Last updated on January 5th, 2019
It’s no secret I’m a Motion Pro fan-boy – the brand makes pretty decent motorcycle tools. But what I’ve never been happy with is their old-style cable lubers – they always make a mess. Now that their “new and improved” model came out, you bet I was going to give it a try. But is it worth buying? Well, let’s see. Here’s a Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 review to find out if it’s actually an upgrade. Let’s start.
Disclaimer – I paid for this myself
I have no relationship with Motion Pro. I buy and use their stuff because I just plain need it. Likewise, this cable luber was personally bought just to see if it would get the job done.
Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 Review – Is it worth it?
Motion Pro’s Cable Lubers have long since been a staple in any motorcyclist’s tool box. Just like when you neglect drive chain maintenance, ignoring control cable lubing can often have catastrophic results. Whenever the throttle, brake or clutch starts to bind, it needs a bit of lube – and to lube it, the best way is to use a cable luber.
Motion Pro’s (V1?) Cable Luber used to be the defacto tool for the job. So much so that online marketplaces are full of overseas generic copies. The only problem being that, well, they often sucked. Occasionally you got a good seal. But as for me, I rarely got more oil into the cable sheath then I splashed around all over my bike. That’s primarily why I was keen on trying this new design. It certainly looks more impressive, but the question is if it is actually superior in practice.
So that’s what we’re going to take a look at here, from a more analytical point of view. On the other hand, if you’d prefer a practical review to see this tool in action, check out my Motorcycle Control Cable Lubrication How-To. There I actually use it for maintenance work, as well as explain the nuances of control cable lubrication. After all, what’s a tool review without getting your hands dirty? Nonetheless, if you wanna get more details on the tool itself, keep reading.
Breaking it down
The new Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 claims a few upgrades over the previous version. While they’re happy to tout a bunch of different benefits (the marketing department has mouths to feed, after all), you can boil the improvements down to a better sealing housing that leaks less and fits more sizes. But let’s review it in better detail to see what that translates to.
It’s more versatile
One big improvement of this model over the V1 is better versatility. That is, it accepts a larger range of cable sheaths and shapes than the original. Now it fits on sheaths between 4mm and 8mm, which covers the vast majority of options out there. Hell, it’ll even work great on bicycles, snowmobiles, quads or just about anything with a cable.
Lubing is cleaner
My big peeve with the previous version is that I could never get it to seal right. It always ended up spraying lube everywhere. It was still able to get work done, but the tool was far from perfect. On some cables it wouldn’t even fit over the sheath’s termination. Now, with the better designed, fully-enclosed housing, leaks are much less of an issue.
The rubber gasket is much beefier, leading the an improved seal on the cable sheath. And the long neck of the plunger allows you to stick the spray lube’s straw deep in its inlet, (cue dick joke) so it doesn’t splatter back at you (cue bukkake joke).
Another cool thing is that if your cable is really dirty – I’m looking at you, off-roaders – you can spray compressed air into it to blow out any loose debris prior to lubing. While you have bigger maintenance issues if that’s a feature you actually need, it’s convenient nonetheless.
There’s one main downside that kills me regarding this tool – the Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 still won’t work with every typically installed cable. The original also had this issue mind you, but on this model it isn’t much better.
There are two main issues. First, that its cylindrical design offers marginal improvements on what you can attach it to. While supposedly now you can slip it over adjusters, I’ve had few situations where that would have made a decisive difference. It still won’t work on throttle cables like the one above that have an elbow attached. And while the elbow is generally removable, it’s often not worth the hassle or risk of braking its clips to do so.
The second is that having to stuff the entire cable end into the tool may not be quick or easy depending on your bike. And the plunger mechanism – while great in theory – only makes that worse. I fully grant that it’s a design constraint that stems from the good idea of completely sealing around the cable housing, but it’s not without issues. More on that later.
In sum, even if you get this “pro” tool, that won’t save you from still needing to keep zip lock bags and rubber bands close by to do it the makeshift way anyway.
There’s nothing really ugly about the Motion Pro V3 Cable Luber – I just couldn’t avoid the movie reference. But while I’m here, I might as well point out one issue you might have with this tool. One you might not realize until you finish the job and the throttle doesn’t work – that’s not the type of experience any squid wants to have after some unscheduled motorcycle maintenance.
