Here’s how lubing your bicycle chain works: you lube the whole thing all at once, then you don’t lube it again until it dries out or needs to be cleaned … right? Well, the designers at Glasgow-based Scottoiler have what they think is a better idea. Their Cycle S1 is a device that continually dispenses lube onto the chain at regular intervals, as you’re riding.
The unit mounts on the down tube or seat tube via rubber straps, with a thin hose running from it down to the lower jockey wheel on the rear derailleur. You fill its 30-ml reservoir up with the company’s own house-brand biodegradable lube (no word on third-party lube compatibility), which can be washed from the chain using water – that means you won’t need solvent to clean it off, once it starts gunking up.
Using arrow buttons on the S1, you then select the frequency at which you want it to release its squirts of lubricant. This can range from intervals of once every 30 to 150 seconds. You might not need much if you’re road cycling under dry conditions, for instance, but you’ll need a lot more if you’re going through muddy puddles on a mountain bike.
From there, an accelerometer in the device detects when you start pedalling. Once you’re going, a pump pushes the lube out at the desired rate. One pair of AAA batteries should be good for 200 hours of use, with one lube-fill lasting for 10.5 to 52 hours of cycling, depending on the flow rate chosen.
The whole system, with a full tank of lube, tips the scales at 210 grams.
The Cycle S1 is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of £129 (about US$150) will get you one – when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is $280.
Scottoiler already makes a beefier version of the system, incidentally, for use on motorcycles.