Motul C3 (Off Road) Chain Lube Review

Some of you would know that I have been using Motul’s very popular C2 (Road) chain lube for a very long time. It was also my primary chain lubricant when I did my 11,000km over 49 days SE Asia Tour in 2016. While the topic of chain lube – like engine oil – is very much a controversial subject when it comes to “which one is the best”, everyone has their own favourite lube. Personally, when it comes to chain lube, my opinion is that as long as you clean and lube frequently, I suspect most brand-name chain lubes would work well to protect the chain and keep it running.

But of course, there are differences.

While I’m pretty certain that the Motul C2 Chain Lube kept my chain well lubed, it also tend to attract A LOT of gunk. A HELL LOT!! I’ve previously blogged about the gooey mess that have accumulated on my chain and front sprocket after I returned from my long tour. Yes, admittedly, I had traveled on some challenging terrains – including the dusty roads of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. But I suspect the accumulated gunk might have somewhat contributed to accelerated wear on my chain – leading to an eventual uneven distribution of wear along the chain length.

Notice the gooey paste on the chain and around the sprocket? That’s a concoction of Motul C2 + lots of dirt.

MASSIVE amount of accumulated gunk around the front sprocket cover.

Initially, I had suspected that it was due to my poor chain maintenance practices – yes, while I do occasionally clean the chain, but I’ve never removed the front sprocket cover and cleaned the sprocket area prior to this. And so I cleaned up the area and would now periodically open up the cover for cleaning.

But, things didn’t seem to get any better. =( Even with a brand new chain and continued periodic cleaning, the sprocket area (and along the chain) was still accumulating lots of grimy gunk. And I hated it – primarily because I knew very well that it’s exactly this grinding paste that would accelerate chain wear.

Grime surrounding the newly installed chain at the front sprocket area.
Not too impressed with this amount of accumulated Motul C2 paste at just 800km.

Not too please with Motul’s C2 Road Chain Lube, I went searching for an alternative. It was also around the same time when I was sponsored a can of Motul’s C3 Off Road Chain Lube to test and review. (Thanks Lynlex SG!)

The Motul C3 (off road) chain lube.

Since then, I’ve traveled more than 3,000km with several applications of the Motul C3 lube along the way. I’ve even recently returned from a 2,000km round trip from Singapore to Betong (Thailand), riding on a possibly complete range of road conditions – from the regular tarmac, to high-speed highway runs, in rain, gravel, dusty roads, some off-roads, and even riding my Pulsar 200NS through a river crossing!

Motul C2 on the left, and Motul C3 on the right.

So, how did the Motul C3 (off road) chain lube compare with the Motul C2 (road) lube?


First, I’ll comment on the effectiveness of the chain lube. Quite frankly, I cannot tell if the Motul C3 or the Motul C2 chain lubes protects the chain better. Both seem to do their job real fine. The C3, like the C2, kept my chain well lubed and quiet as long as I applied it regularly. Even after a 700km high-speed highway run traveling from Singapore to Betong, the chain o-rings (actually, it’s x-rings on my DID) still appeared “moist” and “well lubed” at the end of the ride. So, in terms of longevity – I’d say both are about equal.

Cleanliness – this is where the Motul C3 (off road) shines. And shine VERY much indeed! The Motul C2 (road) lube was specifically formulated to be a sticky and tacky lube. While this is great to prevent fling, it also has the (BIG) problem of attracting dirt. Road dust and grime adhere to the lube and chain, creating a grinding paste. This grinding paste, when run with the chain contributes to accelerated chain wear (in theory at least). Think of it as a paste of sandpaper (heck, it IS actually road sand mixed with lube) stuck onto the chain – not a great combination for chain longevity.

Description of the Motul C2 (road) – “Colorless and STICKY lubricant”

The Motul C3 (off road) specifically mentions on the label that it is non-sticky. It applies on like a luminous green thick oil which helps to show where the lube reaches and where you possibly might need to put a little more. Being non-sticky means that it’s VERY resistant to dirt and dust adhering to it. But the surprising thing is, like the Motul C2, I did NOT get any fling at all with the non-sticky C3! In fact, there was once when I applied a little too much of the C3 and didn’t wipe down the chain, the slight excess lube fling around the front sprocket area (and surprisingly NONE around the rear sprocket area) didn’t create a pasty mess, but instead dripped (only a very small amount) onto the ground beneath the bike like some thick oil leak. All these while still maintaining the front sprocket area and the chain relatively clean! The C2 would have immediately started creating a messy gooey paste instead.

Motul C3 (off road) description – NOT sticky. Protects chain in muddy and WET conditions.

Chain cleaning was also a lot easier with the C3 than the C2. All I needed was a light coat of WD40 and an old oily rag. Unlike the C2, I didn’t even have to whip out my chain brush to get in between those hard-to-reach places because the chain was already generally clean! Chain cleaning while I was on the C2 lube was, on the other hand, a very messy and sticky affair.

Yes, I know, the C3 was designed for “off road” use, while the C2 is for “on road” use. But with the frequent rain we experience in tropical Singapore kicking up road grime onto the chain, I’d reckon that the Motul C3 (off road) chain lube is probably more suitable for my motorcycle chain.

Because (overly) frequent application of C2 lube result in grime accumulation, I tended to apply the lube less frequently. Also, cleaning a C2-lubed chain was a sticky messy affair. And since the C3 keeps the chain relatively clean (actually, A LOT cleaner!), I realised that I’m spending less time cleaning my chain and more time riding the bike. And because the C3 does not make a mess, I find myself lubing my chain quite a bit more frequently too. And all these can only mean one thing…

A healthier, happier motorcycle chain. And a happier biker too!

Interestingly, I do not know of too many places in Singapore selling the Motul C3 (off road) chain lube. Lynlex SG seem to be one of those very few shops that bring it in. Their showroom is at 3 Upp Aljunied Link, #01-02 Joo Seng Warehouse.

10 thoughts on “Motul C3 (Off Road) Chain Lube Review”

  1. bro, wd40 is actually very bad for motorcycle chains. google around and you will know what i mean. but nonetheless, great review!

  2. Great Review. It would be helpful if you had actually posted the resultant pics after applying c3 like you did with C2 above.

  3. I have a Suzuki RV200 here in Thailand and although I don’t really go “off road”, the small tracks and lanes I frequent are often dusty and dirty and I have exactly the same problem with Motul C2 producing horrendous amounts of gunk on the chain and drive sprocket etc. Based on your review I’ve just ordered some C3 so hopefully that’ll be less messy. I’ll let you know how I get on. Thanks for the review.

    1. Glad to help! The C3 definitely attracts MUCH less gunk, and I’m almost certain you’d prefer it over the C2. That said, I’ve personally been switching over to using plain old gear oil as chain lube – cheaper, very available, and attracts about as much gunk as the C3 (possibly less). Depending on whether I feel lazy or not, I alternate between applying gear oil with a small paint brush and the aerosol C3.

      1. I’ll give it a go and let you know how I get on. Like you say there are so many different opinions about chains and lubrications it’s a bit of a minefield. At the end of the day they’ll all wear out anyway, and I’d rather not spend half my life out there fiddling with it. Maybe good old gear oil is the way to go!

  4. C2 for road only, C3 for off-road only. But there C2+, for mostly road and a bit off-road. Try it.

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