Given how the Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 requires stuffing the cable’s end stop inside of it, it may push the ferrule out of its slot on the other side of the cable. The previous version did not have this restriction.
On some bikes where the ferrule is firmly captured, it may not even be possible to push the cable in enough to use this tool without detaching the other end. Not without damaging something, anyway.
On the other hand, if the control cable is not yet installed on the bike, or you have the patience to unhook the other side, this is a non-issue. But regardless, I kinda wish there were an improved design that avoided this.
Note on carburetted bikes
If you say this design constraint impedes its use on carburetted motorcycles (due to the cable being trapped in the guillotine or valve), you’d likely be right. However, this isn’t really an issue because you shouldn’t be using a cable luber on bikes with carburetors while the cable is installed anyway.
If you do, you’ll pool all the old and dirty lube inside the carburetor bell. At best it makes for a rough start. At worst you’re going to have to fully disassemble and clean your carburetor and intake for not taking the time to do it right.
How does it compare to the old model – Should you upgrade?
A good amount of people reading this probably own or have at least tried the previous model. If that’s you, you might be wondering it it’s worth upgrading to.
After having tested it, perhaps begrudgingly I’d say it’s worth owning, but not necessarily upgrading to. That is, if you don’t have either, by all means get the Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 – it’s quicker than the baggie method, and cleaner than the old-school version. But if you already have the previous model, I’d wait until the seal deteriorates before upgrading. Rather than leaks you’ll have to deal with fitment issues, so it’s more of a horizontal upgrade rather than a vertical one. The best thing you can do is take a look at your bike and see which of the two versions suits it better.
All in all, they’re both great tools. It mostly comes down to what’s best for the bikes you maintain most, as well as your preferences. As for me? Well, I took the easy way out and kept both.
How to use the Motion Pro Cable Luber V3
Using it is not hard, but it’s not necessarily the most intuitive control cable oiling tool either. If you really want to see how to lube your cables right using it, check out this DIY: Motorcycle Throttle & Clutch Cable lubrication. There’s a lot of good tips and tricks in there. Nonetheless, for the impatient, here’s a summary:
- Remove the higher end of the control cable that needs lubrication.
- Check the lower end of the control cable, and uninstall if necessary.
- Take measures so that drips of dirty lubricant will not damage the floor (or your bike).
- Slip on the short housing piece of the tool, with the threaded end facing the cable’s end.
- Place the rubber gasket component over the end of the cable’s sheath, with the longer tapered portion facing toward the cable’s end stop.
- Push the braided steel cable as far as it can go into the cable’s sheath.
- Extend the plunger on the other side of the Motion Pro Cable Luber V3. If necessary, push it out from the inside using a long, thin, blunt tool.
- Screw on the plunger-side cap until it’s full seated to compress the rubber seal. Hand-tighten only.
- Inject cable lube into the plunger’s tip in small intervals. Give gravity the time needed to move the oil down.
- Once clean oil is dripping out of the other side of the sheath, push the plunger into the tool until it bottoms out. This will inject the rest of the oil inside the cable luber’s housing into the cable.
- Remove the cable luber and clean up.
While it looks like a lot, it really is a fifteen minute routine maintenance job. And with this tool, it’s a lot cleaner than with its predecessor.
Do I have to use Motion Pro’s cable oil?
No, not really. In a pinch, you can use just about any good lightweight oil to lube your throttle, brake or clutch cable. I’m sure Motion Pro’s Cable Lube is fine, but I just tend to use Cable Life out of habit instead.
That marks the end of the review! Is this the end-all of cable lubers? Absolutely not. Embarrassingly enough, I’m already hoping for a V4 – It still can’t deal with every sheathed cable out there. Now is the Motion Pro Cable Luber V3 a tool worth keeping in your toolbox? I’d say so – At least if you don’t own any cable oiler at all. It’s still one of the best and most interesting cable lubers out there. In any case, if you’re the type of guy that likes having every type of tool available, this isn’t one you’ll regret buying.
Anyway, I hope you found this useful! If you did, and would like to see similar content in the future, consider subscribing. Or, if you’re looking for something right now, look below for a few more interesting projects – Chances are you’ll find something you might like. Have a good one and keep the shiny side up!