Chains are most efficient means to drive the rear wheel of a motorcycle, hands down, no argument, but they are a real PITA. On high HP bikes, they don't last very long either. The big issue is not so much lube as it is dirt. Chains should be cleaned after every ride, but nobody does it. It is messy and not any fun at all to do. None of the methods I have seen really clean well enough and if you lube a dirty chain, you're really making the situation worse by creating a lapping compound.
Over many years I have developed a simple system that works well, but still relatively messy. After the ride, I put the bike on a stand that lifts the rear wheel. I place a catchment tray under the center of the chain. I then use a solvent spray pistol that I fill with diesel fuel. I then stray/flush the chain with compressed air keeping the pistol centered over the tray and rotating the wheel. It is fast, thorough and about the least messy as is possible. After drying, then apply any chain lube.
It all came back to me when Stevel said "making the situation worse by creating a lapping compound." LOL.
In HS (1971) my science teacher rode a red Honda cb350, I had blue Honda cb450. We talked about motorcycles, maintenance issues, all kinds of things. Chain maintenance was one of them.
My High School Science Teachers method was to remove the chain, soak it in a bath of kerosene and scrub it clean with a brush. After all the crud is off, the chain is dried and then placed in a bath of liquefied, (hot) paraffin. the paraffin was supposed to fill in all the voids where crud accumulates. Today's chain lube may replace the paraffin step or be the next step, your choice. The gears should be cleaned as they also have crud on them...
Does a chain 'C' clip have an effective service life??
Danny, In the days before the super chains were available, all motorcycle chains used master links. I can tell you from personal experience that master links and their retainers are very serious failure points and should be avoided at all costs, especially on high powered bikes. Wear, when present, creates huge side loads on the side plates that will easily blow off C clips and retainers.
Crusty, You are spot on correct. Many machines were made with enclosed, oil bath chains and were very successful. The old Dutch single speed bicycles all had enclosed chains. The MAC dump trucks used enclosed drive chains in the '50's.
My '74 Bultaco Matador has an enclosed chain with an aluminum housing over the rear sprocket with upper and lower rubber tube-like tunnels connecting the rear sprocket to the engine. The chain runs dry (not oil-bath).
This idea could work but, OTOH, it would just add unsprung weight not desirable or fitting with EBR's Trilogy of Tech.
Now, I realize that it would take a lot to set up an 1190 with a belt rear drive, but IF EBR were to come out with a Sport-Touring variant of the SX, something like an enclosed chain would add quite a bit of appeal. And if the enclosures were made of light weight plastic, they wouldn't add to the unsprung weight that much.
Supposedly, people at the factory read these forums. Maybe an enclosed chain would be something to consider.
I can see my dream EBR now; higher bars and lower footpegs, hard bags, a windshield and an enclosed chain. It really sounds like a bike I'd dearly love to ride to the Arctic Circle next June. If I can get one in red, that would really be sweet!
I even have an idea for a special "Crusty Farkle" for it!
That's an easy work around. The drive could be attached to the swingarm and the wheel attached to the drive in a manner similar to the way shaft drive bikes attach their wheels. Removing the rear wheel on my Moto Guzzi was so easy that tire changes took 45 minutes if I was being lazy. It's not new technology, it's just that fashion has made enclosed chains look clunky and heavy. It wouldn't take much to make them look attractive.
Remember when mufflers under the engine looked odd and nowhere near as fashionable as a muffler under the tail section of the seat? (The idea of a hot cylindrical object right under my butt does nothing for me, but I guess that some people like it. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).
An EBR with the ability to do quick and easy wheel changes really does have an appeal to me. Then again, I'm a nut case who put over 50,000 miles on a Sportster in a year and a half.