You need to grease your drive splines each time you change your rear tire. This is true for all shaft drive bikes, regardless of brand. This is a real issue: ask any BMW rider, or any old-time ST1100 or GL high mileage type, and you'll likely get a whole lecture about spline maintenance. The lecture may or may not be informed, but it will demonstrate real concern.
The drive splines get surprisingly hot. Additionally, there's a lot of pressure on the splines and a lot of back and forth sliding motion. Any liquid type of grease will quickly be squeezed out of the splines, and leave you with no protection. The first time you remove your rear tire, you will likely find that the factory grease has dried out completely and solidified into something which does not even remotely resemble a lubricant. Actually, if it's a good Moly grease, it's still doing its job in this form, but it's not a pretty sight.
Honda makes M77 to replace the old Moly 60.
Honda specifies a spline grease which is 60% molybdenum disulfide ("moly"). Moly is a dry lubricant which bonds to the metal surfaces, offering lubrication properties even when the parts have squeezed everything liquid out. A lot of greases now say "Moly" on the container, but you must be careful about this. Ford and Caterpillar specify moly greases for particular applications, but the requirement is for 3% moly, not even close to the 60% requirement of Honda. It's not enough to buy a moly grease, what you really want is basically dry moly in a grease-like carrier which makes it easier to apply.
These days, most BMW shops seem to be using the Honda moly paste on drive splines. I have no idea what Kawasaki, Yamaha, or Suzuki dealers are doing, but if it's anything like what most Honda dealers are doing, it's simply not acceptable. My informal survey of Honda shops, backed up by observations from several other riders, has convinced me that essentially none of them use Moly-60. They use the cheapest brake and drive shaft grease they can buy.
If you let a dealer or shop change your rear tire, be certain they are using Moly-60 paste or Krytox, or you're going to be needing new drive splines in about 50,000 miles. Guaranteed. I recommend you remove and replace your own wheels, leaving the spline cleaning and lubrication up to you. If you want nothing to do with this, then I recommend you have a talk with your favorite mechanic before tires come up, and buy your own tube of lubricant if necessary.
Moly greases with 60% + molybdenum disulfide content:
- Honda Moly 60 paste, $9 for 3oz, pn 08734-0001 at your Honda dealer, or $8 from Kim Leong, STOC 3073, California Sport Touring.
- LocTite Moly paste, 65% molybdenum disulfide. $20 for an 8oz tube from Enco, part #505-1197, 800-873-3626
- TS-70 Moly Paste, 4 oz. ctg. $14 from TSMoly. (800) 508-5545
An alternative to moly is the new poly-flourinated lubricants made by DuPont called Krytox Teflon Bearing Grease
. These chemicals are simply magic. They have almost no known solvents, are chemically inert, and don't burn at any temperature, even in a pure oxygen atmosphere. This is pretty clearly the only grease to use. See this article
. Nascar mechanics have found that Krytox grease can reduce the temperature of spline joints on drive shafts by 150°. Also, this stuff lasts forever. It is, unfortunately, quite expensive.
Krytox is compatible with moly - in fact DuPont sells a high pressure Krytox which mixes the two. You may hear some horror story from some mechanic about mixing greases and the result turning radioactive or some such. Don't worry, it won't happen with moly or Krytox.
Honda replaced the Moly 60 with M77.
- DuPont XHT-AC extra high temperature anti-corrosive Krytox. $30 for a 2oz tube, pn 10195K25; $113 for an 8oz tube, from McMaster Carr.
- DuPont XHT-BDX extra high temperature extra bonding Krytox. $63 for a 2oz tube pn 10195K22; $230 for an 8oz tube pn10195K24 from McMaster Carr.
- LocTite Krytox HyperLube, pn 29711. about $35 for two ounces.