Do not buy this product. Unfortunately that’s not me being facetious. This isn’t one of those articles where I’m trying to be clever, telling you not to buy it because it’s too good or something. It isn’t. S100 White Chain Spray 2.0 is simply not fit for purpose. It does not work. Do not buy it.
Let me give you a bit of background here. I am not a terribly handy person – not as much as I’d like to be, at least. I can’t rebuild a bike, for example. When RideApart’s Jason Marker posts Instagram photos of the old bikes he’s working on it’s more often the case that I have no idea what he’s tearing up. Like these carburetors; I only know what they are because Jason has identified them as such. I wouldn’t have been able to guess that on my own. Even after having been told what they are I don’t really know what he would be trying to do beyond “make them not be broken.”
As a result of my subpar knowledge I have a tendency to overcompensate in terms of the frequency and meticulousness of jobs I can do. If I replace brake pads, for example, I don’t just replace the pads – I clean everything. The entire caliper assembly, the pistons, those tiny bits of metal that no one knows the name of, all of it. With a toothbrush and chemicals that almost certainly cause cancer. So, I’m sure you can imagine how thorough I am with an easy job like chain maintenance.
This tendency has grown in intensity in recent months thanks to two things. Firstly, there is the fact I got a Triumph Bonneville T120 back in March. An unexpected side-effect of Bonnie ownership is a deep, unabiding desire to keep the thing in good condition. The first time you rub in Muc Off Miracle Shine, seeing your reflection in the tank, you become addicted to keeping the thing beautiful. You find unreasonable joy in the compliments you get from people at gas stations and cafes.
Secondly, you know, I’m crazy*. So making sure stuff is clean and well-maintained is important – way more important than it should be. Typically it takes me two hours to clean my bike, though I have been known to take up to three hours in a detailed, cleaning-each-spoke process. Either way, my cleaning regime always includes taking care of the chain. I go through this process every week. If for some reason I’m not able to do a full wash, I will at least make sure to fully clean and lube the chain. Beyond that, I spray on extra lube after wet rides and sometimes before. Partially as a result of my fastidiousness, the Bonneville’s chain has barely stretched. With more than 8,000 miles now on the clock its chain freeplay is still within Triumph’s recommendations.
You see where I’m going with this? Up until a few weeks ago every facet of my bike was in showroom condition despite the fact I put ~200 miles a week on the thing. People probably think that I just bought it, or that I’m one of those dudes who clocks 50 miles a year; in fact, I ride my Bonneville T120 every single day. And I take psychotic-level pride in the fact it doesn’t look like it.
Now look at this:
Look at that rusty chain! That is my bike’s chain after I made the mistake of relying on S100 White Chain Spray 2.0 for a week.
So, let’s back up a few months to when I shared a cautionary tale about the importance of chain maintenance. Shortly afterward the folks at SDoc got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in trying out some of their products. I find it charming that companies ask if I want free stuff. Of course I do; it’s free stuff.
And in this instance I was really excited about the free stuff because SDoc has a good reputation. Its (pricey) S100 Gel Cleaner Spray is frequently recommended in videos and magazines and such, for example. (I should point out that I have not had a chance to try it, preferring either Muc-Off Bike Cleaner or Rhino Goo Fast Action Cleaner) In this case, SDoc sent a can of SDoc S100 Chain Cleaner (which worked well, and which I do recommend), a Clean Bob spray guard (which is supposed to prevent you spraying chain grease onto the bike rather than the chain but doesn’t really work better than a piece of cardboard), and the aforementioned S100 White Chain Spray 2.0.
It took me a while to get around to using the chain spray because I wanted to first use up two cans of Silkolene Chain Lube. Silkolene is OK, by the way. It comes off more easily than I would like – especially in temperatures above 17ºC – which means it ends up splattering onto your exhaust and wheel. That latter issue might be of particular concern to folks who push their bikes really hard but I’ve never had any sort of tire slip as a result of it.
But most importantly, Silkolene does what it’s supposed to do: protect my chain from rusty death. (While we’re on the exciting subject of chain lube I’ve found that my favorite products are Muc Off All-Weather Chain Lube, WD-40 Chain Lube, and Motul Chain Lube. I particularly like the Muc-Off because it leaves a slightly purplish residue that makes it easy to see if you’ve missed any spots.)
A week before Motorcycle Live, the Silkolene finally ran out and I eagerly cracked open my can of S100 White Chain Spray 2.0. It was a rainy week – as all Welsh weeks are in winter – so I made sure to throw on a little extra after wet rides. Triumph’s over-cautious advice is to lube the Bonneville T120’s chain every 200 miles as well as after riding in the wet. I agree that’s overkill but I still pretty much adhere to it, just to be safe.
The ancient Celts referred to winter as “The Long Dark.” The description is apt in Britain; from November to April I’m riding to and from work in vampire-friendly conditions. This means I didn’t get a chance during the week to really squat down and inspect my chain. That’s not something I would have really thought to do anyway, though, because I’ve owned a number of chain-driven bikes over the years – riding them thousands of miles in all weathers – and I have never, ever, not even once had this sort of thing happen before.
‘I clean everything. With a toothbrush and chemicals that almost certainly cause cancer.’
On the Saturday of that week, when I would normally clean my bike, I set out in the wee hours (again in the dark) for Birmingham to catch one of the final days of Motorcycle Live. Because Birmingham is 125 miles away, which meant clocking ~250 miles for the day, I threw on a little extra chain spray just before leaving.
It rained the whole whole way up to Birmingham and the whole down. The journey from TMO’s palatial HQ to the National Exhibition Centre, where Motorcycle Live is held, is almost entirely motorway, so I would have been holding steady speeds of 55-65 mph depending on heaviness of rain/traffic/etc. I mention all this in the spirit of fairness; the bike was ridden at motorway speeds in the rain for a distance greater than the chain lube interval suggested by Triumph. If SDoc wants to insist that the failure of its product is down to misuse, there’s the supporting evidence for such a claim. However, I again point out that in all my years of riding both my own bikes and long-term loan bikes over thousands and thousands of miles, I have never seen a chain go to shit the way it did here.
The next morning I pulled the bike from its shed for its weekly cleaning and discovered the chain was bone dry and covered in rust. Remember, the manufacturer chain is not a cheap-o product. Up until I started using the S100 spray it had gone for 8,000 miles without needing adjustment or showing any real signs of wear and tear. But after a week of wet riding with seemingly no protection – despite multiple reapplications of S100 – it looked like hell.
Note what I’m saying here. I’m not accusing SDoc of making a product that actually damaged my chain – the rain did that. I’m saying it made a product that is not fit for purpose, a product that completely and utterly failed to protect my chain from the rain.
RELATED: How to Ride in the Rain
SDoc’s website says its chain spray consists of a “unique German-engineered formula [which] ensures excellent penetration of the chain with a resistant coating from washing off at high speeds and rainfall.” I’ve proven that’s simply not true. Indeed, just to test things I sprayed on more chain spray and found it came off more easily than mud when hit with a hose.
I’ve aggressively cleaned the chain a few times since then and it’s still working fine – now being kept greasy by the aforementioned Muc-Off chain spray. It certainly didn’t suffer enough damage that it needs to be replaced anytime soon. But I’m annoyed the bike no longer has its fresh-from-the-showroom quality. I’ll live. But I definitely won’t be buying any more S100 White Chain Spray 2.0. I’d suggest you don’t either.
* For those who have expressed concern, I really do appreciate it. I am seeking help; I’m hopeful I can get back on track soon.