Does this chain lubing hack damage Shimano motors?

by 11

Sticking a Torx or Allen key into a chainring bolt and then backpedalling the cranks is a common method for oiling ebike chains. But have we been knackering our motors?

In a word: fine

One of the things that all ebike owners will remember is the first time they went to oil their new ebike’s chain and… er, it didn’t work out as normal.

Essentially, because ebike motors operate via a clutch sort out engagement, you can’t backpedal a chain on an ebike.

The cranks spin but the chain just sits there, looking at you.

There are various workarounds when it comes to oiling an ebike chain.

Some folk put the ebike in a workstand and pedal forward whilst oiling. This requires having a strong enough workstand to hand.

Some folk put the bike upside down (I can hear the winces from here) and oil the chain whilst pedalling forward. This method is not great when it comes to potential damage of bar-mounted controls and/or displays.

Some folk oil whatever sections of exposed chain that they can get at, then they roll the bike backwards along the ground a bit to expose the un-oiled chain sections and oil those. This is an okay method but is a bit faffy.

Personally speaking, I’m one of those folks who jam an Allen key into a chainring and force the drivetrain into backpedalling and oil the chain just like a normal bike.

You can see my old revelatory Instagram post about this method from a couple of years ago…

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Benji Haworth (@benjihaworth)

Up until recently, I confess to never really even think about whether this ‘forcing’ method was a good idea in a motor-ruining sense. Then Muc-Off came out with their E-Bike Drivetrain Tool, that subsequently provoked all kinds of armchair expert finger-wagging about how it wrecks motors.

Anyway, to cut a long story short. I asked Shimano and they said not to worry. It’s okay.

Shimano UK: “Turning the chainring backwards is no problem for the STEPS motor. Except maybe scratches on chainring or crank from the ‘special tool’.”


As you were.

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Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Does this chain lubing hack damage Shimano motors?
  • argee
    Full Member

    I’d have hoped we’ve been using BLDC motors for long enough to understand that this wouldn’t cause an issue, unless Shimano had done something weird with their motor!

    Full Member

    Great clickbait headline. Here’s a spoiler for people who don’t want to read the article to find out.

    Full Member

    Betteridge’s law applies

    Full Member

    I can’t believe I just read all of that.

    Full Member

    That’s just not an article

    Free Member

    We backpedalled our shimano motor. You wont BELIEVE what happens next..

    Full Member

    One simple trick to back pedal a motor…..

    Full Member

    “aarrrggghhhh we’re struggling for content! What can we do?!?!”

    “put out and article saying everything is fine?”

    “splendid idea”

    Full Member

    In all fairness, they did check with Shimano to make sure it was ok…that was worth reporting!

    Definitely appears to be a very slow news day for that to appear as an article, but then as I don’t own an ebike, I’ve no idea how many ebike owners think about this as something to be concerned about…so this might be the news they’ve all been waiting for.

    Full Member

    Twenty **** quid. Muc Off certainly aren’t ones to miss a trick with parting fools from their money eh.

    Full Member

    Ooh is there no swear filter on “charged” ? I must shitting well apologise for that cock up 😀
    (uh, it’s starred it now. How confuzing)

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

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