Did you know that the humble ‘Scottoiler’ is now 35 years old?
Yup, Fraser Scott, who manufactured the first Scottoiler did so back in 1984. In a press release celebrating the 30 year anniversary, Fraser said: “Bikes have always been part of my life. My first memory was falling off my dad’s Triumph Twin back in 1937 when I was two years old. From then on I was obsessed with bikes. Back then we used them for everything: camping trips, walking holidays and then scrambling kept me busy for many years until I invented the Scottoiler.” By now Fraser was 42 years old and he was about to take a big step into the unknown. “I worked on it for five years to perfect the design, and in this time I realised that not only did the O-rings not wear out but the entire chain was cleaner and more efficient. I knew I had to share this invention, even if the time spent designing it and the money it cost meant my social life and savings had suffered!”
In 1984, Westclox of Dumbarton were commissioned to manufacture 10,000 Scottoilers in time for the NEC show of 1984. Fraser said: “Unfortunately, in a collapsing motorcycle market, we sold about 50 kits to an indifferent public!” The whole Scottoiler project was sold back to Fraser, lock-stock for 1985. “Having no capital left to relaunch, I decided to sell kits by mail order and rely on the good old bikers’ word-of-mouth to build up sales. Satisfied customers then recommended them to dealers and in turn wholesalers. Five years later it was just too big for me to handle on my own so I hired some staff and slowly the whole thing became more professional!”
Today more than 20 people work for Scottoiler in the factory just north of Glasgow and – while he still acts as an innovator, Fraser has taken more of a back seat and handed the reins over to daughter, Fiona, who joined the company back in 1986 when he came in to help with administration.
How does a Scottoiler work?
Using a Scottoiler – either the vSystem, xSystem or eSystem – can increase the life of your chain and sprockets by up to seven times and would mean less fiddling and adjusting of your chain in the long run: so you get plenty of benefits in return for a two-hour set-up job.
In a Scottoiler box you get a Reservoir Metering Valve, an injector – that delivers the oil onto the chain – the parts required to fit the system to your bike (although many extra parts to ensure good fitment to your bike are also available) and a bottle of oil which should be good for 5000 miles of use.
The vSystem (from £99.99) uses gravity to siphon the oil from the reservoir and vacuum from the engine to allow the valve to open in the system itself to deliver the oil via the carefully positioned injector to the chain. This means it only works when the bike is running. A dial at the top of the reservoir controls the flow. The main RMV system itself is easy enough to be hidden away behind bodywork, but it is handy if you can see the oil level. Routing the injector tube can be an issue – although an often good bet is to following existing wiring ensuring enough slack for suspension travel. The end of the injector is then positioned at the base of the drive sprocket where it meets the chain. Vacuum take off tubes can be attached to existing spigots on inlet manifolds or via screws on the inlet manifolds: get the right kit for your bike and it is easy enough to sort.
The eSystem (from £239.99) is an oiling system that uses a small amount of power from the battery to deliver the oil to the chain. This system can be fitted more quickly than the more traditional system (around an hour or just over) and it gives the user more flexibility in adjusting the flow rate by use of a fancy control unit with display system. Apparently other techno gubbins such as a triple-axis accelerometer and a vibration sensor is used in the eSystem to trigger the system’s oiling mode.
The xSystem (from £199.99) is the easiest to install and most user friendly chain oiler yet. The revolutionary design makes the xSystem super compact whilst providing optimal chain lubrication. The new Scottoiler xSystem is perfect for your modern commuter or tourer, looking for a discreet solution to chain maintenance – using, as it does – a triple-axis accelerometer to ensure that xSystem only lubricates when you are moving (ahem!)
So, over the last 30 years the Scottoiler has come on leaps and bounds.
1979: Fraser Scott comes up with idea for vacuum-operated chain oiler.
1983: Design finalised and partnership with TML who commission Westclox to manufacture them.
1984: Launched at the NEC show.
1985: Partnership with TML ends, Scott buys all tooling and parts.
1986: F.M. Scottoilers Ltd formed. Fraser’s Scott’s daughter Fiona joins the business to handle the admin.
1992: Now trading as Scottoiler (Scotland) Ltd.
2000: Relocates to new headquarters in Milngavie.
2003: Award-winning FS365 corrosion protector spray introduced.
2007: Robbie Allan completes 3000 miles on one chain at the Dakar race – thanks to a Scottoiler.
2009: Kits for KTMs and BMWs introduced, as are the new state-of-the-art electronic ‘eSystem’ oiler.
2011: Scottoiler and Globebusters make it from London to Mt Everest on one chain and no adjustments.
2012: Scottoiler enters into partnership with BMW Motorrad.
2013: More kits released for Triumph Tiger 800, Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki VStrom models.
2015: Scottoiler celebrates 30th anniversary.
2018: All-new xSystem introduced!