loss system, and an automatic oiler that uses a clever counter weighted system and the natural vibrations of the road below to dispense oil as the bike is moving.
My main concerns about fitting an oiler? Firstly, the bike looking messy with a chain oiler installed. My bike may be a utilitarian piece of equipment, with plugs coming out from under the seat for heated vest and battery trickle charger, but I still want it to look good when I’m out and about, so no Heath Robinson installations please!
I also remember in the days of old, the Scottoiler made a considerable mess, not just dripping on the floor of the garage, but the amount of oily crud (a mixture of oil and ground up chain & sprocket paste) thrown up around the swing arm, chain guard and front sprocket is something best left to the professionals to clean.
The Scottoiler V-system is not very clever, it works when the bike’s engine in running, but it makes no account for the speed the bike is travelling. If you ride a lot in town or at slow speed, I think this translates to an over-oiling of the chain, and that mess I was just talking about.
I’ve always been astonished at the way that motorcycles have been treated when designed; they never seem to think about the ease of maintenance. For example, whereas car brake calipers have rubber ‘dust boots’ to keep road crud from going onto the caliper pistons, motorcycle brakes are exposed to the elements, and unless regularly cleaned become ineffectual in no time.
Ditto the chain. Why are we still making motorcycles with chain drives? Isn’t it a bit old hat? Shouldn’t we be looking to install something a bit more sensible, and a bit less messy? I’ve seen bikes with rubber drive belts and tensioners, looks altogether much tidier and it’s virtually maintenance free.
I bought the Tutoro Auto standard kit which comes with brackets and cable ties etc; everything required to install the oiler. On opening up the oiler itself, I was extremely impressed with the quality; the weightiness of the unit, the quality of the plastic (like the hard wearing polycarbonate your magimix is made of) everything fits well, and has a quality feel. It may cost 50 quid, but this is a quality engineered item, and better value than the Scottoiler in my opinion. Looking good so far. I sense it has been designed by engineers.
The handy Tutoro installation videos on youtube explain the various steps in the installation process. They recommend spending 30 minutes finding the best place to install the oiler. Due to the size of the unit (it’s short in height but quite voluminous), and the fact that it has to be mounted upright (so the upward forces of the bike going over the road can move the counterweight up and down to release the oil), there are not many places on a GSX-R1000 to mount it.
I mused the problem for a couple of days, then I had a cunning plan. The ‘duck tail’ look at the rear may not be haute couture in biking style anymore, but it is good for tucking things away; the alarm is mounted on the rear right hand side, but the left hand side is a space not currently used, and that is conveniently where the chain is located too.
Furthermore, there is a little hole (presumably to allow water to drain out of the tail section) through which the oiler pipe can run. I look off the tail fairing and assessed the situation. Here’s where I put it.
I ran it for a week on the recommended settings to see how it fared.
The following week, having purchased some sticky hose clips to try and keep the installation as neat as possible, I installed the hose in as neat and tidy a way as possible, obviously the oil delivery pipe cannot get anywhere near the chain or it will cause problems, so I routed it accordingly.
I’ve been running the system for a month now at 1 turn out (1.5 turns is recommended as a starting point, and in a week (600 miles) it uses approximately a reservoir worth of oil, and the chain looks in pretty good condition. It’s not a new chain, but should last a while longer.
Topping up the oiler is easy enough, just pop the top off the unit and fill up to just under the counterweight (the weight needs to be able to move up and down in order to release the oil).
I wholeheartedly recommend the Tutoro auto chain oiler, it’s nice to know that my drive chain is in good condition, that I’m getting maximum MPG and my chain is working at its best. Certainly based upon what I’ve seen to date, I wouldn’t buy another messy V-system from Scottoiler. Their E-system looks more clever, but costs another hundred quid.
The Tutoro kit is designed to be moved from bike to bike, which is another bonus. Judging by the quality of the product, you should only need to buy one in your lifetime, and that is not an exaggeration.
All in all, a clever solution to powertrain lubrication, and from a British company to boot. As their clever design is speed dependent, when you are sitting still the machine is not moving up and down and the oiler isn’t dispensing.
Tutoro deserve a great deal of success for a well thought out beautifully engineered product. Well done!