Product review: ChainMate

I can always remember my mum going to the Ideal Home exhibition each year and coming back with the latest gadget to make her domestic life easier. In reality it never did and after several uses it was consigned to the back of a cupboard with others of its ilk as they generally were more labour intensive and made the task more complex and time consuming than it needed to be. So I have shied away from ‘new inventions’ that is until now. My faith in new tools has been restored by a guy called Gary Venning who has come up with something that actually works at reasonable cost and makes cleaning and oiling motorcycle chains quick and easy and more importantly, a clean task. Ian Kerr reviews ChainMate.

Now while the modern chain thankfully no longer needs to be removed, cleaned and boiled in a can of grease to give it some longevity, it still needs maintenance. Modern day spray cans make the tasks a lot easier than before, but they do not eliminate the mess that ends up on the rear of the bike and in particular the rear wheel.

It was this that prompted Gary to invent a method of applying the spray directly onto the chain without it going elsewhere and making an unsightly mess guaranteed to attract more dirt and grime. Even the best chain lube on the market ‘Yamalube’ (made by Yamaha), which actually stays on the chain and does not drip off, can go elsewhere if your hand slips while applying it!

ChainMate is a delightfully simple way of ensuring that does not happen by directing the lube, or cleaning spray, where it needs to be, and that is evenly spread across the whole width and length of the chain.

The heart of the matter is made out of green engineering plastic that clamps around the chain on the lower run, (or upper run if there is no obstruction by a chain-guard) which takes literally seconds. It then directs the spray onto all of the exposed areas of the chain by small internal drillings as it is rotated through it, supplied by the spray can which is connected to it by plastic tubing.

The ChainMate can either be held by its handle, or you can use the additional can holder, to make it easier to operate with one hand while the other spins the rear wheel. (Obviously those bikes with only a side-stand will either need a ‘wheel roller’ or a race stand to allow this to happen.)

For a lot of my older machines I have been using the straight ChainMate which has been designed for motorcycles with easy access to the chain either on lower or upper runs. The design allows the front section of the ChainMate to be changed for a different size to fit the main three chain sizes – 520, 525, or 530.  So you just use the main body with the appropriate front depending on the chain size, very useful when needing to work on a variety of bikes!

If you have a bike with a centre or rear stand, then there is a separate base with an upright rod available that allows you to position the holder at the right height and support it to make life even easier!

On my more modern machines I have been using the curved version that is fitted around the chain while it is going around the rear sprocket, but again manufactured in the same material and working on the same principle. Once again the clever thing here is that there are just four sizes of ChainMate needed to cope with the various radii of rear sprockets and a set of shims that go in-between the plastic clamps that mean virtually every bike with a rear chain on the market is catered for.

I have been using both the two types on various machines and found it does exactly what it claims to do without getting lube everywhere else. Eventually — despite the obvious time saving and cleanliness — it will also save money as well as the only lube used will be on the chain.

Once you have used it a few times the time taken gets less and less and thanks to the cleanliness aspect, less of chore and therefore you are likely to use it regularly which will prolong the life of the chain, thus more financial saving!

The ChainMate website is a chain anoraks dream with information, sizes and all the variants and describes things far better than I can do in a brief review. What I can say is it works brilliantly, it is not that expensive and it is well made, British and worth every penny.

Nobody likes chain maintenance, but this really does make it quick easy and keeps the bike clean and tidy and actually works effectively.

So it is an absolute must for those who take pride in their bikes appearance and safety and I can see many dealers buying a complete set for their workshops just like I have done. Certainly no hiding in the back of a cupboard with this device — it is in use constantly!

Ian Kerr

MotoGusto 4th October 2020

Hi Gary,

Just received my ChainMates yesterday. What excellent service you have given, from my initial enquiry through to very quick delivery. Thank you.

I thought I’d let you know that I heard about  ChainMate in Desmo, the Ducati Owners Club magazine where it had a comprehensive write up. Having then looked at your Website I saw how easy it was and how it stopped spraying chain lube over the rear end of the bike. It looked so good I even decided to buy my friend who lives in Germany one too, hence the extra one for the Bonnie.

Anyway thanks once again for such excellent service, you deserve every success.

Have a great Christmas

Gavin

20th December 2019

This really is a brilliant little piece of kit. You can clean or lube your chain in minutes. And it’s hassle free, which saves me from spending a large amount of time on my knees trying to lubricate the hard to reach areas.

Definitely worth the money on time saving alone.

Word of advice, check your chain size, if you’re unsure then just ask Gary, his responses were bang on.

Paul L (BMW S1000R)

7th September 2019

WOW – what a fabulous tool . Chain lubricated thoroughly in about 2 min, with no mess, wastage or overspray . I reckon it will pay for itself inside a year given how little spray I had to use .

As it happens, I tried the short straw with S Doc 100 without the tubes you supplied and with the stand it was a piece of cake.

Mitch (Ascot)

7th July 2018

Hello Gary,

Just a quick line to say I have just used the ChainMate to clean and oil the chain on my Ducati Panigale V4 and it worked a treat no mess and chain oiled successfully and it didn’t take long. Refreshing to find something in this day and age that actually works!

Roger

March 2020

I am most happy to have received the chainmate and the holder just today. I have tried it out and it works brilliantly. The holder is easy to use and works very well. 

Here a picture how happy I am😄

Thanks a lot for sending me the chainchecker also! It is really kind of you. Thanks 🙏 

I will be busy with some exams the next week. After that please be sure I will post  most positive reviews on the top Danish motorcycle forums here.

Allan (Denmark)

10th June 2019

I’ve only used it on the one bike so far (Blade) but its great. The chainmate has now turned into another piece of equipment to find a spot for in the garage but in this case I don’t mind. I generally find I order “gimmicky” things that are supposed to make life easier and end up binning them as they are more hassle than they are worth but I can honestly say this won’t be happening with the chainmate. Once the bike is up on stands it’s 10 seconds to set it up and only 10 seconds to lube chain and virtually no mess, what more could I want!

What I actually do when I use it is give the chain a blast?clean (through the chainmate) with a light oil spray first to get into all the nooks and crannies and then give it a wipe, then another lap with chain lube. Unfortunately I use a clear dry lube which I can’t see so I have no idea how much of the chain is covered , I presume its everywhere as its leaving the can and not getting waste with overspray etc so it must be going somewhere lol. I might try some white lube at some point just to check.

Thanks for actually making a gimmicky product that does what its meant to and actually does make life easier

Steve (Durham)

5th July 2018