Chainoiler road tests in RiDE magazine.

Some time ago an article was published in the UK publication RiDE magazine under the title 'chainoiler road test'. Writer and fitter Matt Hull and photographer Mark Manning tested six chainoilers. The Loobman squeeze and go chainoiler did not do very well and we at Loobman would like to thank RiDE for this because we feel we have managed to learn a lot from it, however if anyone has any further comments, we would be glad to hear them.

We would be especially grateful to hear from Mr. Matt Hull himself but after several letters and emails to RiDE, we have not received any acknowledgement so far, however we do appreciate that the RiDE staff are very busy and they don't have much time for reading. All the same let's look at some of the points Matt raised in the article and see what lessons can be learned from them anyway.

Matt tells us that he found the Loobman instructions 'totally confusing' and we got worried about this because those instructions included for example, the sentence; ''NOTE. Identify RIGHT WAY UP from illustrations. Oil WILL NOT REACH sprocket if HEAD is fitted UPSIDE DOWN'. We thought the bold typed capital letters would make this rather important point stand out and we wondered why Matt had been so confused by it. We concluded that perhaps he didn't read very carefully because we can see from Mark's photograph that he fitted the Loobman delivery head upside down anyway.

This may have been because there were too many illustrations of the head right way up and that perhaps we should have put in one of it upside down with a nice big cross through it to make it clearer because without a wrong way up illustration, it must have been confusing.

Next Matt says that the Loobman was 'Impossible to fit safely to our Triumph' and again we were stumped! We thought the Triumph was pretty straightforward but the word 'safely' made us wonder what possible dangers could lurk in the fitting of a chainoiler. But Matt clarifies this as he goes on to tell us about a handy little short cut he has come up with. He says 'we cut it down and mounted it on the shark fin mount' and that's when we realised he wasn't working from the Loobman instructions anyway.

Short cuts and safety don't always go hand in hand and we don't think an expert like Matt Hull should need us to tell him that Triumph had safety in mind when they put the shark fin there in the first place. It's supposed to prevent the rider or passenger getting something (like a foot for example) chewed up by the chain and we can't see what inspired Matt to remove it but we think he should hang his head in shame while the safety police wag a finger at him. Meanwhile we'll just say don't do this at home folks.

We are then told that 'During the road test the delivery head disappeared'. But this time we were not surprised because Mark's picture also shows us exactly how low Matt had fitted it on the sprocket. And again we pondered long and hard about why he had done this, because again the text says [Fit it] 'Too low and head may be trapped between chain and sprocket'. Then it says; 'Correct position is at 9 o'clock on sprocket'

After scratching our heads wondering what had confused Matt about these two sentences we had to conclude that he probably had not read this bit very carefully either.

But in fairness to ourselves we felt that, before he dismissed the instructions altogether, Matt might have at least cast an eye over those 'hand drawn pictures'. In particular the one of the sprocket, where it looks like a little clock face. We thought the ticked arrow pointing at nine o'clock and the crossed arrows pointing at the eight and ten might have conveyed some sort of message, even to the most casual observer.

But there's no arrow pointing at seven o'clock so perhaps that's why it got fitted there. We didn't actually say DON'T put it at seven so we have to take the blame again because illustrations are clearly no more idiot proof than written text if they're not looked at.

On a brighter note, the Loobman scored a much healthier five out of ten in the road test and an impressive eight out of ten in value for money, which we thought was brilliant considering it didn't put any oil on the chain of the Triumph.

Having already told us that the head 'disappeared', it seems unlikely Matt had time to discover it didn't work. However it was upside down, and it won't work upside down. And for that reason, while we would like to thank Matt Hull for his generosity in trying to push our scores back up a little, in all honesty, in light of the above and with hand on heart, we feel we have to sacrifice those points in favour of the facts, and to remind Matt not to contradict himself in print,

So in conclusion, here are some of the lessons we've managed to glean from Matts article;

Lesson 1

  • People don't read instructions, but they don't always look at drawings either so if there's a right and a wrong way, you can bet the rent they'll get it wrong.

Lesson 2

  • If there's a possible short cut to save a bit of time, there will always be someone who thinks it's a good idea. But when it goes wrong, they won't want to admit it was not such a good idea after all.

Lesson 3

  • If you don't want your delivery head (Loobman or otherwise) to 'disappear', don't fit it where the chain meets the sprocket.

Lesson 4

  • If you don't want anything else to disappear (delivery head, loose clothing, piece of your foot) make sure your chain-guard is in place to protect you from the chain, especially if the sprocket is outside the swinging arm like on a Triumph.

We would like to thank RiDE again for their feedback and we have done our best to take on board what we have learned and apply it to our AB chainoiler. The AB delivery head cannot be fitted upside down and with push button operation, you can't squeeze oil from the bottle onto your glove. The AB comes mostly pre-assembled so we have managed to reduce the instructions to a single page, however they still contain illustrations and written text..

Ride safe.

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